Guptkashi or Guptakashi is a Himalayan town sitting at an elevation of 1,319 metres above sea level. It lies in the Kedar-khanda in Garhwal Himalayas of Rudraprayag district in Uttrakhand, India.

The town is on the way to Kedarnath. Gaurikund is 29 km away from here from where the 16 km trek to Kedarnath starts.

The town is popular for its ancient Vishwanath Temple, home to Lord Shiva, which is similar to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). There is another popular temple here. It has an idol of Ardhanareshvara, a half man half woman form of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Legends and Mythologies of Guptkashi:

According to the legends after the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas wanted to meet Lord Shiva for his blessings and forgiveness. But Lord Shiva avoided meeting them at Kashi.

Shiva was very disappointed on them because of the war and bloodshed. He went on hiding in the form of bull to Guptakashi in Uttarakhand. The Pandavas came her to find him to Guptakashi. They recognized him in the disguised form of Nandi.

Another mythology is according to Puranic literature, Kashi and Kanchipuram are the two eyes of Lord Shiva. Six more Kashis are there in the literature. These are as sacred and important as the Kashi (Varanasi).

Pilgrims, who cannot undertake the long journey to Varanasi, can travel to the closest Kashi. The six other Kashis are all around the country. Two of them are Uttarkashi and Guptakashi in Uttarakhand in Northern Himalayas.

The 3rd legend that Shiva proposed to Parvati at Guptakashi before they married in the village of Triyuginarayan. It is at the confluence of holy rivers Mandakini and Ganga.

Places to Visit Near Guptakashi:

Vishwanath Temple:

  • Vishwanath temple an ancient and important temple in Guptkashi.
  • The temple is home to Lord Shiva – The Destroyer. This temple is an example of ancient stones and wood frame architecture.
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Kedarnath Temple:

  • The important Kedarnath temple is 47 km from Guptakashi. The height of Kedarnath is 3584 m above the sea level.
  • In the 8th century, Adi Shankaracharya built Kedarnath temple.

Manikarnik Kund:

  • In this beautiful lake, there are two sources of water, one is Lord Ganesha’s head and another is cow’s head.
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  • Manikarnika kund is within the complex of Vishwanath temple is a place where Shiva linga is present.

Ardhanarishwar Temple:

  • This important temple is on the left of the Vishwanath temple. Ardhanarishwar temple is also home to God Shiva.
  • The presiding idol in the temple is of half man and half woman avatar Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.

Ukhimath:

Ukhimath is 17 km away from Guptakashi. There is the view of the majestic Himalayas covered in snow.

Chopta:

Chopta is a very beautiful village near Guptakashi. The trek to the world’s highest Shiva temple Tungnath starts from Chopta.

Gaurikund:

  • Gauri Kund is a Hindu pilgrimage site and base camp for trek to Kedarnath Temple. It has a connection with Shiva’s wife Parvati, (Gauri).
  • Gauri committed to penance involving many ascetic and yogic practices to win over Shiva’s affections.

Best Time to Visit:

  • The climate of Guptkashi is pleasant between the months of October and March. Summers are hot and humid and it is better to avoid the monsoons.
  • Basant Panchami (Spring in March) and Pandava (harvesting in October) are the major celebrations in Guptkashi.
  • You can enjoy the traditional dance forms such as:
    • Ghariyali
    • Chanchari
    • And Jagar are traditional dance forms in Guptkashi.

How to Reach Guptakashi:

By Road

A major network of roads via the NH109 highway connect Guptakashi to Rishikesh, Srinagar, Delhi etc. You can take state-owned bus services or a private cab to Guptkashi. It is 253 km away from Dehradun, which takes around 9-10 hours to reach.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Rishikesh. It has good road connections to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore. Guptkashi is 185 km away from Rishikesh, which takes usually 7-8 hours to complete depending on the road and weather conditions.

By Air

The nearest Airport is the Jolly Grant airport near Dehradun. It is about 198 km away from Guptakashi. There are numerous airport taxis which will take you to your hotel or accommodation option in Guptakashi. Another option is Dehradun taxi stand. There, you will find many cabs. It is always a better option to take a cab if you are 4 people or more and share the cab fare.

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