Patal Bhuvneshwark

  • District: Kumaon
  • Famous for/as: Pilgrim
  • Languages: Kumaoni, Hindi
  • Best Season: Mar-Oct
  • Weather: Summer 19 to 47°C, Winter 4 to 25°C
  • Altitude: 1350 m

The subterranean shrine of Lord Shiva is situated with sprawling interiors. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures. The way to the cave temple is through a long, narrow tunnel. Inside the cave, the limestone formations have taken shape of many Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon. The forms of Ganesha, Shesh Nag, Garurh, Shivling etc. are distinctly visible to the believers.It’s popularly believed that the holiest cave is the abode of 33 crore Gods and Goddesses, amidst the absolute Himalayan isolation.Caves within caves, one leading to another, each one unmasking deep secrets from within.

The motorable road ends half a kilometer away from the cave entrance. You’ve to descend nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach the sanctum sanctorum, which gives an overwhelming feeling that you’re entering the centre of the earth.Each stone, each stalagmite within each cave or doorway, in magnificent erection revels the story of Hindu pantheon in the shapes of Gods, Goddesses, saints and known mythological characters.

According to a belief King Rituparna of the Sun dynasty (Surya Vansha) discovered the cave in ‘Treta Yuga’. It has been described in the ‘Manas Khand’ of ‘Skand Puran’. Adi Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. That was the beginning of the modern pilgrimage history, at Patal Bhuvaneshwar.

The journey inside the cave has to be carried in feeble lights, holding protective iron chains. The stone formations of ‘Sheshnag’ can be seen, holding earth, heaven the world beneath. ‘Havan’ (fire sacrifice) is performed in a dimly lit, solemn atmosphere, under the spell of holy chants. You’ll also be impressed by the huge stalactites, called ‘Jatas’ of Lord Shiva, located at different locations inside the cave.

Beyond Patal Bhubaneshwar

Gangolihat

14 km from Patal Bhubaneshwar, Gangolihat is rich in folk culture, music and religious traditions, and had been chosen by Shankaracharya for the installation of Mahakali Shaktipeeth.

Berinag & Chaukori

27 km and 38 km respectively from Patal Bhubaneshwar, these places offer the breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks Nanda Devi and Panchchuli.

Gwaldam

A sleepy Himalayan town surrounded by apple orchards. The base for the trek to Roopkund.

Getting there

By Air: The nearest airport to Patal Bhuvaneshwar is Pantnagar Airport. Pantnagar Airport is situated 244 km from Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Taxis are easily available to Patal Bhuvaneshwar from Pantnagar Airport. Patal Bhuvaneshwar is well connected by motorable roads with major towns of Kumaon.

By Train: The nearest railhead to Patal Bhuvaneshwar is Tanakpur situated at a distance of 154 km. Taxis and buses are easily available from Tanakpur Railway Station to Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Gangolighat, and Lohaghat etc. Tanakpur is well connected with major destinations of India like Lucknow, Delhi, Agra and Kolkata. Trains are frequent to Tanakpur Railway Station.

By Road: Patal Bhuvaneshwar is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Buses from ISBT Anand Vihar are available to Tanakpur, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Lohaghat and many other destinations from where you can easily hire a local cab or bus to reach Patal Bhuvaneshwar.