Nestled among the picturesque Kumaon Hills lies an ancient temple that pays homage to Lord Vishnu. Revered by the locals as the “Pracheen Vishnu Mandir,” this sacred site holds deep-rooted connections to Kumaon folklores and finds mentions in ancient Hindu scriptures such as the “Skandpuran.” The temple’s rich mythological heritage adds an enchanting dimension to its historical significance.
This temple is located at about 9 KM from the cottages. It is surrounded by Deodar trees, hundreds of years old. The temple is off the beaten path and very few tourists visit it.
(Story about the temple is at the end of the article. Scroll down or Click here)
Lord Vishnu is also considered the lord of water. Here in this temple region, two streams originate and merge to form the river Padmavati (Panar), which later joins river Sarju.
Deep within the forest, concealed from the roadside, lies this hidden temple that remains unseen by most. Though a small gate and a sign guide the way, only those who are familiar with this place venture to visit it.
The trail leading to the temple is relatively new, winding through a dense forest adorned with ancient deodar trees, some of which have stood for over a thousand years. The trek spans approximately 300 meters.
The journey to the temple itself is an enchanting experience. Should you veer off the designated path, the forest reveals an even more captivating allure. As you venture further, you will encounter magnificent boulders nestled amidst the verdant landscape. Following rainfall, this region transforms into a breathtaking sight with mini cascading waterfalls.
The most ancient of the deodars is the one under which one of the streams originates. Just below the tree is the old temple of Lord Vishnu.
Within the temple complex, extensive restoration work has been undertaken to ensure it meets modern standards. However, amidst the renovated surroundings, you can still catch glimpses of ancient statues and intricately carved details. Some of these remarkable artifacts date back thousands of years, serving as a testament to the rich history preserved within the temple’s walls.
The temple complex also has some new temples with different deities. A cave temple has also been carved out.
In addition to the temples, the complex offers a multitude of fascinating attractions to explore. The presence of old carved stones and remnants of ancient temples adds a captivating touch to the surroundings. As you ascend the temple steps, keep an eye out for ancient stones adorned with intricate footprints carvings, adding an element of intrigue to your journey.
The complex’s main allure lies in the two natural springs that serve as a continuous source of flowing water. The sight of water gushing from these springs is truly mesmerizing, and the taste is heavenly. Furthermore, the region is home to a diverse array of wildlife, providing ample opportunities to spot various birds in their natural habitat.
When you visit us next, ask us about the ancient temple and we will guide you to it.
For those of you interested in religion and mythology –
Himalayas were once completely submerged under the sea. Lord Vishnu in his Kurma Avatar (Tortoise Avatar) brought the Himalayas out of water. So, was born “Kurma-anchal” which gradually came to become more popular as Kumaon.
This interestingly links to the scientific theory that says that 50 million years ago, the Himalayan range rose from the sea, as the Indian and the Eurasian plates collided.
Ancient Hindu scripture, the “Matsya Puran” says that in his Kurma avatar, the cosmic turtle supports all the worlds on his back. Believers say, the back of the Turtle is an exoskeleton like the tectonic plates of the earth. They say this turtle is like a super energy, placed in the depths of the earth that created the Himalayas. Infact, this turtle was brought from the “Patal-lok” to churn the oceans by moving Mount Mandar from it’s base.
After raising the Himalayas from water, Lord Vishnu’s work was done. He established himself as the lord of water (Jaldevta) here and rested. Two water sources continued to flow as the two streams, Padamparna and Padmavati. They are said to originate from Lord Vishnu’s feet and hand. Just after originating, these two streams join and continue as Padmavati or Panar river.
Lord Vishnu, when he established himself, he did so as a large stone. This stone was kept under the largest deodar tree in the region.
This deodar tree is believed to have been a source of dripping honey in ancient times. This honey was offered to the deity of Lord Vishnu, which was kept as a stone underneath the tree. Once a passerby unknowingly licked the honey off the tree after which the honey stopped dripping. Locals, later on, started offering milk to the deity.
There is yet another related story about this temple –
A demon named Mulya lived nearby and he had a favorite cow. All his cows gave him milk except this one. Mulya felt suspicious and once when he spied on the cow’s movements, the demon found out that it offered its milk to the Vishnu deity kept under the tall deodar tree. He was furious and struck the rock (deity) and the tree. The tree thus split into two. Blood emerged from the rock.
Three brave warriors from Kumaon region itself, called Fartyals were instructed in their dream to fight the demon. So, they did and defeated the demon. Later they established the temple around the deity where it then lay.
The large deodar split into two, still stands tall. The water still emerges out. The new temple is there for everyone to visit and pray.
The temple and its story are also mentioned in Skanda Purana, one of the 18 prestigious Hindu texts.