About 9 KM from the cottages, deep inside a deodar forest, there is a beautiful ancient temple of Lord Vishnu. Dating a few thousand years, the temple is still hidden away from the regular tourists. Lord Vishnu is also considered the lord of water. Here in this temple region, two streams originate and merge to form river Padmavati (Panar), which later joins river Sarju.
The temple is located deep inside the forest and is almost impossible to see from the road-side. Though there exists a small gate and a board indicating the way to the temple but only the people who know about this place visit it.
The track to the temple is also a new one. It descends through a forest of very old deodars, some of them over a thousand years old! The trek is about 300 meters in length.
The path to the temple is an experience in itself. If you happen to leave the track, the forest will look even more enchanting. A little distance from the track are some large rocks. After the rains, beautiful cascades form in this region.
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.
In the temple complex, restoration work has been done to bring it up to the modern standards, but still the old statues and some carvings can be spotted here and there. Some of these are thousands of years old.
The temple complex also has some new temples with different deities. A cave temple has also been carved out.
Apart from the temples, there are many other interesting things to explore in the complex. The old carved stones and existing remnants of the ancient temple are quite interesting. While walking the steps to the temple, some old stones with carvings of footprints can also be spotted. The two sources of natural spring water from which the water constantly keeps flowing are the main attraction. Many wild animals and birds can also be spotted in the region.
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, here is a short description of the temple and the surrounding region-
It is believed that during the period when Lord Vishnu took the form of Kurma Avatar, this area was submerged. Lord therefore established himself as the lord of water (Jaldevta) and when the land became dry, the water sources however 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 in this region, he did so as the lord of water sources and as a large stone.
The largest deodar tree in this region is believed to have been a source of dripping honey in the 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 the honey stopped dripping. Locals later on started offering milk to the deity. A demon named Mulya lived nearby and had a favorite cow. This cow did not give him milk and once when he spied on the cow’s movements, the demon found out that it offered its milk to the deity. He was furious and struck the rock (deity) and the tree. The tree thus split into two at the base. 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.
The temple and its story is also mentioned in Skanda Purana, one of the 18 prestigious Hindu texts.