Patal Bhuvaneshwar is a limestone cave temple in the village of Bhubneshwar in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. The cave runs 160 m in length and is 90 feet in depth.Essentially a Shiva abode, this place is believed to rest 33 koti gods and some people say, a worship here is more special than the Chardham together.
It is not often when your heart will skip a beat staring at the entrance of an old temple. Except when it is cut naturally in the shape of a Cave and you need to reach the temple, by following a steep, slippery, narrow feet of naturally formed stairs. The steps to the final destination (the Shiva temple) are few but so steep that iron chains have been attached to push yourself down and to add to it, you have the limestone cave dawning upon you on both the sides; our guess is, it will make you feel almost impulsively- claustrophobic. So take the holy plunge at your own risk and feel comfortable while doing this 5- minute trekking type tour. Like we always believe, you possess miraculous power when you are in a holy place and it is really your mental power which supersedes your physical strength at that moment. Many people were seen going down the cave, especially aged people, who seemed more mentally agile than their body structure.
So, once you cross this small fleet is few long and steep steps, you reach a small heaven like place. The temple is legendary and it appears so, also because of your small achievement at the moment.
What you will witness in Patal Bhuvaneshwar
The Shiva temple looks like a mini Kedarnath and Badrinath at the first sight. People say that the cave temple is legendary as it marks the presence of Lord Shiva aside from his celestial presence. It was the first time when Shiva left Mount Kailash to descend and reach the earthly grounds and took rest here in Uttrakahad. It is also believed that there are 33 Koti Gods. The temple was discovered by King Rituparna in the Sund Dynasty of Treta Yug. However, you cannot experience the supreme divinity the place has as most its dwars are now closed and hence, the whole potential of the temple has not been explored yet.
In addition to this, the cave has a secret underground route connecting to the four abodes (Char Dham). And the buck doesn’t stop here. Legend has it that the cave has an underground route connect with Mount Kailash, which was established by the Pandavas when they meditated on the cave grounds in front of Lord Shiva. After you reach the underground site, you will witness a splendid view of the stone formations of Sheshnag and Jatas of Lord Shiva at different points in the cave. When you walk on the floor of the cave, the serpent body-like impression on it will leave you in awe. There is a rock shape of the tongue of Kali Bhairav and Aravati of Indra too.
There are four entrances inside the cave named as ‘Randwar’ ‘Paapdwar’, ‘Dharamdwar’ and ‘Mokshadwar’. The Paapdwar is closed (after Ravana’s death) and so is Randwar (after Mahabhartha war).
Another legendary story is that Lord Shiva had one cut his son’s Ganesh’s head in anger and later, at the behest of his wife, he gave an elephant- like head to Ganesh, which we acquaint with today. Some local people in this small hill station of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand believe that Lord Shiva established the Ganesh cut head at this site.
Even though what we see today is a simple sight of a Shivlinga in place or a representation of the Ganesh detach head, the literature on the temple says that Shiva established a 108 stem Lotus right on the top of the Ganesha memorial and that, this Lotus continuously drops water on Ganesha forehead. Visitors can actually experience this wonderful sight live inside the cave. People believe that this Brahma Lotus was established by Lord Shiva himself and till today, you can witness this amazing site of droplets falling naturally on Ganesha’s head at the same spot.
There are four stones which represent each Yuga according to Hindu Dharma. These stones symbolize time and the current form of Kali Yug is also presented in a rock structure and is growing slowly in height. It will continue to grow naturally and by the time Kali Yug will reach its end, it will touch the ceiling inside the cave. Or, if we put it the other way round, when this rock touches the ceiling, it marks the beginning of the end of the kali yug.