’Patal Bhuvneshwar’ is a mysterious limestone cave near Gangolihat in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It lies 14 kms from Gangolihat, cave enshrines Lord Shiva and 33 Koti Gods and Goddesses as per Hinduism and Ved Purans. Cave has the depiction of various stories of Yugas, Shiva, Sagar Manthan, Beheading Of Lord Ganesha, Pandavas, Mother Ganga in Shiva’s tresses, Sacred water coming through many pores and falling on Shivling and many more interesting stories through huge and naturally carved lime stones. It depicts the ‘Manaskhand’ and ‘Skandpuran’ whose 800 verses tells about Patal Bhuvneshwar.
It is really an adventure where one can feel the presence of eternal powers. Cave is 160 kms long including multi gateways and series of caves within the caves. Humans cannot explore everything there because it is beyond human’s body limits. Therefore, exploration is only allowed up to ‘Adi Shakti’ cave and visitors have to return from there. The most amazing part is, it is all natural, not constructed or carved.
The caves have been electrically illuminated by authorities for a safer exploration. No one is allowed going into the cave without a local guide, priests provide these guides at the entry. Photography and Videography is strictly prohibited. One can take permission from Uttarakhand Tourism office at Dehradoon (Uttarakhand’s Capital) for capturing and recording these caves. Exploring these caves is extremely adventurous and it feels like being on another planet or world. The temperature remains cool throughout the year in the cave.
Route: Delhi–>Haldwani–>Almora–>Raiagar–>Gangolihat–>Patal Bhuvneshwar (480 kms)
Hotels Info: KMVN Guest House, The Patal Resort and Shivam Palace are good hotels to stay.
With lot of sweet memories of Jageshwar and Vridh Jageshwar, I hit back again on the beautiful jungle roads. I was following Jageshwar-Patal Bhuvneshwar route which is 120 kms through these Oakpine jungles. Route mentioned above is for those whose destination is only Patal Bhuvneshwar from Delhi. Else, one can visit Jageshwar and then head towards Bhuvneshwar if Jageshwar is also in their plan.
I enjoyed every bit of my ride through jungles to rock falling zone.
The beautiful road.
Few kilometers before Gangolihat I found a ruined house which attracted me, attraction means it will be framed and it was.
Beautiful farms of nearby villages.
’CRICKET IS ON’ even on hills. While traversing through, all were waiving their hands for ‘Hello’ gesture. In reply I also waived my hand while riding. Very less people travel for Patal Bhuvneshwar and this makes any traveler very unique for them.
I reached there in the evening and halted at KMVN resort. Patal Bhuvneshwar is a small town with fever number of houses.
Next day I prepared myself for the cave exploration. It is the entry gate from where a half kilometer of down trek starts for the cave entry. It is the last point for Vehicles.
It was a beautiful track through Devdar jungles.
KMVN resort, it is located near the entry gate.
A beautiful tree.
Some closer view of the flowers.
Farming fields, all these views are just below the track.
It is only 10 minutes of walk to reach the last gate before the cave but the en-route climate and nature refreshed me again.
The cave is on the foot of these jungles, now you can imagine how beautiful location it is. As photography was not allowed therefore I was not able to frame anything. Please check the below Google link which has many pictures of this cave.
It was one of my life’s most amazing experiences so far. While entering I was horrified that how I will enter as it was very narrow and slippery as shown in the first picture. My heart was beating with its utmost speed, it had mixed feelings of adventure and supernatural thrills. Chains have been attached on the stair sides as a helping hand for traversing. With the help of chains and guide I entered and moved down, crawled on these stairs. There are few narrow sections of the stairs where people have to zig-zag their body to pass through it. It was just 100 stairs but many times I stopped myself to breathe long to get confidence that I can explore this eternal powered cave.
Few minutes later I reached in the cave and got surprised because basement was huge where people can easily walk. I thought there will be oxygen or fresh air issues but I was totally wrong. Cave had very fresh and sacred air. The floor and climate was cool, while speaking vapors were coming from the mouth, my body temperature decreased in the cave. This was the first feeling of eternal power, though it sounds scientific but in real it is more than that. My guide started enlightening me with the history of the cave and how it was formed and discovered. Its mystery is very thrilling like its exploration because it gives the feeling that you are in the center of the earth.
Guide showed many series of caves into the caves but we only entered those where was allowed. Other caves were inaccessible for normal human beings. As per the guide only Gods and Rishi Munis (Sage) with extreme Tapobal (Super natural powers gained by doing Yoga) had accessed these caves. Then he showed me the four cave gateways (Paap Dwar, Rand Dwar, Dharm Dwar and Moksh Dwar) at a single point. Paap Dwar and Rand Dwar (War Gate) are naturally closed after the death of ‘Ravana’ and ‘Mahabharat’ war respectively. Only Dharm Dwar and Moksh Dwar are open till date, it depicts, one can only achieve Moksha through the way of Dharma.
He showed me the ‘Sheshnag‘ natural carving, fangs and its skeletons on which track was made to traverse in the cave. It was amazingly awesome. Further few meters ahead he showed me the Sagar Manthan’s tree, Kamdhenu Gaay. Further few meters ahead I found 7 small ‘Kunds’ in which water was flowing naturally and sequentially. My eyes popped when I saw the huge stresses of Lord Shiva and river Ganga falling on it and being witnessed by 33 Koti Gods and Goddesses. Water was continuously flowing through Shiva’s stresses, guide told me that I can drink this pious water. When I touched the stresses I was more surprised, though it was all time wet but no signs of algae. It was very clean and fresh. Yes, that is the eternal power.
There were many more stories which he showed me of Pandavas when they entered the cave after Mahabharat war, Tri-Linga story, Elephant Eravat’s story, Time periods of Sat Yug, Treta Yug, Dwapar Yug and Kali Yug and how it will end and restart again. There were many more interesting things which cannot be explained in just one blog. It is a place to experience it physically. It took around 2 hours to explore the cave and then we exited and left the place.
While trekking upwards on the jungle track I found a lion face carving on a small water reservoir. I captured the beauty again.
After lunch I started exploring the nearby places and was attracted by this temple architecture. It was located in the mid of the village.
It is Shiva and Adi Shakti temple which was built before 9th Century.
Lord Shiva’s image carved on the upper section.
Shiv Linga, it was built before 9th Century, surprising for me.
Various idols of Gods and Goddesses of 9th and 10th Century period.
“He who wants to feel the presence of eternal power should come to the sacred Bhuvneshwar situated near the confluence of Ramganga, Sarayu and Gupt-Ganga.” -Manaskhanda, Skandapuran, whose 800 verses refer to Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
With these thrilling experiences I started my bike and headed towards Kausani which was the next destination in my travel plan.