Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple: The Winter Abode of Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand

Mar 8, 2024 | Spirituality and Yoga

Nestled in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India, lies the ancient town of Ukhimath. At an elevation of 1311 meters, this place isn’t just a scenic getaway but also a significant Hindu pilgrimage site. But what truly sets Ukhimath apart is its revered temple, the Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple.

Significance of Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar Temple holds a special place for devotees of Lord Shiva. During the harsh winter months (November to April), when the Kedarnath Temple gets blanketed in snow, the idol of Lord Kedarnath is brought down to Ukhimath. This is where the Omkareshwar Temple acts as its winter abode. For those six months, the temple becomes the center of worship for Lord Kedarnath.

What makes the Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple special:

  • Winter Home for Lord Kedarnath: As mentioned earlier, the temple serves as the refuge for the deity of Kedarnath during winter. This allows for uninterrupted worship of Lord Shiva throughout the year.
  • Architectural Gem: While details about the temple’s construction are not readily available, the Omkareshwar Temple is known for its beautiful architecture.
  • Mythological Significance: Legends say that King Mandhata worshipped Lord Shiva here for twelve years, standing on one leg. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him in the form of ‘Omkar’. This is believed to be the origin of the temple’s name.
  • Gateway to Other Destinations: Ukhimath, with the Omkareshwar Temple at its heart, serves as a base for exploring other nearby places of pilgrimage. These include Madhyamaheshwar Temple, Tungnath Temple, and the scenic Deoria Tal lake.

How to Reach Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple?

The Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple is well connected by road, though reaching it will involve a scenic journey through the mountains. Here’s how you can get there:

By Air: The nearest airport to Ukhimath is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 195 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or cab to Ukhimath.

By Train: Rishikesh Railway Station is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 175 kilometers from Ukhimath. Taxis and cabs are readily available from the station to take you to Ukhimath.

By Road: Ukhimath is well connected by motorable roads to major towns and cities in Uttarakhand. Here are the routes you can take:

  • Route 1: Rishikesh – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath (180 km)
  • Route 2: Haridwar – Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath (190 km)

These routes take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Uttarakhand, so the journey itself will be a memorable experience. Once you reach Ukhimath, the Omkareshwar Temple is situated on the Gopeshwar-Mandal road, about 2 kilometers from the Ukhimath taxi stand. You can easily hire a local taxi or rickshaw to reach the temple.

If you’re planning a trip to Uttarakhand and seeking a combination of religious pilgrimage and breathtaking beauty, Ukhimath and the Omkareshwar Temple are definitely worth a visit.

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