Enshrined in mystery and mythology, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is the hidden pilgrimage centre, near Gangolihat the famous Shaktipeeth. Located 91 kms from Pithorgarh on the way to Berinag at an elevation of about 1350 mts this highly revered shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The sun-terranean shrine of Lord Shiva is situated with sprawling interiors. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stagmite figures. The way to the cave temple is through a long, narrow tunnel. Inside the cave the limestone formations have taken shape of many Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon. The forms of Ganesha, Shesh Nag, Garurh, Shivling etc are strictly visible to the believers. Its popularity believed that the holiest cave is the abode of 33 crore Gods and Goddesses, amidst the absolute Himalayan isolation.
How to reach
By Air - Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport
By Rail - Nearest rail heads are Tanakpur 182 kms and Kathgodam 210 kms
By Road - Patal Bhuvaneshwar can be reached from Pithorgarh, Bageshwar, Gangolihat or Chaukori. The major nearby town 14kms away is Gangolihat.
Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a cave city. Caves within caves, steps leading to another, each one unmasking deep secrets from within. The mortorable road ends half a kilometer away from the cave enterance. You've to decsend nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach the sanctom sanctoram, which gives an overwhelming feeling that you're entering the centre of the earth.
Each stone each stalagmite within the cave or doorway, in magnificient erection revelas the story of Hindu patheon in teh shape of Gods, Goddesses, Saints and known mythological figures. According to the belief King Rituparna of the Sun dynasty (Surya Vansha) discovered the Cave in " Treta Yuga" it has been described in the Manas Khand of Skand Puran. Adi Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. That was the begining of the modern pilgrimage history, at Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
The journey inside the cave has to be carried out in feeble lights, holding protective iron chains. The stone formations of Seshnag can be seen holding earth heaven the world beneath. Havan (fire sacrifice) is performed in a dimly lit solemn atmosphere, under the spell of holy chants. You will also be impresses by the huge stalactites calledJatas of Lord Shiva, located at different locations in the cave.
Its believed that Pandavas, the Mahabaratha heroes proceeded towords their last journey in the Himalayas after meditating here, in front of Lord Shiva. The priest family, the Bhandaris are performing religious rites at Patal Bhuvaneshwar since the time Adi Shankaracharys. More than 20 generations in the line. They are a treasure house of legends, lores, anecdotes and information about this holy place.
Around Patal Bhuvaneshwar
Gangolihat is 14 kms away from Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Gnagolihat is rich in folk culture, music and religious traditions and had been chosen by Shankaracharya for the installation of Mahakali Shaktipeeth.
Berinag & Chaukori is 27 and 38 kms away from Patal Bhuvaneshwar, these places offer the breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks Nanda Devi and Pachchuli.
Gwaladham A sleepy Himalayan town sorrounded by apple orchards. The base for the trek to Roopkhand.
Avoid July and August being monsoons landslides may occur. Skiing in Uttaranchal generally takes place in the winter seasons specifically December to March. The monsoon season continues from July till September. You will get good weather during the October months and in April-May-mid June when it is Yatra time and a lot of rush.
The best time to visit Uttrakhand if it is a religious tour esp to Sri Badrinath,Kedarnath,gangotri & Yamnotri is in the last week of May to mid July before arrival of monsoon. This time the weather remains pleasant and the roads are in good condition. You may also plan the trip in October post monsoon but then the weather gets quite cold but u get plenty accomodation at a cheaper price.