There are lost Cave Temples in the Himalayas.
Some of them have been found are in a difficult terrain.
They have fascinating histories.
One such is Pathala Bhuvaeswara temple, in Uttarkhand,India
‘The first human to discover this cave was Raja Ritupurna who was a king in Surya Dynasty who was ruling Ayodhya during the Treta Yuga. The story starts with Ritupurna and King Nala. It is said that once, King Nala was defeated by his wife, Queen Damayanti. In order to escape his wife’s prison Nala requested Ritupurna to hide him. Ritupurna took him to the forests of the Himalayas and asked him to stay there. While going back home he was fascinated by a deer which ran into woods and went after it. He could not find it and took rest under a tree. He had a dream where the deer was asking Ritupurna not to chase him. His sleep broke and as he woke up and went to a cave where a guard was standing. After enquiring about the cave he was allowed to go inside. Right at the entrance, Ritupurna met Sheshnag who agreed to take him through the cave. It carried him on his hood. He saw the marvels of Gods taking place inside. He all the 33-crore gods and goddesses including Lord Shiva himself. It is said that after his visit, the cave was closed for ages with a slight prediction in the Skandpurana that it will be reopened again in Kaliyuga. Shankarcharya in Kalyug, during his temporary visit to Himalayas re-discovered this cave. Since then regular worship and offering are being done at this place.
Patal Bhuvaneswar Location Map.
According to belief King Rituparna of the Sun dynasty (Surya Vansha) discovered the cave in ‘Treta yug’. It has been described in the ‘MANAS KHAND’ of ‘SKAND PURAN’. Adi Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. That was the beginning of the modern pilgrimage history, at Patal Bhuvaneshwar. The journey inside the cave has to be carried in feeble lights, holding protective iron chains. The Stone formations of Sheshnag 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’ll also be impressed by theto visit these parts form the celestial heights of His abode in Kailash.The cave, it is believed, is connected by an underground route to Mount Kailash. it’s believed that Pandavas, the ‘Mahabharat’ heroes proceeded towards their last journey in the Himalayas after meditating here, in front of Lord Shiva.This hidden pilgrimage situated at 1,350mts above sea level is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva.Almost every god that you would have heard of resides in this mystifying cave. It is also believed that you can worship at Patal Bhuvaneshwar is equivalent to worshipping at Char Dham of Uttarakhand.
The priest family, the Bhandaris are performing religious rites at Patal Bhuvaneshwar since the time of the Adi Shankaracharya. More than 20 generations in the line. They are a treasure house of legends, lores, anecdotes and information about this holy place. It is also believed that this cave is internally connected to the four abodes /seats (Char Dham)
“This awesome cave is believed to be as old as the earth itself. It has been mentioned in detail in the 103 chapter of Manaskhand of “Skanda Purana”. The first human who entered this cave was king “Rituparna” of Suraya Dynasty during the “Tretayuga”. It is said that during his visit, he had encountered several demons and “Sheshnaag” himself acted as his guide.One can see the gateway of the great ages in Patal Bhuvaneshwar. There are four entrances inside the cave named as ‘Randwar’ ‘Paapdwar’, ‘Dharamdwar’ and ‘Mokshadwar’. The Paapdwar was closed soon after the death of Ravana and the Randwar, literally, the road to war, was closed down after the great Mahabharata war. At present only two gateways are opened. You can see the tongue of Kali Bhairav, Aravati of Indra, hairs of Lord Shiva and several other wonders inside the caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
How to reach Patal Bhuvaneswar.
The nearest airport to Patal Bhuvaneshwar is Pantnagar Airport. Pantnagar Airport is situated 244kms from Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Taxis are easily available to Patal Bhuvaneshwar from Pantnagar Airport. Patal Bhuvaneshwar is well connected by motorable roads with major towns of Kumaon.
The nearest railhead to Patal Bhuvaneshwar is Tanakpur situated at a distance of 154kms. Taxis and buses are easily available from Tanakpur Railway Station to Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Gangolighat, and Lohaghat etc. Tanakpur is well connected with major destinations of India like Lucknow, Delhi, Agra and Kolkata. Trains are frequent to Tanakpur Railway Station.
Patal Bhuvaneshwar is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Buses from ISBT Anand Vihar are available to Tanakpur, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Lohaghat and many other destinations from where you can easily hire a local cab or bus to reach Patal Bhuvaneshwar.