The Journey so far…
Day 3 | Chaukori Local Sightseeing
21st December 2012:Last night at Chaukori was very cold, in fact I even woke up couple of times due to cold. Junior, as his routine, woke up too and forced me to get out of the quilts to walk him around the room in my arms for an hour or so. I guess any parents here might understand how it goes with small babies 😉 … Well, that was fun part of it, the only issue was that it was too cold and I was worried about cold hitting him while I was moving him aound in my arms. But, thankfully he slept and just woke 2 more times only 😀 … Finally, the sun broke out from the high mountains clearly visible from the windows of our room. It was a magical Sunrise but I had no energy left to go out and capture it in the camera after a little uneasy night. But, outside tourists were rushing all around to see the golden glows over High & Handsome Peaks of Panchulli, Trishul, etc.. I gave it a though but then told myself, there will be one more sunrise tomorrow 😉
Musk Deer Park, Chaukori
Well, by around 8.30 AM we all were ready for the breakfast, I got some milk packs from the shop adjacent to KMVN for the junior and we asked the caretaker in the Kitchen to boil it for us. The staff was quite helpful in every sense. The breakfast was nice with Aloo Puri and few Paranthas, Omelette was also available on request. About 10 AM, we left for sightseeing of the day around Chaukori. The first point we were interested in was Musk Deer Park, which is located about 2 KMs from Chaukori towards Bageshwar aside the first village that comes on that road. Ask villagers around you for exact directions. There is a small cut towards right in that direction or on left while coming from Bageshwar. After driving about 100 odd Mtrs on that cut, you will see some tea stalls around you and on the left there will be a base of the hill. That’s where the hike to Musk Deer Park starts. It is long hike of about 30-35 Minutes at least for us and carrying Junior was another test of endurance and fitness 😀 … Though finally we succeeded after lots of huffs and puffs. At one stage we even thought of going back as my wife had real tough time but somehow got will power to continue 😀
There are about 13 Musk Deer in that breeding farm and scientists/researchers over there take care of the production of musk which is then supplied to different parts of India from there. Guess, it is only the second place in India where you can spot Musk Deer. The only disappointment was that they were held in cages and photography was strictly prohibited over there. We were dreaming of thousands of Musk Deer running in wild in some meadow 😆 but hat just was limited to a fantasy. We had a long chat about the life in Winters, how they live up there, what they do with these deer, etc.. with one of the scientists and then decided to move down. The hike down was not that tough and Junior holding our hands was running with us while enjoying every bit of it. We reached at the base quickly and ordered Tea which took almost ages to arrive. By 1.00 PM, we all were free to move back to our next destination of the day Patal Buwaneshwar
In order to reach Patal Bhuvaneshwar, some 48 KMs from Chaukori, we had to travel back the route from which we came last night that is via Berinag – Raiagar and then ahead towards Syuti Bend Since, we were running out of fuel so we tanked up at a Petrol Pump near Berinag. Our plan was to return back before it gets dark and 48 KMs meant about 2 Hrs drive from Chaukori. Well, though the road up to Raiagar was fine but then started deteriorating but still fine enough barring few really bad patches. The vistas were magical and sometimes we were feeling very close to High Himalayan peaks of Panchulli, Trishul, etc.. as visible from the route. After about 2 Hrs we finally reached Patal Bhuvaneshwar and we had no idea of what it will be. We just thought knew that it would be a cave with some natural artwork.
As per Wikipedia link here: “Patal Bhuvaneshwar is a limestone cave temple about 14 km from Gangolighat and about 48 KMs from Chaukori. Legend and folklore have it that this underground cave enshrines Lord Shiva and thirty three crore Gods. The cave is 160 m long and 90 feet deep from the point of entrance. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures of various hues and forms. This cave has a narrow tunnel-like opening which leads to a number of caves. The cave is fully electrically illuminated. Built by to the flow of water, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a series of caves within caves.”
“He who wants to feel the presence of eternal power should come to the sacred Bhuvaneshwar situated near the confluence of Ramganga, Sarayu and Gupt-Ganga.” – Manaskhanda, Skandapuran, whose 800 verses refer to Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
Well, nothing more can be said and once we descended into the cave, every bit of the last line to really feel the presence of Eternal Power held true to every word. My wife and Junior were suggested not to go and she stayed back with the Junior at the entrance of the cave. You have to park your vehicle outside Temple complex and then walk about 500 Mtrs to reach the cave entrance. Then at the entrance you have to register your name and all people who are going inside with you. A registered Priest cum Guide MUST accompany you to guide you through the cave and narrate you the whole story of the cave right from the stories which are centuries or in fact since Treta Yug. The entrance is quite narrow and slippery but proper chains are present which can be held for any support. Once, you enter into the cave, the area just widens up and you see an AMAZING NATURAL ARTWORK with feeling of sheer presence of some eternal power if you believe in mythology. It is said that those who visit Patal Bhuvaneshwar, can consider that they visited all Char Dhams. In late 80s the cave was illuminated with light power and generators runs as a backup too.
The bottom-line is, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is one of the MUST VISIT places in life and if you believe in mythology, you will not come disappointed at all. Taking the blessings from the cave temple we came out, passed the blessing to my wife and Junior in the hope that they will also come sometime to visit this artwork by God and take blessings themselves in person. We had some Maggie outside the temple complex and clicked some pictures and finally started the journey back to Chaukori.
We saw a beautiful sunset but somehow what we witnessed in Patal Bhuvaneshwar was something that had captured me for long enough. We enjoyed some mix pakoras in the evening, had our dinner and called it for the day with the dreams of the cave temple and journey to Kasauni next day via Bageshwar – Baijnath route.
The Journey ahead…