One can well imagine the sentiments of the present and past residents of Old Tehri town at this moment of its death. It is indeed a sad moment, the capital of the erstwhile state of Tehri-Garhwal, and many of its villages, disappeared forever in the waters of river Bhagirathi, never to be seen again. People come to see this ancient town from all over the country and even from outside, to have a last glimpse of the town, perhaps to see for the last time the house they were born in, the rooms they knew so well, where they slept in the comfort of their mother’s and grandmother’s arms, and the courtyard they spent their childhood playing in, disappeared forever in the watery grave, leaving only their memories to them. Sad! But then life itself is such.
We must not, however, dwell too much on the past, but look to the future with hope now. In a few months time the area will become a vast expanse of water, surrounded by mountains. The huge reservoir being created by the Tehri Dam, many square kilometers in area, surrounded by these beautiful mountains, will become an ideal place for development into a tourist heaven in the years to come. Likely, there will be exponential growth in things like water sports such as boating and sailing, fishing, in addition to trekking and mountaineering. For the less active, it will be a place for leisure and relaxation in the temperate, balmy climate of the hills, overlooking the vast expanse of water. An added advantage is that the area falls at the centre of the pilgrimage routes to Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, and it can serve as a base for the devotees to stop on the way to these sites.
- past being preserved, historical preservation, Darbar’s role in preservation
- talk about the palace and the furnishings at Darbar, historical, archaeology archives (manuscripts) of Puranadarbar old tehri, built 1815, sunk from submerged in 2004
New Tehri is the district headquarters of Tehri-Garhwal. It is situated between 1550 to 1950 mts. above sea level. It is busy, modern town, only 11 km from Chamba & 24 km from Old Tehri. It overlooks a massive artificial lake and a Dam. Since the completion of the dam, it has become one of the most popular tourist destination in Garhwal.
New Tehri is an icon of progression, development and pride for its people. It came into existence after the Old Tehri was submerged due to the damming of the Bhagirathi river in 2008 to provide electricity for the region. Since then, New Tehri has been established and it has become history of one of Asia's most competitive resettlement efforts. New Tehri is poised over the banks of the dam, the beauty of which makes it an attractive tourist spot.
Maa Surkanda Devi Temple
Surkanda Devi is a Hindu temple situated close to the small resort hamlet of Dhanaulti in Tehri District. At an altitude of about 2,700metres, it lies close to nearby hill stations of Dhanaulti (8 km) and Chamba (22 km).
It is surrounded by dense forests and affords a scenic view of the surrounding region including the Himalayas to the north, and certain cities to the south (e.g., Dehradun, Rishikesh) The Ganga Dussera festival is celebrated every year between May and June and attracts many visitors.
One of the most persistent mathologies concerning the origin of worship at the site is associated with the myth of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy with his daughter's choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he did not invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fire, knowing that this would make the sacrifice impure. Because she was the all-powerful mother goddess, Sati left her body in that moment to be reborn as the goddess Parvati.
Meanwhile, Shiva was striken with grief and rage at the loss of his wife. He put Sati's body over his shoulder and began his tandava (dance of cosmic destruction) throughout the heavens, and vowed not to stop until the body was completely rotted away. The other Gods, afraid of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He sent his discus Sudarshana to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of her body fell until Shiva was left without a body to carry. Seeing this, Shiva sat down to do Mahatapasya (great penance).
Despite the similarity in name, scholars do not generally believe that this legend gave rise to the practice of sati, or widow burning. According to various myths and traditions, there are 51 pieces of Sati's body scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These places are called shaktipeethas and are dedicated to various powerful goddesses. The body was separated part by part. Shiva passed through this place on his way back to Kailash with the dead body of Sati whose head fell at the spot where the modern temple of Surkhanda Devi stands.
Nav Durga Devi Temple
“Shakti” or power of Goddess Durga is known as Dasha Mahavidya. During a period of nine daysafter the new moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin, any activity or event and is known to be successful because of the blessings of the divine Mother. In these nine days the nine different Swaroop or forms of the Goddess Durga are fervently worshipped.
1) Durga Shailputri
Shailputri means the daughter of the mountain, Himalaya. In this form we see the divine Mother holding a trident in her right hand and a lotus on her left. She is seen seated on an ox.
In her previous birth, she was called Sati Bhavani and was the daughter of King Daksha. After muchpenance, she married Lord Shiva, but her father King Daksha was not too pleased. He had arranged for a Yagya/Yagna (ritual done around the sacrificial fire) where he invited everyone except his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Upset and humiliated, Sati decided to attend the event uninvited. There, her father insulted Lord Shiva and in fury she stood on the sacrificial fire and burnt herself alive. Enraged, Lord Shiva ordered his followers to demolish the Yagya. Sati was reborn as the daughter of the king of the mountains, Himalaya in the name of Parvati – Hemvati and was wed with Lord Shiva again. This Swaroop is worshipped on the first day of the Navratri celebrations.
Brahmacharini or Tapasyacharini is Goddess’s second form. The name holds the meaning of true penance and meditation. Her form depicts her holding a rosary beads in her right hand and a Kamandalu, a pot containing holy water, in her left. In her previous life, when she was born as the daughter of Himalaya, she performed severe penance to have Lord Shiva as her husband. Narad Muni, the divine sage advised her to take up meditation to win Him. Due to her intense devotion, steadfastness and strict meditation for years under extreme conditions, she is called Brahmacharini.
Goddess Durga’s third form is known as Chandraghanta or Shakti. Chandra means moon and Ghanta is bell. This name manifests itselfas a half-circular moon that resembles a bell on the temple of the Goddess. Chandraghantais three eyed with ten hands, and each hand holds ten different weapons. She is seated on a lion and is worshipped on the third day of the Navratri celebration. Her hue is golden and her appearance is said to spread calm and peace. She is also seen as animage of bravery, and the sound of her bell frightens demons away. Worship of this deity is also said to help to eliminate sorrow, hazards and dangers in one’s life.
Kush means happiness and, in form, she is said to have created the universe with a smile. She is radiant as the sun and rides a lion. She is Ashtabhuja or “eight-handed”. Her seven hands hold the holy pot, Kamandul, a bow, an arrow, a lotus, a pot containing wine, a disc and a club. The eighth hand holds a string of rosary beads that is believed to provide success and prudence.
5) Skanda Mata
Lord Kartik/Kartikeyan/Karthikeyan is also known as Skanda. As Goddess Durga is his mother, she(he/she?) is referred to as Skanda Mata. She is a deity of fire with four arms. Holding her son Skanda with the top right hand and lotus in her lower hand. The top left hand is positioned in a blessing gesture or Abhaya Mudra. She is fair complexioned, seated on a lotus and also referred to as Padmasana.
Sage Katyaayan was the son of the great sage Kat. He observed rigorous penance and worship of Bhagavati Paramba with a desire to get Paramba as his daughter. His wish was granted. The daughter born was named Katyayani. She has four hands. The top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage while the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon .The top left hand holds a sword and the other a lotus. The goddess rides a lion and worshiped on the sixth day of the Durga puja.
Ratri means “night” so, in this form, her complexion is as dark as night. She has long, unmated hair with three eyes that are shiny and bright. She has four arms and is seen mounted on a Shav/Shava or dead body. Her right hand holds a sword, while her lower right hand is in a blessing gesture. The left hand holds a burning torch and the lower left hand is in fearless position. She is known as Shubhamkari or “the auspicious one”. Her form encourages her devotees to be fearless.
8 ) Maha Gauri
It is said that when the goddess Gauri was observing enance to Lord Shiva, her body became dirty with dust and dirt. So he cleansed her with the holy waters of Ganges.Her body transformed into a bright and luminous light, like lightening, and so her eighth form is known as “Maha Gauri”.Her clothes and ornaments are white. Seated on a bull, her visage is calm and peaceful and she is three eyed. Her four hands denote different meanings: the left hand is in the fearless gesture and the lower left holds a trident. The top right hand has a tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing gesture.
The ninth form is Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis (special powers which can only be attained from deep penance and meditation): Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva. Maha Shakti gives All these Siddhies. It is mentioned in the Devi Puran that Lord Shiva attained the eight Siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude, Lord Shiva’s body also contains the goddess and so he has the form and name of Ardha Narishvar. Ardha means half. The goddess rides on a lion. The Siddhidatri form is worshipped by all gods, rishis, munis (Saints and Sages), siddhas, yogis, sadhakas (Devotees) for attributing merit and worth to their austere penances.
Maa Kunja Puri Temple:
Kunjapuri is one of the main the goddess Durga. This is said to be a place where a part of the body of goddess Durga fell and since then is has become a sacred pilgrimage destination. Kunjapuri temple is one of the most acclaimed temples among all 51 temples of goddess Durga. The plain white entrance which was dedicated to goddess Durga by army attracts everybody. As well as being acentre of the enduring faith of Durga’s devotees, the temple is one of most scenic places of Garwhal.
This temple is one of main picturesque places of Garhwal. One can view the beauty of nature which surrounds it. Situated on mountains, the temple is centre of indissoluble faith of devotees. The faith is bounded by the sight of the goddess and the devotees are attracted to this place.
Kunjapuri Shakti Peeth Temple
Kunjapuri is the main Shakti Peeth for the devotees of goddess Durga. Built in 1979, Kunjapuri temple is built exquisitely.The entrance is one of the highlights of the architecture. The stairs used to reach the temple seem to acquaint the height of the temple.
- mention the fact that is another durga temple, pieces of her body
Within the premises are statues of Shiva, Mahakali and Narshimha. Kunjapuri temple is mostly white but vivid colors are used to highlight some parts of the temple.
A great lion statue can be seen from the front seeming almost to guard Durga’s temple. There is a large hole in the core of the temple where it is believed the ‘Kunja’ of the goddess fell.
The Legend of Kunjapuri Temple
Various mythological legends are associated with Kunjapuri. According to one, king Daksha did not like the marriage of his daughter Sati with lord Shiva., and he organized a Yanja to which he did not invite Sati or Shiva.
- not necessary to repeat this story again
At this, Sati asked permission from Lord Shiva to attend the Yajna. At first he forbade her from going, but relented after repeated requests. When Sati reached theYajna, she saw that there was no place for lord Shiva. She was not able to tolerate this disrespect of her husband and immediately jumped into the Hawan-kund the place of Yajna.
Lord Shiva sent his companions to kill Daksha when he came to know about this. His companions then cut the throat of Daksha to present it before the lord and destroyed the whole place of Yajna. All the gods were frightened seeing the anger of lord Shiva and asked for his mercy.
Lord Shiva calmed himself, granting life to Daksha and allowing him to complete the Yajna. Shiva then took the body of Sati from the Hawan-Kund and left with a heavy heart. He began to roam the sky carrying the body of Sati on his shoulders. Because of this, the whole universe began toshake.Everyone went to lord Vishnu and requested to resolve this grave problem. Lord Vishnu proceeed to cut the lifeless body of Sati into pieces with his Chakra. Hence, Shaktisthals were built at the places where the parts of the body of Sati are said to have fell. Kunjapuri is one of those Shakti peeths.
The whole universe started shaking because of this incident.
Everyone went to lord Vishnu and requested to resolve this grave problem. Lord Vishnu then cut the lifeless body of Sati into pieces with his Chakra. Hence, Shaktisthals were built at the places where the parts of the body of Sati fell. Kunjapuri is one of those Shakti peeths.
Kunjapuri Temple Importance
Kujapuri Shakti Peeth is one of the significant pilgrims of India. This sacred place dedicated to goddess Kunjapuri, is full of picturesque places. You can view various significant places from here. Places like Swargarohini, Gangotri, Rishikesh and Haridwar can be viewed from here.
Every wish of each devotee is granted here. In this court of goddess Durga, chants of the goddess can be heard.
Maa Chandra Badni Devi Temple
Located about 7 km from Dehradun, Chandrabadni temple is a place of great spirituality. This place is also known as Gautam Kund Dehradun where people come from all of India to take a holy dip in the Kund which is believed to refresh the mind and soul. Also some believe this to be the living place of Maharishi Gautum where Ganga manifested herself.
At an altitute around 8000 feet, on top of Chandrakut mountain, Chandrabadni temple lies only a fewkilometres form Devprayag and Pratapnagar. Chandrabadni temple is a place of great religious and mythological value, to which many devotees come from all over India to get the aashirwaad of Chandrabadni Devi Maa.
interior of Tehri-Garhwal, the temple of Nag Raja at Sem-Mukhem is held in high esteem by the people of the area. Transport is available to Khamba Khal which is a distance of 64 km from Tehri.
Khamba Khal to reach Sem. The temple is situated at the top of a hill about 5 km from the village Mukhem which is 2 km from the motor head of Khamba Khal. Accommodation is provided by the ‘Pandas’ of the village Mukhem.
Buddha Kedar Temple
This temple is situated at the confluence of the Bal Ganga and Dharam Ganga rivers, at a motorable distance of 59 km from Tehri.
According to legends, it is at this temple that the Pandavas encountered Rishi Balkhily at Bhrigu Parvat when they were on the lookout for Shiva after the Kurukshetra battle. The Rishi directed them to the site of the confluence to meet an old man meditating there, but when the Pandava got there, the old man vanished and instead, a shilling appeared there. Rishi Balkhily instructed the Pandavas to embrace the Shivling in order to free themselves from their sins. Their impressions are stamped on this Shivling – the biggest Shivling in northen India.
Dhanaulti is perched at an elevation of 2,286 mtrs. above sea level on Mussoorie - Chamba Road. Dhanaulti is known for offering grand, panoramic views. Dhanaulti is also emerging as a popular weekend getaway from Delhi as it is easily accessible via public and private transport. Each season in Dhanaulti is picturesque and beautiful and thus, Dhanaulti can be visited year-round.
During summers the place acts as a relief from the unbearable heat of the plains and during winters the place is blanketed with snow. Dhanaulti rests on misty mountains amidst dense oak and rhododendron forests. Dhanaulti is also popular because of its proximity to booming tourist spots like Mussoorie, Tehri and Chamba.
The pleasant weather, wooded slopesand invigorating views of the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas fosters a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere, and as Mussoorie has become crowded, many tourists prefer to retreat to here. Dhanaulti offers everything from luxury resorts to budget hotels .
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