A Visit to the Temples of Uttarakhand

Mountains have been my idea of vacation since I was a kid. Uttarakhand being my hometown, it was easy to access the wilderness of the lesser Himalayan mountains. And I can happily say that nature has been my constant inspiration since childhood.

This never-ending obsession with leaves, foliage, landscapes certainly gets displayed in my sketchbooks and all the art that I do. It has led me to create some super exciting projects recently. One of which I will be sharing with you all in this blog.

Valleys of Guptakashi

If you have traveled to northern India, especially Uttarakhand and Himachal regions, I am sure you would agree to have seen roadside shrines, rocks covered with vermillion, red threads tied around the trees at the least. These simple objects of worship set amidst the grand nature creates a feeling of awe and devotion towards everything around you.

I wanted to create something that was a part of me. And what’s better than the first places you ever visited? Right! Determined to create something special, I started my journey from Delhi and travelled to a small village called Guptakashi in Uttarakhand.

Shrine on the way to Guptakashi, Garhwal

For me, this was the beginning of one of the most exciting endeavours I had got into. It was special for me as an artist and as a traveler too. My travel to Uttarakhand, helped me understand the variety of beliefs people have, and how nature is at the core of everything they do as a part of their daily rituals and worship at their homes. I gained a new perspective to look at the stories I had heard since childhood. It was definitely some food for my soul.

Sculpture of Bhima in Kashivishwanath temple

I visited local shrines and temples of mythological significance. Met interesting people (also priests), heard amazing stories and witnessed some incredible architecture. Looking for inspiration and not knowing what would strike me to start working.

Temples I visited in Guptakshi-
Kashivishwanath temple
Omkareshwar temple
Trijugi Narayan temple
Bhumi dev shrines
Chetrapal shrines

I was guided by the locals of the Guptakashi village and priests of the temples. These are a few hard to reach places (Google might help, only if you have range!) if you are new to the place and the language can be a concern too. However, people here were super helpful and sweet enough to sit down and talk to me about all that they know, tell stories, and have a cup of tea overlooking the beautiful valleys.

Priest of Kashivishwanath Temple, Guptakashi

I believe ideas come to you when you have an open heart and mind. During this peaceful stay of 11 days in the mountains, I appreciated the nature and the quite lazy mornings. I was able to inspire myself to create something meaningful to share my visit with everyone.

Shaping the Idea

The visit to Uttarakhand as well as the research study of the temples and beliefs played a major role in shaping the idea for the project. The exposure to the people, the place, and the narratives opened a vast pool of information for me. What struck me most while my travel was the idea of holding onto the parts of nature, be it rocks, mountain peaks, rivers or even animals and plants. When I tried understanding the narratives and beliefs of temples, a similar idea was reflected in the narratives associated with Panchkedar temples.

For details about the project, visit https://garimajoshi6.wordpress.com/portfolio/temples-of-uttarakhand/(opens in a new tab)

Thanks for reading, go get inspired 🙂