Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is considered to be the most special in the field of religion and spirituality. Spiritual and mental peace is also an objective of tourists from all over the world. The lush green vegetation, the valleys, the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, the river-waterfalls give this place a wonderful look. Uttarakhand is home to innumerable temples, many of which belong to the Indian mythological period. Many major pilgrimage sites of India are situated among the hills here, including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, etc.
About Kartik Swami
Kartik Swami Temple, located in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, is a sacred place for Hindus, dedicated to Kartikeya, the eldest son of Lord Shiva. The temple is situated amidst the snowy peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 3050 meters above sea level. It is believed to be an ancient temple, whose history is 200 years old.
This temple is the only temple in Uttarakhand, which is dedicated to Lord Kartik. The ancient Kartik Swami Temple of Lord Kartikeya is a divine place as well as a very beautiful tourist place. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s eldest son “Lord Kartik”. Lord Kartik Swami is also known as “Kartik Murugan Swami” in the southern part of India.
It is believed that Lord Kartikeya is still meditating here in the form of Nirvana here. A continuous sound can be heard from hundreds of bells hanging in the temple up to a distance of about 800 meters. The temple is open to devotees for twelve months and the temple premises give easy views of mountain ranges like Chaukhamba, Trishul etc. A two-day fair is also held on Baikunth Chaturdashi festival.
It is believed that Kartikeyaji dedicated his bones to Lord Shiva at this place. According to legend, one day Lord Shiva told Ganesha and Kartikeya that those of you who would come seven times before the universe, will be worshiped before all the deities. Kartikeya set out to revolve around the universe, but Ganeshji took a tour of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and said that to me you are both universe. Lord Shiva was happy and told Ganesha that from today onwards you will be worshiped first. When Kartikeya came round the universe and came to know about these things, he renounced his body and dedicated his bones to Lord Shiva.
It is believed that tying a bell in this temple fulfills the desire. This is the reason that from the distance of the temple you can see bells of different sizes. To reach the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, devotees have to travel about 80 stairs from the main road. The evening aarti is very special here. During this time, there is a huge gathering of devotees here.
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Festivals at Kartik Swami
This Kartik Swami temple of its kind in North India is visited by a large number of devotees annually. But, the number of devotees increases relatively during the festivals and fairs celebrated here, which is indeed a must visit in Rudraprayag. Let us now look at some of these popular festivals.
Kartik Purnima: One of the sacred Hindu festivals in India, Kartik Purnima is celebrated on the fifteenth day of Purnima (full moon) or Kartik month (November-December) of the Hindu calendar. This day is considered highly auspicious as it is the birthday of Lord Kartikeya. To commemorate Kartikeya, a fair is also held in the temple. On this day, there is a huge gathering of devotees from all over the country in the temple.
Kartik Swami Mela: Also revered as the Kalash Yatra, the Kartik Swami Mela is an 11-day festival where devotees from across the country pay homage at the Kartik Swami Temple and seek blessings from the Lord. This beautiful festival celebrated in the month of June consists of various rituals and ceremonies such as Mahayagya, Shiva Mahapuran Katha, and Kalash Yatra which take place in the temple premises to pay homage to Lord Kartikeya.
Kartik Swami Trek
Apart from pilgrims, the temple is also frequently visited by nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The trekking trail passes through a dense rhododendron forest allows not only pro-trekkers but also beginners to visit the temple, which also makes it a prime destination for adventure seekers. It is also famous among new trekkers as the finest treks of Uttarakhand. The best part of this enchanting trek is that most of the route passes through the forest of Rhododendron and the sight of the route will be as good as you can imagine. Along the way, the sights of the waving mountains stretching to the horizon, will definitely blow your mind.
Route to Kartik Swami
The temple is located on the Rudraprayag-Pokhari road, 38 km from Rudraprayag. It can be reached by a 3 km scenic trek from Kanak Chauri village which is the main road for it. This trek passes through lush green forest. The road from Rudraprayag to Kanaka chauri is good, some part of it passes through rhododendron forests with Himalayan natural beauty. There are also some other famous temples along the way, some of them being the Nari Devi temple in the village Nari, which is tilted at an angle of about 30 degrees, and the Lord Tungeshwar (or Tungnath) temple at Village Phalasi. The same road is connected to Badrinath highway via Pokhari and meets at Karanprayag, it also connects to Kedarnath highway of Banswara via Mohankhal and Chandannagar.
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Accommodation at Kartik Swami
There are some newly built fine wooden cottages in the village of Kanak chauri, which are the main route to the temple. Kartik Swami can stop there to have a good experience of the trek and the surrounding peace. One can also stay in the ashram near the temple. You need to carry flour, rice, tea and some other groceries.
Best Time to Visit Kartik Swami
One great thing about this high-altitude temple in Uttarakhand is that it is open throughout the year, and hence, one can visit it in any season. Despite this, winter and summer are considered to be the ideal seasons to visit the Kartik Swami temple. However, the monsoon season with significant rainfall, which disrupts the trekking trail and also damages the road should be avoided keeping safety in mind. The summer season starts in the month of April and lasts till June. Whereas, the months of July and October are the beginning of the monsoon and winter seasons in Rudraprayag respectively, which continues till September (monsoon) and March (winter).