Pauri in Uttarakhand makes the third instalment of the series ‘From the Lap of Himalayas’. I have been associated with this place as it was where my grandmother was born. Later my uncle settled down here for many years. I used to visit Pauri from a very young age and I have seen it change as the years passed by.
Where Is Pauri in Uttarakhand?
Situated at the altitude of 1800ft above the sea level, the town of Pauri acts as the headquarters of District Pauri Garhwal. The Divisional Commissioner of Garhwal Division sits here. It is located on the northern slopes of Kandoliya hills and gives you a picturesque view of the snow-capped Himalayas.
How to Reach?
The nearest railway station for Pauri is Kotdwar Railway Station. One can either book a cab or board a bus to reach Pauri. If you are coming by air then the nearest airport is JollyGrant Airport in Dehradun. From there you need to come towards Kotdwar to resume your journey towards Pauri.
Which Places to Visit in/near Pauri?
Pauri in Uttarakhand is quite big in comparison to many other places in this district. You can see a panoramic view of Himalayas from almost any point in Pauri. Along with this, there are many other places to visit in and around this town.
Pauri in Uttarakhand lies on the slopes of Kandoliya mountain as mentioned before. Kandoliya Temple is situated at the top of this hill. Lord Shiva is the deity here who is said to protect and bless the whole town underneath. It silently stands amidst the tall deodar and pine trees. This temple has always been one of the most famous points to be visited by the locals as well as tourists.
One can reach the temple either by walking or by vehicle. There is a park around Kandoliya temple which has Pine trees all over. A section of this park has slides for the children. A flight of stairs takes you to the main premises of the temple. The building of the temple is small but that does not hinder the faith of the people for this temple. There are many functions organised here during the month of Shravan and Mahashivratri. It is like a colourful fair all-day long.
This temple is dated back to the 8th century. It is said to be established by Adi Shankracharya when he was making his trip around the country. Most of the temples in Uttarakhand are dedicated to Lord Shiva or Goddess Parvati. This temple is also no exception. It is situated further away from Kandoliya Temple, in between denser woodland. Many people pay their respects here as it is well known among the locals as well as tourists.
A couple of kilometres away from Kandoliya Temple lies the second highest stadium of Asia – Ransi Stadium. Claimed to be at an altitude of 7000mt above the sea level, this stadium is known for organising cricket and football matches. Beautiful Deodar and Pine trees surround this stadium. Ransi stadium has become a favourite spot among the youth. There are many state-level sports programmes organised here from time to time.
Hill View Points-
The scenic view of Himalayas can be seen all around Pauri but there are few points present in and near this town which give you a non-interrupted view of the snowcapped Himalayas. On a clear sunny day, one can sit in one of these hill viewpoints for hours and enjoy the changing colours of Himalayas as the Sun moves across the sky.
Jwalpa Devi Temple-
On the Kotdwar-Pauri road lies this famous Shaktipeeth where Goddess Durga resides. Situated on the banks of River Nayar, this temple holds the faith of many people. Tourists and locals alike make sure to pay homage to the goddess when they pass the temple on their way. There is a huge crowd of devotees lining for seeking the blessing of the deity during Navratri. One needs to climb down several stairs to reach this temple as it is just next to the river.
Another famous temple visited by lots of devotees lies 37 km ahead of Pauri. Unlike many temples, Lord Krishna is the deity worshipped here in the form of a snake. Legends say that Lord Krishna visited this place and fell in love with it. He turned into a snake and basked in the beauty of this area for a very long time. The temple can be reached after a small trekking path as it is situated at the top of a hill.
Nestled in between nature lies a small village named Khirsu. It is at a distance of 14kms from Pauri in Uttarkhand. This place is nothing short of a paradise for nature lovers. The area all around is a treat to the eyes. There are well-manicured gardens and large woodland areas filled with Pine and Deodar trees. It is a heavenly place to be for anyone who is looking out for some peace and tranquillity. People visit this place for its untouched natural beauty. There are GMVN bungalows here if one wishes to stay here for a couple of days.
Dhari Devi Temple-
Coming out of Pauri in Uttarakhand, on the way to Rudraprayag, comes the ancient temple of Dhari Devi. The goddess Dhari (a form of Goddess Kali) is worshipped in this temple. She is considered as the protector of Uttarakhand. Many people come to pay their homage to the goddess here. Even the ones going towards the ‘CharDhams’ make sure to visit and receive blessings from the goddess before continuing their journey ahead.
Story Behind Dhari Devi Temple
There are many stories and myths surrounding this temple. The temple has the upper half of the idol. The lower half is placed in Kalimath, in Rudraprayag. It is said that long ago the floods in the river had caused the idol to be ripped off from its original place. The upper half of the idol came down floating in the water and got stuck on the banks of Alaknanda in this area. Villagers heard the sound of a lady asking for help and found the idol when they came looking. Considering it as the wish of the goddess they established the temple on that very spot.
The face of the idol of the goddess in the temple is said to change its expressions 3 times a day. Early morning she looks like a girl, noon she is a young lady and by evening she looks like an old woman.
During the monsoons when the rains are heavy, Dhari Devi used to get submerged in the water temporarily. In 2013, this temple of Dhari Devi had come under the spotlight during the floods of Kedarnath. Due to the ongoing Hydroelectric Project, the officials had decided to remove the temple from its original place. They thought of putting the idol in a higher place as the original temple was going to be permanently submerged in the water once the Hydroelectric Project was completed. In spite of many protests from the locals and the devotees of this temple, the decision was executed.
So on 16 June 2013, the idol was pulled out from its place. The natural disaster hit Kedarnath on the very same day after a couple of hours of this act of removal. People associated the calamity as the wrath of Goddess for disturbing her place of rest. It was one of the strongest rumour circulating at that period of time. Many newspapers and channels had covered it. However, now the temple is being constructed in its original location but on a raised platform.
Where to Stay in Pauri?
Hotels are easily available in Pauri. Many hotels are around the Pauri Bus Stand itself. However, if you wish to choose a place which is quieter and more attuned with nature, you can look into the hotels near the outskirts of Pauri. One can easily get many options to stay, based on their budget.
There is a huge market in the heart of the city for shopping. Small groups of shops are present around every neighbourhood for purchasing daily needs. Restaurants and food eateries are easily available in walking distance and you can enjoy a variety of cuisines including the Garhwali Cuisine.
Over the years, Pauri in Uttarkhand has come out to be a prospering town. Being the headquarters of the district Pauri Garhwal, it has almost all the facilities which a developed town should have. There are a large number of schools as well as good hospitals. It is well-connected to many parts of Uttarakhand and outside. But the what impresses me the most about this town is that even with all this development, it has kept its heritage and natural beauty intact.
Next post in this series will take you to one of the spectacular districts of Uttarakhand – Kedarnath.
Stay tuned for catching the glimpses of untouched regions of Himalaya
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