Guptakashi, Gupta Kashi or Guptkashi is a fairly large village located in Northern Himalayan belt within Mandakini river valley at an elevation of 4327 feet in the Kedar sector, in Garhwal Himalayas of Rudraprayag district in Uttrakhand, India.
Guptkashi is famous for the ancient Vishwanath Temple – dedicated to god Shiva – similar to the one in Varanasi. The other famous temple here is dedicated to Ardhanareshvara (a half man half woman form of Shiva and Parvati). Its religious importance is considered next to that of Varanasi, believed to be the most pious of all Hindu pilgrimage places.
The temple town is located on the way to the Kedarnath, one of the Chota Char Dhams and Panch Kedars. It has the scenic backdrop of the snow covered peaks of Chaukhamba and enjoys a salubrious weather throughout the year.
Char Dham Yatra and Guptkashi
GuptKashi is an important market town on the road to Kedarnath, and an important stop on the traditional pilgrim route of Char Dham Yatra. Many pilgrims during their Kedarnath Yatra take halt at Guptkashi or purchase important items from this market.
Legend and Mythology
• Mythology also states that Shiva proposed to Parvati at Guptakashi before they got married in the small Triyuginarayan village at the confluence of River Mandakini and Son Ganga.
• It is believed that after the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas wanted to meet Lord Shiva and seek his blessings. But Lord Shiva avoided meeting them at Kashi and went incognito as the bull Nandi to Guptakashi in Uttarakhand, the reason being that although they had fought for the right cause, they were also responsible for destroying their own dynasty and brahamhatya. But Pandavas pursued him to Guptakashi and recognized him in the disguised form of Nandi.
• According to Puranic literature, Kashi and Kanchipuram are considered as two eyes of Shiva. Keeping this connotation in view, six more Kashis have been prescribed to be as sacred and spiritual as the main Kashi – Varanasi. Pilgrims, who cannot undertake the long journey to the main Kashi, can travel to the closest Kashi. The six other “Kashi”s cover all the regions of the country. These are: Uttarkashi and Guptakashi in Uttarakhand in Northern Himalayas.
• Another legend declares that when the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1669, and constructed Gaynvapi Mosque, the Shiva Linga was shifted to Guptakashi for safe keeping. But the original linga of Kashi Vishwanath is stated to have remained here from the time it was shifted.