Nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 3048 m (10,000 ft) in the state of Uttarakhand is the temple of Kartik Swami. Kartik Swami is located in a serene and beautiful location and provides a spectacular panoramic view of some of the highest mountains in India. The ease of travel in terms of journey makes it a better option for people with time constraints.
Kanakchauri is situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Upon reaching Kanakchauri, it seems like being in vacuum as there is no sound of vehicles or people. It is a very small and calm village with a couple of shops around. From Kanakchauri, a trek of around 3 kms takes you to the temple of Kartik Swami.
The trek path
The path to the temple is well defined along the jungle route. You will be greeted with a lot of Rhododendron flowers (locally called as Burans), if visiting during the months of March-April. A lot of birds and butterflies also add to the beauty of this place. The trek route offer splendid views of the valleys and mountains in various places. In addition, there are spots which are perfect for camping.
Kartik Swami is situated at the end of a narrow ridge with a deep valley and is perched at a high altitude. Hence, it provides a wonderful and uninterrupted view to the Himalayan ranges. The snow laden peaks of Bandar punch are visible to the west. In addition, the peaks of Kedar Dome, Meru, Kedarnath, Neelkanth, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti and Nanda Devi group of peaks are also visible from Kartik Swami. The main attraction of Kartik Swami is the mighty Chaukhamba peak which appears in the temple’s background.
The priest of the temple stays in a basic concrete house (an ashram) which is less than 1 km before the temple and will accompany travelers/devotees to the temple, if required.
There is something mystic about Kartik Swami since people give unique things as offerings. There are broken bangles and vermillion (sindoor) all along the path as offerings while the temple complex has a lot of bells as offerings.
Things to do
Basically there is nothing in terms of luxury or fun activities in and around Kartik Swami. Visit Kartik Swami for peaceful environment and natural beauty. The sunrise and sunset are pretty amazing and so are the flowers and birds (especially high flying eagles).
Significance of Kartik Swami
Kartik Swami is the elder brother of Lord Ganesha and according to Hindu mythology, he is considered as “God for War and Victory.” It is also known as Murugan Swami in Tamil Nadu, Subramanya in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and Kartikeya in Bengal. The temple encompasses an idol of Lord Kartik Swami carved on a marble rock.
Places to Stay
Near the temple:- One can stay in the ashram before the temple but it would be advisable to carry sleeping bags. The priest happily provides basic food and tea to visitors. There is water shortage around the temple area, so make sure to carry water (as much as possible) from Kanakchauri, if intended to stay overnight in the ashram or a personal tent.
Around Kanakchauri:- There are a couples of places to stay in and around Kanakchauri. One such place to stay is in the town of Pokhri which is around 15 kms away.
How to Reach
To reach Kartik Swami, one must travel to the town of Rudraprayag from Haridwar along the Badrinath highway. From Rudraprayag, take the road towards Kanakchauri along the Pokhri route. Alternatively, you can travel to Karnaprayag and then towards Pokhri and Kanakchauri.
Haridwar to Kanakchauri via Rudraprayag is 203 kms whereas Haridwar to Kanakchauri via Karnaprayag and Pokhri is 238 kms. In both cases, the trek to Kartik Swami is the same (3 kms). Additionally, Dehradun is around 225 kms via Rishikesh and Rudraprayag.
Best Times to Visit
Any time of the year except Monsoon season since the roads can be blocked due to landslides. October to March is cold with December – January being the snowfall period while March – April is slightly cold with Flowering time and September – October is pleasant with full of Greenery.
One can travel to the places mentioned in the article in a self sufficient manner. But in case you need to tour these places with my help, please visit the Contact Me page.
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