‘ADITYA TEMPLE,’ a beautiful temple of God Sun and Shiva is located at Ramak village of Champawat district in Uttarakhand. It is one of the famous and rare temples of God Sun, which was establishedby the kings of Chand dynasty in the 16th century. Legends also believe that during the exile, Pandavas visited this place and worshipped god ‘Shiva’ and consecrated the pious ‘Shivalinga’here.
Since it is an abode of the two famous Hindu Gods – Sun and Shiva, it is also popularly known as‘ Shivaditya Temple.’This temple has a great religious significance in the vicinity and large number of pilgrims from various places and across sections visit here to perform worship. Every year during August/September on the auspicious occasion of ‘Surya Sasti’ a three days’ fair is also organized here where special worship of God Sun is performed.
Near Aditya Temple, two other equally beautiful and renowned temples of God ‘Adi’ and God ‘Bhumia’are also situated. These temples are situated under two huge divine banj oak trees, which adds to itsmagnificence even more.
This temple at Ramak village is located at a manageable distance of around 75 km away from the district headquarter, Champawat and around 115 km from Kathgodam (nearest railway station). Itis surrounded by scenic beauty, gigantic hills,and rich biodiversity all around and has great tourism potential.Pilgrims can easilyvisit this temple all around the year; itis well connectedwiththe motorableroad.
22 km from Champawat and 9 km from Lohaghat, this ashram is situated at an altitude of 1940 meters. Mayawati shot into prominence after the Advait Ashram was established here. The ashram attracts spiritualists from India and abroad. Amid and old tea Estate, is the Advait Ashram of Mayawati. During his third visit to Almora in 1898, Swami Vivekanand decided to shift the publication office of ‘Prabuddh Bharat’ from Madras to Mayawati, from where it is published since then. The only presence that has become a part of the peace and solitude of Mayawati, is that of the mighty Himalaya in all its splendor. On request the Ashram provides board and lodging to visitors. There is also a library and a small museum at Mayawati.
A deity of widespread faith and influence, Gwal Devta also known as Goril or Goll, is considered to be the presiding deity of justice. It is believed that when approached, Gwal Devta dispenses justice to a helpless victim of injustice and cruelty. Historically, Goril a Katyuric prince of Champawat, known for his unwavering justice and fair play, was himself a victim of planned conspiracy hatched up by his step mother, who had thrown him into a river, locked up in an iron cage. Held in high esteem as a symbol of justice, a temple was dedicated to him at Gwarail Chaur at in Champawat and ever since he has grown into a deity of great influence attracting innumerable pilgrims around him. As per a story, Harish Chandra was a famous king of Champawat, who after his death, was worshipped as the folk god ‘Haru’. Haru’s mother’s name was Kainer and he is said to be Gwall’s maternal uncle.
76 kms. from Pithoragarh headquarters, Champawat is situated 1615 meters. above sea level. Champawat, once the capital of the rulers of the Chand dynasty, is famous for its natural beauty and well known temples. The ancient fort, now houses headquarters of the Tehsil office. A historical spot, Champawat has many well known temples of high artistic value. The Baleshwar temple is the noted attraction of Champawat. The Nagnath temple at Champawat is also an excellent example of ancient architecture of Kumaon. 4 – 5 kms. from Champawat is the ‘Ek Hathiya Ka Naula’, which is said to have been constructed in just one night by the one handed artisan. The story of Golla Devta is also associated with Gorilla Chaur of Champawat. It was in Champawat that Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared as ‘Kurma avatar’ (incarnation as tortoise). This hill is also known as Mt. Kandev. There is a small fort at Champawat. Jim Corbett had come to this region in the first decade of the twentieth century in order to hunt for man eating tigers.The very first story of his first book (Man Eaters of Kumaon) is related to Champawat.
At a height of 3000 mts. above sea level, Purnagiri is 20 kms. from Tanakpur, 171 kms. from Pithoragarh and 92 kms. from Champawat. Purnagiri temple is visited throughout the year by devotees from all parts of the country, who come here in large numbers, particularly during Chaitra Navratri in the month of March – April. The surrounding valleys echo with the holy chantings of the devotees climbing up to the top for darshan, creating an atmosphere of spirituality. From Purnagiri, also known as Punyagiri, the river Kali descends into the plains and is known as Sharda. For visiting this shrine one can go upto Thuligaarh by vehicle. From this place one has to trek (the road is under construction upto Tunyas ). After the ascent of Bans ki Charhai comes Awalakhan (the new name is Hanuman Chatti).The south – western part of ‘Punya Parvat’ can be seen from this place. Another ascent ends at the TRC of Tanki. The region of temporary shops and residential huts start from this place upto Tunyas. From the highest point (the temple) of Purnagiri hill the pilgrim can see the expanse of Kali, its islands, the township of Tanakpur and a few Nepali villages. The old Buram Deo Mandi is very close to Purnagiri. From Tanakpur or Purnagiri it is possible to trek to Tamli and even to Jhulaghat along the Kali river.
Gurdwara Reetha Sahib is only 60 kms. by flying distance north of Nanak Mata, but the distance by motorable road is 209 kms. It is 166 kms. from Tanakpur, the last railway station on Bareilly-Tanakpur section. Here, too, Guru Nanak Dev had an encounter with Nath yogis whom he tried to bring to the path of active humanitarian service along with remembrance of God’s Name. The story is not mentioned in the Janamsakhis, but locally a strong tradition has grown that Guru Nanak Dev miraculously made the normally bitter fruit of a soapnut tree sweet for Bhai Mardana to feed on.
A soapnut tree (not the original one) is still here and pilgrims are given prasad of sweet soapnuts. However, the common belief that the nuts of only the one branch, under which the Guru had sat, are sweet is not true. Nor are all the nuts given as prasad from this one tree. About ten kilometers from the Grudwara, there is a tract of land where such trees are grown and their fruit is collected and brought to replenish the Gurdwara’s stock of prasad. It is called Nanak Bagichi (lit. Nanak’s garden).
This place was discovered by Britisher John Abbott (whose descendants now live in Jhansi) in the pre-independence era and he decided to name the hill after himself. He built 13 cottages here and some of these still survive. Panorama takes a new meaning as you treat yourself to views of peaks like Trishul, Nanda Kot, Nanda Ghunti and the Nanda Devi spanning in an arc in front of you across a valley. This is the place where you just walk around amidst the woods with no traffic or sounds, sip tea with clouds below and watch beautiful sunsets. There is a church built in 1942, locked now, where prayers are supposedly still held once or twice a year. You can even play a game of cricket on what is claimed to be the second highest pitch after Chail in Himachal Pradesh at just under 7,000 feet.
40 kms. from Lohaghat at the confluence of river Kali and Saryu, Pancheshwar forms the borders with Nepal and is famous for the temple of Chaumu, its fair and a dip at the confluence is considered to be very sacred. The Jaat (jamaan) of Chaumu comes down from villages Sail, 5 km. above the temple. Chaumu is worshiped as a protector of animals. Bells and milk are offered in the temple of Pancheshwar. Chaumu Jaat of Pancheshwar has its unique way of cultural expression. The temple at Pancheshwar is devoted to Lord Shiva.
Baleshwar, 76 kms. from Pithoragarh, situated at Champawat is the most artistic temple of the district. There are evidences that the group of temples dedicated to Baleshwar, Ratneshwar and Champawati Durga were built by the early kings of the Chand dynasty. The temple once had intricate structural features and a sanctuary with a mandap. The intricate carving still visible on the ceilings of these temples is an evidence of their ancient glory and artistic excellence.
At an elevation of 1706 mts., Lohaghat is 62 Kms. away from Pithoragarh on way to Tanakpur and 14kms.from Champawat district headquarters. Lohaghat which is situated on the bank of river Lohawati is a centre of historical and mythological importance. In 1841, so overcome was Pilgrim (Barron) by its beauty, that he had surprised why the Government of India was not developing it as its summer capital. In summer season Lohaghat is full of Burans flowers.