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Although most of the old edifice in Srinagar have been wiped Gohna Dam Burst of 1894, many ancient temples and other religious spots have somehow survived this deluge. Following are few of the most significant places of religious interest in and around Srinagar town.
Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple in Srinagar
Of all the temples in Srinagar Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple is said to be the most significant. It is here that the yearly Vaikunth Chaturdashi fair takes place. To know more about this temple you may refer to page on Kamleshwar Mahadev Temple in Srinagar. Following are few other temples located in and around the town.
Kilkeshwar Mahadev in Srinagar
Kilkeshwar Mahadev is another significant temple in Srinagar. It was established by Adi Shankaracharya, who came here in 8th century AD. Some also say that the third Pandava Arjuna worshipped Lord Shiva at this very place so as to receive the deadly weapon called Pashupat from him.
Shankar Math in Srinagar
Shankar Math is another place associated with Adi Shankaracharya. It is located near Lower Bhaktiyana at a distance of 3 km from the main town area. It is said that Sri Yantra, from which the town derives its name, was located near here. It was a huge slab of stone on which the Tantric Yantra was drawn. Human sacrifices were regularly carried on in front of it. When Adi Shankaracharya learnt about it, he hurled the stone into the river. While he was a Non-dualist, it is here that he realized the glory of Lord Shiva and became a devotee. The temple also has idols of Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi installed in its central room.
It is also to be noted that Shankar Math is actually named after Shankar Dobhal, the builder of the Math. It is also known as Vishnu Mohini Temple and Ashwatirth temple.
Guru Gorakhnath Cave in Srinagar
Although the cave is now abandoned it is one of the must see places in Srinagar. This is where Guru Gorakhnath used to meditate. He also met many of his disciples and went into samadhi here. To reach this cave one has to literally crawl through an unobtrusive door. Once inside, one finds an image of the Guru installed there. Close to the cave one can also see a temple belonging to the Nath Sect. A tomb, believed to be that of Guru Gorakhnath, is also located here. Although Atkinson (1886) has said that the tomb was built in 1667 AD, copper plates lying with the Pujari says that it was renovated in that year. It is also believed Adi Guru Shankracharya came here and declared the place to be a perfect spot for meditation.
Keshorai Math in Srinagar
Keshorai Math was built by a South Indian devotee of Lord Narayana more than 800 years ago. He was on a pilgrimage to Badrinath. As was the norm those days, he was travelling on foot, as he neared this spot he felt very tired. So, he sat down to rest and soon fell asleep. In his dream he saw Lord Narayana appearing before him. The Lord told him not to proceed any further, but to dig into the earth. He did what he told and found a beautiful idol of the Lord. He then built this temple and installed the idol in it.
Dhari Devi near Srinagar
Dhari Devi Temple is one of the most significant places of worship located at a distance of 15 km from Srinagar in village Dhari. According to Shrimad Devi Bhagabat, it is one of the 108 Shakti Peeths in India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and is much revered by the people of this region. Dhari Devi is considered the guardian deity of the state. Special puja is organized during the Navaratri.
Dhari Devi temple has many legends spun around it. According to one, only the upper part of the idol is worshipped here while the lower part has been installed at Kalimath near Ukhimath. According to another, the temple of the goddess was once washed away by flood and the idol was trapped behind a boulder. Villagers heard a cry and once they reached the place they were directed to install the idol at that very place under the open sky. Consequently, the temple does not have any roof. Photography of the idol is also prohibited.
It is also said that the facial expression of the idol changes from a girl to a woman and finally to an old lady as the day proceeds. Another belief is that 2013 Uttarakhand flood occurred due to her wrath. On that very day, the idol was shifted from her original place to a new shrine so that a hydro power project can be built. Within hours of the shifting cloudburst occurred bringing death and destruction to the state.
Raj Rajeshwari Temple near Srinagar
This is another ancient temple located close to Srinagar. It is situated in Davalgarh around 19 away from the town. It is believed that the temple complex has been built by King Deval of Kangra in 10th century AD. It houses a Laxmi Narayan temple, a Gauri Devi temple and a Rajeshwari temple. Many inscriptions on the stones have also been found in this temple and they make it very important from the archaeological point of view. However, legend has it that the temple was built by Yaksha king Kuber.
Ashtavakra Mahadev near Srinagar
Ashtavakra Mahadev, located at village Khola, is an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed to be the meditation place of Rishi Ashtavakra. He was a great scholar with a deformed body, bent at eight (ashta) different spots. The place is located at a distance of 10 km from the town. While the first 8 km can be travelled by road, one needs to travel last 2 km on foot. There is also an old trekking route to the shrine. It involves a walk of 4 km. The area offers unforgettable natural beauty and on clear day one can also see many snow covered peaks from here.
Other Temples in and around Srinagar
Other than the above mentioned temples and maths, the city also has few more places of religious interest. Among these we can mention Vishnu Mohini Temple, Raghunath Temple, Satyanarayan Temple, Buli Temple, Kans Mardani Temple, Badrinath Temple etc are some of them.