On August 30th I went to Gangolihat, a place in Pitthoragarh Dist. of Uttrakhand state in India. On the next day I had a visit to Patal Bhuvaneshwar. As the name suggests, this is an underground abode of God. Here, we have beautiful cave of Patal Bhuvaneshwar, which has a vertical 120-meter tunnel like path to go inside. The temple is amidst a thick forest of oak and deodar.
This cave is a repository of various episodes of Hindu mythology. One has to bend and crawl, holding on to the supportive chains on the wall, to get inside the cave. In comparison to the narrow entrance, the inside of the cave is wide. On reaching down into the cave one can see a bid idol of Seshnag, holding the earth on his hood. It feels like, this cave takes you inside the Seshnag. There’s a Havan Kund in front of Seshnag’s Idol. From thereon it’s the spine of Seshnag that takes one to the point where water trickles from an eight-petal lotus (Ashtadalkamal)on the body of Ardh-Ganesha. When Lord Shiva had beheaded his son Ganesha not knowing that Ganesha was his son. On mother Parvati’s plea lord Shiva restored life into Ganesha’s beheaded body using trickling water on Ganesha’s body with the help of an eight-petal lotus.
Ahead are the idols of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Amarnath in the form of Linga. By the side is Kalabhairava, mouth open and tongue protruding. It is said that if one can pass through from the narrow path of it’s mouth to tail, they will attain moksha(salvation).
After moving a few yards one can find the seven ponds and a swan with his head turned back. It is said that in order to protect the ‘Amrith jal’ from snakes Brahma appointed a swan, but the bird itself tried to drink the ‘Amrith jal’ to be immortal. Brahma cursed its head to be turned. Ahead the Ganges flows out of the matted locks of Lord Siva with all the gods and goddesses offering worship in the form of small projections. At the centre is the lingam, Narmadeshwar Mahadev, Nandi and a pond made by Viswakarma. Next comes a burrow to Kashi and Puri.
Moving on further there is a way to heaven. It is said that the Pandavas went to Swarga Rahani this way and the idols of Pandavas, Shiv and Parvati playing `chaupad’ can be seen. Now, it is time to return. One has to take another route to join the main path. On the way, a set of four lingams representing four eras can be seen.The linga of Kaliyug is relatively big. It is said that when it meets the cone from up that will be the end of Kaliyug. Beside this linga is a cave to Rameshwar.
From here we come back to the previous path. On the way is the Airawat elephant with a thousand feet and the Kamandal of Lord Shiva on the right side.
The journey to Patal ends here. Visiting this place is equivalent to visiting the Char Dhams, it is said. I enjoyed visiting this place. I have been travelling whole my life but I haven’t seen anything like this.
Following are the pictures I got from Patal Bhuvaneshwar.