Rudra Prayaga – Gaurikund

(Agastyamuni, Ukhimath, Guptakashi, Gaurikhund)

Shrines and temples on both ways 1.Rudraprayag to Kedarnath by Helicopter service 2. Rudraprayag to Kedarnath trek route through Gaurikund.


Agastyamuni is located 18 km north of Rudraprayag at an elevation of 1000 m above sea level. In the distance is the town on the shores of River Mandakini. There are Agastheshwar Mahadev Temple as well as the Agastya Maharshi Temple and stone carvings of many deities in the shrine. Priyanjan Maharshi Temple is popularly known as the town of Agastyamuni. The town is popular with the name of the sage Agastyamuni. The temple is locally known as the Agastheshwar Mahadev Temple. There are stone carvings on the walls inside the temple. The locals treat Agastya as host to the Vaishakhi festival. Thousands of devotees and tourists attend to celebrate the festival. Yagya will be performed for nine days once in every twelve years. After the end of the Yagya, the altar will be closed and reopened after another 12 years.


Ukhimath is one of the important Hindu Shine in Rudraprayag district. It is located at a distance of 25 km from Agastyamuni. It is home to the Madhya Maheshwar and Tunganath shrines of the Panchakedar Temples, and to the freshwater lake called Diorio Tal. The festival idols of Kedarnath and Madhya Maheshwar shrines will brought to the Omkareswar temple in Ukhimath during winter, where the idols will be worshipped for six months. The idols will again shift to Kedarnath and Madhya Maheshwar shrines when the temples reopen in summer. According to the legends, the wedding of Usha daughter of Banasura, with Anirudh, the grandson of Lord Krishna was performed here. The place called primarily as Ushamat in the name of Usha, daughter of Banasura and later known as Ukhimat. King Mandhata performed penance here about Lord Shiva.

Apart from the Omkareshwara Temple, there are other temples dedicated to Shiva, Parvati, Usha, Aniruddha and Mandhata in Ukhimath. Ukhimath is located on the Gopikeshwar Road from Guptakashi, Ukhimat is the abode of the Kedarnath temple priests known as Rawals for six months during the winter season.


Although the village called as Guptakshi locally, this shrine Gupakakashi is located at a distance of 17 km from Ukhimath and 15 km from Gaurikund. According to the legends, Varanasi (Kashi) and Kanchipuram (Kanchi) are considered to be the two eyes of God. There are six other fields which are also considered to be Kashi and equivalent to Varanasi.Those who could not travel long journey and visit Varanasi will get equivalent virtue by visiting the nearby field. It was mentioned in the Kashi Puran and other legends that the temples in Uttarkashi and Guptakashi of Uttarakhand in the Himalayas, Pithapuram in Andhra Pradesh, and Guptakashi near Bhubaneswar in the East, Kashi (Python) near Nashik in the west and Kashi in Mandi of Himachal Pradesh in the north are equal with Varanasi (Kasi) Shrine.

Guptakashi and Agastyamuni are located on the way from Rudraprayag to Kedarnath, a shrine located at Panchakedar and Chotachar Dham. Pilgrims travel to Kedarnath by Helicopter can reach Gaurikund from Rudraprayag and visit the local temples. They may take rest at Guptakashi, which is about 15 km and reach Agastya Muni to take a helicopter to Kedarnath and return Guptkashi on the same day. They may travel to Rudraprayag from Guptkashi. Pilgrims visit to Kedarnath on foot / horse / palanquin from Gaurikund can visit the temples at Guptakashi and Agastya Muni and stay in Gaurikund till the next morning.

Guptakashi is the oldest Vishwanatha temple resembling the Vishwanatha temple in Kashi (Varanasi) and the Ardhanareeswarar Temple of Lord Shiva is the most famous temple here. According to legend the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb demolished Kashi Vishwanath temple and built a mosque renaming Kashi as Mohammedabad. The Shiva Ling in Kashi was moved to Guptakashi for security. It is believed that the original Shivalingam of Kashi Vishwanath was kept in Guptakashi though the Kashi Viswanath Temple was restored later. Apart from the main temple of Kashi Vishwanath, many ling and idols of Lord Shiva can be visited around Guptakashi.

The festival idol of Kedarnath would bring as a festival in a procession to the temple at Ukimath on the other side of the river Mandakini through Garikund, Pata and Guptakashi for a period of six months during the winter and kept there without interruption to the worship of the deity. The priests of the Kedarnath temple reside in Guptakashi for a period of six months in winter. There is a small pond called Manikarnika Kund opposite to the Viswanath Temple. The Shiva ling in front of the temple strategically anoints by the Yamuna water from Gomukh (cow) shape idol and Bhagirathi water from an Elephant shape idol. There is an (Pratha) helipad called Agastyamuni at a distance of 3 km from Guptakashi. Kedarnath can be reached by helicopter from here.


Sonaprayag is a village located on the banks of the river Mandakini, about 29 km from Guptakashi. The proposed railway junction on the Chota Char Dham Railway to the railway lines to Kedarnath and Badrinath Shrines in the forthcoming days. Sonaprayag is famous as the place where the marriage of Lord Shiva took place. Sonaprayag is the confluence of rivers Mandakini and Basuki but not identified as one of the five confluences of River Ganga with its distributaries (Pancha Prayagas). It is a place surrounded by magnificent snow-capped Himalayan peaks and is a place of breathtaking natural beauty. Devotees believe that the Vaikunth Dham opens to them by taking bath in the confluence.


The shrine is popular in the name of Parvati / Gauri, consort of Lord Shiva. Legend is that Gaurikund is the abode of Gauri/ Parvati, companion of Shiva. Gaurikund is located at an elevation of about 6000 ft above sea level and is the starting point of Kedarnath trek way. According to Hindu mythology, Gaurikund is the place where Maa Gauri performed penance with yoga practice to gain the love of Lord Shiva. According to a local legend, Gaurikund is the place where Lord Shiva expressed his affection on Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayan King Himavanth. The marriage of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati took place at Triyugi Narayan Temple. The hot springs at Gaurikund are transformed into bathing Ghats. The place is associated with the legend of Lord Ganesh got his elephant head. Parvathi made out a doll from the flours of her body and give life. She kept the boy at the door and gone to take bath. 

The boy blocked Lord Shiva for his entry, and Lord Shiva beheaded the boy with his trident. Parvathi forced to resurrect the boy, and Lord Shiva attached the head of Gajasur to the boy’s torso to comfort the distressed Parvathi.

The hot water in Gaurikund is very sacred to Hindus. Devotees take bath in the water of the kund are believed to get relief. Devotees take bath in the kund and visit Maa Gouri in the temple with their pure hearts. The temple kept open from 5-00 am to 12-00 pm and again from 2-00 to 9-00 pm.

There is a cave temple at a distance of two km from Gaurikund to be reached on the mountain path with slight difficulty and the idols of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati appear in the cave temple. The shape of Lord Ganesh is found formed naturally on a rock in the cave. It is said that Parvati performed penance in this cave. Devi Navratri and Shivratri are the major festivals. There are hospices and hotels in Gaurikund. Pilgrims can stay in Gaurikund and visit the surrounding temples.

Lord Ganesh Temple  

The headless Vigneshwar Temple is located in the forest area near Mund Katia at a distance of about 3 km from Sonaprayag. The temple is located on an old walkway that was washed away in the Kedarnath floods. It is necessary to go from Sonaprayag in the new walkway recently constructed to visit the temple. Legend is that when Lord Shiva came to Parvati who is in the form of Maa Gauri with admired for her penance. He was intercepted by the boy made by Maa Parvathi with the floors of her skin and given life. Lord Shiva get angry and beheaded the boy with his trident. The headless boy is the idol of Ganesha in Mund Katia. The headless idol of Ganesha in the world is not found anywhere else except in Mund Katia. When Parvati came to the boy’s cry and grieved, Lord Shiva put the head of Gajasur to the torso of the boy and brought him back to life. Thus Ganesha became famous all over the world.

Triyuginarayan Temple

Triyuginarayan Temple is located at a distance of 5 km from Gaurikund and about 7 km from Sonaprayag on the way to Sonaprayag from Gaurikund. It is a very ancient sacred place. The temple has a two feet tall idol of Sri Lakshmi Narayana. There are 3 small pits in a row in the temple premises. These are Brahma Kundam, Vishnu Kundam and Saraswati Kundam. However, Saraswati was born from the navel of Lord Vishnu and met in this Saraswati Kund as per local legend. It is said that the water in the Kund makes women fertile. The water in the Brahma kund appears yellow and there are two small snakes that are in golden color which are not harmful. Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati in Satyayuga before all the deities in this temple. Mahasiva married Goddess Parvati and later appeared in the form of Ardhanareeswar. Legend has it that their marriage took place on a pedestal here.

In front of the temple there is a stone called Brahmashila.There is Akhanda Jyothi here which is said to be lit from the marriage of Goddess Parvati with Lord Shiva.

This cauldron is constantly lit at all times. It is said that the Jyothi lit continuously from Satya, Tretha, Dwapara eras and witness in present Kali Yug without drying out. Local mythology says that Narayana was a witness to the constant blazing Jyothi from the three eras and the Swami got the name Triyugi Narayan. There is belief that the Vibhud (ash) of the jyoti is said to bless the married couple.

Apart from the above temples, there are Tunganath of Panchakedar shrines and Karthik Swamy Temple are located at a distance of 38 km on the way to Rudraprayag Pokhra. We are not elaborating these two temples since they are not accessible on vehicle and should  have to go by trek or a dolly in the mountain area.