Munkatiya Ganesha Temple


People believe that there will be no Village without the temple of Rama. In Practice there may be a Village without the temple of Rama but every worship start with the offering primarily to Ganesha. There are numerous temples with precious in our country and every one imagine Lord Ganesh in one manner. There is only one temple in the universe of Lord Ganesh at Mundkatiya near Gowrikund while going to Kedarnath Jyothirling in Uttarakhand State where the lord appears without head and differs with all other idols. Perhaps this why this temple did not so popular as it is far from the normal public and the deity appears without head. The chanting itself starts with “Sri Vigneswaraya namah”. The festivals to Hindus start from Ugadi (New Year Day) but the Primary Worship performed without distinction of gender and economic conditions is the worship of Ganapathi falls on the fourth day of Bhadrapada Telugu Month before full moon day. Ashoka Kundari and Subrahmanya Swamy also called with Karthikeya, Skanda, Kumara, Murugan, Mahasena, Shanmuka names are the brother and sister of Vinayaka. He is the third issue and second son of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvathi, worshiped with 108 names having consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. Vinayaka has Santhoshi Devi as daughter and Subh and Labh are sons. Ganesh and his family names pertains removal or hurdles and presents delightful life. Though the birth of Ganesha is known to all, let us repeat it once again.  

Narrating the story related to the birth of Lord Vinayak, the holy shrines near Kedarnath Jyothirling which is the 11th among the 12 Jyothirlingas located in Rudra Prayag District of Uttarakhand State in our country have to be mentioned here. On the way travelling to Kedarnath from Rudra Prayag, pilgrims can reach Gaurikhund by road and continue their journey of 14 km by walk or horse back or palanquin. They have to stay at Gaurikhund to visit the nearby temples. Gaurikhund is a natural spring with background of Hindu mythology.

Gaurikhund named after Parvati also known as Gauri and consort of Lord Shiva. There is a legend on the birth of Lord Ganesh. Gauri performed penance to win over Shiva‘s affections. 

Mundkatiya Temple-Kedar Valley

Gaurikhund is the place where Gauri made penance and Shiva finally offered his love on her. They got married at Triyuginarayan temple, located near Gaurikhund. There is hot springs in Gaurikhund and they are converted to bathing places. This place is also associated with the legend of how Ganesha acquired his elephant head. While taking bath. Parvati prepared an idol with the soap suds on her body and breathed life into him. She placed him at the entrance as her guard. Lord Shiva happened to arrive at the spot and he was stopped by the boy. Shiva gets angry and cut off the head of boy with his trident. Parvati  became sad and insisted Lord Shiva to bring back the life of the boy. Shiva attached the head of Gajasur to the torso of the boy and given rebirth to the boy. Gajasur is the domain who was gifted earlier with world wise reverence to his head. Parvati get back her son and the boy with the elephant head of Gajasura. Since then acquired the name of Gajanana which is known among with worldwide Hindus.

The headless idol of Lord Ganesh is worshipped at Mundkatiya means the place where the head was chopped off by Lord Shiva. The Mundkatiya temple is located in the lap of enchanting Kedar Valley at a distance of approximately three km from Sonprayag and nearly two hundred metres from the road head on the Sonprayag Gaurikhund road. The place is also known as Deva Bhoomi. It is the only temple in the world where Lord Ganesh worshipped without head. The Government and Devotees completely neglected the temple, though the shrine has a special significance. Devotees travel to visit the nearby famous temples rarely goes to the holy shrine at Mundkatiya. The non local visitors arrive outside to the region don’t know the importance and significance of this shrine directly connected with the myth of his beheading. The State and Central Governments have also not given much importance to give wide publicity to the temple.

The local people and priests of the temples narrate that this is only temple associated with the life of Lord Ganesh in the entire world. Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated in all parts of our country with utmost devotion. But this temple has failed to catch attention of the devotees because of poor promotion and publicity. The floods occurred in the year 2013 ravaged the Kedarnath valley and subsequently many landslide zones have fallen from Sonprayag onwards and now giving hurdles to reach Mundkatiya temple. It is evident that before the disaster, thousands of pilgrims used to visit the Ganesh temple annually and now the tourists just occasionally visit the temple in the lack of facilities like road. These amenities should be developed here to make it as a prominent tourist destination on par with other shrines. 

It is undisputed that Kailash peak is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi and the Gods will worship Lord Shiva after bath in the Manasa Sarovar daily. Legend is that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvthi in the form of Gauri in the presence of Lord Vishnu and other deities at Trigunarayana Temple. The story of the beheading to the son of Goddess Parvathi by Lord Shiva objecting him, who came to meet Goddess Gauri at Gaurikund. These information narrates the importance to visit the headless idol of Ganesh in the Mundkatia temple near Gaurikind. It may be presumed that the Devotees and the Government will diligently contribute to the development of the temple.