Jageshwar is a holy town for Hindus which is located at a 37 km Almora city. The campus has about 124 stone temples and constructed in between 9th to 13th century AD.
Situated at the altitude of 1870 metre above sea level, the shrines are dedicated to god Shiva, along with god Vishnu, goddess Shakti and God Surya of the Hindu mythology.
The legend is that King Vashrat, the father of Parvati-Shiva’s wife, organized a hawan in which he invited all except his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Parvati retorts in anger and inquires about the insult.
King Vashrat replies that the one “who lives in the jungle is not worthy enough to be invited”. Parvati unable to bear the offence caused to her husband offers herself to the Hawan-Kund and thereby kills herself in front of the gathering.
Lord Shiva, morose and devastated after losing his wife, wanders off from place-to-place and withdraws himself from his ‘worldly’ responsibilities. He reaches Jageshwar, where the women of Rishi Sapt-Rakeshwar witnesses him in his naked form in the jungle and get scared.
When Rishi comes to know about this indecent encounter among his female followers and Lord Shiva, he gets angry and makes Lord Shiva to be distributed in varied lings as a punishment.
As consequence, the cluster of stone-lingas becomes the origin of the temple cluster comprising the famous ‘Mrityunjaya Temple’ and ‘Dandeshwar temple’.
The site is major religious attraction due to its importance laid down in the Hindu texts dating back to 10th century as a tirtha dhaam or the pilgrimage site.
Besides the religious sanctity, Jageshwar temple town is also known for its immensely intricate architecture which is illustrated in Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-temple, Jageshwar Temple, Kuber Temple, Mrityunjaya temple, Nau Durga Temple, a pyramidal shrine and Surya temple.
The ‘Ekmukhalinga’, which is one of the rarest in North India can also be seen here. The carved doorways, tall curvilinear spire shikhara, ashtadhatu or eight metal alloy images add to the beauty of the stone lingam temples. The site is protected and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).