Golu Devta Temple in Uttarakhand, about 10 Kms from Almora is a mystical combination of Nature, Devotion and Adventure. A place not to be missed when you are in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand possesses some of the most beautiful landscapes in India and once you visit the beautiful Himalayas, you will encounter things, that will not just mesmerize you, but also surprise and instill a faith like never before. One such place where such an insurmountable faith dwells is Ghorakhal. Located at a distance of about 15 kilometers from Nainital, there is a temple, situated atop a hill, devoted to a local deity, known as ‘Golu Devta’. Although a strange name to an outsider, Golu Devta is considered the authority of justice and his name is taken with reverence in the Kumaun hills.
A first time visitor is mesmerized before he even reaches the temple, not because it is a great building, but because there is no other sound but that of ringing bells, instilled in the air. As soon as the climb to the temple starts, one is greeted with thousands of bells hung on the sides of the stairs. These bells are the proof of an answered prayer and this is why knowing the importance of this temple is important before planning a visit.
The story of Golu Devta:
The locals consider Golu Devta as an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the god of justice. He is considered the supreme judge and the temple is the highest court in the eyes of the locals as well as thousands of outsiders. People come to Golu Devta asking for justice. But they do not do it by offering fruits or sweets. They state their problem on a stamp paper and pray for justice as happens in a court.
The temple compound is filled with these stamp papers, which are tied to a big tree, waiting for consideration. When the god imparts justice, he asks for nothing much, just a bell, which will remind everyone who visit the place that justice still exists in the world. The size of the bells depends totally on the capacity of the devotee, and this the reason why, the temple is filled with bells of all sizes. The thousands of ringing bells are a proof of the faith that has turned into reality for thousands of devotees.
Here is the essential information before you plan your trip to Ghorakhal:
1.Best time to visit: You can visit Ghorakhal all through the year, except from the monsoon season (July and August). The winters are bitter and start as soon as September end, so pack heavy woolen and extra pair of socks.
2.Where to eat: You should also get your lunch since there are not many shops which offer a complete meal. Tea, coffee and snacks are available.
3.Other things: If you are visiting the place along with a large group, take along mats and sheets because there are many beautiful places where you can halt for a picnic.
Nearest Railway Station: The nearest railway station from Ghorakhal is the Kathgodam Railway station located at an approximate distance of 95 kilometers.
Nearest Airport: Pantnagar airport is the closest airport at a distance of around 124 kms by road.
Things to do around Ghorakhal:
•Visit the Sainik School: The other famous place of Ghorakhal is the Sainik school, which was built by the English in the year 1966 and is one of the premium army schools of the country.
•Boating at the Naini Lake: Since Nainital is at a happy distance of 15 kilometers, so do not miss the fun of boating in the natural lake. The whole world comes to a standstill as the boat gushes through the still water. If you are lucky to find a boatman fond of talking, he will keep you busy telling tales, fables and horror stories of the lake in his ‘pahari’ accent.
•Shopping at the Flatts: The main shopping area in Naintal is, of course, the mall road. But if you are the adventurous sorts, you cannot keep your hands off the goodies found exclusively in the Tibet Market at the Flatts, adjacent to the lake. This is also called the Barra bazaar. You can pick really inexpensive souvenirs, junk jewelry, trendy clothes and bags from this market.
A note about the roads:
•Although the roads of Uttarakhand are good to travel on, taking a little precaution while driving through the hills is a safety measure that must be taken at all cost.
•Before starting an uphill drive, stop and inquire the locals about the road condition as well as any landslide in the way.
•The mobile and internet connections are not at their best and locals are your best bet, should you lose your way.
•Try to make the journey in daylight as the hills are home not to just humans but animals of all kinds.
•Pack a lot of woolens, jackets, socks and extra shoes because an unexpected shower is very common in these hills.