Omkareshwar Temple Uttarakhand – The Abode of Shiva Winter

Omkareshwar Temple, Uttarakhand

The Omkareshwar Temple in Uttarakhand is a revered Hindu shrine nestled in the serene town of Ukhimath. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this ancient temple stands as a testament to the region’s rich spiritual heritage and architectural splendor. Renowned for its historical significance and religious sanctity, the temple attracts pilgrims and tourists alike, who come to seek blessings and witness the tranquil beauty of its surroundings.

Unveiling the History of Omkareshwar Temple

The exact origins of the Omkareshwar Temple remain shrouded in the mists of time. Legends attribute its establishment to King Mandhata, a descendant of Lord Rama. Historical accounts suggest the temple’s existence predates the 8th century AD.

The temple’s architectural style reflects a blend of influences. The central structure, built in grey stone, features a pyramidal shikhara, a towering crown typical of North Indian temple architecture. Intricate carvings adorn the doorways and pillars, whispering tales of bygone eras.

The Winter Abode of Lord Kedarnath

Omkareshwar Temple’s most remarkable feature is its association with the famed Kedarnath Temple, one of the holiest shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Himalayas. During the harsh winter months (November to April), when the Kedarnath shrine becomes inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, the deity – the revered idol of Lord Kedarnath (a five-faced Shiva linga) – is brought down in a ceremonial procession (Doli Yatra) to Ukhimath. Here, it finds its temporary abode in the Omkareshwar Temple for six months. This tradition ensures that devotees can continue their worship of Lord Kedarnath uninterrupted.

A similar practice is followed with the idol of Madhyamaheshwar, another revered form of Shiva enshrined in a temple situated near Kedarnath. During winter, this idol also finds its home in the Omkareshwar Temple.

How to reach the Temple

By Air

  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, roughly 195 kilometers away from Ukhimath.
  • From the airport, you can hire taxis or utilize ride-hailing services to reach Ukhimath. The journey by road takes approximately 5-6 hours.

By Train

  • Rishikesh Railway Station serves as the closest railhead, situated around 175 kilometers from Ukhimath.
  • Taxis or shared cabs are readily available at Rishikesh station to take you to Ukhimath. Expect a travel time of 4-5 hours by road.

By Road

  • Ukhimath is well-connected by road to major cities in Uttarakhand like Haridwar and Rishikesh.
  • Regular buses operated by the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) ply between Ukhimath and these cities.
  • If you prefer a more comfortable journey, consider hiring a taxi or car from nearby town

Best Time to Visit

The temple remains open throughout the year, though the ideal time to visit depends on your preference. During the summer months (May to June) and autumn months (September to October), the weather is pleasant, making exploration of the surrounding areas more comfortable. However, if you wish to witness the arrival or departure of the Kedarnath idol, plan your visit between November and April.

The Significance of Omkareshwar

While the association with Kedarnath undoubtedly elevates Omkareshwar’s importance, the temple holds its unique significance. Omkareshwar, the presiding deity of the temple, is revered as a manifestation of Lord Shiva himself. Worshipers believe that seeking blessings here bestows immense peace, prosperity, and spiritual progress.

The temple complex also houses the sacred idol of King Mandhata, adding another layer to its historical and spiritual significance. Devotees often pay their respects to both Lord Shiva and King Mandhata, seeking their combined blessings.

A Pilgrimage for the Soul

A visit to Omkareshwar Temple is an experience that transcends mere sightseeing. It’s a pilgrimage for the soul, a chance to connect with the divine amidst the beauty of the Himalayas. Here are some things you can expect during your visit:

  • Daily Aarti – Witness the daily aarti (prayer rituals) performed in the temple, a mesmerizing spectacle of devotion.
  • Spiritual Aura – Immerse yourself in the temple’s serene atmosphere, allowing the tranquility to wash over you.
  • Breathtaking Views – Capture the panoramic vistas of the Himalayas from the temple grounds.
  • Festivals and Celebrations – If your visit coincides with a festival like Maha Shivaratri, you’ll witness vibrant celebrations and witness the lively spirit of devotion.

Exploring the Enchantment of Ukhimath

  • Trekking Adventures – For the thrill-seeker, Ukhimath serves as the base camp for several exhilarating treks. Hike up to the Trishuli Peak, a challenging yet rewarding climb that rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas. Explore the lesser-known trails leading to scenic meadows and hidden waterfalls. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

  • Serene Escapes – If a stroll is more your pace, Ukhimath offers a plethora of scenic walking trails. Meander through apple orchards bursting with fragrant blossoms in spring or witness the vibrant tapestry of autumn foliage. Explore the surrounding hills, soak in the serenity of the landscape, and reconnect with yourself amidst the whispering pines.

  • Natural Delights – Ukhimath is a haven for nature lovers. Visit the enchanting Sari Village, nestled amidst verdant hills, and witness the cascading beauty of the Sari Waterfall. Explore the rich biodiversity of the region, spotting a variety of birds and encountering the playful antics of Himalayan monkeys.

A Glimpse into the Past

  • Untold Stories – Ukhimath boasts a rich cultural heritage. Visit the local museums to delve into the fascinating history of the Kumaon region. Explore exhibits showcasing ancient artifacts, traditional clothing, and tools used in daily life. Gain a deeper understanding of the region’s evolution and the stories etched in its past.

Embrace the Local Flavor

  • Shopping Spree – Indulge in some retail therapy at the local markets of Ukhimath. Browse through a vibrant collection of handcrafted souvenirs, including woolen shawls, wooden artifacts, and exquisite metalwork. Take home a piece of Ukhimath’s charm and support the local artisans.

  • Culinary Delights – Embark on a culinary adventure by savoring the unique flavors of Kumaoni cuisine. Sample delicacies like Bhatt ki churma (made from fermented black lentils), Aloo ke gutke (potato dumplings), and Singori (deep-fried buckwheat pastries). Immerse your taste buds in the local spices and fresh mountain ingredients, and discover a world of culinary delights.

Nearby Place to Visit

Gathagarh Temple

Perched atop a hill, this ancient shrine boasts a fascinating history and panoramic views of the valley below. Hike up the steps and delve into the rich past of the region.

Nanda Devi Temple

Pay your respects at the revered Nanda Devi Temple, dedicated to the powerful mountain goddess Nanda Devi. Witness the intricate architecture and serene ambiance of the temple, and immerse yourself in the spiritual aura.

Omkareshwar Pith

Explore the sacred Omkareshwar Pith, a place believed to hold immense spiritual significance. Located near the temple, this serene spot is said to be where Lord Shiva emerged from the cosmic waters. Meditate amidst the tranquil surroundings and feel a sense of peace wash over you.

Trishul Peak

Trishul Peak is a group of three towering Himalayan peaks located in the western Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India. The tallest peak, Trisul I, stands at a majestic height of 7,120 meters (23,360 ft), making it a formidable challenge for experienced mountaineers.

Roopkund Trek

A moderately challenging trek that takes you through meadows, forests, and glacial lakes. The main attraction is the mysterious Roopkund Lake, often called the “Lake of Skeletons,” but you’ll also be rewarded with captivating views of Trishuli Peak along the way.


Omkareshwar Temple stands as a beacon of spirituality and devotion, beckoning pilgrims and seekers to embark on a sacred journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. With its rich historical legacy, architectural grandeur, and profound spiritual significance, the temple continues to inspire awe and reverence in the hearts of devotees who come to pay homage to the divine presence of Lord Shiva.

As one stands in the tranquil environs of Omkareshwar Temple, gazing upon its sacred shrines and ancient relics, one cannot help but feel a sense of transcendence and inner peace. In the embrace of the majestic Himalayas and the divine aura of the temple, seekers find solace, renewal, and spiritual awakening, reaffirming their faith in the eternal presence of the divine.

FAQs About Omkareshwar Temple

1. What is the significance of Omkareshwar Temple in Hindu mythology?

Omkareshwar Temple holds immense significance in Hindu mythology as it is believed to be one of the sacred abodes of Lord Shiva, the supreme deity of the Shaiva sect. According to legend, the temple marks the spot where the hump of Sati, the beloved wife of Lord Shiva, fell after her body was dismembered by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshan Chakra. This event sanctified the land, making it a revered pilgrimage site for devotees seeking blessings from Lord Shiva.

2. What is the architectural style of Omkareshwar Temple?

Omkareshwar Temple is built in the traditional North Indian style of temple architecture, characterized by its intricate carvings, towering spires, and ornate decorations. The main sanctum sanctorum houses a sacred lingam, symbolizing the cosmic presence of Lord Shiva, while the temple complex also comprises smaller shrines dedicated to various deities. The walls and pillars of the temple are adorned with depictions of Hindu mythology and celestial beings, showcasing the artistic prowess of ancient builders and artisans.

3. What spiritual practices are observed at Omkareshwar Temple?

Omkareshwar Temple is a hub of spiritual activities where devotees engage in various rituals, prayers, and offerings to seek divine blessings from Lord Shiva. Many pilgrims also participate in meditation and yoga retreats held within the temple premises, utilizing the serene surroundings and spiritual ambiance for inner introspection and enlightenment. Additionally, the temple hosts religious ceremonies, festivals, and cultural events throughout the year, providing opportunities for devotees to deepen their spiritual connection with the divine.

4. What are the major festivals celebrated at Omkareshwar Temple?

One of the most revered festivals celebrated at Omkareshwar Temple is Maha Shivaratri, the Great Night of Lord Shiva, which falls in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February-March). During this auspicious occasion, devotees observe fasts, perform rituals, and offer prayers to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple precincts come alive with vibrant colors, devotional music, and traditional dance performances, creating a festive atmosphere filled with joy and devotion.

5. How can one visit Omkareshwar Temple?

Omkareshwar Temple is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India, and is easily accessible by road. Devotees can reach the temple by hiring taxis or private vehicles from nearby towns such as Rudraprayag, Rishikesh, or Haridwar. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 180 kilometers away, while the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, around 160 kilometers from the temple. Visitors are advised to check the local weather and road conditions before planning their trip to Omkareshwar Temple.

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