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June 19, 2008
From journal The Abode of Shiva in the Himalayas
New Delhi, India
October 11, 2003
Well before we reached the temples themselves, the deodar forest had begun, and the road, winding its way up through the dense, dark wood, turned up surprises at every other turn--a small stone shrine here, a quiet temple perched atop a hillock there--and all of them a thousand years old!
In all, there are about a hundred shrines at Jageshwar, some large and some small. All are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (which, by the way, have done their bit towards conserving the temples, but have also gone and made a hash of the aesthetic appeal of the place: they’ve given each of the larger temples a metallic "umbrella," painted a ghastly blue, to protect them from the elements. Try not to pay attention to them!). Most of the shrines are located in the actual temple complex, but a kilometre short of this is the Dandeshwar Group of temples, a bunch of seven or eight shrines dominated by a massive temple with a towering spire.
The main Jageshwar Group has a vast array of stone temples, all of them magnificently carved--but the best of the lot are the shrines dedicated to the deities Jageshwar, Mrityunjaya, and Pashtidevi. These, in particular, have some beautifully intricate carving along the outer walls and at the main doorways.
Before you leave Jageshwar, take a peek at the houses in the street outside--there’s some excellently carved woodwork here, in traditional Kumaoni designs, decorating the façades of the buildings.
From journal Kumaon: A Slice of Heaven