Darukavana: Himalaya

In Saiva literature, Darukavana is well known.

It is a forest region, where Lord Siva quelled the pride of Rshi-s. The Rshis who lived in the forest were of the opinion that Karma was self-endowed with power and was capable of yielding fruits by itself. Their doctrine had no place for an independent Supreme who yielded the fruits of all karma. Lord Siva comes to Darukavana, overcomes the forces of karma that the Rshi-s try to set against Him, and then grants the Rshi-s Jnana.

This Darukavana is a forest of Deva-daru trees – known now as Deodar trees. The Deo-dar stands for Deva-daru or God-tree. This is an evergreen coniferous tree that grows in the Himalayan range at altitudes of around 2000 m and above. The tree itself grows 100 to 150 feet in height, or more. And this tree has been revered by Indians since ancient times.

But first lets visit a village known as Jageshwar in the Himalaya.

My friend BS Rao, visited this village recently, and here is what he says about the place.

“Jageshwar is a small village probably of few thousand people. It is a temple town and wherever you turn, you are welcomed by the sight of Deodar trees, each rising into the sky. The main temple complex consists of  several small temples but the three main temples are dedicated to Jageshwar, Mrityunjaya and Pushti Devi. The priests performing the rituals have been handed over the responsibility from generations and their simplicity and devotion is indeed so pristine. It gets pretty cold during the winters and I am told several of the priests walk  up to 10 KMs during the chilling winter to perform the morning pooja, before they have their first cup of tea.”

Here is the temple view… A typical Himalayan shrine…

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How does one get to Jageshwar?

BS Rao did a bus journey from Delhi – a ten hour journey, which he describes:

“Jageshwar is 40 Km up from Nainital and Nainital is 317 KMs from Delhi . The roads are well laid, most of the time and we pass Ghaziabad , Moradabad , Rampur , Rudrapur, Lalkuan, Haldwani, Kathgodam. Bhimtal and reach Nainital almost at 10 PM. The cities on way are still replete with election posters, and I look at fellow Andhra folks smiling at me from every corner ; Jayaprada and Azharuddin. The route between Haldwani to Nainital is a narrow ghat road and would need considerable skills if you have to navigate it during the night. On the way to Nainital, we bypass the city Pant nagar…”

And then they reach Jageshwar, and Darukavana – the forest of God-trees…

Here is a view of the Deodar trees at Jageshwar. Click on the picture and enjoy a bigger view…

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The Deodar tree has fine rot-resistent wood and has been extensively used in building houses, temples, boats, bridges…  These last hundreds of years… The tree has also extensive medicinal and aromatic uses… Its a God-tree alright.

As per tradition, Darukavana is the abode of one of the holy Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva. Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada says:

सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् । उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोकांरममलेश्वरम् ।

परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशंकरम् । सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारूकावने ।

वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्रयंम्बकं गौतमीतटे । हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये ।

(In Saurashtra is Somanatha, in Shree Shaila Mallikarjuna. In Ujjain is Mahakala and in Amaleshwara is Omkara. In Paralya is Vaidyanatha and Dakini is Bheemashankara. In Sethubandha is Rameshwara and in Darukavana is Nagesha. In Varanasi is Vishwesha, and in the banks of Gautami is Tryambaka. In Himalaya is Kedara, and Ghrishmesha is Shivalaya…)

Many believe that the Nagesha mentioned above is the one in Jageshwar. There is also the belief that Darukavana Nagesha is in Dwaraka, Gujarat. But then, for sure, Jageshwar is a region of Deodar forests till now…Let us say that Nagesha is in both places…

And here, in Jageshwar, is this little shrine of Nagesha, known as Jageshwara… Picture below.

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Pradosham day today, sacred to Lord Shiva. Nama Shivaya!

To be continued.

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7 Responses to “Darukavana: Himalaya”

  1. rajagopal sukumar Says:

    Nice post Kamesh. I had never heard of Darukavana. Thanks for the detailed post with pics. We may not be very sure but it is highly likely the deodar timber was a prized export from the IVC to Sumer.

    • gkamesh Says:

      Thanks Sukumar. Deodar is found all the way across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even Iran, I think. I am sure we will find them in Nilgiris too. Its a terrific tree for sure.

  2. j.krishnan Says:

    There are a number of shiva temples in the Kumaon region on the Jageshwar-Bageshwar route as well as the Pithoragarh-Gunji route. In fact, this is the traditional route to Kailash-Manasarovar as well as to Chhota Kailash. As far as jyotirlingas are concerned, there are rival claims in a few cases but Nageshwar or Nagnath is the one about 10 km. from Dwarka in Gujarat. This is a very small temple and has been recently renovated.
    Nice pictures, Kamesh.

    • gkamesh Says:

      Ah yes, as regards the Kailash route, you have preempted the lines from my next post! Good. Nagesh Jyotorlinga, there is one more place too in Maharashtra… Ishwara is sarva-vyapee, so no issue, let all three be taken as Jyotirlinga kshetras. As far as Nagesha being in Darukavana, it is at Jageshwar that Darukavana is seen… The other two being in the plains are not conducive for growth of Deodar, I guess…

  3. gayathri Says:

    Beautiful landscape and a remarkable sthalapuranam; fascinating as every one of them is.The temple gopuram are reminiscent of those in Orissa – like the Puri Jagannath temple.
    the greenery around the temples is refreshing to the eyes and relaxing on the mind.

  4. G.L.N.Murhty Says:

    Dear kamesh,it is very delightful to go through ur above article about “DARUKAVANAM”.My wife and myself visited 8 Jyothirlingas and now we want to rush to Darukavana after seing ur above article which presents just before our eyes everything that is there in picturesque background.Anyway it is “Kartrurajnaya Prapyathephalam”.Thank u for sharing ur experience with us-Murthy

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