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Jageshwar

   
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Jageshwar is a large temple complex of a large number of big and small temples. These temples were built over a period of 1000 years with the patronage of many kings. Jageswhar is about 35 km from Almora which is a district in the state of Uttarakhand. At an altitude of 1870 m, Jageswhar temple complex is set in a forest of Deodar trees in the Jat Ganga valley. The river flows by the complex.

Archaeologists have this to say about the Jageshwar Temple complex (As written on a board at the entrance of the temple complex): 'A medieval Centre of Lakulisa Shavism, Jageshwar is regarded as one of the most sacred tirthas in Kumaun region. The Linga now under worship as Jageshwar or Yageshwar is locally considered to represent one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The structural activity at this site can broadly be divided into three principal periods, viz. (1) Early Katyuri (from about 8th to 10th century AD) (2) Late Katyuri ( from about 11th to 14th century AD) (3) Chand (from about the 15th to 18th century AD).'

The temples here have tall curvilinear spires, shikharas. Most of the temples have stone lingas. One of the most prominent temples, that of Lord Jageshwar is considered as one of the 12 sacred Jyotirlingas. The Mahamrityunjaya Temple in the Jageshwar temple complex is said to be the oldest in the group.

Near the Jageshwar temple complex is a group of three temples known as the Kubera group of temples. A board near the temple group says: 'The group derives its name from the temple of Kubera or Dhanadesa situated at the highest level. It enshrines an Ekamukha-Linga and is ascribable to circa 10th century AD. Built about the same time is the second shrine which contains an image of Durga-Asthtabhuja and is locally called Chandika Temple. The third temple of slightly later date has a pyramidal shikara with horizontal mouldings. It is stated to have enshrined a four-armed image of Shiva.'

Another group close to Jageshwar is the Dandeshwara Group of Temples. A board at the complex mentions: 'The principal temple in this group, which enshrines a large natural rock as Linga is probably a construction of about the 10th century AD. An interesting object within the cella was a beautiful metal image (now at Jageshwar) which dates probably about the early medieval period. Traditionally identified with Paun Raja, it is perhaps a potrait of a royal donor.'

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