Dunagiri is a mystical place located close to the town of Almora, Uttarakhand and indeed a road less travelled.
Formed with a cluster of 6-7 small villages, Dunagiri is located high up at 8,000 feet amidst he thick deodar and Oak forests, yet it is easily accessible from cities like New delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun.
The area is known for ancient forest trails where renowned sage meditated and many others settled to called Dunagiri their home. It is also counted amongst one of the seven Kulparvats of the Purans. And it was here that the Ashram of Garg Muni was also located. He is the one who is said to have brought River Gagas on earth.
According to legends and Indian Ancient scriptures Dunagiri is the place where Lord Hanuman dropped a part of the hill he was carrying to revive Lord Lakshman. Read More
This hill carried the ‘Sanjeevini Butti’ or the life saving medicine and even today there are places which are abundant in herbs and unusual plants that are used by the locals to treat ailments.
Visit Dunagiri, a heavenly place perfect for meditation, sacred temples and myriad surroundings of the Himalayan Ranges and dense forest greens. An unusual destination that lets you live a peaceful spiritual life, even if for only a while amidst the sacred Himalaya’s.
Places to Visit in/Near Dunagiri-Dwarahat
You will enjoy a beautiful trek leading to the mystical cave of Mahavatar Babaji Cave where the Kriya Yoga was first founded (It was at Dunagiri in 1861 that the divine current of Kriya Yoga was revealed by Mahavatar Babaji to Shyamacharan Lahiri, as mentioned by Swami Yogananda in ‘An Autobiography of Yogi’).
The entrance to the cave may look quite small, but the cave is actually quite open and big with a length of 30 feet and 8-10 width. And yes you need to squeeze into the cave to go inside.
How to Reach the Cave: You will need to take a taxi or travel by road till Kukuchina and then trek for about 50 minutes to reach the cave entrance. Learn More about Mahavatar Babaji HERE
Pandavkholi: After visiting the cave of Mahavata Babaji, you must trek up a little further to experience a Himalayan meadow full of rare medicinal plants and herbs at Pandhavkholi. It is believed to have been one of the shelters of the Pandavas during the 1-year ‘Agyatvas’ – literally meaning “anonymous stay” – after their 14-year exile as mentioned in the Mahabharata.
How to Reach: The trek to Pandavkholi is just 3 km’s and offers stunning views of the Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Panchachuli & Trishul. For the past several decades, it is also famous as the ashram of Saint Baba Balwant Giri.
Dunagiri Temple is a popular pilgrimage site and is dedicated to Ma Shakti. This is where it is believed that Ma Bhairavi (consort of Lord Shiva) turned into Vaishanavi Mata to award liberation to her devotee.
There are approx. 365 steps of uneven height and would take you between 30 minutes to an hour to climb, depending on your speed and stops that you would take to admire the green surroundings. But the fascinating views from the top will be worth every step.
Dunagiri is also one of the gupt shakti peeth of Vaishnavi Mata after the Vaishno Devi mata of katra, J & K and is counted amid the most ancient ‘Sidh Shaktipeeth’, as a primary ‘ugra’ (intense) ‘peeths’ – called ‘Ugra Peeth’.
It is here that the primordial power removes the veil of Maya and Illusion and propels as well as motivates one towards the path of Pure Truth and Liberation.
Sukhadevi Temple and Ashram: (15 minutes walk from Dunagiri Retreat) The temple is very small but of high importance historically as it is the Birthplace of Bharat (son of King Dushyanta and celestial Shakuntala and on whose name ‘India’ was named as Bharatvarsh!
The Sukhadevi Temple site offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain area.
Another important place is the Ancient Dwarahat Temples (located 17 Kms from Dunagiri) that have 55 beautifully carved temples dating back to 10-12 Century.
These temples are an hour drive from Dunagiri Retreat and is located in the historic town of Dwarahat, also known as ‘Uttari Dwaraka’ – and is also known to be one of the ancient abode of Lord Krishna much before he went to Dwarka, Gujarat.
About Dwarahat (17 Kms from Dunagiri)
Once the seat of the Katyuri Kingdom, Dwarahat is a small town located at a distance of 17 kms from the Dunagiri retreat. Not many know but prior to the defeat at the hands of the Chand rulers, Katyuris made an important contribution to the architectural grandeurs of the Garhwal region as well.
Dwarahat Temples were constructed by the Katyuri Dynasty and is a historical place consisting of over 55 temples. It lies between Ranikhet and Garsian and at the intersection of Ranikhet-Kausani and Almora-Badrinath road. Dwara means ‘Gate’ and ‘Hat’ means ‘Heaven’, so Dwarahat is the gateway to heaven and being here is an extraordinary experience.
From Dwarahat, you may visit the following interesting places:
Chaukhutiya (18 kms): is located at the banks of Ramganga River and is also famous as Rangilo Gewar. Chaukhutiya lies on the Ranikhet-Badrinath highway and the scenic beauty of this small river valley town is beautiful.
The place is popular for Maa Kali & Vaishno Devi Temples and the Ancient Fort ruins of the Katyuri dynastry. The place is an explorer’s delight.
Tarag Tal: A place called Ganai lie at 29 kms away from Dwarahat and from here a 7 km trek takes you to a hidden ‘Tarag Tal’ embosomed in mountains. Tarag Tal is a 2 km long seasonal lake that fills up to a depth of 20 feet with emerald green water.
On your return you can hire a taxi. All though it is connected now with a motorable road, the trek to Tarag Tal is a beautiful experience as you go trek through the fir, deodar, rhodorodron, oak and pine forests. The PWD Rest house at Ganai offers a good budget stay option.
Someshwar (32 Kms): has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed by the founder of Chand Dynasty, Raja Som Chand.
Bharat-Kot or Bhatkot Trek: At a height of 9086 ft, Bharat-Kot (where Bharat, brother of Lord Ram meditated) is the highest peak in the region and was a preferred meditation place for all famous saints including Mahavatar Baba, Haidakhan baba and Nantin baba. Bahrat-Kot has been mentioned as Lodhra Parvat in Ancient Hindu scripts. The hard trek is of 30 kms and is only recommended for professionals and takes about 2 days including camping at night. Click Here for trekking details.
Stay Option at Dunagiri
Contact Details: +91 96901 32425 / +91 98102 67719
Stay Options at Dwarahat
Mayank Resort: Located on the Dunagiri road, this place offers 32 spacious rooms.
Mayank Resort is the one and only place for a good stay option if you plan to stay at Dwarahat. Tariff: 1000-4200 INR
Hotel Chandralok: a decent tourist rest house located on Ranikhet Road has well-appointed rooms and offers a warm homely stay. Tariff: 500 INR onwards.
YSS Ashram: If you are a member you can also book your stay at the YSS/Yogoda Satsanga Sakha Ashram, which is just 1.5 kms from Dwarahat.
Surrounded by Pine forests all around, the ashram is the most preferred stay option for devotees. From the Ashram the journey to Mahavatar Babaji’s Cave takes about 6-7 hours.
The next Kriya Yoga Initiations will be held at Dwarahat on September 29th, 2016.
Contact: 05966-244271 / 244671
For more details on the Ashram Click HERE
Other places for budget & luxury stay options are located at Ranikhet which is located at a distance of 43 Kms.
Dunagiri is indeed an an offbeat destination but a place that’s charming and offers a scenic beauty not many places can boost off. Today Dunagiri is also getting known for its efforts towards rural tourism and many people are making significant efforts to establish this place on Uttarakhand tourism circuit. Besides contributing to a specific project, you too can become part of this Rural Tourism Development in many ways inclusing adopting a farm or staying with the locals for a while and helping them in thier day to day activities. Learn More HERE
Distance to Dunagiri from other Cities
- From Dwarahat: 17 Kms
- From Almora: 65 Kms (2.5 hrs)
- From Jageshwar: 100 Kms (3.5 Hrs)
- From Nainital: 100 Kms (3 hrs)
- From Ranikhet: 43 Kms (1.5 hrs)
- From Kausani: 50 Kms (2 hrs)
- From New Delhi: 400 Kms (10 hrs)
- From Jim Corbett National Park: 136 Kms (4 hrs)
- From Mukteshwar: 120 Kms (4 hrs)
- From Binsar: 100 Kms (3.5 hrs)
- From Rishikesh: 287 Kms (7 hrs)
- From Haridwar: 312 Kms (7.5 hrs)
- From Gwaldham: 88 Kms (3 hrs)