7:15 am we started journey from Tapovan, Rishikesh via Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark motorbike. We reached Jakhdhar 5 km approx. further from Guptkashi at 3:15 pm.
Total journey – 180 km approx. Road condition almost good specially after Rudraprayag till Guptkashi – very good but empty road. Mostly locals on road. Tourist nowhere visible after Kedarnath flash flood – year 2013.
View of Chandrashila Peak/Tungnath temple on right side. Kedarnath, Chaukhambha peaks almost in front and thousands feet below holy river Mandakini flowing. Spectacular view during late afternoon hours.
We met Gunanand Devshali – a knowlegable, respectable 70 years old person from Devshal village at a shop in front of temple. Upon query about Jakh Devta temple he shared History as follows:
Jakh Devta is incarnation of Lord Shiva. As per written Samvat 1111 ( minus 57 years =Â Christian calendar years) on an idol it is believed this temple is much much older than that -Â approx. 900+ years old.
Earlier this temple was taken care by 11 villages but now-a-days by 14 villages named as follows:
Narayankoti, Kotheda, Devshal, Hyun, Nala, Rudrapur, Guptkashi, Dewar, Sankari, Semi, Bhainsari, Bansu, Teudi, Khumera.
Priest of Jakh Devta temple is from Kotheda village.
Vishwat Sankranti day i.e., 14th April sometimes 15th April Jakh Devta temple is visited by priest and devotees from nearby villages. Three days before Vishwat Sankranti day all nearby roads and shops are closed. Silver Oak tree wood known as Baanj in Garhwali language is collected by villagers from nearby Devshal jungle. Woodpile is made nearby temple.
On Vishwat Sankranti day woodpile is worship and burn at night. Next day is big festival day during day hours. Thousands of devotees visit temple. Priest along with band baaja via Naranyankoti > Kotheda > Devshal villages visit Jakh Devta temple. After offering prayers the priest walk and jump two three times into last night burnt woodpile and later bless devotees. And thus, the festival ends.
The road closed open around 12 noon hours on Vishwat Sankranti day.
During festival time all arrangements is done by Kotheda and Narayankoti villagers.
In-short this is the temple history and knowledge about festival time – said Gunanand ji.
Thank you very much for enhancing knowledge – said I. Thanks a lot.
We decided to re-visit next day during morning hours. Morning was another beautiful morning when we visited the temple again. The surroundings around the temple – one of the best and beautiful location I have visited till-date.
Fantastic journey I have to say. One should visit. If you wish you may drive further into villages – few meters distance.