japAkusuma saMkASaM kASyapEyaM mahAdyutim|
tamOriM sarvapApaGhnaM praNatOsmi divAkaraM||
जपाकुसुमसंकाशं काश्यपॆयं महाद्युतिम् |
तमॊरिं सर्वपापघ्नं प्रणतॊस्मि दिवाकरं ||
With a prayer dedicated to Lord Surya, Pureprayer offers greetings to all on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the festival of harvest.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated the day on when Lord Surya enters Makar Rashi (the zodiac of Capricorn). This also marks the beginning of Uttarayan. Rice based Pongal and Sesame based condiment with jaggery, copra and groundnuts are offered as Naivedyam.
Makar Sankranti which is also known as Pongal in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu is one of the important festivals celebrated all across India, with many regional flavours. Kite flying is one of the important aspect of the festival.
The scientific reasoning behind this festival is to adjust our body to the coming winter months. Sun rays are said to cause a chain of reactions in our body and thereby help us improve the Vitamin D (calcium) levels. Tamil Nadu celebrates Makar Sankranti as a four-day festival. Jalli-Kattu, the sport of stopping the bulls forms the part of the festival. While Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh celebrate a three day festival. Bihu, Lohri, Maghe, Sakraat, Paush Parbo are some of the other names for Makar Sankranti.
Pureprayer takes you on Spiritual Journeys to an ancient temple dedicated Lord Surya, believed to have been built in Ninth Century CE.
This is Katarmal Surya temple in picturesque Kumaon region of Himalayas situated in Uttarakhand state of India. The name Kumaon is derived from Kurmachal, referring to the form of turtle taken by Lord Vishnu during the Amrit Manthan (The Great Churn). This region is also referred as ‘Dev Bhoomi’ or ‘Land of Gods’. Nestled among the thick deodar trees of the Kumaon hills, this quaint, imposing temple dedicated to Lord Surya is believed to be older than the famous Sun temple of Konarka in Odisha (Orissa).
Katarmalla was an important king belonging to the Katyuri Dynasty that ruled the Kumaon region from 8th Century CE to 11th Century CE. Their capital was known as Kartripura. Nestled among the thick deodar trees of Kumaon hills, this quaint, imposing temple dedicated to Lord Surya is believed to be older than the famous Sun temple of Konarka in Odisha (Orissa).
The Katarmal Sun temple is a major pilgrimage centre and attracts thousands of Sun God devotes every year from different parts of the country & world. Devotees and visitors also take a trek route from Kosi to the temple.
Where is Katarmal Sun temple?
Katarmal Sun temple is situated about 16 km from Almora, near the banks of Kosi River, in Uttarakhand state of India. This beautifully constructed temple-complex dedicated to Lord Surya, has been built at an altitude of 2100 m (Approx 7500 ft) from the mean sea-level. You will take a short and stone cobbled path to the temple from the banks of Kosi River, enjoying the nature.
What is the importance of Katarmal Sun temple?
Katarmal temple dedicated to Lord Surya is believed to be much older installation than the Konarka temple. Another interesting phenomenon that takes place here is, during the days of October 22 and February 22, the Sun rays pass through an aperture (window) in the tower facing the Garbhagriha and fall on the image of Surya Dev. This is the only temple dedicated to Lord Sun in Uttarakhand state.
What is the Puranic Background of Katarmal Sun temple?
Sages were performing in the forests of Himalayas near the Kosi River. The Asuras (demons) began tormenting them and troubling them, and thereby preventing the success of their penance. The sages prayed to Lord Surya and sought protection and safety from these demons. Sun God appeared and punished these demons and protected the sages. This has finds mention in Skanda Purana.
What is the Historical Background of Katarmal Sun temple?
Katarmal Sun temple was built by Katarmalla, a Katyuri king, in the 9th Century CE. Katyuri dynasty. They ruled from the 7th to the 11th century and controlled large parts of Kumaon, Garhwal and western Nepal. Baijnath, near the present-day Almora, was the capital of the Katyuri kings and a centre of art. Katyuri Dynasty constructed about 400 temples in Almora district alone. Majestic and tranquil Himalayas in the background lend an air of purity to the temples and enhance the devotion of the visitors.
Temple architecture follows Nagara style of construction with Shikhar above the square Garbhagriha. The present structure is said to have been renovated and rebuilt around 13th Century CE. The main tower has not been complete, due to reasons unknown.
The intricately decorated doors of the temple and the sub-deities that were installed in the 45 miniature shrines are now preserved and in display in the National Museum of New Delhi to prevent theft or damage.
Mandapa of the temple as well as these miniature shrines believed to have been added to the temple-complex in different time periods. The entire complex is based on stone platform. Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Lakshmi Narayan, Narasimha, Kartikey, and many other deities were installed here.
Main deity is known as Burhadit or Vriddhaditya.
Image of the main deity Suryadev can be seen in the lotus posture in his single wheeled chariot driven by seven horses. He is holding lotus flower in his two hands. Aruna, the charioteer can be seen in driving position controlling the horses.
October 22 and February 22 are the dates during which the sunrays pass through an opening in the tower in front of the Garbhagriha and fall on the image of Sun.
What are the Nearby Places?
Jageshwar temples are also referred to as Jageswar Temples (Jageshwar valley temples) are a group of over 100 Hindu temples near Almora dedicated to Lord Shiva. Jageshwar Dham is located about 48 km from Katarmal Sun temple. This is also a temple constructed during the reign of Katyuri kings.
Baijnath Mandir of Kausani:
Baijnath Mandir (Lord Shiva) of Kausani dedicated to Lord Shiva on the bank of the Kosi River is said to have been built by the Kumaon Katyuri kings around 12th Century CE. Baijnath is about 58 km from Katarmal Sun temple. Baijnath was the capital of Katyuri kings and was known as Kartikeypur.
Maa Naini temple:
Maa Naini temple of Nainital, the beautiful Lake City of India is another important pilgrimage point near Katarmal Sun temple. Nainital is at a distance of about 70 km from Katarmal. Nainital got the name from the eye shaped lake. Also, according to Puranas, when Shiva was carrying the corpse of Sati, her eyeballs are said to have fallen in this region. Hence, this is one of the Shakti Peeth temples dedicated to Goddess Parvati.
When Can I visit Katarmal Sun temple?
Katarmal Sun temple in the Kumaon hills enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year except in the winter. The best time to visit the place is between April to June and then again in September and October.
The months of January to March are marked by snowfall. Equipped with right clothing, this can otherwise be visited any time of the year.
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