Solo Travel to Uttarakhand: Lakhamandal
I was so happy to visit this new place called Lakhamandal. It is situated in Chakrata in Uttarakhand and has a history of almost 5000 years old dating back to Mahabharata.
Uttarakhand has always amazed me with its beauty. May it be the calm and serene waters of Nainital or the green beauty of the forests in Binsar or the old city charm of Mussoorie. Uttarakhand always has a surprise packed around its corner.
I had not planned anything on my last day of solo travel in Mussorie. The driver suggested the place while returning from Surkhanda Devi mandir.
You can read about my solo travel to Uttarakhand in detail here in this blog!
As I started googling the place Lakhamandal, I was like “chalo Lakhamandal chalate hai“!! I could not wait to see the beauty with my own eyes. So here is the story of my visit to Lakhamandal.
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Per the story in Hindu mythology, the palace built by Pandavas was called ‘Lakhagruha’. It was built right here on the place where the current date Lakhamandal exists. Kauravas plotted to wipe out Pandavas and hence burnt their entire palace with a plan to kill them all in one go. However, Pandavas came to know about the plan before it was brought into action and escaped the place before the fire was started.
This place has almost one lakh Shivalingas that are temples (small and big) of Lord Shiva. The main temple dates back to the 12th – 13th century. And the inscriptions found inside the temple date back to almost the 5th – 8th century.
The Archaeological Survey of India carried out the excavation and now owns the property too.
Pandavon ki Gufa – Pandava caves
Our first stop was at Pandavon ki gufa (Pandava caves). When Pandavas ran away from the burning Laksha Gruha by way of a tunnel, they came out from Pandava caves. Although the base is that of a mythological story, we could actually see the tunnel from which they might have exited. It is not permitted to go into the tunnel as it is not considered safe.
There was a Guruji who gave us prasad (God’s offering) and we left ‘Gufa’. We then proceeded to go to the actual place ‘Lakhamandal’.
Lakhamandal and its temples
It is a small quaint village protected by the Archaeological Society of India. You need to climb a few stairs to reach the huge Shiva temple. The entire area around the temple is built up of stone.
The temple itself is made up of stone. It is said that the topmost stone of the temple was the heaviest and might have been brought there by Bheema himself.
Certain parts of the temple are rebuilt using the stones and artifacts received in the excavation. The light in front of the temple is always kept burning by the person looking after the temple. The entire area is very peaceful and has a pious vibe.
Danav and Manav statues
As I mentioned earlier there are almost one lakh Shivalingas excavated of varying sizes. Outside the main shrine, there are two statues of Danav and Manav guarding the place.
In earlier periods, people used to bring the dead bodies of their loved ones after they died to this place. The dead body used to come alive for one last time to communicate its last wishes and carry on its passage to its other world. The twin statues helped them achieve this. The doormen are very similar to Jay-Vijay, the doormen of Lord Vishnu.
Another attraction is the glistening lingam. The stone is so glazy that if you pour water over it, you can see almost see your reflection on the stone. Here’s the picture where I tried it and I could see my own reflection!!
We met a Babaji who kept another fire burning near this glistening Lingam 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. He sure had some fun stories to tell.
I was so happy that I included this unique spot to visit during my solo travel to Uttarakhand!
Also read: 7 reasons why I decided to go on solo travel!