Maa Kunjapuri Devi Temple trek… mention its name, and you’ll get flashbacks of golden sunsets, snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, waterfalls in the forests, and colourful houses. This holy temple is one of the most visited temples in Tehri district of Uttarakhand. Being the highlight of the trip of many nature lovers and adventure seeker to Rishikesh, surprisingly (and luckily), it remains off the well-trodden tourist path. Don’t make the same mistake as many travellers to Rishikesh make nowadays of not visiting this place. We know that this place can be quite a hassle to get to, but we would suggest you don’t skip it.
First things first: The kunjapuri trek highlights
Kunjapuri peak, which is about 1645 meters from the sea level, is famous for its beautiful surreal landscape view of the snow-covered mountain ranges of the Himalayas during sunrise and sunset. Views of Himalayan Mountain peaks of Uttarakhand namely Bander Punch (6,320m) peak, Swarga Rohini (6,248 m) peak, Gangotri (6,672 m) and Chaukhambah (7,138 m) mountain in the north and valley of the Bhagirathi like Rishikesh, Haridwar, and DoonValley in the south provide a picturesque panorama during Sunrise and sunsets.
Kunjapuri trek Information and Sunrise Timing
The sunrise and sunset timings are from 5:30 am to 6:00 pm. Temple usually is open for pilgrims from 6 am to 6 pm every day (subject to select days of religious importance). The temple is easily accessible by road and is only 20-km from Rishikesh city. Kunjapuri Temple is open for visitors all through the year. We would suggest visiting in Navratra season to experience the Hindu rituals and the cultural beauty of this place. Rishikesh railway station is at a distance of 25 Km, and the nearest Airport is Jolly Grant Airport, which is 39 Km away. The weather is pleasant all around the year. During your visit in the winter season, carry appropriate winter clothes. As temperature range at the peak is 25 Degree Celsius to 9 degrees.
Kunjapuri trek route
Tourists visit this place early in the morning for sunrise view, mediation & yoga. Kunjapuri temple is well connected with major cities of the region with Narendra Nagar at a distance of 7 km, Rishikesh about 16 km away by road, and Devaprayag nearly 93 Kilometers away. To reach the main shrine of Kunjapuri Temple from the road, you need to walk on a long steep stairway. It’s a beautiful temple complex situated on a hill-top.
Taking a walking route from Rishikesh to the temple is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. This trek through the Himalayan forest, along with natural water streams, Neer Gaddu waterfalls, and Barkot village, starts early morning around 05:00 am in the winter season, and around 04:00 am in the summer season. You can choose to take a one way 14km long uphill hike to reach the temple and return to Rishikesh by taxi. Alternatively, if going uphill is hard for you, then you can reach kunjapuri temple by a 1-hour drive from Rishikesh in a private cab. And after enjoying the sunrise at Kunjapuri temple, you can start trekking 14 km back to Rishikesh and still enjoy the mountains and villages of Himalayas.
Another adventurous alternative for nature lovers is to take a 5 KM trek from Hindolakhal village to the temple. Lots of travellers appreciate the way to the temple through these dense forests of the Garhwal Himalayan region, which is rich with wildlife and natural beauty.
Maa kunjapuri devi temple history
One of the three Shakti Peeths in Tehri District of Uttarakhand is maa kunjapuri devi temple. Surkanda Devi and Chandrabadni are the other two Shakti peethas. According to Hindu mythology, Daksha, father of sati was not happy by her marriage to Lord Shiva. One day he organised a huge yagya where offertory are offered to the God of Fire Agni Dev. He invited all gods and goddesses except sati and lord shiva in this profound social affair. This exclusion made sati angry, and she went there uninvited to ask Daksh the reason for not inviting lord Shiva. Upon reaching there, Daksha humiliated her and lord Shiva, disturbed by the fact of her father humiliating her husband sati jumped in the fire of the Yagya and ended her life.
When Shiva came to know about his incident, he went there and beheaded Daksha, and then he destroyed the Yagya. Sad and angry about the death of sati, Lord Shiva carried her body on his shoulder and started performing destruction dance of tandava. His anger and tandava could have ended the entire universe. Fearing that his rage would eventually bring the end of the world, all the gods gathered in the guidance of lord Brahma. They requested Lord Vishnu to find a solution to calm lord Shiva, as Brahma believes that sati needs to be cremated for her to be reincarnated as Parvati.
Lord Vishnu decided to use his Sudarshan chakra to cut sati’s body in 52 pieces, while lord Shiva was roaming around the world carrying her on his shoulders. All the places where sita’s body pieces fell are known as the Shakti peethas. Kunjapuri temple is situated where the upper part (the kunja) fell. Surkanda Devi temple is located where her neck fell, a place where her lower body fell is known as Chandrabadni Devi Temple.
The place where the kunja fell is a crater and there is no statue in the main chamber of the temple. A small statue is placed on the corner of the main chamber. There are idols of lord shiva, bhairon, mahakali nagraj, and narsimha in the temple. Every day aarti is organized at 06 am and 05 pm.
Devotees visit the temple in huge numbers during Navaratri, and since 1972 Kunjapuri Tourism and Development Fair is being organised every year. Lots of cultural programs are organised during this fair. It is a great way to experience uttarakhandi cultural ceremonies. The government uses this Fair as a platform to tell and inform people about new agricultural techniques and beneficial policies as people from whole India visit this place.
Rishikesh is well known for its adventure sports activities, which can be experienced all through the year. One of these activities is paragliding in the Shivalik mountain ranges of the kunjapuri region. Sky glittering with yellow and orange lights during sunset makes paragliding an enjoyable experience in the sky of the kunjapuri region.