Pandavkholi

Pandavkholi is a beautiful trekking destination where one can find great Himalaya as neighbours, Pandavkholi is considered to be the secret exile sojourn of Pandavas  in Agyatvaas. It is said that when the Pandavas were in exile for 12 years as Vanvaas, they found this place on hilltop as most suitable place for their Agyaat Vaas.. People believe that Kauravas came here in search of the Pandavas, but they could reach only up to Kauravchhina which is now called Kukuchhina. They could not dare to go to Pandavkholi as it had a difficult terrain and is situated at a height of 8,800 feet Asl.Pandavkholi Caves  are situated in the Doonagiri Hill ranges , Pandavkholi caves were the abode of penance (tapasya) for the Tapasvis, If we take testimony to the epic Ramayana. During Ram Ravana great battle in Lanka, Laxman got fainted. andHanuman was bringing the Sanjivani Booty through the air route. Bharat brother of Ram aimed an arrow on him suspecting him as demon and shot an arrow on him and a part of hill fell down below. This place was called Dunagiri or Dronanchal Parvat. At Pandavkholi there are places like Draupadi Vihar and Bhim-ki-Gudri that date back to the period before the birth of Christ. Draupadi Vihar was the favourite rambling ground of Draupadi. And Bhim-ki-Gudri was the fascinating Bugyal (meadow) of the area. The Bugyal also known as Bhimn-ki-saiya is totally bereft of any sort of vegetation. It is said that The Bhim laid down the Gudri on this Bugyal There are four caves beneath the Bugyal out of which mystery surrounds about the three caves. While walking near this area one can feel the sound of the footsteps because of the hollowness deep inside the Bugyal. It is said that the Pandavas used it as an armoury and as a place for confidential and secret meetings. One can find many remains of the Agyatwas of Pandavas at Pandavkholi. An old well is said to have been dug by Pandavas for water , As water is very precious in this place and currently people do rain water harvesting in temple and guest house at Pandavkholi. Some people believe that Aswasthama can still be seen wandering over the mountain tops in Pandavkholi area.It is said too that Mahavatar Baba has his abode in the forlorn cave Triyambak even today. It was the place from where Yudhisther went to the Heaven. Pandavkholi forest caves are believed to be pertaining toMahabharata era. From times immemorial this place has been the Taposthali of the sages. The ashrams of Garg Rishi and Sukh Dev Rishi are situated in Kukuchhina Road. Devotees, who have practiced detachment from worldly affairs, still feel the music of Veena here. Kaka Rishi also devoted his time in Pandavkholi. Saint Lahiri Maharaj also had practiced Yoga and Saint Mahavatar Baba. Lahiri Maharaj had the glimpse of the Golden Palace and Garden by the blessings of Maharaj Baba . By his yogic power he could see Guru Maharaj seated in a lustrous room. Maharaj Baba advised him to keep detached from the worldly affairs. Lahri Maharaj remained in Samadhi for 7 days there and renounced the worldly pleasures and went to Danapur where he started preaching Yoga. In the 12th century, the Katyuri King Sudhardhar Dev established an idol of Maa Bhgwati and since then Dronagiri temple is the symbol of sacred faith of the people.Many books written by various holy men have made a mention of the Ageless Guru Mahavatar Babaji. Even Paul Brunton makes a mention of this saint in his book A Search in Secret India. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya is said to have reported to Ranikhet on posting that was orchestrated by divine intervention of the Ageless Guru. The former was posted at Danapur. Shri Yukteshwar Giri was his ardent disciple, whose equally ardent disciplewas Shri Paramahansa Yogananda who wrote his widely read book Autobiography of a Yogi-a classic literary narration of spiritual quest.

Disciples of Lahiri Maharaj Mukteshwar Giri and his disciple Paramhans Yoga Nand established world famous Yogda Satsang Society (YSS) and Self Realization Fellowship (SRF). The Headquarter of YSS is in Los Angles (USA). An Ashram of Yogda is also situated in Dwarahat (Almora) just 35 Kms. from Ranikhet. The Ashram is famous for curing physical and mental diseases through Yogavyas. Autobiography of a Yogi written by Yoga Nand is a world famous book. Dayamata of Yogda Ashram visited Pandavkholi at the age of 68 and she established Dhyan Kendra there. A large cave is open for Meditation (Dhyan) as per her wish there. Yogkriya which has now spread over the entire world has its original from this cave situated in Dronachal Parvat. Bhatkot famous for its dense forests is situated just 9 Km away from Pandavkholi. The ancient name of this place is said to be Bharat Kot where Bharat practiced Tapasya on the 14th year of exile of Lord Rama from Ayodhya. Mahant Balwant Giri Maharaj did tapasya for 35 years and established the Ashram and left for his heavenly abode on 14 December, 1994 on Mokshda Ekadashi.

Pandavkholi is situated at a distance of 60 Kms from the famous hill station Ranikhet and is connected by an all weather pucca road. This ancient temple is not only famous for its historical past but has scintillating beauty of the Himalayas. It is situated amidst the famous Dronagiri hill ranges. From the ancient times the caves situated in this forlorn hill were the abode of penance (tapasya) for the Tapasvis. The affairs of the Swargpuri, Pandavkholi are managed by the Path Bhraman Sangh (PBS), with which I am also associated. The PBS arranges week long religious functions in Pandavkholi. The celebrations are held on the Mokshda Ekadashi Geeta Jayanti. This was the day when Sri Sri 1008 Mahant Balwant Giri ji Maharaj Naga Baba attained Nirvana (salvation). The 13th Nirvana Diwas of the Mahant Baba was celebrated on 20th December, 2007.

People have firm faith that those who leave for their heavenly abode on this date attain salvation. Since then the PBS Chief Harish Lal Sah is looking after the affairs of the temple with the cooperation of the devotees. In order to develop Pandavkholi as a trekkers’ paradise the PBS has appealed to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand to develop a 30 Km. trekking route from Pandavkholi to Bhatkot (9Km), to Burapinth (7 Km), to
Jaunipinat (10 Km) terminating at Kausani (4 Km). Similarly a 3 Km. pedestrian route from Kukuchhina to Pandavkholi and an alternate Motor-able road from Kukuchhina to Pandavkholi would attract tourists to Pandavkholi.

The visitors enjoy the beauty of this place as the nature in its bounty is spread over a vast area in abundance. The Buransh the Oak, Pine, Devadars portray a panoramic splendid scenic beauty in Pandavkholi. The area is rich in medicinal herbs and is famous for its flora and fauna. After snowfall trees and plants bathed in snow stand in grandeur, majestically blowing as if they bow their head to receive the tourists to this beautiful greenery laden hill resort Pandavkholi. Particularly in March/April the blooming Rhododendrons with dark red flowers present a spectacular sight. The blooming of rhododendron (Rhodo) spread over a large area gives a fantastic look. In the back-drop of shining silvery Himalayas, the dark red rhodo flowers portray a celestial picture. After blooming, a chunk of Rhodo flowers start falling on the foot-path below.

 

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