Devalgarh: Long forgotten capital of Garhwal Kingdom

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Devalgarh is a hilly town situated in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand and is situated 15 kms from Khirsu on Khirsu-Srinagar road. Devalgarh was the capital of Garhwal Kingdon under the reign of King Ajay Pal during 1512 to 1517. He had shifted the capital from Chandpur garhi to Devalgarh and again shifted the capital to Srinagar. These days Devalgarh resembles a small village best known for its group of ancient temples like Gaura Devi devoted to the divine Goddess Gauri. Besides, there is one more sacred shrine known as Maa Raj Rajeshwari temple which dedicated to the local deity of Garhwal. There are few other ruins as well.

To reach the village and temple site, we had to climb a well-defined stairway for about 150 meters. We came across first the Gaura Devi temple. The temple is majestically built in the Katyuri-Chand dynaty style, which show that it must have been built during their reign around 7-10 Century BC. The temple complex had two other small temple namely Shri Satyanath temple and Shri Kaalnath Bhairav temple.

start of the stairway
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local information
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old gau-shala
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Gaura Devi temple
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Kaalnath Bhairav temple
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Shri Satynath temple alongside the Gaura Devi temple
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It was around 1 .00 pm and the sun was beating hard on the temple premises. The stone slabs were very hot and were burning my feet. It was too hot to handle, and we left the temple in hurry. I wished I could spend more time at the temple as the temple had many old artifacts.
 

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After another 150 meters, we reached the Raj Rajeshwari temple. The temple deity, Raj Rajeshwari is said to be the kul-devi of the Devalgarh royals. The temple is a three stories building and the deity reigns on the third floor much like the revered Maa Bhimakali temple at Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh. I have only come across this temple where the deity is situated on top floor of the building. The temple gates were closed and the pujari was not in sight. We ourselves opened the gate and climbed the stairs to reach the main deity. This building also acted as residence of the royals.

Raj Rajeshwari temple - 150 meters from Gaura Devi temple
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Information Board
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Three Stories Raj Rajeshwari Temple
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inner sanctum
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a beautifully maintained pahadi house alongside the temple
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You seem to have recorded every minutest detail of Kumaon and Garhwal; if there is a place of slightest significance - you had been / are / will be there. :)

Great going.
still hundreds of places left in Garhwal and Kumaon
 

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While climbing down from the Raj Rajeshwari temple, we came across another temple ruins perched on a flat hill top. We first saw a temple known as Murli Manohar temple which was closed. Another impressive building situated a little ahead. It was known as Som Ka Maanda. It is said that this place acted as courtroom of the King from which the King dispensed justice. Som Ka Maanda was an impressive building with pillars. For the first time I saw a building with a huge pillar in the middle of the building. There are impressive carvings on the pillars and the walls. The building has two decks. It is said that King used to sit on the upper deck while the lower deck was used to keep documents. The entire outer wall of the building is carved with Pali script. Out of all the buildings I was most impressed by this ancient courtroom.

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Som Ka Maanda and Gaura Devi temple
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close up view
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Murli Manohar Temple and Som Ka Maanda
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Murli Manohar temple
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Som Ka Maanda
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Pillar in the Center
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beautifully carved pillars
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Pali inscriptions
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The central pillar going all the way down to the base
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We came down in another five minutes and found only a single eatery serving tea and Maggie. However, it was not good at all. Maggie had some local masala which didn’t taste well and tea was simply tasteless. Thereafter we retreated back to our rest house. We planned to have a late lunch and then leave for Ulkha Giri which was a two kilometer drive along with an easy 2 km trek to reach the top. However, a heavy downpour confined us to our cottage only. The rain continued for almost two hours. We watched The Good the Bad and the Ugly movie on our mobile phone over rounds of tea. I don’t remember ordering anything for dinner that night.

we were starving and had the below eatery in our sights
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waiting for our Maggi to arrive
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khatarnak Maggi - we could not finish this
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had this simple lunch at our guest house instead
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heavy downpour meant we stayed inside our cozy room for rest of the day
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We woke up late. Still the day was beautiful again the clouds playing with the mountain tops. But soon enough the clouds lifted and out came the Chaukhamba shining bright. It felt like a newlywed bride lifting her veil for her beloved. It was a perfect parting gift.

it was again a lovely morning
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the skies cleared enough for a mesmerizing view of Chaukhamba Peaks
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Again we took a late breakfast before leaving for Delhi. It was around 11.00 am when we left Khirsu. Weather was still pleasant. A light drizzle followed us till Dugadda. In between, we again halted for tea at the Café at Devikhal. We enjoyed our tea with pouring skies. Once the rain stopped, we also left and drove almost non-stop to our homes.

perfect start to the day
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who doesn't enjoy driving on these beautiful roads
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Pauri town
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beautiful views of Satpuli town
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Cafe break
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enjoyed the downpour with cup of tea
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time to leave
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Thank You Phantom for taking us everywhere
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Log Finished. Thank You all for your time here :)

Note: All photograph are taken by One Plus 6T phone
 
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