Gupteswar, a land where religion is the essence of existence, it is but natural to find godhood embedded in beliefs and crock of people. Gupteswar is one of the peerless Shiva temples of Southern Orissa.The cave Shrine of Gupteswar nestles on a lush green hill, 58 K.m from Jeypore, and 80 Kms away from Koraput, set amidst deep forests.
It is a world-famous pilgrim site situated about 55 km away from Jeypore, Koraput District. This temple is located inside a pothole. The Shiva Linga is a natural one that has existed from old ages. It is a very beautiful place, limestone caves & dense forests.
Gupteswar cave is a city shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main attraction of this place is the monstrous Shiva linga which is said to be increasing in size. As this Shiva Linga is located inside a cave and it was not accessible easily in the old days so it is known as Gupteswar(Hidden) Shiva temple.
After Darshan of Lord Shiva there is a way by the side to visit besides the cave. This region is deep within the trees, and there is no place to stay here. Gupteswar cave is special for the underground water and the view of Davis falls from the farthest end of the cave. Gupteswar is a natural cave with Stalagmite.
The Cavernous interior of the Temple enshrines a huge ‘lingam’. Gupteswar is also widely regarded as Gupta Kedra Shabari, a Rocky Stream of Gupteswar’s great Scenic Beauty Flows by. The cave is a multi-Chambered wonder. It is believed that on his way to Panchabati in Dandaka-ranya, Lord Rama passed through this area. The densely wooded valley all around is a paradise for the loners of adventure.
The Legend of Gupteswar
It is widely believed among the populace that Lord Rama during his exile had stayed here in Dandakaranya – a deep forest. It was he who had discovered this self-formed (Swayambhu) phalanx of Lord Shiva in the cave and had started worshiping it.
Since the Shivalinga was unknown to the rest of the world, he named it Gupteswar – The secret Lord.
There is another interesting story associated with the rediscovery and proclamation of the holy shrine. It is said that King Vikram who ruled over Jeypore had once gone hunting. While chasing a deer, he entered into a cave which was being guarded by another man. Upon enquiry the man who himself professed to be a hunter, denied having seen a deer entering a cave.
The tired king then follows his course to a small waterfall near the cave to quench his thirst. After this, he falls asleep in the cave and dreams of the presence of Lord Shiva in the cave.
The king, to his amazement, fails to track the other hunter upon waking and locates the Shivalinga in the cave instead.
It later dawns on him that the hunter might be Lord Shiva himself & the fawn , the Shivalinga. The king then proclaims the idol and Lord Gupteswar is brought to the attention of the people living there.
During Shivaratri festival almost 25000 devotees from local areas in Odisha and from Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh visit Siva temple and during these festivals many shops open their temporary outlets offering all types of toys , dressing materials and many more items.
Such is the belief of the local people that they arrive here in multitude & remain for months at a stretch to seek the divine blessings of Lord Gupteswar. People suffering from incurable diseases come here to worship God and remain here for months in the hope of getting cured.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Gupteswar is the winter season.
How to Reach
There is no direct public transport available to reach Gupteswar, you have to hire a vehicle from Jeypore. Usually rugged vehicles or MUV are better choices for this hill road. Even though it is tar road but in several places ditches are there and in some places high slopes make for a bumpy adventurous ride.