In a country where history is measured in terms of millenniums, religion most understandably takes a front seat. The influx of pilgrims to the holy places in Jeypore, yet again prove the significance of religion irrespective of the small town phenomenon. Gupteswar Jeypore is a famous cave shrine visited by pilgrims even from the neighboring state of Chhattisgarh. The sacred lingam is hidden by rocks and is termed ‘Gupteswar’ or the Hidden God and is much revered as Gupta Kedar by the people of nearby Madhya Pradesh who throng the hillside to worship the deity.
The cave shrine of Gupteswar In Jeypore In India is dedicated to Lord Shiva- the destroyer among the holy trinity in Hindu mythology. On Shiva Ratri the Gupteswar In Orissa is flocked by pilgrims all day and all night long. Men, women and children visit the temple on that auspicious day with offerings of flowers, fruits, milk, sweets and bhang. The Gupteswar Jeypore offers quite a feast for the non believers as well, since the cave shrine offers a panoramic view of the surroundings and makes a beautiful sight in itself.
Surrounded by a dense forest of sal trees and flanked by the Kolab river, a 2m high lingam stands in the cave. The shrine is called “Gupteswar” which means the “Hidden God”. It is so named because it was lying hidden in the cave for a very long period. One can reach it by climbing the 200 steps flanked with rows of champak trees. The entrance of the cave is about 3 m wide and 2 m in height. There are also several other caves nearby. Inside the second cave there is a large stalactite. People worship it as the udder of God Kamadhenu (the divine cow) and wait under it with outstretched palms to collect drops of water which fall only at long intervals.
Popularly known as “Gupta Kedar” in the vicinity, this sacred place, endowed with unusual natural beauty, is associated with Shri Rama of the epic Ramayana. The nearby hill has been named “Ramagiri”. According to mythology, the lingam was first discovered by Lord Rama when he was roaming in the then Dandakaranya forest with wife Sita and brother Laxman, and later worshipped it calling it “Gupteswar”. The poet Kalidas too, described the scenic beauty of Ramgiri forest where the cave temple is referred to in his famous Meghadutam.
However, with the passing of time, the temple was abandoned. Later, in the last part of the 19th century, a hunter of the Ramgiri area found the lingam. Since then the lingam has been worshipped by the tribes of Koraput region. In Shivaratri (a Hindu festival) Gupteswar Temple draws over 200,000 devotees from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. People suffering from incurable diseases come here to worship the God and remain here for months in the hope of getting cured.
Gupteswar Jeypore is located 58 km from Jeypore town and regular buses, taxis and auto rickshaws are available from the town centre to the shrine.