Gupteswar Gupha

Gupta Kedar - Gupteswar Gupha

Useful Information

Location: Odisha.
85 km west of Koraput in southern Odisha.
(20.467951, 85.037638)
Fee: Adults Rs. 5
Dimension: L=3,000 m, A=500 m asl.
Guided tours:  
Address: Gupteswar Gupha, Kokalaba, Odisha 754032.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Gupteswar is a famous cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located at the top of a limestone hill which is about 500 meters above sea level.

Surrounded by a dense forest of Sal trees and flanked by Kolab river, a 2 m 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 1000 steps flanked with rows of champaka 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 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 Ram when he was roaming in the then Dandakaryana 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 ‘Meghadutta'.

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. Shivaratri Gupteswar Temple draws over 200.000 devotees from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chattisgarh. People suffering from incurable diseases come here to worship the god and remain here for months in the hope of getting cured.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.