Address : Kokalaba
City/District : Koraput
State : Odisha
Gupteswar Cave is a city shrine dedicated to Shiva. It is a pilgrim site situated about 55 km away Jeypore, Koraput District in the state of Odisha, India. It is a limestone cave, and its main attraction is the gigantic Shiva Linga which is said to be increasing in size.
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 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 17th century, the Shiva lingam was discovered by a hunter who then informed about it to Maharajah Veer Vikram Dev, the king of the region who recently moved his capital from Nandapur to the newly formed city of Jeypore. Consequently, the king started a tradition of making a foot journey to the cave of Lord Gupteswar during the holy month of Shraavana which goes till this day. Since then the lingam has been worshipped by the tribes and locals 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.
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