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HomeNewsKainchi Dham temple to get Rs 28 crore facelift

Kainchi Dham temple to get Rs 28 crore facelift

Over the years, numerous celebrities have visited this pilgrimage centre, including Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma, among others

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On March 10th, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, announced an allocation of Rs 28 crore for the beautification of the Kainchi Dham temple in Bhowali, Nainital. This decision was made in response to the increasing number of devotees visiting the temple each year.

Dhami underlined the Uttarakhand government’s commitment to the development of all temples within Kedarkhand and Manaskhand, as well as pilgrimage sites throughout the state. underlined the government’s dedication to the overall progress of these sacred places.

Over the years, numerous celebrities have visited this pilgrimage centre, including Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma, among others.

How Kainchi Dham was established

The Kainchi Dham temple is dedicated to Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Neeb Karoli Baba or Maharaj ji. He was a revered guru and devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman, with his followers believing him to be an incarnation of Hanuman. Neem Karoli Baba gained international recognition as the spiritual guide for many Americans who traveled to India during the 1960s and 1970s. Prominent individuals influenced by him include spiritual teachers Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das, as well as musicians Krishna Das and Jai Uttal.

Born as Lakshman Narayan Sharma around 1900 in Village Akbarpur, District Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, Neem Karoli Baba hailed from a prosperous Brahmin family. At the age of 11, he left home to become a wandering sadhu after being married off by his parents. However, he eventually returned home at his father’s request to lead a settled married life. Neem Karoli Baba had two sons and a daughter.

In 1958, he departed from his home. Ram Dass recounts a tale where Baba Lakshman Das boarded a train without a ticket, leading the conductor to stop the train and remove Neem Karoli Baba at the village of Neem Karoli, Farrukhabad district. Following the removal of Baba, the train failed to restart. After multiple attempts, it was suggested to the conductor that they allow the sadhu back on board.

Neem Karoli Baba agreed to reboard under two conditions:

  1. the railway company must commit to constructing a station at the village of Neem Karoli (as the villagers had to travel long distances to the nearest station), and
  2. the railways must treat sadhus better in the future.

The officials accepted the terms, and Neem Karoli Baba reboarded the train, humorously remarking, “What, is it my responsibility to start trains?” As soon as he reboarded, the train began moving, but the train drivers refused to proceed without the sadhu’s blessing. After receiving his blessings, the train continued on its journey.

Subsequently, a train station was established at the village of Neem Karoli. Baba resided in the village for a period and was affectionately named by the locals.

Following the incident, he embarked on extensive travels throughout Northern India. During his travels, he was known by various names such as Lakshman Das, Handi Wallah Baba, and Tikonia Walla Baba. When he engaged in tapasya and sadhana at Vavania village of Morbi in Gujarat, he was referred to as Tallaiya Baba. In Vrindavan, the locals addressed him as Chamatkari Baba (“miracle baba”). Throughout his life, two primary ashrams were established, one in Kainchi and the other in Vrindavan. Over time, more than 100 temples were constructed in his honour.

The Kainchi Dham ashram, where he resided during the final decade of his life, was established in 1964 featuring a Hanuman temple. Its origins date back two years earlier when a simple platform was constructed for two local sadhus, Premi Baba and Sombari Maharaj, to conduct yagnas.

Located 17 km from Nainital on the Nainital-Almora road, the temple has evolved into a significant pilgrimage site for locals, spiritual seekers, and devotees from around the globe. Annually, on June 15, the Kainchi Dham Bhandara is held to honor the temple’s inauguration, drawing in more than 1,00,000 devotees.

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