A small pilgrimage town in the Kumaon hills of Uttaranchal. Set in deodar (cedar) woodland and home to a complex of 124 temples dating back to the 8th century. The main temple is home to one of the twelve jyotrilinga of Lord Siva.
Above the town on a ridge of nearly 3000m is the temple of Briddh Jageshwar. Here, there is a 180º view of the Himalayan peaks of Trissul, Nanda Devi, Panchchuli and the Annapurnas in Nepal.
There is also a temple complex half way between Jageshwar and Artola called Dandeshwar. You'll also spot numerous small temples by the woodland road between Jageshwar and Dandeshwar.
The government museum in Jageshwar opened a few years ago to preserve some of the most historic artefacts found around these temples, it is free to visit.
Jageshwar's temperature range is similar to much of northern Europe. Between April and September temperature is between 25-30°C (max) 10-15°C (min). The temperature falls through October and until March there may be cold frosty nights. During winter months the sun quickly thaws the frost, however during cloudy days freezing temperatures remain. The driest months are November-March, with only occasional light precipitation. Snowfall is possible during these months, but it does not tend to linger for long. The monsoon occurs during July-September when heavy rainfall should be expected, heavy prolonged periods of rain are also possible from April-June.
Jageshwar is not a tourist shopping Mecca. Shops tend to cater for local needs, numerous shops sell a narrow range of toiletries and food stuffs. Snacks of crisps, namkeen and biscuits are readily available. Fruit and vegetables vary according to the season, the range tends to be quite small. If you enjoy using toilet paper it may be advisable to go prepared, as the Asian manual bidet is the preferred method. There are no clothes shops. Small stalls sell temple related paraphernalia. A number of simple cafes exist in Jageshwar. The dhaba to the right of Tara Photo Shop is recommended for Aloo poori, the Dhaba to the left serves a great value Thali. Further out of town towards the Government museum small stalls sell Chow Mein.
The standard of education is high around Kumaon. Most people have a good understanding of English but do not have the confidence or experience to manage conversational English very well. The main industry around Jageshwar is farming, mainly on a subsistence level, with some excess being sold on. Because of this, most men capable of achieving employment elsewhere have to leave the area, many join the army or work in businesses in Delhi and the larger towns and cities on the plains, leaving women to tend the land. Tourism is a developing field, the area could not be visited by foreigners without permits from 1967 until the 1990s due to border concerns with China, leaving the beauty 'undiscovered' compared to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. An unfortunate consequence of growing tourism in Jageshwar has been some children requesting, pens, biscuits and rupees from foreigners over the past few years, fortunately this is not persistent or unpleasant as yet. There are a large number of families reliant on income from Pandits at the temple, at present the Pandits are relatively restrained in their attempts to obtain this income from foreigners. Please be considerate about your behaviour and the impact this will have on local lives. Although Charas is very noticeable around Jageshwar it has not become part of the tourist economy. The sad influence of this drug and certain backpacker behaviour is available nearby to Almora at Kasar Devi where it is much better enjoyed and tolerated!
E-mail and internet access in Jageshwar is only available at Tara Photo shop in the centre of town. There are some phone shops offering international calls but these are intermittently unavailable. Mobile phones now work in most of the town, particularly higher areas and towards Artola. Satellite TV and hindi newspapers are available to local people, with limited facilities for foreign visitors at present.