What if your small town had a protector (Like Gotham has Batman) known as ‘Karkotak’. This protector is even cooler or darker. It’s a giant snake watching over your town. Wouldn’t that be something?
According to local mythology the small hill station Bhimtal of district Nainital is protected by a Snake called Karkotak. Karkotak is one badass snake in Indian Mythology. The legend goes that Karkotaka had cheated sage Narada ( Naryan, Narayan) who in turn cursed him to be immobile. The curse was later uplifted by a King Nala.
Karkotak is worshiped as Devta on the hill that was long enough that his head was in the top of the hill and tail was in the bottom of the hill (at present the temple called Kaichula Devi temple). There are temples of Karkotak Devta in Maharashtra and in Rajasthan where he is the patron deity of Katewa community.
Apart from mythology Karkotak is the highest peak in Bhimtal. The 5 km trek path is mostly barren but as you reach the top just before the final climb there is patch of green forest of vibrant cypresses that takes you to the hilltop.The climb is moderately easy with winding tracks. This top of the mountain can be seen easily seen from the Bhimtal-Haldwani highway.
The peak gives you a mesmerizing 360 degree view of place surrounding it. You can see the captivating view of Bhimtal lake and Naukuchiatal. If you are lucky/unlucky(it depends) you might get glimpse of a Leopard. They are quite common in these areas. ‘
The best view can be observed from the temple, one can sit on the wall admiring the ferocity of flying paragliders. Don’t get too much jealous. You have pretty much the same view except you are not hanging in thin air.
Its very likely that one gets an urge to meditate in these hilltops. Just imagine yourself sitting on the Naag fan [snakes head] and mediating like a Boss.The peak also promises views of the majestic Himalayas. When you stand at Karkotak you feel one with the nature. Trust me, it is an intoxicating feeling to have.
A few steps from the temple and you will come across an oasis. This is the only source of water for nearby villagers. It is a perfect spot to watch the sun go down but be careful on your way downhill. Its better to take some locals along with you who can guide you through your trek.
Every year a small fair is organised on the day of Shiv Ratri and on Naag Panchami, and thousand of devotes visit the temple and worship in the temple. Karkotak is among one of the famous naag temples in Uttarakhand. Karkotak is also mentioned in the Vedas.
Karkotak Map – Karkotak Temple
There are NO restaurants or water resource up there so one must carry his own stuff. You can visit Karkotak in any season and the view is different in every season. From my personnel experience it doesn’t get better than in the monsoons, rain and fog adds to the aura of the place. The landscape becomes much more lively. In monsoon the track might be a slippery but it will be worth it. Take your trekking shoes along.