Dipped in mythology that our country India is,there is scarcely a place here which is devoid of temples ,and The Himachals is no exception....... temples and temples every where and they are all painted in bright hues,which stand out in the middle of nowhere.Seeing how well maintained each one of them was ,it is but obvious that the Himachalis loved their temples.In my recent visit to the state,temples formed a substantial part of our tour .This account will share some of the very noteworthy ones.
Related stories- The Magic of Mcleodganj.
Kangra Fort-History in the lap of nature
|a shaded area in the temple compound|
The Jakhu hills are the highest peak in Shimla .The temple was too crowded to take a good capture ,so I had to be content with this.The temple can be accessed on foot from the ridge ,that is the mall end or one can hire a car and take the main road.Time being a constraint we had to go for the second option.
|the statue of hanuman which is actually visible from the mall|
If you are wondering why the temple has such a huge statue of lord Hanuman...this is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.It is believed that this is the place where Hanuman,while carrying the mountain which had the sanjeevini buti had rested for a short duration...the temple houses the foot prints of LordHanuman
Whatever the story might say ,this place definitely belonged to our simian cohabitants,who could be seen all over the place.I had to leave my DSLR in the car fearing the same reason.Nonetheless a temple worth visiting.
|I did not know that they could pose so well for the camera|
a small temple on our way to Chail
|heres another on the way to Masobra|
|This one was on the way to Rohtang|
The little known Gayatri Temple in old Manali was another which caught my fancy.This is located in the small village near Manali named Jagatsukh
this is a temple few hundred years old...a structure in wood and stone
|But what I found more interesting was this small little village school ,singing the National Anthem in perfect discipline right behind the temple|
|The Ram Laxman temple in the village of Naggar near Manali|
|a closer view of the same|
|Basisth Temple, Manali|
The above picture is of Vasisth temple in old Manali ,this is among the few most popular
temples of Manali.Rishi Vasisth is worshipped here as the main idol.Legend has it that Laksmana of Ramayana had come here to visit rishi Vasisth ,when he saw the sage going for a bath in the chill waters of the river.On seeing this Laksmana shot an arrow in the ground for him ,and out came hot water springs. These springs can be seen flowing even till today all over the place.Taking bath in this water believed to have medicinal values is a common practise here.The temple area has separate bathing areas for men and women.
The picture above is that of the famous Hidimba Devi temple.This temple finds itself in a prideful place in the list of temples in the Himachal by its own right.Situated in a very picturesque location amidst deodar trees ,it does not fall behind when it comes .to mythology too.Named after the demoness goddess Hidimba who married Bhima after the latter escaped from the wax house ,this temple bears the shape of a conical pagoda.This place definitely has a old world charm to it .It is so said that Hidimba gives birth to Bhimas son Ghatotkacha ,but when Bhima returns from the hills to his family, the princess renounces her kingdom in the hands of her son Ghatotkacha and starts meditating in this very place,which now bears a carved footprint of Hidimba.It was only in the 16 th century that king Bahadur Singh built this beautiful temple at the same spot.
|A yak ride at the temple gates|
|the furry angora rabbit which formed the fondest memories for my children|
|a lady waiting for customers with her angora rabbit|
|A view of the deodar forest around the temple campus|
|VIEW OF THE TEMPLE FROM THE GATE END|
We visited Hidimba temple in our second day at Manali.Our driver insisted that we visit the Hanogi Mata temple after this but we were drained by this time and decided to call it a day
From Manali we headed towards Dharmashala,which is in the Kangra district of the Himachal.On the way to Dharmashala we visited the Baijnath temple
An inscription in one of the stone slabs tell that this temple was built in the ninth century by two local merchants.This temple is built in the shikara style which is not very common in this part of the country.We reached this place in the afternoon,the place was beautiful with well manicured lawn,but with the sun shining bright right above us we ended our visit in haste.
Dharmashala , a quaint place with the snow capped Dhauladhar constantly watching over us,was awaiting us with the Kunal Pathri temple.We visited this place early in the morning,as this was our first point in our tour around Dharmashala.
I would say that the Kunal pathri temple is a must visit place and considering our time of visit,we were the only people there,which made it even more pleasing for us.This place is located in a beautiful cliff a few kilometres from Dharmashala.This place is consecrated to goddess Kapaleshwari and is considered by some as a Shakti peeth.I personally feel it is not so because this temple is not listed among the 52 Shakti peeths in the subcontinent...the only one Shakti peeth in the Himachal being the Jwalaji temple .
|The deity inside the temple|
The word kunal in the local language means the shallow vessel in which flour is kneaded,and pathri of course means a stone, and this is how the place derives its name.The shallow stone above the deity as can be seen in the picture is believed to collect water all the year round through an opening in the roof .This water strikingly can be found fresh always by divine blessing.
The Bhagsunath temple
From Dharmashala ,on our way up to Mcleodganj,we visited the Bhagsunath temple,a shiva temple ,the famous Bhagsu waterfall is a few metres walk from here.This temple is a medieval
one.The first Gurkha rifles on the Gurkha light infantry was moved to Dharmashala in 1860. It is then that Bhagsunath their kul devta was established here and the temple was patronised by the Gurkhas. I found this to be an unique one with lots of pools around, though I could not figure out the reason behind them.
The above are all pictures of pools around the temple
I am not a religious type of person and visiting a temple would always be the last thing in my mind, but that was till I went for my tour in the Himachals.The picturesque locations of most of the temples in the Himachals so enticed me that I ended up craving for more.The Bijli Mahadev temple ,the Hanogi Mata temple ,The Jwalaji temple and few more which could not be visited ,remain in my wish list...........maybe in my next visit.....