Mountain Soaked in History

Sarahan is a typical Himalayan hamlet – immensely green, enormously gorgeous, and perfect like a picture postcard. The pure panorama of the valleys and the picturesque sight of the Himalayan Peaks are simply overwhelming. Looming peaks, apple orchards, and towering coniferous trees create a perfect setting for a quick escape away from the hustle and bustle of the weary city life. Perhaps it was the natural beauty of the place that allured the Bushahars of Rampur to establish their summer capital here, in Sarahan. The serenity of this place entices both – the traveler and the pilgrim.

The town’s history is as rich and divers as its geography. The Bushahars immensely contributed to the riches and grandeur of the town and constructed some stunning structural edifices. Built 3,000 years ago in interlocked wooden beams encasing Ashlar stones, the older Bhimakali Temple was a classical example of Shikhara style of temples. It was destroyed in an earthquake in the early 20th century. The legend has it that the ear of Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pithasthana. There were several interesting and intriguing stories associated with this temple. It is believed that there was a demon that lorded it over the Himalayas and harassed seers. Owing to his continued oppressions, deities along with Lord Vishnu, breathed fire and poured their strength to create Adhishakti to kill the demon.

The new temple was constructed in 1943. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhimakali—one of the 52 Shakti-Peethas that spread over the different parts of Indian subcontinent. The temple complex spreads over acres of area and contains a number of other temples dedicated to Lord Narasimha, Lord Bhairon and Guru Lankara Vir; though the later one is closed now. There lays a raised platform in the center of the temple complex. After a hard stride over Masoi’s stone, comes the second courtyard and the right hand side is lined with rooms of the erstwhile rulers. The architectural pattern of the new temple is almost identical to the older one. Its wooden doors are heavily decorated with metals, especially bronze. The narrow, ambulatory wooden stairways take one to the sanctum sanctorum with a fine pair of silver doors that protect a fabulous collection of Hindu and Buddhist bronzes. Here every dawn begins with the powering chanting of mantra and its sound pours over the little village and carries to the high mountains. Heavenly.

The Srikhand Hotel

The Srikhand Hotel

Definitely, Sarahan is blessed with a blissful look. While at this lovely site of lush greenery and slated houses, the visitor would definitely feel that he is in the lap of Mother Nature. Innumerable walks and trails meandering through the thick grooves of oaks, pines, and deodar surround this place. A kilometer walk down to the Hawa Ghar passes through deodar forests and ends at meadows with exotic flowers. You may also walk down to Raja Padam Singh’s heritage palace that hides away in apple orchards. The palace was used by the Royal Family as their summer retreat. It is also a great place for adventurers and freak travelers. It is surrounded by a number of trekking routes. Over 5155 meters high Srikhand Peak is still a challenge for many mountaineers and hikers. The panoramic landscapes, lakes, and alpine meadows of the BhabaRiverValley entice the traveler to indulge in luxuriant natural richness. If you are not so adventurous, don’t worry. The meandering roads that wind along the deathly deep gorges and lofty peaks offer great opportunities of escapades. Post-September months are great to travel to Sarahan. In clear sky days, imposing Himalayan peaks make a perfect backdrop of Bhimakali Temple.

How to Reach

Jubbarhatti in Shimla is the nearest airport. Sarahan is located around 175-kms north east of Shimla. Hire a taxi or a state transport bus to go to Sarahan. Shimla is well connected to other metro cities of India. Sarahan is only accessible by road.

Where to Stay

There are few good stay options in Sarahan. I stayed in The Srikhand Hotel run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp. It was nice, clean with all basic amenities. Its well kept lawn must be given special mention. For details you visit: www.hptdc.in

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