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<< Indian Himalayas >> << Pilgrimage Travel Destinations >> << Holy Places Sarahan (Himachal) >>

Holy Places Sarahan

Himachal Pradesh
Bhimakali Temple, Shrikhand Peak, Lanka Vir Temple
April To June & September To November

The Gods were generous when they gave Sarahan (2165m) its settings. Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds Pine trees that give way to stately oaks and Rhododendrons. The fields and orchards surround the small villages with their slate-roofed houses.

Compose pictures of postoral perfection. Above Sarahan, a name of deodar trees rides the slopes and higher hill, encircling the Bashal peak, are trees of smooth birch and variety of wild flowers and rase medicinal herbs. This sparsely populated tract is steeped in ancient legends and here is the famous Bhimakali Temple regarded as one of the fifty one sacred Shaktipeeths. The temple's unusual architecture and wealth of carvings have made it a resplendent example of what is loosely called the Indo-Tibetan style. Deep down in the valley flows the river Satluj and across lies the snow-clad Shirkhand peak.

Ages back, another legend goes, the devotee, Bhimagiri, set out from Bengal to tour all the places sacred to Shiva and the Devi in the Himalayas. He carried just a staff and the image of the devi tucked in his matted locks. When he reached Sarahan, his staff sank deep in the ground and there lay buried the image of Bhimakali. She appeared to him and said that this was her true home and here she would live. Bhimagiri lodged himself in a cave on the hillside and after his death; it was decided to build a temple.

Legend of Bhimkali - Between the legend of Banasura and the present day, comes the presence of Bhimakali - which is what Sarahan is all about. Again in legend, there was a time when demons lorded over the Himalayas and harassed the Gods and the Rishis (saints). After a long sequence, led by Lord Vishnu, the Gods breathed fire and poured their strength to a focus. A huge flame rose and as the clouds of smoke dispersed, they saw that a young girl had taken birth. She was the first Shakti - “Adhishakti”.

Temple Features - With interlocked wooden beams encasing Ashlar worked stone, the outer walls of the Sarahan temple complex encase roughly an acre of buildings and courtyards. On an edge, in the classical shikhara style of temples, is the one dedicated to Lord Narasingh (also spelt as Narasimha or Narusimha). And in the centre of the courtyard is a raised stone platform. Till its recent ‘straightening out’, this pointed towards the peaks of Shrikhand and the state of Kullu - a one time enemy of Bushair.

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. There is a temple dedicated to Bhairon and then the main focus of the complex, the temple of Bhimakali.

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