Sarahan , Himachal Pradesh
Sarahan, a beautiful hamlet located in the Sutlej Valley, is a major tourist destination situated in the Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh. This place offers visitors the opportunity explore nature at its best. Placed at an average altitude of about 2165 m above sea level, the place is popular for its apple orchards, pine forests, small streams, rustic settings and slate roofed houses.
The Gods were generous when they have gave Sarahan (2165m) its settings. Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds past flowering Pine trees that give way to stately Oaks. Dozens of small streams rush past. The fields and orchards that surround the small villages with their slate roofed houses, compose pictures of pastoral perfection. Above Sarahan, a many deodar trees rides the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal peak, are trees of smooth birch and variety of wild flowers and rare 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 Shaktipeethhs. 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 the alley flows the river Sutlej and across lies the snow-clad Shrikhand peak.
Saharan is the base for numerous treks and is the gateway to Kinnaur. It is a place of pilgrimage, a heaven for nature lovers and the temple complex attracts a variety of admirers. Here is a place that offers extraordinary travel experience.
There are several myths and folklores associated with Sarahan. As the legend goes, the king of Kullu declared war on the neighbouring kingdom of Bushair. The king of Bushair won the war and killed the king of Kullu. He then brought the decapitated head of the dead king to Sarahan and laid it out for people to see. When the dead king’s family asked the king of Bushair to give them their king’s head so that they could carry out the last rites, the king declared that he would only grant their request under three conditions. One of the conditions was that the people of Kullu would have to promise to never challenge his rule. Another condition was that the land that was seized by him would be retained.
According to the final condition, the image of Ragunath; the chief god of the region, which was taken away from Sarahan would not be returned. The three conditions were accepted under the term that the ruler of Bushair would celebrate the festival of Dussehra. The king accepted the terms and thus Dussehra became a major festival of the region. After this, the image of Raghunath was placed alongside that of Goddess Bhimakali.
ACCESS : The nearest railway station (176 km) and airport (198 km) is at Shimla, where taxis and buses are available. By Car, Sarahan is 6 hours drive from Shimla. The route is on NH – 22 upto Jeori, from where the road bifurcates to Sarahan.
CLIMATE : In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are required. The summer temperature is warm but pleasant and light woolens/cottons are recommended.
PLACES OF INTEREST
BHIMAKALI TEMPLE COMPLEX : This historical temple is a multistoried structured building, a fusion of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. The tall tower like structure and unusual roof of the temple dominate the complex. The centuries old temple is now locked and in the newly built temple, the goddess Bhimakali is portrayed as a maiden and as a woman. This temple complex includes other temples such as Narsingh shrine of Bhairon and Lord Raghunath.
BIRD PARK : Near the temple complex is a pheasant breeding centre. It also houses the State bird Monal which is of a great attraction.
It is advised that trips to this place should be planned between the months of April and November. However, tourists can also travel to Sarahan during winters as the climatic conditions remains favourable for sightseeing.
BHABA VALLEY : 50 km from Sarahan, a beautiful valley along Bhaba river. Link road to valley originates at Wangtu. It has a beautiful landscape, reservoir lake, alpine meadows and is best famous for trek route to Pin Valley in Spiti.