/ On The Road
On The Road — By induspride on April 7, 2010 at 10:40 am
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Evolving Beyond Human Sacrifice

After traveling for over 15 hours by road from New Delhi via Shimla and with another 7 to get to my destination (Sangla in Himachal Pradesh), I had a call from the heavens. I looked outside the window and noticed Srikand Mahadev (about 6000m) standing tall and handsome in the Himalayan mountains.

Himalayan Mountains Near Shimla

Srikhand Mahadev, Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh, India

I changed routes and 2 hours later found myself in a little known village called Sarahan. The village has a Hindu temple and I chose to stay within its premises. The temple has an ancient Himachali Hindu temple architecture. The walls of the temple are built from wood and stone to make them more resistant to earthquakes. Historically, this region has been a victim to mother nature’s outburst. Fortunately, nature didn’t test the architecture while I was there.

Going by the roof tops, you can safely assume there has been substantial

Tibetan/Nepali influence in this region. In villages located in the Himalyan mountains, there is a fusion of cultures from surrounding regions. Hence, the culture is quite rich with varied traditions. For example, take the Hindu temple. Traditional Hindu temples look very different. I was pleasantly surprised at the change in Hindu temple architecture. The region was once ruled by the Nepali kingdom, which probably explains the roof tops.

The temple is also unique for it is the cleanest Hindu temple I’ve been drawn to. I learned that over time, some of the practices at the temple have evolved. Gone are the days of human sacrifices, which took place about 200 years ago. Nowadays, animal sacrifices are sufficient to appease the gods. In time, this little village in the Himalayan mountains has also undergone development.

All this while, Srikand Mahadev has looked on as a passive spectator. I’m left wondering if Srikand Mahadev and the other himlayan mountains look at the evolution with a smile.

Unique Hindu Temple Architecture

Ma BhimaKali Temple, Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh, India

WHAT TO DO

Apart from the Hindu temple, Sarahan has some picturesque walking paths which are laced with Pine trees. The people are extraordinarily friendly. There is a bird park within walking distance from the temple. The palace of the king is also quite grand, though entry is restricted. Beyond Sarahan, the village, you can go for numerous treks in the Himlayan mountains and valleys. Make sure you hire a guide.

WHERE TO STAY

Stay inside the temple premises will set you back by about Rs. 400 ($10). There are several other hotels close to the temple. The only one that is worth a stay is the Hotel Srikand. It is owned and operated by Himachal Tourism. Opt for a room that faces the Mahadev Srikhand because you’ll get the best view of the Himlayan mountains. The room rates range from Rs. 500 ($12) to Rs. 1500 ($35).

HOW TO GET THERE

The closest city is Shimla (Simla), which is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and was the summer capital of India during the British Raj. From Delhi, take a Volvo bus to Simla. The journey takes about 7 hours. From Shimla, board a local bus that is going to Sangla, Kinnaur. The conductor will drop you at the Sarahan turn off after about 5 hours. From the turn off, there are shared cabs that’ll take you to Sarahan and the himalayan mountains in about an hour.

Image Credit: Personal collection of Rupen Sharma



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