Monday, March 17, 2014

Trekking to The Adi Himani Chamunda Temple - Kangra(H.P.)


An un-noticed click at my back with a magnificent view of Dhauladhar in front- clicked by

Hi, get ready for a short trek story. Isn't the  photo above, a very lovely one?

Brief about Adi Himani Chamunda:

Adi Himani Chamunda Temple was a 16th century temple, built mostly with woods, stones and tin. The main attraction of the place is its altitude(2920 m) and natural mountains beauty around the temple. You can watch the Whole Kangra and its nearby places such as Pong Dam, Dharmshala cricket stadium Tibetan monasteries etc.

The reason why I used the word 'was' in the first paragraph is that the temple that we found after reaching the top was not in the state, that it used to be.

Famous Shakti peeth Chamunda temple, is different from this, it is for the trekkers, while other can be visited easily on the NH-20.
There is a 10 km trek from Jiya(village from where it starts on feet) to Adi Himani Chamunda temple. Jiya is at the feet of ascent of this steep trek, no house or dwellings are found after this village.

Other the the ancient wooden temple, another beautiful thing that you could treat your eyes with is the very close view of Talang and Toral mountain passes. These passes can take you to the other side of the mountain to reach Chamba district. Such passes were and still are the best hopes for some pahari(mountain) peoples, especially the Gaddarians(Gaddis), to reach the other sides of the mountains.

Reaching Kangra:

Kangra is connected with the Airways, with its airport at Gaggal, also it can be reached via a broad gauge railways track up to Pathankot, which is connected with direct trains from Delhi, Mumbai, etc. Another narrow gauge track from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar runs along and across the valleys and ridges of Kangra valley. Or one can take direct buses from Delhi or Chandigarh to reach Kangra on the NH-20.

For us, it was not that much far to reach from Sunder Nagar to Kangra. Its only about 4 to 5 hours car journey. On Saturday, 15th March 2014, I along with Mr. Tarun Goel and Mr. Naresh(Tarun's friend), started our  journey from Sunder Nagar to Kangra in a car owned by Tarun. Another one on the way to join us was Mr. Maninder (Manu).

 Naresh and Manu are Tarun's friends. If you want to know more about Tarun please google and you will find him through this famous travelogue of him.

A beautiful spot near to RPGMC Tanda- Kangra (H.P.) - clicked in the evening, 15th March 2014

On the previous evening after roaming around the outskirts of Kangra town, we stayed in a hotel at Dari(Kangra). Next morning sharp at 5:00 AM, we were straight on our backs. Another friend of Tarun, Mr. Vipin, basically from Uttarakhand,  joined us at 5:45 AM. He came from Delhi, where he worked with some travel agency.

This is how Adi Himani Chamunda Temple looked before the fire(courtesy: https:

Trekking from Jiya to Adi Himani Chamunda:

We reached Jiya at around 8:00 AM  and partly said good bye to the car. We started to climb on a concrete paved zig-zag path and didn't forget to carry 5 paranthas and 5 bottles one for each one of us in our bags.

We were somewhere mid heights and Kangra plane still looked near, we tried to spot and admire the various scenic spots on the plane below, they started to emerge out of the trees with heights.

 A stage of mini hydro power project -near to Jiya. Kangra (H.P.)- on the trek to Adi Himani chamunda 

 There was a mini hydro power project adjacent to our trek and on the way back, Tarun clicked it to show it to the Civil Engg. students hoping that they will get inspired to visit this place.

Kangra Valley - a view from the trek to Adi Himani Chamunda temple on 16th March 2014
Our water bottles got a refill at about a 2-3 km height and beyond that there was no other source of water except the white snow, so we used it wisely. With each step snow white mountain was getting larger and larger as if I was zooming on it, and the Kangra planes were getting smaller.

Me in front of mountains containing Talang Pass 
I was way ahead of everyone, literally trying to compete with others, but cautious enough to be within the eyes of others. Whenever I found myself a little faster, I rested for a while, sometimes on the spongy grass and sometimes on the moraines.

Few animal shelters I spotted on the way, gave a totally different feeling, a little horrifying and somewhat amazing. Is it really possible for a person along with his herd of animals, to climb such mighty mountains and stay there for months?

The factual answer is 'Yes'. It was being happening on this mountain for ages. Gaddis are famous tribal people, living on both sides of Dhauladhar in Kangra and Chamba region, who climb up these mountains in summer and roll back down in winters, because of the heavy snowfall.

 Enough grass was available on these pastures to feed their animals, but finding water can be problematic sometimes. We found only one source of water along the whole trek, of course except the snow turning into ice at the temple site.
The shelter that I entered into was a smelly and ugly, but for a Gaddi, it's the best he could afford for his animals.

 Poor building adjacent to a small water pond that had almost dried. 7 cows were grazing nearby to it, and they comforted me for some reason.

I drank water and captured myself in a video camera while waited for others to join me. I guess, I had climbed almost 5 km along this vertical trek.
From left: Naresh, Manu, Tarun, Vipin ..we ate 1 parantha each (on the trek to Adi Himani Chamunda Temple)- 16th March 2014

Another 5 km was just another 5 km and nothing eventful happened except eating those 5 paranthas, one for each of us, and that keen desire if somebody could just bring another 3 paranthas. We were tired and needed it badly, but there was not a Dhaba or a tea spot to fulfill my wish. We rested at that place for about 20 minutes and then started again.


Now we could spot out the temple with our eyes and it looked at the nearby top of the mountain. There was no snow till now and neither we expected much of it because the mountain was clear, no snow and no trees.
Buraansh(Rhododendron) -( A seasonal higher than 1200 m  altitude flower)- on the trek to Adi Himachi Chamunda (H.P.) - 16th March 2014

Climbed few another hundred metres, and we reached a small Hanuman temple, adjacent to it we spotted some noticeable patches of snow. I clicked the temple and moved further. We rested for a while and a young man joined us who was eager to know the amount of damage which occurred due to fire to the temple. So, he was going to inspect the temple, he was a native of Jiya village.

clicked from Hanuman temple downward -on the trek Jiya to Adi Himani Chamunda temple - on 16th March 2014

As we reached the ridge of that mountain the view on the ridge and on other side of it, was completely different. The top ridge was not visible from below, and it actually carried about 3 ft. snow at places. Then started a photo shoot session, of me clicking others and vice versa.

A beautiful view-on the Trek to Adi Himani Chamunda Temple
This was really beautiful and if something could have saved me from getting wet and soaked I would have laid and enjoyed a lot on the snow.

Adi Himani Chamunda: in a state that we found

Destroyed Adi Himani chamunda temple - clicked on 16th March 2014
At the temple site the snow was a little deeper and after immersing a six feet stick inside we assessed it to be 5 ft. deep. The temple was destroyed due to fire which was earlier supposed to be a result of the natural lightening from the sky but according to Tarun's investigations there were traces of a cooking gas cylinder blast which might have occurred with that storm-light. The young man who came along with us thought that it was some alcoholics who fired the temple after losing their senses.

Whatever the reason was, main temple was completely destroyed, there were remains of the stone walls and neither base was visible because it was exposed to the snow and snow had covered it and there was no roof.
 We rested for another half hour and filled out bottles with the snow melted water which was coming from the tin roof of the temple. We spotted eagles sitting on the snow white sheet over the mountain and had another close look at the Talang pass.
I video graphed the young man and the temple place, and then after playing a little with snow we started our journey back to our car.  The sarayes(rooms for night stay) were not destroyed but at this time they were snow covered so, was not much accessible.

Rolling back down the Mountain:

On the way back our legs were hurting because it was a sudden change for them to walk a vertical 10 km and then descend it too. We took 5-6 short breaks because the knee joints were really getting pained and it was necessary. Finally after about another 2.5 hours we were back at Jiya where small village boys helped me to purchase 4 biscuits packs from a 30 m distance which appeared to me as a 5 km distance at that state of my body.
That is me.. in cap of  Mr. Tarun - at Adi Himani Chamunda temple - 16th March 2014

I laid on the parapet of the road and after eating one pack of biscuit I got a little strength. Tarun got busy with the boys and showed them the pictures of the temple and Naresh got busy with his mobile and after a wait of 15 minutes Manu and Vipin also joined us down the mountain.

Tarun showing the photos of Adi Himani Chamunda Temple (destroyed one)to kids

We were hungry enough to eat anything but we waited to reach this Town dhaba which offered us Himachali Dham and we loved it.

For the visuals of this trek please visit this Youtube video which I have shooted along the trek.

We are back from the place but I hope that the temple will soon be re-established in a more than ever beautiful way. A religious faith or an adventurous spirit, whatever it is, it is good for our health and peace of mind to get away from the daily routines and climb this 10 km trek.

Thanks for your kind visit!


1 comment:

  1. Marvelous work!. Blog is brilliantly written and provides all necessary information I really like this awesome post. Thanks for sharing this useful post.