Sunday, May 29, 2016

Trek from Maigal(Thona) to Murah Mata Temple(Janitri Dhar), Mandi H.P.


Visiting this temple was just an excuse for getting the adventurous experiences of hiking up into the wild mountain slopes and reaching the peaks, where this Murah mata temple is built.

 In last four posts the story of trekking from Joginder Nagar to Bir-Biling via Winch Camp and Rajgundha was covered. Few weeks later I would trek up to Murah-Dhar temple that is located on the peak of the Murah dhar (part of the Janitri Forest Dhar). Plan was also to eat the Kaafal(Bayberries) while coming back from the peak in the evening.

The temple has a beautiful location, which gives an amazing view of the nearby areas of Sarkaghat and Dharampur on west, and Mandi and Kotli to the east. On the north side, the Janitri ridge leads our eyesight towards the ice capped peaks of Dhauladhar and on the south we get a very beautiful view of the Naina Mata Temple located on the mountain peak of Sar Ki Dhar. But the Rewalsar lake hides itself on the other side of the mountain containing the Naina Mata temple.

Location of Murah Mata Temple(31.730188, 76.829173) w.r.t. Naina Mata Temple of Riwalsar, in Sarkaghat, Mandi, H.P.courtesy: google Maps 
To the north west, you can get a clear view of the lower Shivalik peaks and ridges, one of them holds the famous Kamlah fort at a very steep but lower height. There is no road or even a well defined path to reach the temple, so don't try to go there on your own. The nearest village to this peak can not be located easily. It could be Thona or any of the nearby village, or one from the east from the Kotli or Tungal areas of Mandi Tehsils. As per my rough estimates, all of them are more than three hours(nine to ten kilometres steep wild non defined paths) away from the temple. of Janitri Dhar. The path that we followed from Chori(Maigal) was known to Shashi -my relative younger brother. Naresh and his friend from Una would make four of us. 

I had instructed them to start at 8:00 AM, because that was the earliest time possible due to the other works constraints. We were gathered at a function at Parasla at Shashi's home, and there were other things to do. However the Sun rises from behind the same mountain and takes time to reach the slope that we hiked, but still in the month of May, one should start at 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM, otherwise chances are that you can get a sunburn. 

Water is a must to carry, at least one-two litres for every person for a single day, because there is no good facility of any kind of water at the top or in-between the trek. There is not even a single home, and therefore also take the food, don't take any chances, no chances at all. One good thing was that, due to the lower elevation, cell phone networks were available. 

Reaching the Kafal(Bayberry) and Baan(Oak) tree line:

We started late at around 9:00 AM, and Sun had reached enough heights to sweat us. One third of the hiking was along a tree less, but the grass lands, which were useful for the local shepherds or cow owners. Two animal shelters were met in this part of about ten kilometres of total hiking. 

Tree line still not met, On trek from Maigal(Thona) to Murah Mata temple, Janitri Dhar, Mandi (May 2016)

The deciduous pine trees were met when we reached at the ridge line of the mountain, that we would follow to reach to peak. After hiking another kilometer we met a lady on the Kaafal tree. Trees were loaded with the green and pink yummy bayberries. We greeted the lady, and ate the berries from the branches reachable from ground. 

That is our beloved Kaafal tree with green and pink Kaafals(bayberries) on it, Murah Dhar(Janitri Dhar), Mandi   May 2016

Reaching the Murah Temple of Janitri Dhar

We met many such trees through the rest of the hike. Though oak trees dominated the jungle, few rhododendron trees could also be spotted.  It is a dense jungle and we spotted few junglee birds, no doubt there would be another animals such as rabbits, junglee bears, pigs and leopards etc. Path is spotless at places, and one should not go alone, as the temple is also not visible from most of the journey. We met two teenage boys who had halted for a while below a big stone boulder. This boulder could easily shelter ten to fifteen persons in case of rainfall. 

They gave us a bad news that there would be no water for drinking at the temple. Even Shashi was unaware of this, and we carried on two litres of water which was already finished. He had told us that we can fill up the bottle at the temple. This was a misinformation, but now we had to deal with it. As the boys were descending, we got a small amount of water from them, and in return we offered them few remaining sips of coca-cola (soft drink).

First glimpse of temple, Murah Mata temple, Janitri Dhar, Mandi  May 2016

At Murah Mata Temple of Janitri Dhar

We reached the temple while Sun was at the zenith, thankfully the cold air breeze soothed the flesh. Sarayas were constructed at the base floor, while the first floor was still under construction, but slab was constructed above it with columns. On the top of the slab was this small temple, which was dedicated to Hindu goddess Murah Mata. 

Murah Mata temple, Janitri Dhar, Sarkaghat, Mandi H.P.    May 2016

An empty clay pot was kept at the base floor, and also few blankets both needed for a night stay. As of the day of the visit, no water pipe had reached this place, so one has to bring his own water. 

In the vicinity of the whole temple, there were animal shelters, and few metres away was a small Shiva temple. The ridge line of Janitri Dhar divides the Sarkaghat and Kotlu tehsils, one to the west while latter to east. Whole of the ridge line is visible, and also that of the adjoining Baglu forest. All the four of my partners chanted the holy Sanskrit Mantras to praise the Goddess, while I filmed that with my cell phone camera.

Animal shelters and Shiva temple in back, Murah Mata temple, Janitri Dhar, Sarkaghat, Mandi    May 2016

We spent about one hour, at the place, took pictures, ate the rotis(chapatis) that I had brought from my aunt's home and then started our journey back down. 

Baglu Forest, view from Murah Temple, Sarkaghat,    clicked on May2016

A view of Kotli area from Murah temple, Janitri Dhar, Sarkaghat, Mandi     - May 2016

A view of Thona and nearby areas, from Murah temple, Sarkaghat     May 2016

A view of Naina Mata temple, Sar Ki Dhar, Rewalsar from Murah Mata Temple, Janitri Dhar, Sarkaghat,   May 2016

We collected the Kaafal in the bags or bottles whatever we carried, and reached the village at around 5:00 PM. I drank about one litre of water when we reached the first home near to the road at Chori(Maigal). 

thanks for visit!