Sarahan: Summer Capital of Rampur Bushahr

I dont remember….if somebody told me about Sarahan. I think i found it  on internet only. Looking at ist location I decided to stay in Sarahan during my 10 day trip to Spiti Valley. In brief – Sarahan is also known as Gateway to Kinnaur and famous for Bhimakali temple. It is one of the Shakti Peeths.

Historical name of Sarahan is Sonitpur when rulers of Bushahr kingdom made it as their capital. Earlier the capital was Kamroo and later it was shifted to Rampur.

I booked my ticket form HPTDC and started my overnight journey to Shimla. My frined Sudhendu came to pick me up. In one hour break at his home he dropped me to local bus station near Lakkad Bazar in Shimla. it was the second time whne i planned my trip through public transport. In Himachal Pradesh, public transport is very good. You can buy ticket in advance and best thing is you can choose your seat number also.The best thing about the Himachal Roadways is about the timing of buses and reservation of seats.

The Journey from Shimla to Sarahan

The journey is through Narkanda and Rampur along Satluj. My stop was JEORI, though bus was going upto the Rekong Peo ( District Head Quarter of Kinnaur).  From Jeori road ascends to Sarahan. From Shimla to Jeori i was on window seat. Now the bus from Jeori to Sarahan was packed and somehow i managed to throw my Rucksack inside the bus and managed to stand. As bus moved upward the warm air changed into soothing cold. In this trip..nothing was decided..even the places for travel. So was the  hotel…so when i came down from the bus , i went directly to HPTDC hotel Srikhand View.

It is beautiful hotel with a decent bar ( prices were much lower than expectation). All rooms of the hotel were already booked. Then i tried my luck with Trusts Guest House within the Bhimakali Temple Complex. It was also full. Then i went to the small market in village and found that few rooms are available in family run guest house. Looked at few rooms and selected on for my stay at Sarahan.

Bhimakali Temple Complex

This Hindu temple, which has some Buddhist influences actually  dom­inates the village landscape. Temple is a good  example of Himachali architecture. There are some entry rules: you must wear a cap (which can be borrowed from inside the temple), no leather goods (belts, wallets etc) are allowed (one can put them in lockers available within temple comlex).Inside temple photography is also not allowed.The  two main tow­ers in the temple complex – the sun and moon symbols show Ti­betan influence.

The two main towers each have five stories, and are made of earthquake-proof layers of timber and stone.

The right-hand tower is  older of the two (up to 800 years old) but is now considered struc­turally unsafe. Stairs ascend the left-hand temple to the 2nd floor where the main statue of Bhimakali  is located, surrounded by images of Parvati, Buddha and Annapurna, among others, all under a beautiful silver canopy.  On the 1st floor where there is a statue of Parvati, wife of Shiva.

Lankra Vir Temple, where human sacri­fices were performed until the 19th century to appease Bhimakali, and the well into which the dead bodies were subsequently thrown.

There are a couple of other temples in the complex, which are dedicated to Narsingh , Raghunath & Lankraveer.

The canteen is run by Mr Jagmohan. They prepare the food as per orders and serve homely food. There are few hotels in the market also. These hotels are also mainly family run.

From Sarahan one gets beautiful vuew of SrikhandKailas (Srikhand Ranges). The HPTDC also runs hotel from same name. The palace of Rampur Bushahr kingdom is also know as Srikhand View.

There are beautiful walks around the Sarahan. Around 2 Km walk upto Hawa Ghar is very beautiful. It is said that the king were used to walk from their palace upto this place. One gets very beautiful view of sarahan from this place. The walk to Hawa Ghar from temple complex is in midst of apple orchards. One can hear the music of golden bird while walking. I did lot of photography during this walk.

Next day was for trek to Bashal/Basal Peak. The locals call that on the other side of Bashal/Basal Peak is Jannat. Early morning had quick breakfast and got the 5 Paranthas packed for lunch in forest during the trek.

 I started my trek at around 6 AM and started climbing the forested slope of mountain. As we started climbing on the basel paek, we moved inside in apple orchards. The isolated homes were occupied by the

Nepali workers to take care of orchards. As we moved forward, the vegetation started changing with pitcher plants. we spotted few birds like shyari on the trek route. As we moved further we saw some temporary settllements of the Gaddi tribes. These pastoral nomads move along with their cattles/buffaloes on the slopes of mountain with change of weather and availability of grazing grounds. One can see many such abandoned sites also on the slopes.

As one of them requested us to take a photograph with them and the Ghoda (horse). We clicked few of his photographs and started our ascend again. the ascend was very steep after some time and we decided to take some rest before moving further upward. As we started it was very steep slope. As we moved slowly on the top, the luck was not on our side. Though i was very much excited to see jannat on the other side (which is the beautiful view of valley on the Uttrakhand side). But we were not carrying any food, or the tents etc , it would have been difficult to survive in the night in that jungle. or we should have taken shelter in one of the Gaddi tents (provided they agree to same).Thus i decided to descned back from almost top of the peak (though frustration of not reaching on the top was there). As we moved again, we saw many Monals in the Jungle. Monal is state bird of Himachal Pradesh. I think it is a very shy bird because in my last encounter with this bird on my trek to tungnath, it flown away even after seeing me from quite a distance. In this case also i didnt get even seconds to click my camera before it disappeared.

On the way we spotted few natural caves, and these are used by trekkers to take shelter in the night. We want to plan the same trek again and with camping in the night on the Bashel peak. The local people told me that there are bears in the forest and we should be careful while trekking.

On the way to our ascend we also encountered an abandoned ashram (Budha Kailash). People told me there were babaji who used to live in this ashram. he was very popular among the villagers and used to organise bhandaras also. This was the place where we washed our faces and had some fresh mineral water filtered by nature. After taking short break in Budha Kailas, we strated our journey.

We took short break in the jungle and used my tripod to click photograph of myself with a local friend as we had our paranthas.

When we started our descend , the Indra was not happy and it started raining. On the way back we were able to see the valley of Satluj and the jeori. As we moved , we saw a village and due to rain we took shelter in one of the houses. The lady offered a glass of milk and we took rest in the village. After waiting for around 2 hours we started to move towards the Sarahan aagain.

This return journey was from diffeent route as we moved towards the Sarahan. I descnded back at the hawa ghar and started moving towards my hotel. I was tired as well as hungry. Thus after taking the bath and short sleep, i went to bar of the Hotel Srikhand View. The next day i decided to move to Recong Peo.







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