Hill stations have their own charm but the beauty of these hill stations is not restricted only to its area but lies way beyond it. We do not venture beyond a point where the true beauty of the hills or the mountains lies. This is the area where nature’s beauty is at its best.
Now we are going to tell you about one such place called Hatkoti, which is very less known outside the state of Himachal. Hatkoti is a small village which lies in Jubbal tehsil. It is located in a valley near the Pabbar River on the Shimla – Rohru National highway somewhat 104 km from Shimla town.
It has a very beautiful temple of goddess Hateshwari (Ma Durga). The idol of the goddess is 1.2 meters high and is so fascinating that it is difficult to take your eyes off. It is believed that the expressions of the idol changes from serene and smiling to that of anger and rage from time to time.
There is no written evidence as to when and by whom the temple was built but it is assumed that it was build during the Gupta period, as three Rock Edicts of Gupta Age have been found here at three different places.
The temple has a big compound which is rectangular in shape and at the centre is the shrine of the goddess Durga. There is also a shrine of Lord Shiva close to the main temple, which has a beautiful Shivlinga all covered with a swarm of bees. These bees do not sting humans as if they are accustomed to human presence in the shrine. The temple is very old but well maintained and impressive. Once you enter this temple it has a very soothing effect on the nerves.
In the periphery of the compound are five small temples of Pandavas, known as ‘Deols’ Which are made of stones and are located in a row in decreasing sizes. These temples look quaint and fascinating due to their unique architecture. There is a Yagya shala, Satsang Bhawan and a Dharamshala inside the temple compound.
The temple compound is surrounded by a twelve feet high wall on three sides and a main entrance towards the east. At the entrance two lions, one on either side are placed, which are considered as goddess Durga’s companion and vehicle. There is one rest house and a hotel nearby where you can stay. The place is very nice and quiet and is perfect for an outing away from the hustle and bustle of cities.
One very interesting thing about the temple is that it has one very big metal pot (Charu) tied to the shrine of goddess Durga and is kept just outside the main shrine. It is said that two metal pots came down the river Pabbar but only one was caught and placed in the temple premises. This has a very interesting story as follows.
Story of metal pots
Long back, a priest of Hatkoti temple had a dream and in his dream the Goddess told him that soon a big metal pot (Charu) will come flowing down the Pabbar River and they have to catch hold of this metal pot and place it in the temple premise as it is a symbol of good luck and would be very auspicious for the whole community.
As told by the goddess, the priest and his colleagues started keeping an eye on the river Pabbar. One day they saw a big metal pot coming down along with the river tides and they all went for it, the only problem was the bad weather which had brought torrential rains and a huge surge in the river water.
They tried to catch the pot which struggled hard to get away from them, but somehow they managed to catch it. And when it was finally caught, it pleaded to let it go. The pot told them that it was not the one which they were supposed to catch, as it would bring only destruction and misery to them. The pot which they were looking for was just about to appear in the river and that they should prepare themselves to catch that pot. It would be very fortunate for all and would bring prosperity. It also warned them that now if they fail to catch that pot, they all would be ruined.
After listening to the metal pot, the priest and his colleagues let it go and started waiting for the other pot to appear. As predicted by the first metal pot, the second one appeared and they all sprang on it to get hold of it. This pot too tried to get away and appealed to get a release, but they did not let it go away.
They brought the metal pot to the temple and placed it there. But after that whenever there was a surge in the Pabbar River, they found the metal pot drifting away towards the river Pabbar. They started fearing that one day this metal pot will eventually run away into the river.
The priest prayed to the goddess and asked for her direction. The goddess again appeared in his dream and asked him to chain the metal pot and tie it by nailing its chain on the altar of her idol.
Thereafter, to this date the metal pot is kept chained in the temple. The priest was also told not to put anything in the metal pot and to keep it empty for a good fortune.
There is also a mysterious Shivlinga just near the temple close to the river Pabbar. This ling surfaced from the sand and since then has been worshipped by the local people.
So, this interesting lore goes this way, and excites the devotees to have a glimpse of that mysterious pot and the Shivlinga during their visit to the shrine. Hatkoti is a beautiful valley where at present a dam is being constructed on the river Pabbar.