Hatkoti, a magnificent religious and tourist place

Hatkoti temple          FULL VIEW OF HATKOTI TEMPLE FROM OUTSIDE

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.

Hatkoti temple                        INSIDE VIEW OF HATKOTI TEMPLE

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.

Five Pandavas temples  PANDAVAS’ FIVE SMALL TEMPLES INSIDE THE HATKOTI TEMPLE    

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.

Exploring Narkanda’s elegance and beauty

Hatu temple in Narkanda                                             HATU TEMPLE

Hatu peak is eight km from Narkanda’s market place. It has a beautiful ‘Hatu Mata Temple ‘on its peak, which is the highest peak in the area. As for the temple, it is awesome with breathtaking view from the mountain top. The view of the entire Himalayan range and the entire Narkanda Valley with apple orchards, green fields and lush green forests s can be seen from here. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed at this place during their fourteen years exile and a big rock which is believed to be “Bheem Ka Chullah” still exists here. The Pandavas used it to prepare their food.

The way to the temple is quiet steep, so avoid going to the temple in the evening as it gets dark very early and the road is very steep and narrow. Driving in the night is not advisable as the road is very narrow and it is very arduous to give pass to the coming vehicle and requires precision driving to maneuver your vehicle.

Coming back to the Hatu temple, it has magnificent carvings in its interior, as well as on the outer walls. It is an exquisite piece of work that has been renovated. The renovation is still in progress and has been so since nearly past ten years. The wood carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses are done with pure devotion and excellence.

Next in our list was “Kacheri” which is an amazing picnic spot. Kacheri (1810 m) is located some 7 Km from Narkanda on NH. 22. The road to Kacheri bifurcates from Oddi and is some 500m drive ahead into the green forest. The place is famous for its ancient Mahamaya Temple and a beautiful Tani Jubar lake.

Tani-Jubbar lake                          TANI-JUBBAR LAKE AT KACHERI

The place is no wonder a heavenly abode- calm and serene. The placid atmosphere and the adjoining forest area make it an ideal place for trekking and family picnics.

 

Experiencing Narkanda’s Scenic Beauty

Enchanting view of loghuts, Narkanda                                    LOG HUTS AT NARKANDA

Hills have always been fascinating, a source of inspiration to millions. Shimla is one among them and is well known for its eternal beauty but as we move ahead of Shimla, the view gets more enchanting. The high deodar, spruce, fir and pine trees provide a spectacular view.
So, taking your journey uphill through the valley of Narkanda let us explore this beautiful town. Narkanda is famous for water sports, Skiing and its mesmerizing beauty. It is somewhat 65 km from Shimla, at a height of 2708 m on the Hindustan- Tibet national highway (NH-22).The Bus and taxi service is available from Shimla and the nearest airport is 88 km from Narkanda at Jabbarhati near Shimla.
The stay could be made adventurous if you choose to put-up at the log huts or tents maintained by the Himachal tourism rather than staying in hotels. You can book hotels and arrange for touts to visit local places of interest in Narkanda and around.
The Log huts are situated at a five minutes drive from Narkanda’s main market. These huts are built at the periphery of a dense forest. It provides an amazing view of the Himalayas facing it. These wooden huts are warm and cozy but if you are planning to stay for a few days then don’t forget to carry your coffee maker, some good board games and trekking shoes along with you.
The calm and serene environment with a breeze of freshness is more than enough to get you in the mood to trek through the adjoining forest area. Morning and evenings may be cold, so do carry some light woolens even in summers.

A view of Narkanda Valley which will take your breath away. Watching horizon in mountains always bring peace to the mind.                                          NARKANDA VALLEY

Winters can be spectacularly remarkable with snow clad surroundings but it can be troublesome, if you are not well equipped with heavy woolens and an experienced driver to keep you going on the snowy roads. Keep these things in your mind while starting out for Narkanda.

Beautiful trees and a lush green field in Narkanda Valley.A LUSH GREEN GROUND AND BEAUTIFUL TREES IN NARKANDA

Our stay at the log huts was incredible with just what we were looking for-nature at its best.

Next to our stay at log huts was Hatu peak in our list.

(To be continued)

Corn Khumb Masala

An excellent dish of corn and mushrooms

Maize or corn cobs are excellent in taste. They are roasted on coal or low flame and sprinkled with salt and lemon, people also steam or boil corn cob for eating. There are other ample ways in which the corn is cherished worldwide.

Here, we are going to acquaint you with one more exciting way of preparing a tasty vegetable corn dish of maize with mushrooms. This dish is called ‘Khumb Makki Masala’. The recipe is simple and different, try it.


INGREDIENTS

Boiled Corns and Mushrooms

  • Khumb (Mushrooms)                         300 gm
  • Boiled sweet corn                                  2 cups
  • Coconut (grated)                                   1/2 cup
  • Milk                                                                 1 cup
  • Tomatoes                                                     3-4
  • capsicum                                                      1-2
  • Garlic                                                              3-4 cloves
  • Onion                                                             2
  • Green Chilies                                             2-3
  • Salt                                                                    to taste
  • Cumin seeds                                              1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder                                 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder                                    1/2 tsp
  • Ginger paste                                              1/2 tsp
  • Cooking oil                                                 1 tbsp

METHOD OF PREPARATION

  • Boil the mushrooms and the corns separately and drain away the water. Make a puree of tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger and keep aside. Make a puree if 1/2 cup corns in coconut milk or plain milk .
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and put the capsicum, mushrooms, corns and onion in it. Sauté it well and add salt and turmeric powder.
  •  Now pour the tomato and onion puree in it. Keep stirring and slowly add the corn and milk puree in it. Add a glass of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer the flame and let it cook for another five minutes. Now lastly add the grated coconut and bring a last boil. So that it mixes well with the gravy.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Khumb makki is ready. You may enjoy it with roti, naan, parantha or rice.

It tastes awesome and will definitely increase your appetite.

 

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