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Chakrata, Uttaranchal

Multiple trips in 2007

[About Chakrata] [Getting There] [Where to stay] [Hotel Snow View] [What to do] [Photo Gallery]
[Jagatgram] [Deo Van] [Koti Kanasar] [Daragadh] [Hanol] [Kathiyan] [Lakhamandal] [Sahia to Kwano]

Hanol, Chakrata

[Pavasi Temple] [Getting There] [Where to Stay]

Hanol is a small village about 15kms ahead of Tuni, located on the bank of Tons river. It has the 9th century stone temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, known here as Mahashu Devta.

Ancient legend has it that a man eating demon stayed at Hanol. Initially he used to eat everyone he saw and created a lot of distruction. Later at the request of villagers he agreed to eat one person per day. So one person was sent to him every day from nearby villages.
Then the turn of Uma Bhatt, a Brahmin staying in Mandirath came. He had 7 sons and he started sending them one by one. When the turn of the 7th son came, he could no longer take it. He worshipped Shiva with all his heart and soul. Shivji was impressed by the man's dedication decided to help the man. He directed Deolari Devi, one of his woman devotees to help the man. On hearing the man's story she requested her four sons to go to Mandrath in search of the demon. She also asked the man to plough his fields. On doing so the man discovered four Shivaling-subsequently named Mahasu, Pavasi, Vasik and Chalda, after the four sons. They found the demon in Hanol, surrounded him from all sides and after a battle lasting several days, killed him. The villagers rejoiced at this and built temples for all the four brothers. Mahasu Devta's temple is in Hanol, Pavasi Devta's temple is just across the Tons river in Hanol on top of a small hillock. Vasik Devta's temple is a 40km trek up the mountain from Pavasi's temple, while Chalda Devta's temple is a 2km trek from Tuni.
Mahasu Devta’s fair is held in August every year, when the deity is taken out in a procession. Thousands of people from nearby districts, Himachal Pradesh and UP converge in the village. Musical prayers continue for three days and nights.

In the Mahabharat era, King Duroyadhan entered the area after travelling through Kashmir and Kullu. He liked the area so much that he wanted to settle down here. So he prayed to Mahasu Devta at Hanol for a piece of land. The Deity accepted his pleas and made him the king of the area. He made Jakholi his capital village and a temple in the village has his idol and is dedicated to him. The king is said to still roam around the area of Har-Ki-Dun and his spirit sometimes enters a person who is then known as Maali. All disputes in the area if not sorted out by the local village headman, are referred to the Maali.
In more recent history, King Akbar used to frequent the Hanol temple.
From May 26, 2004 the temple reversed its age-old custom of not allowing women to worship inside and sacrificing animals. The last sacrifice was held on 25th May 2004.It is believed that the deity appeared in the dream of a devout and ordered him to allow entry of women and stop sacrifices inside the temple after May 25.

Hanol temple The temple Intricate carvings from Mahabarath Board outside the temple
Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata

If you look carefully at the first photograph above, you will realise that the portion of temple on the left is made up of stones only and clearly seems ancient, the part on its right being relatively new.Tons river is seen in the background.
Another intersting thing in the temple ground is a pair of spherical rocks about one foot in diameter, which are supposed to be used by Bhim for exercise. They are really very heavy and part of fun here is to try and lift them to your shoulder and throw them back. Tradition has it that only the pure hearted can lift them up!
A unique feature of Chakrata temples is the hanging of trophies on the walls of the temples. Matches between villages are played by teams of the local Gods and if the match is won, the trophy is given to the God !!
Another Shivaling inside the temple is called "Chalta Mahasu". This Shivling is taken in a procession to various other villages and even Dehra Dun for a few days to enable devotees there to pay their respects.

Mysterious balls God's trophy Welcome Arch GMVN Hanol Guest House
Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata Hanol Temple ,Chakrata

Another interesting aspect of the temple is the numerous sheep running around. It is believed that whatever you ask from Mahasu Devta will be granted, in return you must promise to give the God a certain number of sheep. Upon fulfillment of your wish, you must bring the sheep to the temple where in early days they used to be sacrificed. Nowadays, after prayers, they are set free to roam around in the temple and you will find a number of them running around.

Pavasi Temple

Pavasi Devta is the second brother whose temple is about 2kms from Hanol. The road from Mahasu temple goes one kilometer downwards towards Tons River. After crossing the suspension bridge over it, we enter the Uttarkashi District and the small village is called Thadiyar. Right after the bridge is the Forest Rest House, which is believed to be haunted and then the footpath goes up the hill for another kilometer to reach the Pavasi Devta temple.
Suspension Bridge Pavasi Temple Nandi in front of the temple Thadiyar FRH
Pavasi,Chakrata Pavasi ,Chakrata Pavasi,Chakrata HPavasi,Chakrata
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Getting There

For road map , see here.
It takes about 4hrs to drive down from Chakrata, as the road is narrow and not very good.
A smoother drive from Dehra dun would be via Mussorie, Naugaon and Purola. The road is much better and the journey takes roughly the same time from Dehra dun (6hrs)
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Where to Stay

The only place to stay in Hanol is the GMVNL guest house. It has five reasonablly comfortable rooms and a dormitory.
For a link to GMVNL, please see my homepage.

Airtel Mobile works in Hanol, catching signal from an Airtel tower in Himachal Pradesh.
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[About Chakrata] [Getting There] [Where to stay] [Hotel Snow View] [What to do] [Photo Gallery]
[Jagatgram] [Deo Van] [Koti Kanasar] [Daragadh] [Hanol] [Kathiyan] [Lakhamandal] [Sahia to Kwano]