105-km east of Shimla , in Jubbal Tehsil on the banks of
the river Pabbar, lays the mysterious valley of stone
temples Hatkoti. Close by stands a small village by the
name of Parhaat. At Hatkoti, two other small mountain
streams Bishkulti and Raanvti join the Pabbar. The color
of the Bishkulti or vish-khalti water is somewhat
grayish and the local belief says that the stream oozes
out poison. With the convergence of the three water
streams, according to the Hindu mythology makes Hatkoti
a place fit to be a pilgrimage.
itself, though studded with temples, has a very special
reverence for Hatkoti, the abode of Goddess
Mahishasurmardini an incarnation of Durga. PRIME
Temple Complex: The temple complex consists of a main
temple dedicated to Durga and a smaller temple dedicated
to Shiva, the two standing side-by-side. There are some
conical stone structures meant for storing grain,
presumably built by the local people at a much later
date. At Dharamshala, a kirtan ghar and a rest house
make up the complex. On the basis of the architectural
design and style of sculpture, it is believed that the
Hatkoti temples belong to the Gupta period and must have
been built between the 6th and 9th century AD.
Garbhagriha: The Garbhagriha or the sanctum sanctorum is
naturally dark, but the idol, exquisitely cast in
bronze, emits a soft, ethereal glow. It depicts the
goddess Mahishasurmardini also called Mata Hateshwari,
eight-armed and riding a lion as she drives her spear
through the heart of the demon Mahishasura. On either
side of the image, there is an inscription in a
variation of the Brahmini script that no one has been
able to decipher so far.
temple: The Shiva temple nearby is very similar in
architecture and design with the rest of the temples
present in Hatkoti. One of the remarkable features of
this temple is the shivling situated within the temple,
which is wider than the doorway.
Hills: At the heart of the Hatkoti valley stand the
hills of Sunpuri, merging into each other, making it
sacred for the localities to call it the Ardhnarishwar.
Surmounting this hillock is a small temple with another
finely chiseled image of Mahishasurmardini, made of
Pandoora Ghaurdoo: Small temples scattered near Sunpuri
Hills are said to have been built by the Pandavas and
are called by local people as 'Panzo Pandoora Ghaurdoo'
or the toy houses of the five Pandavas.
Charoo, which means a large bronze vessel, stands
battered with age on one side of the mandap of the
Mahishasurmardini temple securely chained to an image of
Ganesha positioned inside the temple.
Patther: Khara Patther is an upcoming skiing hotspot,
which falls enroute to Hatkoti from Shimla. Besides, if
one is in a pilgrimage mood can visit Giri Ganga, a few
kilometers away from Khara Patther.
& Trout-Fishing: From Khadralla, the way to this
paradise for anglers, lies through Sungri. Beyond
Hatkoti, 11 km away, is Rohru situated on the banks of
River Pabbar - an excellent spot for angling, with
fishing pools teeming with trout. The trout hatchery at
Chirgaon, upstream, ensures a well-stocked river.
TO GET THERE
Shimla is the nearest airport.
Nearest rail heads Shimla narrow gauge Kalka broad
One can either take the Shimla -Theog-Kotkhai-Khara
Patther-Hatkoti-Rohru motor road or the Dehradun to
Hatkoti route, which passes through Chakrata, Deoban,
Tiuni and Arakot. Hatkoti is at a distance of 105 km
from Shimla , the capital of Himachal Pradesh
can stay at the Forest Rest House nearby or in one of
the few hotels, which have mushroomed lately. Those
looking for luxuries can go to Rohru, 10-km away from
a year, during the Chaitra Navratra in the month of
April and the Ashvin Navratra in October, the temple
complex reverberates with the sounds of bells and
cymbals and khartals. On both occasions a fair is held,
attracting pilgrims from far and near. Those who worship
Durga in the form of Shakti sacrifice a goat or sheep,
those who worship her in the form of Vaishnavi, offer
flowers and halwa. Himachali folks make offerings of
parched rice and homegrown walnuts, as these are
considered highly acceptable to the Devi.