Must Visit

Sarahan

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Ideal Time: 4-5 hrs

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Sarahan, Kinnaur Overview

Sarahan is a beautiful hamlet situated near Kinnaur in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Known as the "Gateway to Kinnaur", it is located near the Sutlej River Valley and the Indo Tibetan road, at an altitude of 2165 m below sea level. Famous for the never-ending apple orchards, dense emerald pine and deodar forests, gushing streams, wildflower fields rustic settings, terraced farms and slate-roofed houses,  the village is a sight to behold. The unparalleled beauty of the landscape, with mountains flanked by cliffs on one side and lush ravines on the other, not to forget the Srikhand Mahadev Peak make Sarahan a memorable place. The place indeed has soaked a lot of nature's blessing

At the very heart of the place is the fabulous two-towered temple of the local version of Devi Kali, the Bhimakali temple. It is built in traditional Kinnauri manner with a touch of unique Tibetan architecture. It is also called the gateway to Kinnaur as it acts as a base for many trekking expeditions in the surrounding areas. Sarahan is also famous as the summertime capital of the rulers of Bushahr, who were believed to be settled in Kinnaur. In the present time, the village is secluded and has a very sparse population, making it tranquil and peaceful.

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There are several myths, legends, and folklore associated with Sarahan. According to one such would, once the king of Kullu declared war on the Kingdom of Bushahr. The king of Bushahr killed his rival king and bought his decapitated head to Sarahan and displayed it publicly. When the dead king's family asked him to return the head for the last rites, the king said that he would do so only on fulfillment of three conditions.

The first condition was that the Kullu kingdom can never rechallenge his rule. Another term was that he would retain all the land acquired during the war. Lastly, his final and most dramatic condition were that the image of Raghunath, the chief God of the region would be taken away and never returned. The Kullu people accepted the three terms and the, King Bushahr celebrated the festival of Dussehra in a grand manner. After this, the idol of Raghunath was placed alongside the idol of Devi in the Bhimkali Temple.

Bhimkali Temple
Regarded as one of the 51 Shakti peethas of Devi Shakti, Bhimkali temple is the life and heart of this small village. It is believed that the temple is built at the place where Sati's ears fell after she self-immolated herself. It has three complexes, the first two among which were built in the 12th century and the third was built in 1920. The three complexes are dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Patal Bhairva Ji and Narsinghji, though Devi Kali is the principle deity and has a separate shrine. The exterior boost of amazing wood works and the interior is full of intricate carvings. During Dussehra, grand prayers and animal sacrifices are offered to the Goddess, and people from all over the region visit the place. What makes the temple even more unique is its Indo-tibetan architectural style.

Sarahan Bird Park
The bird park is located close to the Bhimkali Temple and houses the famous state bird Jujurana and other local birds. The place is closed during summer due to the breeding season.

Bhabha Valley
Located 50 km from the village, it is a beautiful valley running along the Bhaba River. It has an amazing landscape filled with reservoir lake and alpine meadows. The valley is also famous as the starting point for trek route to Pin Valley in Spiti.

Shrikhand Peak
When in Sarahan it is a must to Visit the aesthetic Shrikhand peak. There is also a temple of Lord shiva near the peak. According to legends, Lord Shiva meditated at this point.

Hawa Ghar
It is a quint little sitting area built below the canopy of tall trees and offers a phenomenal view of the high peaks and deep valleys.

Bushahr Palace
Sarahan was the summertime capital of the Bushahr king. The palace of the king and the queen are situated adjacent to the Bhimkali temple. It is generally not open for public visits, though the garden and the or haisha accessible. The royal family does not live here now and only visits during the durga puja.

The ideal time to visit Sarahan is during the month of April-June if you want to escape the scorching heat prevailing in the rest of the country. In case you want to enjoy the snowfall, visit during September to November.

1. There is a strict entry regulation at the Bhimkali temple, and all male devotees must cover their heads before entering the temple.
2. The festival of Dussehra is one the best time to visit the Bhimkali temple and Sarahan if you want to indulge in the local customs and culture.
3.The best way to experience the culture of the village is to take a walk post tea time and mingle with the locals returning from their day's work in their apple fields. The villagers are extremely friendly and open for a chit chat with tourists.
4. Sarahan has a couple of guesthouses for spending the nights. Bhimkali temple also has a guest house which sublets rooms at a very minimal price. It also serves food which a basic vegetarian thali.
5. It's best to eat at the guesthouse and avoid eating at nearby dhabas, as they are not very good and are also highly priced.

Sarahan is 170km (6-8 hours) from Shimla. There are trains and flights from Kalka to Chandigarh (9-11 hours) and from there one can hire jeeps or taxis to reach Sarahan. There are several buses from Chandigarh, Shimla, Rampur and Jeori too.
  • Air: There is no direct flight available to Sarahan and the nearest airport is at Shimla. Jabarhatti Airport is around 182 km away from Sarahan. From there, you can avail the state-run bus facility to reach your destination.

  • Rail: There is no railway station at Sarahan, the nearest railway station is at Shimla, 175 km away from the village centre. From there, you can avail the toy train as the gauge route is quite narrow. The course is scenic but very time-consuming.

  • Road: You can take a road trip to Sarahan from Shimla, Delhi, Kinnaur, or any other city in the state. It is a six-hour drive from Shimla to Sarahan. You can hire a private taxi or take the state-run buses.


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