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Ancient Temples and plces to visit around Manimahesh, Bharmour

Manimahesh is popular because of its proximity with Manimahesh Lake, Manimahesh Kailash and Chaurasi (84) ancient temples, which are reflecting the glorious past of this hidden town. Bharmour is also known as the Abode of Shiva as there are numerous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in and nearby regions The whole region around Bharmour is considered to be under the control of Lord Shiva, hence is also known as the Shiv Bhumi..This place besides being an aesthetic and scenic beauty is also spiritual in essence.

Ancient Chaurasi (84) Temple & Bharmani Temple

A cluster or complex of 84 temples, collectively known as Chaurasi temple. According to legends, Sahil verma who was a ruler of Maru dynasty had no child. Once 84 saints visited his palace. Sahil verma was polite and caring with the saints. So the saints blessed him. The blessings of the saints made him a father of 10 sons and 1 daughter. Sahil verma built 84 small temples in honour of the 84 saints.
There is one another legend regarding Chaurasi temples. In ancient time when this beautiful place Brahmpura presently Bharmour was used to reside by goddess Brahmani Devi one shrine three kilometer on the ridge from Brahmpura with a scenic garden present Chaurasi. One day when goddess Brahmani Devi went to somewhere then Lord Shiva reached their with 84 Sidhas while visiting to Manimahesh Kailash. God Shiva want to leave 84 Sidhas, perhaps they choose this place to leave them. When in evening Goddess Brahmani Devi, the presiding deity of the place seen the smoke of fires lit by the Sidhas, she felt very angry at this trespass. She came down to the garden and ordered Shiva and the Sidhas to get out of the place. Shiva importuned in all his humility for allowing them to spend a night in their beautiful garden as they are tiered, and promised to leave early in the morning.

Goddess Brahmani condescended to their wishes and went away to Dughashaar (a place on ridge) from where she cannot see the smoke of fires lit by the Sidhas. In morning God Shiva left slept 84 Sidhas and went to Manimahesh Kailash, but the 84 Sidhas transformed themselves in to 84 Shivlingas because they did not want to go anywhere and wished to settle there. After that the Lord Shiva granted a boon to goddess Brahmani Devi that all persons intending to go on pilgrimage to Manimahesh must have a dip in their holy pool. Failing this, their pilgrimage would not be acceptable to Lord Shiva. That’s by every visitor firstly take bath in Brahmani’s holy pool before Manimahesh Lake.
Brahmani holy pool is about 20 square meter below Brahmani’s cave..

As per legend, Goddess Brahmani had stolen this holy water from Lord Sandhola Naag which is another side of the ridge. An interesting story in this event is that one day when Goddess Brahmani Devi and Goddess Jhakani Devi both went to stole water from Sandhola Nag’s pool. Both the Goddess stole the water in their pot and ran away at the same time Sandhola Naag saw them immediately he took the bow arrow and ran after them. But the shrine of Goddess Brahmani Devi was another side of the ridge, so she thrown their pot filled with water from the top of the ridge toward their shrine which reached at their cave. But the knee of goddess Jhakani Devi was hit by arrow, so goddess Jhakani Devi could not reach up to their destination and the water fell at village Badie and kardouta so a temple was executed at their. Seven water streams are coming from the bottom of cave which are presently serving water supply facility to Bharmour and running many flourmills.
Chaurasi was the level area on which these eighty four temples were standing and the name was attributed to the 84 Sidhas who are believed to have meditated in Bharmour over 100 years who supposed to come from Kurukshetra while visiting to Manimahesh Kailash. The Chaurasi Temple Complex offers you a delightful, clean and a scenic view. The complex is surrounded by numerous schools. The most extraordinary site of the complex is the tallest temple of Manimahesh, which is built in the Shikhara style of architecture. Another temple built in the same style is that of Lord Vishnu cast in his Nar Singh Avtar. Bharmour, once known as Brahmpura, was between the 6th and 10th centuries, the capital of the princely state of Chamba. It is renowned for its cluster of temples collectively known as the ‘Chaurasi’. Though of varying architectural design, these temples are noted for their fine workmanship.

Legend has it that in the 10th century, 84 Sidhas (holy men) visited Bharmour; they blessed the ruler Raja Sahil Varman with ten sons and a daughter Champavati whom the town of Chamba is said to be named. And while some shrines were already in existence, the Raja had the remainder built to commemorate their sojourn. These include the Lakhna Devi Temple, the Ganesh Temple and the Nar Singh Temple. Installed in the sanctum of the Lakhna Devi Temple is an exquisite brass image of the goddess, The temple of Lord Dharamraj is also in the Chaurasi and only one in the whole world.

The main temples are :

  • Dharameshwar Mahadev temple
    Dharam Raj / Dharmeshwar Mahadev is the only temple in the world dedicated to Yam Dharamraja. According to Hindu mythology, Yamraj records the virtuous and sinister deeds of a person on earth. It is believed that when a person departs from the world, as per the 'scorecard' of Yamraj, the spirit either takes rebirth or mingles with the unseen divinity in the celestial world. Dharamraj, known as Dharmeshvar mahadev was given a seat on the northern corner of Chaurasi by Maru Varman. It is the belief of locals that every departed soul stands here to seek final permission of Dharamraj to proceed ahead and travels through this temple after death seeking dwelling in Shiva Loka. It is believed to be the court of Dharamraj and is locally called ‘dhai-podi’, which means two and half steps.
  • Ganesha Temple
    A temple in the Chaurasi Complex dedicated to lord Ganesha at Main entrance of temple complex. The temple was constructed by the rulers of the Meru Varman dynasty as stated in an inscription erected in the temple, by Meru Verman in circa 7th century A.D. The wooden temple of ganesha was probably set on fire in Kira invasion of Bharmour and image was mutilated by cutting off legs. The temple of Ganesha is enshrined in a bronze image of Ganesha. This magnificent image is life size with both legs missing.
  • Manimahesh temple (belongs to Lord Shiva)
    Manimahesh temple which stands in the centre of Chaurasi temple Complex is main and tallest temple, enshrining a huge Shiva linga. The Shiva linga is nothing but a symbol of characteristic mark of lord Shiva and is worshiped in a symbol.
  • Nar Singh temple (belongs to Lord Vishnu)
    Narasimha (Sanskrit: Narsingh) or Nrusimha, also spelled as Narasingh whose name literally translates from Sanskrit as “Man-lion”. Narasimha is an incarnation of Vishnu in which the god is represented in therianthropic form as half man and half lion. The bronze image of this god, which is exquisitely cast, is awe-inspiring.
  • Maa Lakhna Devi (belongs to Goddess Mahisasurvardni)
    (Lakhna Devi/Bhadrakali): The temple of Lakshana Devi is the oldest temple at Chaurasi Temple Bharmour. It retains many of the old architectural features of wooden temples and has richly carved entrance. It is said to be constructed by Raja Maru Varman (680 AD). Durga is represented here in her aspect of four armed Mahishasuravardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasura. This temple is the main attraction of Chaurasi complex.
  • Lord Nandi temple (belongs to Lord Nandi Bull)
    The life size metal bull Nandi, locally known as Nandigan with the broken ear and tail can be seen standing in a modern shed in front of Manimahesh temple. Nandi is chief of Ganesh and Shiva’s foremost attendant, who had shape of the bull and qualities of noble devotee. Usually in front of Shiva temples the Shilpa Texts provide for a couchant bull paced outside and staring at his lord Shiva. But here we have a life size Nandi bull standing on all fours (legs). ‘Visnudharmotra Purana’, however describes of such Nandi bull, as representing solidity and stability of dharma.
  • Maa Shitla Temple (belongs to Goddess Shitla)
  • Maa Chamunda Temple (belongs to Goddess Chamunda)
  • Hanuman Temple (belongs to Lord Hanuman/ Bajrangbali)
  • Kartik Temple (belongs to Lord Kartik)
  • Jai krishan Giriji temple (belongs to Saint Jai krishan Giriji Maharaj)
  • Trameshwar Mahadev, Bijleshwar Mahadev, Moniling Mahadev, Suryaling Mahadev, Gyarahrudhra Mahadev (all temples belongs to Lord Shiva) Ard Ganga holy Pond (used for holy bath on the occasion of Janamastmi)

Kartik Swami Temple

Kartik Swami temple, locally called as Kelang temple, is located 6 km from Kugti village at an altitude of 3100m above sea level.  Temple complex have two temples one of Kartik and other of Marali. The devotees want to visit this sacred place before attempting Jotnu Pass for Kailash Parikrama and Kugti Pass.  One another place is very near to the Kartik Temple known as Naagheli known for snakes. Visitors will find so many snakes at this particular place. You can view actual temple of Goddess Marali at the top of ridge.  As this temple complex falls under the Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary  area  providing a rare occasion to see and study the customs and rituals of the local people named as Gaddi (shepherd). How shepherd live their tough life along with their flocks and how the Gaddies are dedicated and faithful to their Gods and Goddess like Lord Shiva, Lord Kartik and Goddess Marali Mata. The Gaddies after spending six months in lower reaches of Kangra and Una District of Himachal Pradesh with their flocks comes to Bharmour, stay a while at Bharmour they moves toward Lauhal and Spiti through Kugti and Chobia passes to graze their flocks. Gaddies first take permission to cross the Kugti Pass from Lord Kartik and Goddess Marali Devi.
They scarify their few sheep’s to lord Shiva, Lord Kartik and Goddess Marali Devi at Kartik temple to get permission. If someone is not allowed or permitted to cross the pass, and they will not cross the pass and spent their six month near the Kugti ranges and graze their flock in their allotted ranges. Kugti Pass is very risky at the time of snowfall or over fresh snow for tracking. Gaddies also scarify few sheep’s when they are crossing Kugti Pass to the Goddess Marali for safe and easy crossing. Few of shepherd also cross another Pass in Lauhal known as Baralacha pass. The grass of Lauhal and Spiti is much nutrient than other grasses; this is the main reason to go to Lauhal and Spiti with their flocks. The Gaddies return in the month of September from Lauhal and same as repeated cycle.

Banni Mata Temple

The legend behind Banni Mata dates farther back than any of those we have heard till now. Right upto the Panadavas and Mahabharata. It is said that all the 5 Pandava brothers, having ruled their kingdom departed for the Himalayas. While roaming in the Himalayas in search of Swarg (the Hindu heaven), they reached somewhere near the Pir Panjal range. Spring was setting in and they decided it was time to go a little higher and start farming for food. So, they headed towards Charola (near Kali Chho Pass). While on their way up, they encountered multiple obstacles. The mountains were difficult to walk on, snow was all over. There were treacherous slopes and crevices. Suddenly, it started snowing. One after another, four of the Pandavas and Draupadi succumbed to the weather and terrain. As each one started dying, the others found a reason for his/her death in his karma during that incarnation. All but Yudhishtira, who was known for his righteousness, died on the way. Yudhishthira reached Swarg.When 4 of the brothers and Draupadi had died and Yudhisthira had reached Swarg, Draupadi, whose mortal flesh is believed to have been inhabited by Goddess Kali at times, appeared in the incarnation of goddess Kali. It is believed a huge rock in high Pir Panjals at Charola split vertically to reveal 3 Trashuls, which can still be seen there. After this, the goddess found her next home at Lyundi, at the base of the Pir Panjals and finally settled in the village of Banni. Since then, there has been a temple dedicated to Banni Mata (an incarnation of Kali) at this village. I was not able to find much history about the current structure but it looks quite recent as compared to how dated the legend is.

The temple and the goddess are both very important in the Bharmour region. Shepherds crossing Kali Chho pass to Lahaul (Kali is for Goddess Kali and Chho is waterfall, the pass has a waterfall close to it) visit the temple to seek the goddesses blessings for a safe crossing and have done so for ages now. Pilgrims from all over the Bharmour region and other parts of Himachal find their way to the temple to pay obeisance to the goddess. It is believed Goddess Kali grants all wishes to anyone making the journey with total devotion and fervour. Sometime around August, in the Bhadrapad month of the Hindu calendar, a fair is organized at the temple and it attracts devotees from all around. The fair, in typical Kali Puja style involves severing the heads of many goats. As soon as a goat's head is severed, the temple priest, called Chela in local language and bestowed with special powers by the goddess drinks the blood of the severed goat. It is said he can drink blood from as many goats as are severed at a time and that this ability is a reflection of his being in direct communion with the goddess. Liquor is another common offering and the Chela takes a gulp from each bottle offered.


Chhatrari is very beautiful, natural and historical village located in the Tehsil of Chamba district and the last village of Chamba Tehsil. This village is 49 kms from the district headquarters Chamba. It is situated on the left side of River Ravi a stream Kunta is also following from the Kunr village and separated Bharmour Tehsil to Chamba. This village is easily approachable by bus road which is well mettaled. Hppwd rest house is also there for stay. It is a famous temple of aadi shakti which constructed by king Meru Varman in 7th century. It is generally located 6km apart from luna village above the ravi river.

The Aadishakti-Shiv  Shakti:
It is a famous historical temple of Shiv Shakti  mataji which is constructed by King Meru Varman in 7th Century. it is generally located 6 km apart from luna village situated above the ravi. The shiv shakti temple is the famous temple in all over the india in which many of visitos are come here when there wishes comes true. the most common advantage of this temple is that after the complection of the manimahesh yatra people come here from various region  to  see  the particular location  and also pray from shiv shakti mata that their wishes comes true. Jai  ho Shiv Shakti  ki !!!!!!!

Shivshakti temple is constructed by the wooden and very unique wooden and painting work is also done. On the day of Radhasthmi when the Manimahesh fair is finished on the same day in the morning a priest from Shiv Shakti temple moves towards Manimahesh Lake and bring a sacred water from the lake. The priest does Holy bath to the image of Shiv Shakti image at Chhatrari. After that new sacred cloths were wear to the goddess Shiv shakti. Second day Chhatrari fair began and in the evening a Chariot of Butek Mahadev is also take place. In the ground of Shiv Shakti temple four local people dance and wear mask. From these four mask wear one is in the form of Shiv Shakti Godess and all other three are in the form of bad evil (rakshas). Godess fought with the Raksas and Goddess show as a winner in this war. This show the victory of truth upon untruth. Third and fourth fair is celebrated with the participation of large number of local people. A local Gaddis dance was also held with their tradition gaddis dress in the ground of Shiv Shakti temple.Built around 700 AD, the Temple houses this beatific idol of Goddess Shakti whose equal is difficult to find in the entire Chamba/ Bharmour region. Legend has it that the Artist Gugga who made this idol, did so looking at his daughter who was squint, and the same feature can be found on the Idol too.

Kugti & Kugti Wild life Sanctuary

Kugti is last point of habitats of Bharmour tribe consisting of two village upper Kugti and Lower Kugti having very rare facilities. Kugti is 26 km from Bharmour with 20 km road head. Having a dispensary, one forest rest house and high school. Few tea huts are also available at Dhanaul and Kugti village Kugti wild life sanctuary is located at an altitude of 2250 meter and lies between Latitudinal range 32°22´ to 32°35´ N; Longitudinal range 76°44´ to 76°53´E; in Bharmour of Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh. This sanctuary has an area of 37,886.68 hectare (378.87 sq. km). It has also Pir Panjal Himalayan range. The topography of the area is mountainous having altitudinal range of 2000 meter to 5000 meters from sea level.The annual rainfall in the Kugti wildlife sanctuary is recorded 1400mm.As a whole, the climate is temperate with well-marked seasons. The south facing physical environment in the Kugti wildlife sanctuary can be described as rocky terrain with frequent outcrops of huge boulders, slate and rock faces while north facing part of sanctuary are having dense mixed forests, rich in high-altitude Himalayan wildlife, and is one of the last homes of Himalayan tahr in Himachal Pradesh. It is also well-known as a source of many medicinal plants, abundant water resources, many originating from glaciers and a diverse topography add to the attraction of the area. To the west it is connected with Tundah Sanctuary by a forest corridor. The main occupation is farming and they grow more than two crops in a year followed by crop rotation.

Wheat (Triticum aestivum), Maize (Zea mays), barley (Hordum vulgare), rajma (Phaseolus sativus), potato (Solanum tuberosum) etc are the main crops. The mammalian fauna comprised brown bear (Ursus arctos), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), Himalayan ibex (Capra ibex), Goral (Nemorhaedus goral), Common Langur (Presbytus entellus), porcupine (Hystrix indica) and the area also supports a small population of musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster) etc.

The best periods for visiting the sanctuary are May-October, when the weather is good. Kugti is snow bond area and bonded with snow for four to five months in year. Hence provide good time for researcher to research the snow habitats like Snow leopard, Goral, Himalayan Thar, Serow, Brown and black Bear, musk deer, birdlife, hidden flora and many more which are main habitats and vegetation of Kugti sanctuary. Forests are dense and mountains provides many medicinal plants and herbs like Aconitum heterophyllum (Potish), Podophylum hexandrum (Bankakudi), Angelica glauca (Chaora), Jurinea macrocephala (Dhoop), and Morchella esculenta (Guchhi) etc. are also extracted from the forest. There is an annual pilgrimage by lacks of people to the Mani Mahesh Lake; few people choose the path through the Kugti sanctuary. Kugti is famous for Kartik Temple and a way to Lauhal and Spiti through Kugti Pass. When Kugti pass is opened for local Gaddi shepherd to cross with their flocks to Lauhal valley, providing a rare occasion to see and study the customs and rituals of the local people. The camping and trekking  in this hidden wildlife sanctuary is quite in the month of the summer season. Anna Adventures & tours are organising camping in this Sanctuary and providing opportunity to see and study the magic of this hidden sanctuary.

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Dear Team, All the arrangements Were good during our Manimahesh Kailash Parikrama Yatra. All were Helpful. Overall the whole tour was a great experience and good hospitality from everyone. Thank you. Hope to see you again soon

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