HIMALAYAN MYSTIQUE: EXPLORING HIDDEN SPIRITUAL TREASURES
The Himalayas, revered for centuries by sages and seekers, embody a sanctuary for spiritual growth. Their colossal presence fosters seclusion and tranquility, nurturing the pursuit of enlightenment. Yogis and thinkers sought solace amidst these peaks, practicing abhyasa and vairagya in caves, detached from civilization. Ancient beliefs venerate mountain-gazing for absolving sins and unveiling self-realization. Countless tales depict yogis finding enlightenment in Himalayan seclusion.
I've been fortunate to explore mystical Himalayan sanctuaries, experiencing profound healing and spiritual elevation. These hidden gems, tucked amidst the peaks, offered me divine solace, mending both mind and body. Each location, steeped in spiritual energy, facilitated a deep connection with the expansive natural world, allowing a merge with its essence. The Himalayas stand not just as geological giants but as gateways to profound introspection and healing, an experience I cherish dearly from my encounters with these sacred spaces.
Aghanjar Mahadev: Where Sacred Flames Meet Serene Groves
Aghajar-a heavenly place nestled in the lap of Dhauladhar range of middle Himalayas is famous for an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, whose origin is steeped in many legends and folklores. According to folklore, during his pilgrimage to Kailash Mountains-the sacred abode of Lord Shiva, the valiant Pandava from the epic Mahabharata-Arjuna, encountered Lord Shiva at this very spot. It is whispered in tales that Lord Shiva bestowed upon Arjuna the divine boon of triumph over the Kauravas. The temple stands today as a testament to this celestial encounter, adorned with various idols of Lord Shiva and a venerable statue of Lord Hanuman.
A 200 year old picture of the Akhand Dhuni at Aghanjar Mahadev Temple at Khaniyara
Nestled within a small sacred grove, just five kilometers eastward of Dharamshala town, lies the hidden gem of Aghanjar Mahadev—a sanctuary steeped in ancient rituals, enduring traditions, and natural splendor that captivates the soul. At its heart burns the Akhand Dhuni, a sacred fire flickering for half a millennium, drawing generations into its mystic embrace. This enduring flame, tended diligently with enormous logs, embodies continuity and spirituality, mesmerizing all who witness its ethereal glow.However, beyond the divine fire, Aghanjar Mahadev presents an ode to tranquility, surrounded by nature's bounty. Life thrives here—the Red Jungle fowl, Khaleej, Common Leopard, Grey Langurs, and myriad small mammals and birds lend an orchestral harmony to this spiritual sanctuary.
View of the main Temple Compound of Aghanjar Mahadev, Khaniyara
Aghanjar Mahadev, a convergence of spirituality and nature, holds a magnetic allure for pilgrims. The Shiva lingam beneath a colossal rock, cradled by the cascading Manuni rivulet, draws seekers seeking solace and blessings. Environmental reverence defines this sacred enclave, where preserving trees and harmonizing human needs echo spiritual ethos. My childhood visit in 1974 remains vivid; the grove's tranquility, eternal flame, and vibrant wildlife etched in memory.
Devi Kothi: A Reverent Haven in the Lap of Himalayan Splendor
Aditya, along with the Temple Sage and locals
Nestled in the Himalayas, Devi Kothi, a wooden temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, stands as an ethereal tribute to divine femininity. During my tenure as Sub Divisional Magistrate in Tissa in 2015, my family and I embarked on a pilgrimage to this sacred site. The temple's intricate wooden structure showcased ancient craftsmanship, adorned with detailed carvings narrating tales of myth and devotion. Surrounding it, the Himalayan landscape offered a serene sanctuary, guarded by snow-capped peaks, exuding a celestial presence carried by the winds.
Devi Kothi mesmerized with its blend of human artistry and natural magnificence, harmonizing architectural grandeur and natural beauty. It epitomized the fusion of spirituality and art, transcending the ordinary. Standing amidst its ambiance, I was captivated by the seamless convergence of the divine and earthly realms. The visit left an enduring impression, a testament to Devi Kothi's timeless beauty, spiritual sanctity, and its role as a beacon of artistry amidst the Himalayan lap. It remains etched in my heart, a reminder of the boundless wonders that reside where spirituality, nature, and human craftsmanship intertwine.
Journey to Bharmour: Land of Gods, Legends, and Serendipity
A 1000-year-old Deodar Tree standing sacred to local in the compound of Chaurasi temple (Bharmour)
Bharmour, the erstwhile capital of Chamba kingdom, rests at 7000 feet, famed for its 84 temples and panoramic Pir Panjal vistas. Nestled amidst Mani Mahesh and Kailash Mountains, it reflects the nomadic Gaddis' heritage, cultivating alpine pastures and orchards amidst divine sanctums. The region, adorned with terraced fields yielding corn, wheat, and orchards, pulsates with spiritual fervor, echoed in its temples and people.
A photo frame of Shri Krishna Ji Maharaj
Jai Krishan ji Maharaj, a revered figure from 108 Juna Akhara, left a legacy of social welfare and spirituality during his residence in Bharmour. My unexpected journey there, prompted by transfer orders, led my family on a scenic adventure. Despite a delay due to a landslide near Chamba town, our encounter with the Mighty Ravi River and warm reception in Lahal by the Sub Divisional Magistrate marked the start of our memorable visit.
Exploring the historic Chaurasi complex and venerating ancient deities in temples built 1400 years ago offered glimpses into Bharmour's rich heritage. As I assumed office, my family settled near the Shani temple, creating enduring memories despite the initial challenges of the journey. The journey was filled with scenic beauty and fulfillment, etching lasting impressions of Bharmour's spiritual richness and natural grandeur.My expedition to these mystic, sacred and virgin lands of of Himalayas epitomises the poetic code:
"Oh! How beautiful is thy world when it shines like gold, when thy brightness falls upon it and paints the dust with shimmering brightness.”
Dr. Sanjay Kumar Dhiman is a Dharamshala (H.P) based author who who has the distinction of writing 15 books, with two of his books forwarded by His Holiness- The Dalai Lama, Tibetans ’spiritual Guru, a long-time reader of life Positive and an Administrator by profession in the Himachal Administrative Services. (Gmail : email@example.com).