Shikari Devi

Shikari Devi Temple

Shikari Devi is a picturesque valley with forested mountainsides sloping down from ridgelines. It’s dotted with pretty flower- bedecked meadows. The British wanted to develop the area as a hill retreat but the Raja of Mandi did not approve of their plan. The abode of Goddess Shikari stands atop the highest point in the area. Legends aver that the Pandavas built the temple while wandering in the Himalayas during their exile. Arjun apparently saw a deer in the forest below the ridge but, surprisingly, failed in his attempt to bring down the animal. Realising that the deer must be a manifestation of some divine power, the brothers prayed to the divine power to reveal itself. Navdurga appeared before them and asked the brothers to install her at an appropriate place. The Pandavas then built a temple for the goddess on the peak, and she came to be known as Shikari Devi, the Goddess of the Hunt.

The temple is roofless. According to local lore, the goddess does not permit construction of a roof and all attempts in this direction have failed given the strong winds that buffet the peak. Animal sacrifice is practised at the temple. During the navratras, a fair is held here, which attracts a large number of devotees from the surrounding valleys.

This easy trek can be completed at a leisurely pace in three to four hours. The walk is shaded and is mostly on a jeepable road. From the top, at Shikari Devi (2,950m), several options are available. One can come back by the same route or go down south-west to Devidhad. Or descend south to Chindi/ Bakhrot to reach Karsog Valley from where one can board a bus to Mandi or Shimla. It is also possible to trek to Kamru Nag from Shikari Devi and then trek down to Rohanda on the Karsog-Mandi Road. Alternatively, you can descend to Janjheli (1,900m) from Kamru Nag. All these are one-day treks.

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