Take me to the top, I yelled to my friends who rejoiced with me and exclaimed with enthusiasm “Let us show you the world. Let your soul and spirit fly!” . And I glanced them with a different light. I was delighted to see their love and affection towards me and couldn’t control tears in my eyes. The trip to me was a complete surprise to which I was not acknowledged at all. They had asked me to report sharp at 9:00 am. It was a clear and a sunny day. We all were on time and started our journey. We drifted through the roads of Rajpur, Dehradun feeling the cool breezes of wind all upon our faces. We were very excited and couldn’t wait any more. Slowly we were on the way to mountains. Their serenity lead to a unique ecstasy and I was in a state of euphoria. A different energy was running inside me. As we were treading ahead,this eagerness was growing more and more.
Away from the city hustle-bustle, we reached mussourie, “the queen of hills”, going ahead and ahead crossing so many people, capturing the picturesque moments all in our memories laden with beautiful thoughts, we had arrived at the most tranquiland captivating town near the queen of hills that is Dhanaulti, which is cloaked in the serene vibe,beautifully nestled amid the lofty Himalayan peaks, perched at an altitude of about 2286m. Amid the thick forests of Oaks, Deodars and Rhododendrons, Dhanaulti is location where absolute peace of body and soul is ensured. It is the mountain of goddess.Luscious green meadows, towering trees and those astonishing Himalayan peaks had evoked all my senses.It slowly seeps into one’s conscience like a long lost pleasant dream, bringing with it, comfort and quiet. I had never been to the mountains, the whole scene was so delightful.Clouds seemed to touch us, we kept floating in the wagons of weather. Time was steady and calm. Dhanaulti is the root for numerous treks into the snow-capped Himalayas, especially to the Tehri region of Garhwal. Surkanda Devi, Chandrabadni and Kunjapuri, the sacred three Shaktipeeths of the holy Devi Darshan triangle are set amidst the dense forests of dhanaulti.
We all had planned to visit the famous and the ancient temple, “Surkanda Devi” which was a total thunderbolt for me. One of my friends, queried to a man and he directed us to take the straight road and had remarked that we were following the correct path and our destination will be right there in about 20-30 minutes, as we had to cover about 8km from Dhanaulti. We had reached Kaddukhal, come across the highest mountain and my friend was telling me that we have to go to the highest peak that was visible from down. I was enchanted. My happiness knew no bounds. We were screaming, singing our favourite songs, flying free likebirds.We had to trek for 2km to reach the temple. We parked our vehicles at kaddukhal and after took some refreshment. After taking the puja offerings (parshad), we started our trek. It was a rewarding experience, better to trek than to follow the normal path. Trekking in itself is an adventurous thing. Walking through the dense forest among the trees, it was a rewarding experience as we trekked to the temple and chit-chatting and gossiping a little we reached our destination. Though the walkway is a paved way with railings, along with benches in between, but trekking was more beneficial and easy than that. Hence we opted for an adventure and opted to go with the raw, dusty rocky route. Since, the trek was steep andexhausting we moved at our owncomfortable pace. With the help of blessings of maa, we were able to reach the top. It was a fantastic fun-filled experience at this place. The view of the amazing snow clad Himalayan Mountains was an absolute sight to behold. The atmosphere surrounding the temple so tranquil and mesmerizing and nearby jungles leaves one so spellbound, that we couldn’t take our eyes off it. It took us an hour to climb up there. One who faces any problem canalso fetcha mule for the temple worth Rs.480 but thepath seems smaller with everyone.
Heart leaping, mind dancing, soul relaxing, body restoring, it was all so fascinating. How could one ignore the divinity of nature? No, not at all. We were astounded.The view was breath-taking. Vibes of the place enthralled us so much that we hardly noticed the cold. In spite of the0 degrees, the enthusiasm and nature’s attractiveness lit the flame as it is, inside us. We got a quick darshan. The pandits were also so humble and helped in the worship.The sculpture of Goddess Kali is installed in the Surkanda Devi temple. We tied the sacred kalawa around the pole laden with wish grants and made our prayers with full faith. Luckily, we were able to become part of the religious feast organised by some devotees. It is known that every wish made in Surkanda Devi temple, is fulfilled by the deity. What a pious place with so much of an adventure and curiosity. The temple has very beautiful and simple architecture. The premises are clean and surreal. Far off snow clad Himalayan ranges being amazing. Thankfully the temple is not touched by commercialization, but one can find few refreshment shops on the way. It was a three in one trip which fulfils three of our cravings, of trekking, long drive and aestheticismwith divine devotion.It was an unforgettable experience that had made such an impact that it will always remain in our hearts.The festival of Ganga Dusshera and Navratri is celebrated in the temple and many people indulge in the electric festival vibes. On top it’s a fairly simple temple, a renowned one in the proximity, has many marriages taking place. A beautiful hot cup of tea may be a charming delight after the climb. Don’t expect an excessive amount of else and you’ll not be disappointed on the other hand as they assert “The real fun lies within the journey and not necessarily in reaching the destination”.
The temple is well maintained and presiding deity may be a Goddess Surkanda who is believed to a manifestation of Shakti – Shiva’s consort. one among the foremost persistent mythologies concerning the origin of worship at the situation is said to the parable of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy along side his daughter’s choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he didn’t invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fireside , knowing that this is often ready to make the sacrifice impure. Because she was the all-powerful mother goddess, Sati left her body therein moment to be reborn because the goddess Parvati. Meanwhile, Shiva was stricken with grief and rage at the loss of his wife. He put Sati’s body over his shoulder and commenced his tandava throughout the heavens, and vowed to not stop until the body was completely rotted away. the opposite Gods, frightened of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He sent his Sudarshan Chakra to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of hoer body fell until Shiva was left without a body to hold. Seeing this, Shiva sat right down to do Mahatapasya. Despite the similarity in name only , scholars don’t generally believe that this legend gave rise to the practice of sati, or widow burning. consistent with various myths and traditions, there are 51 pieces of Sati’s body scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These places are called Shakti peethas and are dedicated to varied powerful goddesses. The body was separated part by part. Shiva skilled this place on his way back to Kailash with the body of Sati whose head fell at the spot where the fashionable temple of Surkanda Devi stands. thanks to fall of head a part of sati its name became sirkhanda which within the passage of your time called Surkanda, a manifestation of feminine divine.
Dhanaulti is a miraculous place with Sky walking, sky bridging, valley crossing, zip swing, zip line, trekking, rocking, rappelling, camping, quad bike adventures, paragliding, mountain biking, cave exploration, skating, boating at company garden, village tour, the list is endless. These places are often explored too but spiritual satisfaction and ventures are often best experienced at Surkanda Devi. Jawaharlal Nehru rightly said, “there is not any end to the adventures we will have, if only we will seek them through our eyes open”. Enjoy.
Author : Harleen Kaur