Shrouded in mystery, Shikari Devi temple, a must for all seeking spiritual guidance and a delight for adventurous trekkers seeking thrills in dangerous terrains, is positioned at a height of 2850m above sea level in Himachal Pradesh, a state lying in the foothills of mighty Himalayas. During ancient times, the hunters (shikari) used to pray to the goddess to provide them with prey. This is how the shrine was named “Shikari Devi” – The goddess of hunters.
The most mysterious fact of this ancient temple is that it has no roof and till date, nobody has been able to build a roof on it. The snow never falls inside the temple despite of heavy snowfalls in the region. There have been no wild animal attacks reported outside the temple premises and no bird or aircraft can fly on top of the temple in a manner that its shadow should fall on the deity. The birds were seen dropping dead from sky if their shadows ever fell on the shrine. There was a fatal accident reported in 1996 of the aircraft of Himachal’s mayor in which he perished along with his wife, kid and his pilot. The aircraft was said to be flying at a low height above the shrine due to which it shadowed the shrine and thus, the accident happened.
This temple is located at the peak of a hill which required crossing heavy snow-covered mountains and thick forests full of wild animals, just a few days ago. Nowadays, Himachal tourism has opened up a few clearings in the jungle for vehicles to reach near the peak. However, it is still extremely difficult to trek to the temple from Karsog Valley, Jhanjheli, Chindi. Still, it is a paradise for nature lovers with its lush greenery, pine trees, deodar woods and apple orchards, along with the pristine whites of the heavy snowfall occurring here from October till April.
Mythology states that sage Markandeye had called the powerful female deity Durga through meditation to this hill where the goddess left a stone statue of herself by bestowing it with divine powers. Later on, Pandavas built the temple structure for the goddess during their exile and received a boon from her to be able to defeat Kauravas in the epic battle of Mahabharata. She assured them of victory, a battle which she said, would be fought for centuries against various forms of evil.
Every year, during Navratra festival, a fair is held here which attracts devotees from all over the world, seeking blessings from the deity.
The place is approachable by road as arranged by the Himachal government, covering a distance of 16 km. The devotees have to climb 500 stairs to reach temple premises, if reached via road. The nearest railhead is Joginder Nagar railway station.
How to Reach:
Shikari Devi-Bakhrot-Chindi: 18 Kms
Shikari Devi-Raigarh-Shankar Dehra: 15 Kms
Shikari-Kamrunag 16 Kms