Deriving its name from Hindi word Yakhsa – mythological characters in Hindu mythology who are a link between human and gods; Jakhu / Jakhoo is a famous temple dedicated to the monkey god- Lord Hanuman.
Situated at the highest peak in the hill capital of Himachal, at about 8500 feet in the east of historical ridge ground in Shimla, the temple is said to be existing from the times of Ramayana.
This temple of Lord Hanuman, the most faithful aide to Lord Rama is located in the thick forests of Jakhu hills. The devotees need to cover a steep hill trek of around 2 kms to reach the temple. The temple can also be visited on the back of ponies that are available on hire at the base of the hill
History of Jakhu / Jakhoo Temple – Himachal Pradesh
The temple has a great mythological tale attached to it dating back to the fierce battle between Lord Rama and Ravana at Lanka. During the course of the battle, Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama got injured by an arrow of Meghanath, Ravana’s son and lost his senses. He could not be cured despite numerous efforts. Then a herb practitioner told Lord Rama that Lakshmana could only be saved by Sanjeevani herb to be brought from Himalayas. Hanuman was entrusted with this life saving task of bringing the herb.
While going towards Himalaya to get the herb, He saw sage Yaaku sitting on Jakhu mountain in penance. Lord Hanuman landed on the mountain to gather more information about the herb. The mount could not bear the weight of the Lord and sunk to the earth, remaining half of its original size. Having cleared his doubts about the herb, the Lord restarted his journey and promised Yaaku to meet him while returning.
But on his way back, Lord Hanuman had to fight with a dangerous demon, Kaalnemi. This took a lot of time and He had to take the shortest route to reach Lanka whereas the sage kept waiting for Hhm. Hanuman did not want to make the sage unhappy. So he appeared before the sage and told him the reason for not keeping his promise. As Hanuman disappeared, having pacified Yaaku, an idol of Him appeared on the hill by itself. Yaaku built a small temple to commemorate the Lord’s visit on the hill and kept that idol there. The idol can be seen in the temple till date along with the foot prints of the monkey god.
Like many other hanuman temples in India, endless number of monkeys can be seen at this temple also. These monkeys are generally very peaceful but if provoked can be very dangerous too. Pilgrims offer peanuts and bananas to these monkeys which are readily accepted by them.
Situated in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, the hill station of Mashobra is known for its scenic locales, flora and fauna and pilgrimages. Mashobra’s claim to fame is the fact that it is one of the retreats of the President of India. Mashobra is visited by the President of India every year during which the main office shifts to the retreat at Chharabra. The building of the Presidential retreat is a completely wooden structure that was originally constructed in 1850. The retreat consists of 16 rooms and it stands on a 300 acre forest compound. The President occupies it only for two weeks in a year during summer and is mostly used by the Government of India to house foreign VIPs visiting Shimla.
Well connected to Shimla via the historic Hindustan-Tibet Road which was constructed by Lord Dalhousie in the year 1850, Mashobra boast of gorgeous views, rich forests and blissful weather the whole year round. At an altitude of 2500 m, the hill station is ideal for tourists looking for solitude and peace.
Mashobra is also known for the wide range of flora and fauna and orchards of apples. The town is known for its old world charm and has grand houses named after fruits and flowers. A few of the grand houses have been converted in to resorts.
Visitors can choose from an array of adventure options to indulge in from boating, trekking, horse-riding or just absorb the natural beauty and panoramic views of the charming hill station. Tourists club their visit to the Mashobra with a trip to the sanctuary which is home to several species of flora and fauna. The musk deer is easily sighted in the sanctuary. Mahasu is another destination that is often visited, which has a very ancient temple which is highly famous among pilgrims. Kufri and Chail are other famous spots located nearby.
The former summer capital of the princely state of Patiala, Chail is a beautiful hill station located 63 km from Shimla in the Shivalik region of Himachal Pradesh. Chail is spread across three hillocks — Rajgarh, Pandewa and Sadh Tiba, covering an area of over 72 acres. Overlooking the valley of Sutlej, it enjoys pleasant climate throughout the year. Chail also offers magnificent and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and overlooks both, Kasauli and Shimla (45 km).
Chail was a sleepy little mountain village till its transformation in 1893. It was founded by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh. Banished from entering Shimla for eloping with the daughter of Lord Kitchner, the then Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army, the Maharaja resolved to build himself a new summer capital better than Shimla. The Maharaja ensured that Chail matched Shimla in every way. Majestic snow-capped Shivalik peaks, beautiful orchards and sylvan pine valleys cast a spell on everyone.
Chail Palace, Chail Cricket ground and Chail Military School are all symbols of Chail’s connection with the erstwhile royal house of Patiala.
Chail, along with Kufri and Shimla is called the Golden Triangle of Himachal Pradesh. Despite being located close to Shimla, this hill station is free from the crowds that throng Shimla and consequently allows travelers to enjoy the scenic beauty and charm of the place in relative peace.
Chail has a dense cover of pine and deodar trees. Its lush green outfields, stunning view of the mountains and captivating natural beauty makes it a fine place to visit. Lots of trekking trails lead from Chail to Shimla, Choor Peak, Kali Temple and other places. Angling is a popular activity undertaken in Giri River, a few kilometers away from Chail.
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers and wildlife photographers and you can spot a wide variety of flora and fauna that includes animals like Himalayan black deer, common langur, sambar, goral, wild boar, among others.
Kali ka Tibba is a popular shrine in Chail that is often visited by people from nearby towns and villages apart from tourists.
Situated near the Himalayan range, Kufri is a picturesque hill station situated 20 km from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. Founded in 1819 by the British, the popularity of the hill station as a tourist spot grew only in the last few decades. Kufri derives its name from ‘Kufr’ which means lake. Especially popular among trekkers, Kufri is the starting point of treks to Manali, Shimla, Rewalsar and Fagu among others. Kufri, Shimla and Chail form the Golden Triangle of Himachal Pradesh. The cool and pleasant climate, along with stunning natural beauty, makes Kufri a perfect summer getaway.
Kufri is also the venue for annual winter sports festival held in February. Organized by the travel and tourism department of Himachal Pradesh, the festival is a major attraction with tourists. The skiing competition is the main event at the festival. It is also renowned for other adventures activities like tobogganing (sliding downhill on a sled). Kufri has the oldest skiing slopes in Himachal Pradesh. You can get your share of adrenaline rush by taking fast cuts and turns in the go-Karting circuit in Kufri.
A haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers as the Himalayan Nature Park is situated on the outskirts of the town. The Park is home to over 180 varieties of fauna. Not much is known about Kufri’s history. The region surrounding Kufri was part of the Kingdom of Nepal until it was seized by the British. Kufri was founded in 1819; it remained a sleepy hamlet and began to gain popularity only in the ’30s. The Kufri Zoo is another place for recreation you could visit.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KUFRI
There are quite a few accommodation options in Kufri. One may not find luxury hotels, but both budget and mid-range hotels along with resorts offer good services. Most of the hotels offer a panoramic view of the stunning mountains. Most of the hotels are situated around Main Bazaar. Resorts are located on Kufri-Chail Road and Kufri-Fagu Road.
Located at the Mall Road itself, this church is the second oldest church in North India. The interiors and the neo-gothic architecture are very beautiful and appealing making this church one of the most important attractions in Shimla.
Among all the oldest churches of north India, it is the 2nd one. The church was built during 1846 to 1857. The church was designed by Col. J. T. Boileau. A clock was placed on the tower of the church in the year 1860 though the clock has stopped working. In the year 1873, a porch was added to the church. The church has entered the list of the most preferred tourist places of Shimla. Visitors get the sight of this church from far off. Devotees and tourists like the serene environment and could not restrain from appreciating its architecture splendor that includes windows with colored glasses and brass plaques of this church. There is fresco surrounding the chapel window and the designer of this fresco was the father of famous writer Rudyard Kipling. Since the time of the British, Sunday Masses have been organized here at this church and it remains the only place of worship for the Christians of this area.
Though the construction of this church was completed in 1846 but it got sanctified in the year 1857 by the bishop of Calcutta. For the travelers who want to enjoy staying here and enjoy the pious environment and breathtaking natural beauty around, there are plenty of staying facilities like hotels, resorts and home stays are available. Tourists get to see a library near the church that was built by James Ransome in 1910. The library was showcase architecture of Elizabethan Era and boasts collection of many old scriptures and books. To reach Christ Church from the railway station , travelers have to use National Highway No. 22 and then enter the Circular Road that leads to the Ridge. The Church has the US Club very close to it and from the center of the Shimla City the driving distance to this area is about 3.6 km.
Shopping in Shimla revolves around the heart of the town- The Mall Road. One can shop for local handicrafts, shawls, woolens, exquisite jewelry etc. Built by the British during the colonial rule in India, the Mall Road was constructed keeping in mind the traffic on this route. Entry of vehicles was banned though cycle rickshaws were allowed. It has been built in a very strategic and planned way.
The Mall is situated in the main street of Shimla. All colonial structures are located on the Mall Road. The Mall Road also has all major hotels, restaurants and recreation centers of Shimla. The Mall road is full of shops that sell woolen clothes, branded clothes, handicraft items, pottery items, jewellery, books, etc. The Mall Road is also famous for its wooden furniture shops that sell exquisite wooden articles, which look like antiques.
The Mall Road has many famous restaurants that specialize in not just local cuisines but also delicacies from nearby places. Since there are no vehicles allowed in the Mall, you don’t quite have to worry about watching out for the traffic. While purchasing locally made goods, make sure you do some bargaining. Ideally, you should make sure that you bargain till at 30% of the amount quoted by the shopkeepers. The whole area is fun to loiter around in and you wont even know when time flies by.