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A secluded paradise
Chindi, Karsog Valley is about 90 kms from Shimla. Yet it sees only a fraction of the tourists that Shimla does. The pace of life is refreshingly slow here. Wheat, corn and apples are the primary produces of Karsog Valley. It is the wheat and corn farms that give the valley a lush green carpet like appearance when viewed from the road above. When travelling to Karsog, don’t get fixated on the destination. It is the journey that is equally enjoyable.
The name Karsog is derived from Kar Shok (mourning). Local folklore says, the Pandavas spent their Van Vaas in these parts. Numerous temples that dot the region dating back to about the same era, somewhat corroborate this theory. Chindi is one of the several small villages in Karsog Valley.
From Delhi, take the NH1 to Shimla, then SH13 towards Mashobra and Naldhera. Continue on this road for 70 odd kms after Naldhera and you would land up in the sleepy village of Chindi.
The empty winding roads, cool breeze and breathtaking views are sure to leave one in awe. The fresh air feels just out of this world. The SH13 that passes through Chindi can also be a worthwhile alternate route to Manali. It rejoins the Manali highway at Mandi. In fact, we took this route back to Delhi when returning from Barot.
The best or the must-do thing in Chindi is “Nothing”. Seriously, it’s not easy to find a secluded place as this, so close to civilisation.
There is not much to do or see in the valley if you come looking for things that make a typical hill station – Mall roads, Cafes, Shopping centers, Hawkers etc. If, however, you come here in search of solitude, peace, a slower pace of life, trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Laze around in the sun, enjoy the scenery, silence and occasional chirps of birds. It is truly one of the most refreshing things for a city dweller. Take a book along, catch up on your reading list! We have forgotten the little joys of life in the urban race.
In case you are not the one to laze around for long, you can take a walk to the village or into the woods – it offers some beautiful views of the Karsog Valley – similar to what you get to see from Kunho Dhar.
There are several ancient temples dating back to the Mahabharata/Ramayana era that dot Karsog Valley. Mamleshwar, Kamaksha Devi, Shikari Devi, Mahunag, Chandika Devi, are some of the popular ones.
Mahunag temple, is dedicated to Karn (of Mahabharata), and lies around 20 kms from Chindi (towards Shimla). The last 5 kms or so is a trek. We did not go there, due to the trek involved. Maybe, some other time.
Shikari Devi Temple
We could not go up to Shikari Devi temple as it is ~18 kms trek. If you are able and have a chance, do not miss it. The views are unparalleled. Once at the top, stick around and ask the priest there about the temple’s roof.
Chandika Devi Temple
The ancient Chandika (Durga) temple is a short walk from the Chindi Village. Most of it seems renovated now, but the essence and old world charm is still intact. The temple is open just for a few hours in the morning, so visit it first thing in the morning if you want to pay your respects to the deity. The complex is open throughout the day. There is also a circular stepped well (or pond?) in the complex, which looks very pretty with the temple in the backdrop.
Legend has it, that the Mamleshwar temple was constructed by the Pandavas. It houses a grain of wheat that is approx 200 grams heavy and dates back to the Mahabharata era.
Though not on public display, a polite request with little persuasion, and the priest may show it to you. Do try your luck!
Kamaksha Devi Temple
Around 5 kms ahead of Mamel, lies the village of Kau which houses the Kamaksha Devi temple. As per legends, Lord Parshuram meditated here to seek the Goddess’s blessing. The structure is a fine example of the wood working skills of people around these parts. Some say, the actual Deity is underground and everyone is not allowed there now.
There are many more interesting stories and local legends tied to these temple. Locals are happy to share if you show some interest. Don’t rush through them like you may do at other places though
The only worthwhile family friendly stay options in Karsog valley are – The PWD rest house, which offers a spectacular view of the valley below, and the HPTDC Mamleshwar.
Even the larger town of Karsog, which lies around 15 kms after Chindi, does not seem to have many hotels or homestays.
To Sum Up
Not too far from the bigger and popular hill stations like Shimla, Chindi is an ideal short getaway if you wish to enjoy your holidays in solitude.
Keep Rocking, Keep Roaming!