Janjelhi, a virtual paradise on earth
A visit to Shikari Ma was on our agenda. It was after a very long time that the whole family was together and we wanted to make the best use of this opportunity. We started for Janjelhi which is about at a distance of 67 k.m. from Mandi. Janjehli is a paradise for hikers, offering treks up to a height of 3,300 metres. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar and from there one has to come to Mandi and from Mandi to Janjelhi.
The drive to Janjelhi is through the green pastures, high mountains in the distance, and lush green forest that provide a relief to the eyes and the soul. The urban eyes accustomed to watch tarred roads and high-rise buildings get a relief on watching a still pristine life around the road. Though we had come from Hamirpur yet the panoramic beauty of Janjelhi mesmerized our scorched eyes as well. The drive was re freshening.
We reached Janjelhi in t
I, along with both of my daughters, tried to explore a little of the place outside. The golden rays of the setting Sun covered everything in golden hue and the place looked majestic. The pristine beauty of the surroundings and the coziness of the small houses on both sides of the road made it like any other small hamlet In Himachal but the only difference lay in the fact that Janjelhi still seemed so virgin, untouched and ravaged by the tourists. Its beauty lay in its raw charm.
The winds had become icy and cold and the locals sitting around fire in their small houses that I could peep inside, made us rush back to the place where we were to stay. We stayed at the residence of the local veterinary officer and I loved the feel of the house. It was a very old residence and built in British style with wooden work surpassing the concrete that we were accustomed to see. The bright and burning fire in the hearth looked so temping in the room when we entered it. We covered ourselves with whatever we could find as it was cold and a shawl would have been a welcome. But as we were not prepared to face such cold in the month of June we had not brought any woolens with us. The aroma of the food being cooked in the kitchen made me feel hungry. I never knew how and why could I feel so hungry. Perhaps it was the climate and the fresh air that was so appetizing to us. After a sumptuous dinner we retired for the night and started dreaming of the much awaited dream of visiting the temple of Shikari Ma.
Early in the morning we were disheartened to find the sky overcast with clouds. The rain was in the air. But how could we cancel the visit to the temple howsoever hard it might be in that inclement weather. Though there were many debates but we decided to move on as reaching so near to Shikari Ma and not going there was something which we could not do. And early in the morning, after having hearty breakfast, we started for the temple. someone handed me a bedcoveras it was the only big cloth to cover myself if I felt cold. The veterinary officer being a bachelor had no womanly covers for us. After much hesitation and simply because I did not want to offend the well meaning elderly person who gave me that bedcover, I took it, deciding there and then that I won’t use it come what may! 🙂 But on the way to Shikari Ma when it started raining heavily and the cold was biting and chilling, this bedcover seemed like a godsend to me and all my pictures show me draped in that bedcover! 🙂
Shikari Mata is 21Kilometers from Janjelhi. The road is kutcha and very narrow, One has to be extremely proficient driver to steer the vehicle on this road. We decided to take our vehicle to a place that is some 9 Kms from Janjelhi and walk there from. In fact that day the Chief Minister of Himachal Mr Dhumal was visiting Shikari Mata so all other vehicles were not allowed to ply on that road! J We reached the spot where the vehicle had to drop us and started our ascent towards the top of the hill where from the anecdotes and folktales about Shikari Mata beckoned us!