Hillsides covered with thick forests, acres filled with apple orchards, small picturesque hamlets and remarkable views in all directions combine to make Chindi and the area around it, one of the most beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh. This pocket is still off beaten track and yet, has good facilities in terms of roads, small markets and accommodation.
One of the most picturesque places in Himachal, this has wide valleys criss-crossed by streams and carpeted with fields of assorted vegetables and grains. From fertile floors, orchards and thick forests rise to touch snow covered peaks. The small villages and their age-old architecture give expression to the phrase ‘picture-perfect’. Legends and folklore abound, and every one of the temples is a repository of local culture and an example of remarkable building skills. And depending on when you take your trip, you can return with some excellent organically grown exotic vegetables, high quality lentils or crisp apples.
Height: 1850 m
Climate: The summer is mild and cottons and light woollens are suggested. In winter, the sunny days are pleasant, though the nights are cold and heavy clothes are required. Through the rest of the year, light woollens are suggested.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Chindi
Road: From Chandigarh, Chindi is at a distance of 243 kms. Shimla to Chindi via Tattapani is a distance of 87 kms. Rampur to Chindi via Baina Khud is 92 kms. Mandi to Chindi via Chail Chowk and Ner Chowk is 100 kms.
Rail: Kalka is the nearest broad gauge railway station at a distance of 177 kms. By narrow gauge Kalka Shimla railway, Shimla station is at a distance of 87 kms.
Air: Shimla airport is 112 kms away.
Tourist Attractions in Chindi
Karsog lies 16 kms from Chindi at an elevation of 1,350 m. This is a sub-divisional administrative headquarter of Mandi district. Surrounded by wide steps of fields, this village holds the main bazaar of the valley and serves as a focal point for the neighbouring villages. Agriculture is the mainstay of the area and it is well known for its wheat, corn, rice and a variety of lentils and beans. The valley is criss-crossed by several brooks and the ‘twin’ Amla and Bimla streams.
Temple of Mamleshwara Mahadev (1,370 m): This is 13 kms from Chindi and 2 kms from Karsog Bazaar in the village of Mamel. Local belief has it that the temple dates back to the times of the epic Mahabharata when it was founded by the Pandava brothers. And drawing on India’s other great epic, the Ramayana, it is regarded that after King Ravana of Lanka was killed by Bhagwan Rama, his soul could not be free till an image of Bhagwan Shiva was installed here – which was done by Rama with the use of his supernatural powers. The sages Parshurama and Brighu are also regarded to have meditated at this spot. Some recently excavated shivlingas have been installed by the side of the temple. The Vijaya Dhshami fair is held here every year in September-October. Other important festivals are Shivaratri and the Nalwar fair.
Temple of Kamakshya Mata (1,400 m): 17 kms from Chindi, 5 kms from Mamel and 7 kms from Karsog bazaar, this ancient temple is located in the village of Kau. The goddess in this temple is regarded to be manifest at the spot due to the meditations and sacrifices of Lord Parshurama. A fair in June-July is held every year. Dusshera is another major celebration in the temple.
Kunhoo Dhar (1,550 m): This wide flat-topped hill is 23 kms from Chindi and is accessed through the Karsog bazaar. You can drive up to around 1 km of the spot. The hilltop presents a 360 degrees view of the area. The Karsog valley lies below, to the north is the peak of Shikari Devi. Some of the other well known ranges and mountains visible from Kunhoo Dhar are the Pir Panjal, the Hanuman Tibba, the rises around the Jalori Pass, the bare Chawasi Tibba, Narkanda’s Hatu Peak and the Shali Tibba. The villages of Churag, Chindi and Mahunag form a part of the foreground and the other sightseeing places of Dhamoon and Sairi Bangla (Bungalow) are also visible. Kunhoo Dhar has a pond used by cattle and a temple placed under a large tree; the shrine is dedicated to both Kamakshya Devi and to Nag Dhamooni. Local tradition has it that this was the site of the original palace of the former princely state of Suket. It is the site of a large fair held every June/July. Smaller ones are also held at other points of year.
En route to Kunhoo Dhar are the small temples dedicated to Shilgiri Nag at Mathel and the one oto Ban, Vibhuti Mata. A tiny cave by the road at Jalog, is regarded sacred to Deoli Mata.
Mahunag (1,830 m): This lies 21 kms from Chindi. The drive initially goes in the direction of Shimla and Tattapani, after 10 kms there is the turn of to this shrine located atop a hill. This is an attractive drive through pine woods that gradually give way to deodars, the temple of Mahunag is regarded as one of the most important ones in the area. This is considered to be core temple of the deity Mahunag – who is regarded as the embodiment of Karna of the epic Mahabharata.
Pangana: This is 23 kms from Chindi via Bakhrot. This small village was the original seat of the rulers of Suket till they shifted the capital to Sundernagar. The centuries-old Devi Kot temple is one of the most remarkable examples of traditional architectural skills. The deity Mahamaya and the deified princess of Suket, Chandravati are enshrined in the compound. There are a total of seven temples in Pangana.
Tattapani (680 m): 43 kms from Chindi on the Chindi-Shimla haighway, this is located on the banks of the river Satluj. Near Tattapani, by the banks of the Saror stream, is a large cave with stalagmite formations regarded to be the embodiment of Lord Shiva. The heights of Devbareyogi above Tattapani present some good views – this is accessed by a sharp climb.
Kamrunag (3,300 m): Accessible by a trek route that goes from the village of Chowki located on the Chindi-Mandi road, this is one of Himachal’s most remarkable shrines. The deity Kamrunag, has his temple atop a thickly forested hill and all offerings (which are coins and even gold and silver ornaments) are placed in a large water tank before the temple. The views all around are magnificent and display nature at its finest and most pristine. Considered to be a deity who can control rain, Kamrunag is supplicated by the local people – especially farmers. The Kamrunag Dhar is a series of interlocking hills and is one of the finest mid-altitude treks in the state. A large fair is held in June every year at the shrine.
Ardhanarishwara Temple: Accessed from the village of Banthal in the Karsog valley.
Temple of Aledi Mahadev, within the Karsog valley.
En route from Chindi to Karsog, from the bifurcation point between Bakrot and Sinarli, a 1 km walk from the main road will take you to the temple of Palinag.
The Bhima Rock: In the village of Naganjan, a smaller rock rests atop a large boulder that can be seen from a distance. This is regarded to have been set here by Bhima of the Mahabharata. The upper boulder wobbles when the lower one is pushed.