Hatkoti Temple in ShimlaFamous as “Devbhoomi” or land of Gods, Shimla has got many religious spots and most of them date back to the ancient time. The Hatkoti Temple of Shimla is located in the mysterious valley of Hatkoti. The temples are made of stone and quite unusual than any other temples of this region. It is believed that Sri Adi Shankaracharya had established the temples of Hatkoti. According to some others, the temples are built during 3rd Century AD while others believe that they were built later.
Hatkoti Temple is not only given special reverence for having the main deities as Devi Durga and Lord Shiva but is appreciated by all types of tourists for its amazing backdrop of snow-capped Himalayan Ranges, green slopes of deep forests and valleys in between the magnificent mountain ranges. Many prefer to come here for its picturesque scenic beauty and pristine and calm environment. In the surrounding places especially on the banks of River Pabbar, picnics are organized.
The locals believe that Mata Hatketswari is one of the most powerful Goddesses of the Hindu Religion and that is why this temple gets adorned and admired by the residents of Himachal Pradesh as well as by the people who come to visit Shimla. The Shimla Tour for a person would remain incomplete without stepping into this wonderful temple premise that houses age-old stone temples.
Architecture of Hatkoti TempleApart from being one of the most visited Hindu pilgrimage places of the state, Hatkoti Temple is also appreciated for its unparallel architecture marvel. In this temple, Goddess Durga gets worshipped in the form of Devi Mahisashumardini, one of the most powerful incarnations of Devi Durga. The idol is about 1.2 m high and it is made of “ashtadhatu” (8 precious metals). The idol is installed in a sanctum and a light gets emitted from this bronze idol.
Some inscriptions are there on both sides of the idol but the inscriptions could not be deciphered till date. Within the Hatkoti Temple Complex, Lord Shiva gets worshiped in a separate temple. The most surprising feature is that the Shivalingam worshiped has more width than that of the entry door. There are several other temples within the temple premise and each one of them is a unique showcasing wonderful architectural skill of the builders.
There is a prayer hall which is called “Kirtan Ghar” and a rest house ( Dharamshala). For making sacrifices and to follow other rituals, a separate room is there within the complex which is called Yagyashala. There is a hawan kund present at the middle of the hall. Another hall, “Satsang Bhavan”, is also located within the temple complex. About 350 people can sit at a time in this hall. The architectural style of this temple supports the fact that these temples were constructed during the period of Gupta Rulers from 6 AD to 9 AD.
Historical Importance of Hatkoti TempleThere are some stone temples scattered with the temple complex and they are about 5 in numbers. These temples are in the decreasing order of size. It is believed that these temples were used by Pancha Pandavas as their toy houses. It is believed by some that these temples have connection with the great Hindu Epic “the Mahabharata”. Below the surface of the temple, a tunnel is present that is about 6 ft high and 3 and half ft wide.
According to some legends, it is believed that at this place fierce battle were fought between the Gods and the demons.
Fairs at Hatkoti TempleThere are many fairs and festivals held in Hatkoti Temple. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees from the nearby areas as well from the areas far off during the month of April and October / November. During April, Chaitra Navratra is observed and during October, Aswin Navratra is observed. Fairs are organized on these occasions. Devotees who worship Ma Durga in “Shakti” form sacrifice goats/sheep at this temple. Halwa Prasad and flowers are offered by the devotees worshipping Devi Durga in “Vaishnavi” form.
Weddings and other family and social rituals are also held at this temple complex.