The entire Himalayan range from Kashmir to Uttaranchal is dotted with temples to the female deity, pharmacy Devi’s manifestations of mother goddess, check and the great primordial energy. Legend has it that Shiva on not being invited by his father in law for a function went for it with his wife Sati on her persistence. Not being able to bear the disgrace and humiliation that was meted out to her husband at the function Sati committed suicide. Shiva on seeing his beloved dead, hospital in rage carried her body on his shoulders and began to perform the dance of death ‘the tandava’.
The myth goes onto say that the world was on the verge of destruction when Lord Vishnu, the preserver, intervened. He targeted the corpse and with a volley of arrows was able to break the corpse to pieces. At the sites where those body parts fell have arisen some of the holiest shrines of Hinduism.
Besides the River Pabbar at Hatkoti in the Shimla hills a breast is said to have fallen. However there is a local variation of the legend.
Two sisters who lived in the Jubbal region renounced the world and took to travelling and helping the needy. One day the elder sister wandered farther off and reached Hatkoti. Meditating here for several days she went into trance and then vanished. In her place a stone image appeared. The people were awe struck and began to worship it. The local ruler on learning of it walked to the spot and wanted to make an offering of gold. On digging before the image the pit began to fill up with milk. On digging further blood appeared. It was stooped and instead a temple was built at the spot.
The elder sister came to be accepted as a manifestation of the goddess and came to be known as Hateshwari Devi. The Pandavas in their year of exile are said to have lived for a while at this temple. The great Shankaracharya is also said to have visited the shrine.
With a gurgling river presenting a refreshing morning view and gushes of mountain air to inhale in, Hatkoti is also toasted for its trout fish. The paddy fields in the valley and the well-laid out apple orchards on the slopes above make a very scenic setting. And the temple is the jewel in the valley.
After passing through Theog, Khara Pathtar and Jubbal at 105 Km the road from Shimla gets you to Hatkoti. The temple also known as Vajreshwari Devi has a unique meter high image of a eight armed goddess made of an alloy of eight metals. At the gateway to the Pabbar valley Hatkoti remains a popular pilgrimage center. Besides a rest house Himachal tourism runs Hotel Pabbar here, for tourists and pilgrims.