The highest mountain peak in the district Mandi of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, ailment treat Shikari Devi overlooks vast valleys, ampoule green meadows and snow clad mountains at a distance. A roofless Shikari Devi (Goddess) shrine is located on top of this peak. The goddess is revered in the form of a stone idol inside the Shikari Devi Temple. Situated at an altitude of 3300m, Shikari Devi peak can be approached from Jhanjhehali, Jaach, or Karsog.
The most popular trek to Shikari Devi is via Jhanjhehali.
Most trekkers choose the Jhanjhehali – Shikari Devi route because they want to taste the beauty of the Jhanjhehali valley on their way.
It is said that Britishers were first interested in making Jhanjhehali Valley as the summer capital of India. They were impressed by the natural beauty of this virgin valley surrounded by thick forests. Shimla, the present day capital of Himachal Pradesh, was chosen later on as the summer capital of British India because of its proximity to Chandigarh and New Delhi.
Today, Jhanjhehali is part-rural, part-urban settlement. This peaceful urbanized village has a large number of scenic spots for camping. You can get all necessary groceries or equipments here easily. Most trekkers choose to stay overnight in Jhanjhehali.
Although the road to Shikari Devi Peak through Shikari Devi Wildlife sanctuary is in good condition during the summer, a large number of tourists choose to trek all the way from to Shikari Devi Peak. By road, Jhanjhehali is just about 16km from the peak. You can reach Rajgardh via road in a vehicle and start the next 3 hour trek to the peak from there. Rajgardh is located in the middle of the Shikari Devi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Shikari Devi mountain range is known for medicinal herbs and a number of other useful plants. It’s a wildlife sanctuary as well. The story behind calling the peak by its current name is not clearly known. The local villagers and hunters used to worship the Goddess before going on a hunt in the deep thick forest.
This temple dates back to the times of Mahabharat. Initial Goddess invocation (sthapna) at this peak was carried out by Pandavas. Even today this temple does not have any roof. Several attempts were made to erect a roof over the temple from time to time but in vain. The inside of the temple never witnesses accumulation of snow for more than a few hours despite the fact that the region receives snowfall as much as 5-6 feet. If we were to believe the villagers, they say that the snow inside the temple never stands for more than few minutes.
Camping: Trekkers can pitch in their tents on any of the green meadows around the Shikari Devi peak. Generally, tourists pitch in their tents at a spot where the road ends. This spot is at an altitude of around 2500 and a long staircase connects this location to the top of the peak.
Guest House: A state government owned guest house (Public Works Department) is located on the plateau in front of the Shikari Devi Shrine. It is just about 10-15 minutes’ walk away from the temple.
Dharmshala: The temple trust manages a number of Dharmshalas (Sarais). You need to pay a very small fee to book a room there. You’ll also be provided with blankets and other necessary equipment. Unless you’re visiting Shikari Devi Shrine on peak Navratri Season, there is a really good chance that most of these rooms are available for tourists.
When to go?
You can visit Shikari Devi from March to September. It is advisable not to go on trekking on a rainy day. There are no shelters on Jhanjhehali – Shikari Devi Trek.
How to reach?
Jhanjhali Village is located about 80km from Sunder Nagar (on Chandigarh – Manali NH) in district Mandi. One can even come from Shimla via the Tattapani – Karsog State Highway 13.
And when you stand tall at the peak, you can see the Kamrunag Temple peak at a distant peak, which is another popular religious and trekking destination in the district Mandi.
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