Joy drive to Shikari Devi (Himachal Pradesh)!!!

Why Go To Shikari Devi:

Adventurous Drive, Untouched Raw Beauty, Roofless Temple, Panoramic View of Mountains!!!

As per local saying, hunters used to worship the Goddess before going on a hunt in the deep thick forest..hence the name Shikari Devi. It’s a roofless temple. Several attempts were made to erect a roof over the temple from time to time but in vain.

Elevation:                      2850m (9350 ft) Above Sea Level

Mandi-Ner Chowk-Baggi-Chail Chowk-Janjehli……….80 km

Janjehli-Shikari Devi………………………………………….16 km

Stairs/Steps………………………………………………………..500

Date of Drive: 27th November 2011

Night stay at forest rest house Chail Chowk, situated in the middle of a forest, was a like a dream. I was the sole residence of the place that night, the caretaker took good care of me.

Got up to a very refreshing morning among chirping of birds and fragrance of flowers. Bed tea served in gleaming cutlery that day, in that pristine surrounding is embedded forever in my memory.

Went for a walk in the nearby woods to unwind my body and soul. I love walking in the woods and it was heavenly on that morning. Came back, freshened up, cleaned off the dirt from Lalpari and was ready for days drive to Janjehli and Shikari Devi.

outside my room at frh Chail Chowk.
outside the room at forest rest house, Chail Chowk.
forest rest house chail chowk
Lalpari waiting on the road.
forest rest house chail chowk
forest rest house chail chowk
you may not be sure about the availability of the road, but you can bet, liquor is available even at the remotest of places in himachal pradesh.
Road may not be available at many places in Himachal but liquor surely is.
sign board at kanda
sign board at kanda

Janjehli is a small, picturesque place and a base for trekking to many places including shikari devi, Karsog and Kamrunag. Around 10 years ago, one of my bank colleagues, Mr Vijay Rampal had mentioned it to me while narrating his travel tale to shikari devi in one of our meetings and thus planted a seed in my mind. It had been on my mind ever since but never really got the opportunity due to bank and family commitments. After voluntary retirement from bank, I have been roaming about and going to places which I have been postponing so far. So here I was driving to Janjehli and Shikari devi, seeds of which were planted long ago in my mind by Mr Rampal.

Began the drive at around 11am from Chail Chowk. Took a little break at Kanda to enquire about the route. Kanda is a meeting point of roads from Pandoh (24 km) and Chail Chowk (24 km). Janjehli is further 32 km from Kanda.

shiv mandir at Bagsyar
shiv mandir at Bagsyad

Himachal is called Devbhumi because temple all around compliment the natural surrounding. The number of temples present on the roads of Himachal add to its already pious surroundings. It gives immense pleasure and sense of security to the solo traveler like me. This little wooden temple alongside a little stream just before a bridge on the road was a very welcome sight.

Danchy dhaba Bagsyar
Danchy dhaba Bagsyad

Another pleasant feature of road travel in himachal is its local dhabas (food joints). They serve simple, local, sumptuous food at fixed rates. The lunch at Danchy dhaba, Bagsyad was a delight as is any himachali dhaba. They served dal, cuddy, subzi, roti, rice with salad till you are done…for just Rs.40-

pandav shila on the way
pandav shila on the way

This massive rock (Pandav Shila) is associated with pandavas (of Mahabharata fame) and is said to be kept here by Bhima, one of the Pandavas, who are said to have arrived here during their exile. As per local information, one can move this massive rock only with a single finger.

steep climb to shikari devi
steep climb to shikari devi

The drive from Janjehli is very steep, 16 km scary drive on a narrow muddy road full of slush, passes through thick forest of Shikari Devi Wildlife Sanctuary. The last few kilometers of the drive is very steep ascent and is done mostly in first or second gear.

drive to shikari devi through a forest
drive to shikari devi through the forest

A leisure drive from Chail Chowk to Janjehli and a steep, narrow, slush filled, lonely drive through the forest, I reached a clearing where I saw few vehicles already parked. On checking, found that, it was the last point till car could go. So left Lalpari there and started climbing steep steps through the middle of thick deodar forest. There were few other people too. I was getting breathless and after every 10-15 stairs was stopping to get the breath back. Noticed I was not the only one getting breathless, most of others were feeling same too and were stopping to take breath back like me. Still felt good keeping in mind that I was already 50 and did not have good lifestyle due to my profession and city life. And here I was……..driving solo and now climbing steep steps like everyone else.

After around 30 minutes of huffing and puffing over those 500 steep stairs….reached the temple area. The temple looked beautiful and unique. It was roofless and looked more open than most of the temples I had been to. More so the panoramic view from the temple was just out of the world. The scenery around was just magnificent, 360 panoramic views of surrounding mountains and valleys were stunning. Wind was blowing at a high velocity and it became difficult to stay at the temple for long. After spending an hour or so and having a good look at the area, I started back to Janjehli.

beautiful view from shikari devi
beautiful view from shikari devi
view from shikari devi
view from shikari devi
another view from shikari devi
another view from shikari devi
At shikari devi temple
At shikari devi temple
view from shikari devi
view from shikari devi
img1127_161820408
parking area, 500 stairs to the temple through the forests begin from here.
lalpari parked at the starting point of stairs to shikari devi
Lalpari parked at the starting point of stairs to shikari devi
on the way back, signboard at raigarh
on the way back, signboard at Raigarh
lalpari, resting at raigarh
Lalpari, resting at Raigarh
Janjehli, forest rest house can be seen far away across the river
Janjehli, forest rest house can be seen far away across the river

Evening was setting in but the surroundings were so charming that my heart was not willing to let it go so quickly. I was driving so slow and stopping after every few kilometers. By the time I reached Chail Chowk it was pitch dark. Time was around 8pm and 8pm in these mountains is like 12pm in cities. I was not very sure where I was going to spend the night.

Luckily Pankaj met me again at Chail Chowk. Pankaj is the same friend who had helped me the previous night in finding FRH at Chail Chowk.  He suggested that Hotel Rama, at Badhu on the way to Chindi was just one hour drive from Chail Chowk and was open 24 hour a day. Thus reassured I drove another 50 adventurous kilometers on an unknown lonely road in the middle of night. My only companions were hindi romantic songs playing on fm radio and headlights of Lalpari probing the road for wildlife. The board mentioning Rama Hotel, was a very welcome sign.

rama hotel
Rama Hotel, Badhu
Google map of the route followed for the trip…..Chail Chowk-Janjehli-Shikari Devi Devi-Chail Chowk-Chail-Ludhiana.

Night was chilly and windy. Mist was playing hide and seek in the dark night. Hotel Rama was in the middle of a jungle and some distance away from any town. I was in bed dreaming about today’s drive and miles away from sleep. Suddenly I heard sounds of sweet songs from nearby. Came out of the room, walked up the balcony and saw some men drinking, singing passionately and dancing around bonfire.

It was an amazing feeling. I was standing in the cold, on the first floor of the building, watching, listening and enjoying the whole atmosphere. Misty, chilly, dark night…….campfire and some lively people singing and dancing to the full, in middle of a jungle, so passionately.

What a luck I was having. Another Dream Come True.

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16 thoughts on “Joy drive to Shikari Devi (Himachal Pradesh)!!!

  1. HI! Nice n informative writeup sir. I am planning from Chindi around 15th April. Plz let me know how did u manage to book FRH @ CHAIL CHOWK .Also let meknow how far is RAMA Hotel from Chindi. Thanx-Yadvinder Bharti (Chandigarh)

    • Hi Bharti ji…..It was just a chance that FRH@Chail Chowk was vacant and I got it booked on the spot. Hotel Rama is just a road side dhaba/hotel, which is open 24 hours and lies in between Chail Chowk and Chindi. I don’t exactly know the distance. I drove there during the night and it took me around one hour from Chail Chowk. However, you can contact me on my whatsapp no.xxxxxxxxx for any other information.

      Thanks!!!

      • Thank you Sir for the prompt reply. I will contact you on your Whats app no. Thanx once again

  2. VERY INFORMATIVE AND LIVELY WRITING FROM MY FELLOW LUDHIANVI! I OPENED THE PAGE AS I WAS IN MOHAL,KULLU RECENTLY FOR A MONTH.I WANTED TO BUY A PROPERTY THERE BUT SOMEONE ADVISED ME THAT THE PLACES BEYOND CHAIL CHOWK TO CHINDI ARE CHEAP AND MORE BEAUTIFUL. MY WIFE IS A HIMACHALI AND I AM NOW RETIRED FROM CENTRAL GOVT. DO YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA FOR A PERSON FROM GILL, LUDHIANA.

    • Nice to have someone from Ludhiana commenting Kaushish ji….In fact I used to live in Urban Estate, Dugri Road. Currently we have shifted to Amritsar after retirement. Yes, I have been to the area around Chail Chowk, Chindi and Karsog 3-4 times. I found the entire area very scenic, peaceful and lively. Due to apple and cash crop, the area looks quite prosperous too. The approach to the area is two way from Mandi side as well as from Shimla side. The road from both sides is beautiful. Still I believe everyone has one’s own choice and would advise you to visit the area before coming to any conclusion.

    • Thats nice to know Rajesh Kumar brother. Thanks for going through the travelogue and your valuable opinion. The area you are posted and the people living in it are so beautiful that I long to come back again. Hope you are having great time. Thanks again.

    • Dear Rajesh,
      I retired as director from Central Govt. a few years back. I had gone through the writings of Mr. Sunil and in fact had written to him also in this regard. I was in Mohal,Kullu for over a month this summer. I intend to buy some land for residential purposes there but was told that your area is more beautiful. Could you kindly suggest some property/location which should be calm , quiet and beautiful with minimum facilities like water and electricity but safe for an old couple for summers. Being a teacher you will certainly have that taste for beauty.
      hoping to hear from you.
      Kaushish

  3. Greetings Sunil ji. I was planning a trip to Gushiani/Jibhi(Tirthan Valley) and wanted to return back to Ludhiana via Janjehli. Could you please advise the route from Tirthan valley to Janjehli. Thank you so much.

    • Your welcome Bharatt ji….From Tirthan return to Pandoh. From Pandoh take road to Chail Chowk and look for turn to Kanda/Janjehli on this road. Please check with the locals for latest update.

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