22nd May 2017…Masroor-Jawali-Bathu Ki Ladi (35 km)-Amritsar (160 km)
The main reason for the trip during the hot summer day was the mysterious temples locally known as Bathu Ki Ladi. After having an amazing time at Nagrota Surian wetlands, a surprise ride to gumnam island Rancer and a brief visit to Rock Cut Temples at Masroor, I drove to the busy town of Jawali.
Since I wanted to reach Bathu Ki Ladi before sunset, did not stay for long in Jawali and straightway headed towards Bathu Ki Ladi. The narrow, 6-8 kilometer road, Jawali-Dhan-Guglara-Dukhi-Bathu Ki Ladi passed through busy markets and colonies.
From Dukhi road bend, the left road goes to Dukhi village and the straight one leads to Bathu Ki Ladi. This stretch of 4 kilometers is an uneven dirt trek and seems to go under water during the peak water level in the reservoir.
It was good to see few cars parked just outside the temple premises. It was comforting to know that I was not alone. The visitors looked very excited and having great time.
The temples looked so amazing. It was hard to believe that they remain underwater for 8-9 months every year for the last 35 years and still surviving. It was not less than a miracle.
The Minar or the tower is the highest building of all the surviving temples. A door lead to very steep stairs inside that go all the way to the roof. Many people climbed the stairs and seen clicking pictures at the roof of the Minar. It was very windy at the top as well and a board placed at the entrance has a warning for all the climbers to this fact.
Bathu temples known locally as ‘Bathu ki ladi’ is a cluster of temples in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. These temples were submerged in Maharana Pratap Sagar, a reservoir created by Pong Dam in 1970s.
Since then these temples are reachable only in the months of May–June when the water level decreases. One can reach these temples by boat from Dhameta and Nagrota Surian and by road from Jawali.
There are many stories about the origin of the temples famous among the local people. Some believe that the temples were built by Pandavas during their exile, while others believe that they were built by some local kings. But nothing authentic is know about these temples.
There were already a number of visitors present at the site. Most were awestruck at the beauty of the temples and mystery surrounding it. Despite nothing concrete was known about the origin of the temples yet everyone was just amazed to see its sheer beauty and strength of survival.
It was very windy evening. I saw an excited woman running towards the lake with the strong wind almost carrying her into the air. Everyone’s heart came to their mouth as she barely survived being blown away and into the lake.
Although a number of boards placed at the site and a diya lit in the main premises meant the premises are under some sort of management yet later in the evening I noticed, everyone left the place and no one was left behind.
From the site Rancer Island was visible to the left and Karu Island to the right. The town of Dhameta also looked closeby. One of those days, I will return back and visit the area from Dhameta side and see how the temples look from that side.
Suddenly clouds started building up and it became quite dark. Everyone present at the site left and I was left alone. I stayed back as I wanted to see the temples in fading light. Soon it started raining heavily, luckily it did not last for long.
I stayed back at the temple till around 7.30pm and when the place started looking deserted and menacing, I decided to drive back to Jawali. Drive back to jawali was little difficult as the kutcha road got drenched in the rain and water had logged at few places making the road muddy and slushy.
Reached Jawali at around 8pm and since I hadn’t any further plans and sleeping inside the car with so much of heat was not feasible, I decided to drive back home in Amritsar but not before enjoying half a kilogram of local fried fish.
Enjoyed driving back home Amritsar through the beautiful Jawali-Pathankot-Amritsar highway. Reached Amritsar at 12pm midnight after a whirlwind 34 hour drive visiting gumnam island Rancer, Rock Cut Temple, Masroor and mysterious Bathu Ki Ladi…..!!!