“Heaven is a myth, Dharamshala is for real”
This line epitomizes the beauty of Himachal Pradesh, “The land of Gods”. We do not know how the real heaven looks or feel like, so for a similar experience, god has gifted us Himachal Pradesh.
The picturesque mountain, lush greenery, mystical rivers, serene weather and those down the lane roads is what makes Himachal, a heaven on earth.
Hence, we at Notonmap have managed to find one more off-road trek that you will definitely go gaga about and that trek is Himani Chamunda trek. Aadi Himani Chamunda is a moderately difficult 7.4 kilometer trek near Chamunda (Himachal Pradesh. The temple stands close to the ruins of the palace of Raja Chandar Bhan Chand Katoch (d. 1660), and is of least the same age, if not for older. Chamunda , also known as Chamundi, Chamundeshwari and Charchika, is a fearsome aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother and one of the seven Matrikas (mother goddesses). She is also one of the chief Yoginis, a group of sixty-four or eighty-one Tantric goddesses, who are attendants of the warrior goddess Durga. The name is a combination of Chanda and Munda, two monsters whom Chamunda killed.
In spite of its beautiful history, the one reason to go for Himani Chamunda trek is the 360 degree panoramic view of Dhauladhar Mountains from the top of the Adi Himani Chamunda temple. The treacherous trio of the Kundli, Toral, and Talang Passes is visible from the temple clearly.
The trek can be done by two routes. One via Jadrangal, that connects Chamunda temple with Aadi Himani Chamunda trek. This is a route frequented by pilgrims and it is a much straighter and paved with stone steps. The other trekking route is less frequented, but is more enchanting. This route starts near Jia Village. Jia is a picturesque mountain hamlet nestled in Dhauladhar foothills. This picturesque village is 7 kilometres from Chamunda town. The village is has a hydroelectric power project overlooking the village. The trek is long enough, around 12-14 km’s.
The trek can be completed in one day and you can even stay at the temple premises. The trek from Jia to Aadi Himani Chamunda is 7.4 kilometer long and it involves a moderate yet relentless climb. The climb is a mix of paved concrete, stony step sand full of stones. Throughout the route you find ample of shelters and solar lamps and it is clearly marked.
Although, it is possible to complete this trek and return back to Jia in one day but then how would you be able to watch the magic of nature that is visible only during sunset and sunrise? The temple gives a close and clear view Dhauladhars and the natural beauty of this place is best savored in late evenings or at early mornings. Late evenings breeze and raze of setting sun blends into orange, purple, blue colors giving a completely magical treat to eyes. The night sky even looks more beautiful. The clear sky lets you breathe freely and gives a chance of star gazing for hours the view of Dharamshala town is even more enticing at night when the town lights up in a sparkle of twinkling lights. The sunrise is equally splendid as it parts the mist over the Kangra Valley and illuminates the valley for miles and miles. Waking up to such view with clouds on your feet, you being on the top of the world and waterfalls flowing in the nearby hills is a treat to your soul.
After reaching the hill top, if one wishes to stay the temple premises have affordable yet comfortable arrangements for you. The temple has two dormitories for visitors and a room for the priest and his helpers. These dormitories are well stocked with mattresses and blankets. However, if you wish to spend the night stargazing and having fun around a bonfire then, a pasture close to the temple makes an excellent camping ground. But, this idea works only in summers and autumn as in winters the temperature is freezing cold.
Water, food and shelter are a problem in the trek. There are one or two water points before the first shop. It is available at the first shop as well but beyond that water is not available throughout the trek. So it is advisable to carry water as per your needs and refilled at the first opportunity. It is always advisable to carry packaged food along as there are no dhabas and restaurants on the way.
It is also better to carry a warm jacket along as the temperature drops down in the nights, torch, a sleeping bag, and an extra camp in case you do not get accommodation in the temple.
While coming back from the trek, you will be tired too much, your legs will be aching to the fullest, but what makes you feel strong is the real beauty and silence of nature you have savored that is freezed in your memories and has rejuvenated your soul with sparkle and novelty.
The best time of the year to go Himani Chamunda trek-
How to reach
New Delhi to Kangra: about 550 kilometers / about 10 hours drive
Chandigarh to Kangra: about 240 kilometers / about 6 hours drive
Kangra to Jia: about 40 kilometers