Chhatrari is a famous village in near Chamba. This exquisite place is populated by gaddies, a lot engaged in nurturing goats and sheep. This beautiful village is situated at a height of 6000 ft. The village is famous for an amazing pahari style temple of deity Shamti Devi.
The temple of Chhatrari is the holiest temple in this region. This temple competes with the well known temples of Bhawani of Kangra and withthat of Lakshna Devi of Bharmaur. The essence of this temple is simplicity. This temple has rare brass artifacts of the famous master craftsman Gugga, enshrined in the small sanctuary.
The temple is built in rubble masonry and has alternating wooden beams. The roof of the temple is surmounted by slanting slates. The roof is supported on luxuriantly carved beams. This serves as a veranda or a circumbulatory path around the sanctuary. This temple is chiefly famous for its façade, pillars and ceiling which is richly decorated. The architecture of sanctums clearly highlights the builder’s efforts to build the temple in Gupta art style.
The main deity of this temple is Shakti. The temple has four and half feet high image of Shakti with a lance in one hand (which signifies the Power and Energy needed to annihilate the wicked) and a lotus in another hand (which represents the Life itself). There are other things like a bell (connoting Ether or Space) and a snake (which represents Death and Time) in the hands of deity. There are as many as thirty idols in the temples. These are small figurines of deities like Annapurna. Some of these are brought from state of Orissa.
The inscriptions found at the temple tell us that the temple was erected by Raja Meru Varman. The inscription bears the names of the people in Raja Meru Varma’s lineage. It has the name of the sculptor too. The inscription on the epigraph is a testimony to the help of Devi in defeating the rival of the king Meru Varma. The outer walls of the temple are adorned with beautiful frescoes representing some scenes from puranas.
There are two interesting myths about Chhatrari. The village was named Chhatrari by Raja Bala Bhadra who had granted 36 laharis to the temple. This was done to compensate the accidental death of a cow by the hands of king. Lahari is today known as Chhatrari. Another legend has to do with the water sources of the village. A disciple of a Siddha was killed by bears while fetching water. The Siddha then prayed to the deity and asked to solve the problem of water. The deity then made 36 marks with her trident and water surged out of these places. There are now 36 water sources in the village and hence the village is called Chhatrari.
The village can be reached by motor from Gehra. A ride at the height of 700 to 900 ft above the beautiful river Ravi is most exciting one. If you want to go there trekking then it is one of the most rewarding experiences. The ideal time to visit this place is between September and October.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/07