Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: The southernmost district of Himachal Pradesh, Sirmaur is spread on the Shiwalik range of the Himalayas. The region of Sirmaur was earlier a princely state, which was founded by the Raja of Jaisalmer, Raja Rasaloo, in 1090 AD. With nearly 90 per cent of the population of the district residing in villages, this largely rural district still retains an old world charm and quaintness that is hard to find in other parts of the country.
What makes Sirmaur an ideal place to visit, is largely its location and elevation. The district is located at an average elevation of around 1300 metres, and thus, experiences pleasant weather throughout the place. Also, its proximity to the Northern Plains of India makes it closer to other major cities of India. Thus, this region is an ideal weekend getaway.
To find out the top 10 places to visit in this district, read on!
- Renuka Lake:
The largest lake in the state, it lies at an elevation of around 630 metres. The lake is shaped in the form of a reclining woman, and locals believe that it embodies Renuka, the wife of sage Jamadagni and mother of Lord Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Boating is allowed on the lake and is quite popular among tourists. A very large fair, called the International Shri Renuka Ji Fair is held on the eve of Prabodhini Ekadashi. Lakhs of devotees from all over the country come to attend this fair. It is located at a distance of 38 kilometres from Nahan.
Suketi Fossil Park:
Also known as the Shiwalik Fossil Park, it is the first fossil park in Asia that has been set up on the same site where the fossils were discovered. It is among the largest fossil parks of Asia and is located at a distance of nearly 21 kilometres from Nahan. The fossils found in the park are nearly 2.5 million years ago.
Situated on the Jaitak Hills, the fort is believed to have been made by the Gurkhas overnight, using the materials that were recovered from the destroyed Nahan Fort. It was built by the Gurkha leader, Ranjor Singh Thapa, in 1810.
Also known as the ‘Valley of Divine Peace’, Baru Sahib was set up by Sant Teja Singh, who wished to fulfil the wishes of his guru, Sant Attar Singh, of setting up a school that blends scientific and moral education in the lap of the Himalayas. The region around Baru Sahib was chosen as it was blessed by the tenth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.
This temple was built by Raja Budhh Prakash in 1681. It has been built in the style of the original temple in Puri, and is dedicated to the Hindu god, Neel Madhav. It is believed that the Lord himself came in the dream of the Raja and asked him to shift his temple to a better place, which was earlier at the base of a peepal tree.
Simbalwara Wildlife Sanctuary:
The sanctuary has sal forests and green, grassy pastures that are home to animals like the ghoral, chital, sambhar, leopard and barking deer.
Located at an altitude of nearly 2,500 metres, this small town was once the summer capital of the Sirmaur state. The town houses the Maa Bhangyani Temple, who is the Goddess sister of Shirgul Mahadev. She is believed to be one of the most powerful deities to be worshipped in Sirmaur. It is located at a distance of nearly 62 kilometres from Rajgarh.
This town was founded by the 10 th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru spent nearly four and a half years in this town; the most amount of time he spent in any area. He wrote many important pieces of literature here, before leaving for Anandpur Sahib to establish the Khalsa Panth. A big gurudwara is built in the town, and it has a famous museum which houses the items used by the Guru during his stay here.
The town was also blessed by Sikh military commander, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
This beautiful valley is surrounded by deodar forests, and is located at a height of nearly 6,770 feet. There is plenty of wildlife that can be seen in this valley, as peacocks, deer, bears, ghorals and kakkars have been spotted in the area. It is located at a distance of around 30 kilometres from Rajgarh.
This hamlet is full of an old world charm, as it is unexplored and is a wonderful site for camping. Since there are no ‘tourist spots’ in this region, this place is ideal for trekking. This place is also the base camp for treks that go up to the Churdhar peak. It is located at a distance of around 27 kilometres from Rajgarh.
The trek to Churdhar Peak is an unforgettable one, as on a clear day, one can get clear views of Badrinath, Kedarnath, the Satluj River, Shimla, Chail, Kufri, Kasauli and Chakrata from here.
Located at a height of just around 12,000 feet, it is also known as Churi-Chandni Dhar (Bangles of snow ridge). The trek can be done from three sides, with the shortest and most popular one being from Nauradhar in Sirmaur district.
What makes the trek even more worthwhile is the fact that it is surrounded by a 56 square kilometre forest sanctuary. The trek takes place from May to November, when the snow has melted.