The Adi Himani Chamunda Temple in the Dhauladhar Himalayas was damaged in fire. This news appeared in some newspapers on 15 February, 2014. I had gone trekking in this region on 15 Novemeber’13, which happens to be the closing date of the temple gates before the winters finally set in.
In my previous post, I had mentioned that if only one reason was to be given to do this trek, then that has to be the spectacular views of the Dhauladhars’ throughout the trek. And when the mountains are full of snow, you can’t ask for anything better. To read more about this trek, weather, accommodation options and detailed travelogue click here. But with the news of temple being damaged, we all were more concerned about having a last look at the temple than the beauty of the Dhauladhars’.
The gates finally open again after four months on 15 March. But the winters have been behaving weird this year and that has extended the winter period by a month or so already. And to make matters worse, the temple caught fire and it was said that the entire premises were damaged by fire.
However, there were no confirmed reports of the same and I wanted to be sure of the news. So me and a group of enthusiast trekkers started our journey on the very first day when the gates were supposed to reopen. Even the villagers had not gone up because of harsh weathers and lots of rumors were going around. The temple pujari could not make it to the top on 15th March because of the obvious reasons.
Some believed it was fire caused by lightning while some propounded the theory of miscreants burning the temple in an intoxicated state. Drinking atop the temple is not uncommon but fire caused by drunk miscreants cuts no ice. That too when the temple is surrounded by as much as 10-15 feet snow.
So we decided not to listen to any more rumors and started our journey towards the heavenly abode. I will let the photographs do the talking.
The temple was severely damaged and the aluminum roofing sheets were spread all across. The majestic dome of the temple was nowhere to be seen and the wooden logs were lying half burnt inside the premises. There were LPG cylinders inside the premises that (probably) augmented fire caused by the lightning and caused havoc.
There was a local from the village who had come to assess the damage. He too, like us was shocked to see the wrath of the Mother Nature that almost eliminated the temple entirely. Hopefully, the temple will be reconstructed this summer season.