Engraved In Wood – 8 Incredibly Beautiful Architectural Wonders of Himachal

Devbhumi Himachal!

That’s what my home is called. A land of mysterious beliefs, multitude of deities, and spectacular wooden abodes built for them hundreds of years ago. You will find stories from ancient times carved on a stone tower or exquisitely painted on wooden chambers of these ancient monuments.

These wooden temples are found all across the state, primarily in Kullu, Chamba, Mandi, Shimla, and Kinnaur. The landscape of these four districts is dotted with mountaintop wooden temples. Each one of these temples depicts the highest point of achievement of pahadi architecture during their respective era.

From the jungles of Tihri Uttarsal in Mandi to the hidden valleys of Kullu Sainj, here are 8 breathtaking wooden wonders of Himachal Pradesh.

Parashar Lake Temple, Mandi
Road Connectivity: April-December
Read Details: ParasharConfluence of Mountains

A solitary structure made of wood and stones rests in the mountains of Mandi. Built in the pagoda style, this temple came into existence during early 14th century.The outer walls are made of alternate courses of slate-stone and wood and it exhibits subtle metamorphosis from stone art to wooden architecture. Four large wooden pillars decorated with wooden serpents and floral adornments (made in wood) hold the weight of this temple.

And not to mention the spectacular view of those Dhauladhars and Pir Panjals running wild and free to meet the Great Himalayan Mountains in the west.

Parashar Lake, Mandi
Parashar Lake, Mandi

Aadi Purkha, Uttarsal-Mandi
Road Connectivity: All Weather
Read Details: Worshiping Aadi Purkha

This temple is located right across the Parashar Hill in Tihri Village in the North West direction. Built in the pagoda style, this temple is believed to be constructed in the later part of the 14th Century. A separated twin of the Khokhan Temple in Kullu, this temple has undergone extensive renovation of late.

Reaching here isn’t an easy affair, particularly in the rainy season. A kuchha road offshoots from the main road and passes through a small village. This temple is perched atop the hill that overlooks the entire village down below.

Aadi Purkha, Tihri Uttarsal
Aadi Purkha, Tihri Uttarsal

Chehni Kothi, Banjar-Kullu
Road Connectivity: None. Short Trek (1 hour)
Read Details: The Great Tower of Chehni

This tower temple of Chehni is the tallest standing structure of its kind in the entire Western Himalayas. Currently, the Great Tower of Chehni is 45 meters (approx.) tall. This tower survived the devastating 1905 Kangra earthquake, although it ended up two upper storeys short. The natives of Chehni Village were known as great wood-workers and this incredible tower, built in the 17th Century, bears testimony to those craftsmen’s skills.

What if I told you it was primarily built as a garrisoning tower to protect villagers from insurgent tribes and [some believe] atrocious Britishers. Because there’s no road leading to the temple, you will have to walk through open terraced fields to visit the temple.

Muralidhar Mandir, Banjar
Muralidhar Mandir, Banjar

Manu Mandir, Niuli-Kullu
Road Connectivity: April-December. Tricky Road
Read Details: Tower Temples of Sainj Valley

In a remote corner of Kullu lies this multistorey wooden structure that rises almost 50 meters above the ground. Located right in the heart of Great Himalayan National Park, the temple overlooks the majestic grasslands of Shangarh. This Manu Temple built in pagoda style with a multi-tier design is a unique spectacle. 12 squarely built wooden pillars, adorned with floral ornamentations, bear the weight of this temple with a six-tier roof.

Manu Temple Shanshar Sainj Valley
Manu Temple Shanshar Sainj Valley

Khokhan Brahma, Kullu
Road Connectivity: All Weather
Read Details: Kokhan Aadi Brahma

There are 7 Brahma Temples in Himachal, six of them in Kullu alone. Khokhan Aadi Brahma, the separated twin of Aadi Purkha in Mandi, is arguably the best wooden temple of our state.

Intricate floral decorations made in wood, unique design of the temple top, and above all the ease of accessibility make it a popular choice. Located a few hundred meters away from the main Kullu-Manali NH, this temple is a must see for those who have a keen interest in pahadi architecture. 

Aadi Brahma, Khokhan
Aadi Brahma, Khokhan

Shukdev Mandir, Sharti
Road Connectivity: None. Short Trek (1-2 Hours)
Read Details: Hinterlands of Mandi

I’m sure you all have seen the suspension bridge near Hanogi on your way to Manali. Across the bridge, you see a massive waterfall located in the Sharti Village. Trek to the Shuk Dev Mandir starts from Sharti Village. The temple has a multi-storeyed Pagoda style design. The columns as well as wooden frames have intricate carvings of birds, flowers, and dancing human figures. Some of them are beyond recognition while a few still look afresh although they were made hundreds of years ago.

Shukdev Rishi Temple, Badhungi - Hanogi
Shukdev Rishi Temple, Badhungi – Hanogi

Magru Mahadev, Chatri-Mandi
Road Connectivity: All Weather
Read Details: Magru Mahdev Tribal Artistry

The interior of the temple is richly decorated with floral and figural carvings executed in the folkish diction and style.

Ride through a thick forest crossing over a low Himalayan Pass connecting two of the remotest regions of Mandi. A dirt road passing through sky-high conifers takes you to this majestic temple. The puranic stories subtly translated into folk style leave the audience stupefied.

Wooden Wonders of Magru Mahadev
Magru Mahadev Wooden Wonders

Devikothi, Churah-Chamba
Road Connectivity: All Weather
Read Details: Devikothi- The Jewel of Churah Valley

The finest of the lot. My personal favorite. A solitary wooden structure basking in the glory of mighty Pir Panjals in Churah Valley of remote-land Chamba. Built in the later half of the 18th Century, Tankri inscriptions and beautiful wall murals grace this temple.

A dirt road through pin trees leads to this beautiful valley. And if you are there in late December, a snow clad view of the valley is surely going to take your breath away.

Devikothi, The Jewel of Churah Valley
Devikothi, The Jewel of Churah Valley
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7 thoughts on “Engraved In Wood – 8 Incredibly Beautiful Architectural Wonders of Himachal”

  1. Some of these are just spectacular! Especially fascinated by that wooden ceiling at Magru Mahadev temple and Adi Brahma temple in Khokhan, would love to visit these myself someday. Ever since Chaini, immensely intrigued by Pahadi architecture. 🙂

    Also, can you do a photo story with more detailed pictures of these temples if you have? That would very awesome if possible.

  2. Incredible details and you are truly an explorer, Tarun ji. Also, I’m still trying to find a way to subscribe to regular posts on your blog by way of email. Still can’t find a way. Please help. Thanks for this amazing post. I will note all of them down and hope to see them as I can.

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