Sarahan (2313 m) is small town in Himachal Pradesh of India is the gateway to Kinnaur. It is a place of pilgrimage, a haven for nature lovers and the temple complex attracts a variety of admirers. Here is a place that offers an out of the ordinary travel experience. Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds past flowering jacaranda trees that give way to stately pines. Dozens of small streams rush past with waters of sparkling snow-melt. The fields and orchards that surround the small villages with their slate-roofed houses, compose pictures of pastoral perfection. Above Sarahan, a mane of deodar trees rides the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal Peak, are trees of smooth birch and a variety of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. This sparsely populated tract is steeped in ancient legends and here is the famous Bhimakali temple – regarded as one of the fifty-one sacred ‘Shaktipeeths’. The temple’s unusual architecture and wealth of carvings have made it a resplendent example of what is loosely called the ‘Indo-Tibetan Style’. Deep down in the valley, flows the river Sutlej and across lies the snowclad Shrikhand peak.
The approach to Sarahan which itself is located on the lap of a mountain, winds past dense Pine forest and majestic Oaks and many a streams. The village is nestled among orchards and pastoral meadows. Sarahan offers a picturesque setup with views of Pines and Deodars covering the slopes and encircling the Bashal peak home of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Sarahan is rich in cultural heritage and the Bhimakali temple forms the center of all such ancient legends. The temple’s architecture is unique with a wealth of carvings reflecting the so called Indo-Tibetan style. The Sutlej river running across the Shrikhand peak can be seen from here.
In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woollens are required. The summer temperature can touch 32oC and light woollens/cottons are recommended.
» Places of Interest Sarahan :
Bhimakali Temple Complex : The temple is of religious and historical interest and is a fine example of fusion of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. The old temple is now locked and the goddess Bhimakali is now housed in the newly built temple. The temple complex also includes other temples such as Narsingh shrine and Lord Raghunath.
Bird park : The Bird park is close to the temple and famous for the pheasant breeding centre. One can also find the State bird Monal in this complex.
2 km from Sangla, is the fort of Kamru (3000 m) Its tower-like architecture. resembles that of the Bhimkali complex and this was the original seat of the rulers of Bushair. Chitkul (3450 m) is the last village of the valley – and beyond lies Tibet. The area is well known for its saffron farms and the Baspa river is an excellent place for angling for trout. The Hotel Shrikhand acts as the perfect base to visit this enchanting valley.
Bhaba Valley : This spectacular valeey is approx 50 km from Sarahan along the Bhaba river. The road to the valley originates at Wangtu. One can enjoy the beautiful landscape, a reservoir lake, long stretches of alpine meadows. The valley is also the starting point for the trek route to Pin Valley in Spiti.
» Adventure and Fishing
Sarahan is the base of several trek routes. Some are – Sarahan to Badahal, Sarahan to Sangla, Sarahan to Shrikhand. The best times are mid-April to mid-June and mid-September to mid-October. An excellent area for trout fishing is along the Baspa rivers as it flows through the Sangla valley.