Chindi is a small village located at the Karsog valley of Shimla, Himachal. Named after the local deity, Chandika (Chindi) Mata, the tiny village of Chindi rests along a highway that services Shimla, Karsog and Mandi. A little further ahead, at the village of Bakhrote, is the bifurcation to Kullu and Manali along a less travelled but thoroughly delightful route. In some ways, the area harks back to old ‘hill stations’ before they became over-built messes – a few scattered houses, the little bazaar or two, patches of forests and wide open views.
The area is a wildlife sanctuary that hosts the musk deer, ghoral, bears and a variety of pheasants and other birds. Small huts of the migrant Gaddi and Gujjar people lie along the trail and in spring and again in late autumn you can see them moving with their flocks of cattle.
As in practically every other part of Himachal, temples abound in the Chindi-Karsog area. There are several dedicated to the deity Nag Dhamooni who is especially worshiped by childless couples – some of the more attractive structures are at Sairi Bangla ( Bungalow ) and at Saranda. Again near Chindi and accessed by an attractive drive through pine woods that gradually give way to deodars, the temple of Mahunag is regarded as one of the most important in the area. This is considered to be core temple of the deity Mahunag – who is regarded as the embodiment of Karna of the epic Mahabharata.
Using sleepers of considerable girth, the temple is an attractive wood and slate structure and it is believed that the sacred fire in the temple has been kept burning from times immemorial – and that the level of the ashes never increases. There is an unusually large drum in the temple with rhinoceros hide. Also shown on request, is a large grain of wheat supposedly dating back to the mythological times of the Satyuga. Some recently excavated shivalingas have been installed by the side of the temple.
A little further down lies the village of Kau and the temple of Kamakhya Mata. The goddess in this temple is regarded to be manifest at the spot due to the meditations and sacrifices of Lord Parshurama. Today, the remarkable expression and the intensity of the eyes of the principal image cast in ‘ashtadhatu’, the eight primary metals, has to be seen to be believed. The deity is depicted as the ‘Mahishasuramardini’ – the slayer of the demon Mahisha, who had stalked the world in the shape of a buffalo. Rebuilt in the original genre, the temple is a splendid example of local woodworking skills. Small chambers hold other images and the ‘bedchamber’ of the goddess. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is said to be an underground chamber that is not accessible to worshipers. The original stone image of the deity is regarded to be in this room. A large drum, similar to the one at Mamel is one of the noteworthy objects in the temple.
Tourists can rest at either the Chindi rest house or the Hotel Mamleshwar of Himachal Tourism Department.