Monday, October 5, 2015

Natural bounties of Hathiari

18 September 2015

Make it to Hathiari if nature and adventure is what you want

Kuldip Dhiman
Perched on the hills overlooking the Yamuna river, Hathiari is a place full of adventure.
Though it is situated in Uttarakhand, Hathiari is not as far away as you might think. The quiet village on the banks of the Yamuna and its surrounding places are full of scenic beauty, forests, mountains, and is thus ideal for adventure and trekking.
As it is just 150 km from Chandigarh, you could reach Hathiari by taking the Kala Amb-Paonta Sahib road or approach it from Yamuna Nagar. Once you reach Herbertpur on the road to Dehradun, take the left towards Vikas Nagar, which is about 6 km away. After that it is just 18 km more, but you are advised to ask for directions to reach Hathiari.

Although Hathiari is being mentioned here, you could stop anywhere around it. It would be advisable to stop at a village called Kata Patthar, which is just 1 km before Hathiari. It has a hotel which has decent accommodation and good food. There are no hotels in Hathiari, but there is a meditation ashram called Osho Pyramid. They are quite happy to have guests.
Hathiari is the place where the Pandavas are said to have concealed their weapons during the thirteenth year of their exile. The word ‘hathiar’ means ‘a weapon’, hence the village is called Hathiari. If you wish to be closer to nature, there are also private adventure tours that can arrange camps for you on the banks of the Yamuna.
If you wish to spend two or more days, you could explore the villages around. The place is full of mythological connections. You could go to the Balrama temple nearby. There are thousands of temples for Krishna, but rarely a temple for his brother, Balrama. It is said that although people in this region own several cows, they do not sell milk. Milk is meant to be given free of cost to those who need it, it is not to be sold.
Thirty-five kilometres from Hathiari is the Viratkhai, named after King Virata, who is mentioned in the Mahabharata. He is the one in whose kingdom the Pandavas spent one year incognito. Then there is a village called Lakhamandal. It is believed that Duryodhana built the wax palace here in an effort to kill the Pandavas. There is an ancient Shiva temple and several natural caves in which thousands of Shivalingas were discovered. You might wish to trek for two hours to reach the breathtaking Tiger Falls.
Another place worth going to is Chakrata, which is just forty kilometres from Hathiari. At 2,270 metres above sea level, it is a hill station where you could find many places to trek. It is also known as Jaunsar Bawark after Jaunsari tribes of Gharwal. An army cantonment was established here by the British in 1866.
Villages such as Hanol, Radina, Thaina, Indroli, Lakhwar and Mahasu Devta temple are places to visit. It is possible to go to Hathiari and come back to Chandigarh in a day, but if you wish to explore the other areas, then three to four days would be required.
Photographs by the writer

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