Saturday, July 28, 2001

Lord Karan & legend of the bee
Ravi Bali

Idol of Lord Karan
Idol of Lord Karan

THE Mahunag temple in Himachal Pradesh is a unique temple. It is dedicated to Lord Karan, whose feats are chronicled in the epic Mahabharata. Lord Karan was a mahadaani and his acts of charity are a legion. Situated 25 km away from the Karsog valley on the Shimla-Mandi highway on an elevation of 1830 metres, the temple commands a panaromic view of the valley on one side and the northern Himalayas, on the other. It is about 100 km from Shimla.

Mahu means bee, and, according to the legend, whenever devotees are in distress and they genuinely seek Lord Karanís help he transforms himself into a bee and rushes to their aid. Interestingly, a majority of committed devotees are connected to the legal profession, including several eminent judges. It is believed that Lord Karanís blessings especially help in resolving legal matters and family disputes.

ĎThe legend has it that several hundred years ago a farmer found an idol of Lord Karan while tilling his land. He carried it home and kept it in safe custody of his wife. Some days later, one of his sons died mysteriously. The farmer approached the village elders and asked them the reason behind his sudden misfortune. During the course of the conversation, he revealed to them that he had found a silver idol buried in his fields. The elders advised him to bring out the idol and have it installed with proper ceremony. Through community effort, a temple was built on a hilltop near Bakahari village and five bighas of land was allocated to it. According to district records, the present temple was built by Raja Shyam Sen of Suket state in 1664. He was Lord Karanís staunch devotee and even ascribed his escape from Mughal custody to his miraculous powers.


A view of the Karsog valley 

Offerings to the deity are in silver. Lord Karan had himself given away all his gold in charity, and, therefore, gold offerings are not accepted. The special day for visiting the temple is Sunday and an annual mela is held every Sanskranti. July 18 is also celebrated as Lord Karanís birthday when the main idol of the deity is brought out for a darshan. The idol weighs about 10 kg and is made in silver. Except for these special occasions, it kept in safe custody under lock and key and is not available for darshan. Once a year, it is also carried to Sundernagar which was a part of Suket state (now in district Mandi) and several rituals are performed there.

How to reach

The drive from Shimla to Mahunag is about 100 km-long. The road is metalled and is in a good condition. There is only one direct HRTC bus from Shimla. The bus starts from Lakkar Bazaar at 11.30 am and reaches Mahunag by dusk. Taxis are also available for making a day trip.

Where to stay

Accommodation is available at the temple and can be booked through SDM, Karsog, on telephone (01907-22236) or through the tehsildar ((01907-22228). The accommodation is makeshift. Food is provided only if an order is placed in advance.

There is a forest rest house about two km from the temple. It has four rooms which can be booked through the DFO, Karsog, on phone number 01907-22205.

A good PWD guest house is available 20 km short of the temple at Chindi. The stay here is comfortable and the view of he mountains is breathtaking. It can be booked through the XEN, Karsog, on phone number 01907-22229. Chindi also boasts of a HPTDC tourist complex. It can be either booked directly on phone number 01907-22638 or through HPTDC hotels in Shimla and Chandigarh.