Sarahan is a small village in Himachal Pradesh  India. It is the site of the Bhimakali Temple, originally known as Bhimadevi Temple (Bhīmā Kālī), dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, the presiding deity of the rulers of the former Bushahr State.

It is believed that the country of Kinnaur was the Kailash mentioned in Puranas, the abode of Shiva. With its capital at Sonitpur, this former princely state was extended up to the entire area of Kinnaur where for sometimes Lord Shiva disguised himself as Kirata. Today, the then Sonitpur is known as Sarahan. Banasura, the ardent devotee of Lord Siva, eldest among the one hundred sons of great ablative demon King Bali and the great-grandson of Vishnu votary Prahlad, during the Puranic age, was the ruler of this princely state.

Due to Usha-Anirudh affairs Lord Krishna fought here with the demon Banasur and in this battle, Lord Siva stood against the former. The legend goes that the head of the defeated king Banasur was buried in front of the entry gate now marked as a raised platform to the first courtyard.

After Banasur, Pradyuman the incarnation of Cupid and the son of Lord Krishna became the Ruler of this Kingdom. Since then this Kingdom was governed uninterruptedly by the descendants of this dynasty till the end of the princely states in independent India. In the State capital, this ruling family constructed a splendid temple palace complex and recognized the mother goddess Bhimakali as the presiding deity of the ruling house.

According to another legend, the manifestation of the goddess is reported to the Daksha-Yajna incident when the ear of the Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pitha-Sthan.

The temple’s unusual architecture and wealth of carvings have made it a glorious example of what is loosely called the Indo-Tibetan style. The village is known as the “gateway of Kinnaur” near the old Indo-Tibetan Road.

The Bhimakali Temple contains Hindu and Vajrayāna Buddhist statues and decorations reflecting the trade between India and Tibetan regions through the ancient Indo-Tibetan Road. The traces of the old Indo-Tibetan road still pass through Shalabag near Sarahan. It also shows Kushan influence in its architecture and possibly some of the images in it are Kushan.

The tall tower like structure and unusual roof of the temple dominate the complex. The centuries old temple is now locked and in the newly built temple, the goddess Bhimakali is portrayed as a maiden and as a woman. This temple complex includes other temples such as Narsingh shrine of Bhairon and Lord Raghunath.

The fair of Navratras ( Nine auspicious nights ) are held twice in a year in Chaitra and Ashvin Hindu Months April and October. These navratras are most significant from religious point of view. During these navratras “Durga Saptashati” text is recited by the priest. Everyday Hundreds of pilgrims throng in at this shrine during these navratras from home and abroad. During Ashwin Navratras three days Dussehra festival is celebrated. Deities from the various parts of the erstwhile Bushahr state along with their devotees are also present on this occasion. Thousands of local people also through in at that time. Besides Krishan Janamashtmi, Budhi Dewali etc. are also celebrated with all religious fervor at the temple premises.





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