Trilokinath Temple


Trilokinath Temple is situated in Udaipur sub division of District Lahaul and Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. It is nearly 45 KM from Keylong, District Head Quarter of Lahaul and Spiti early 146 KM from Manali. Ancient name of Triloknath temple is Tunda vihar. This is holy shrine is revered equally by Hindus and the Buddhists. Hindus consider Trilokinath deity as ‘Lord Shiva’ while the Buddhists consider the deity as ‘Arya Avalokiteshwar‘Tibetan language speaking people called  him as ‘Garja Fagspa‘. 

This holy shrine is considered as most sacred pilgrim thirth next only to Kailash and Mansarovar. The uniqueness of   the temple lies in the fact that it is the only temple in the whole world where both Hindu and Buddhists pay their reverence to the same deity.

This squat stone temple is supposed to have been constructed in the 11th century. It is approached by a very attractive road which climbs up the left bank of the Chandrabhaga. The glitteringly white-painted Trilokinath Temple stands at the end of the village on top of a cliff and is surrounded by Snow Mountains and pine trees in the far distance.

There is apparently nothing left of the original temple structure, but there is a strong local tradition that says Trilokinath was originally a Buddhist vihara. The temple had a marble statue of a six-headed Avalokiteshvara which was stolen decades ago and replaced initially with a crude image made of grey stone, and later with the present six-armed white marble Avalokiteshvara, which is attributed by some to the 12th century. It is revered as Avalokiteshvara by Buddhists and as Shiva by Hindus and is crowned with an image of Amitabha Buddha – the ‘Buddha of Boundless Light.’

The original image is said to have been coeval with the Avalokiteshvara head found near the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and is now housed at the Guru Ghantal or Gandhola Monastery. This head has been claimed to date to the time of Nagarjuna  (2nd century CE) which may indicate some connection with the famous Kanika (Kanishka) stupa at Sani Monastery in nearby Zangskar. Handa, though, both these images can be dated on stylistic grounds to around the 8th century or a century earlier.

A popular story says that a Kulu Raja reached Trilokinath and tried to carry off the idol, but was defeated in the attempt, as the stone became too heavy to move. There is a mark on the right leg of the marble figure, which is said to have resulted from a sword blow by a Kullu soldier of the time.

The original temple columns date from the time of King Lalitaditya in the 9th century CE. At the courtyard are large Buddhist prayer wheels and a granite lingam and small Nandi (bull) representing Shiva, while the ancient wooden pagoda-style temple is decorated with Tibetan prayer flags. Both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate the three-day Pauri Festival here in August.

Typical of the style introduced in the region during the 7th to 8th centuries, this temple consists of a curvilinear stone tower shikhara crowned with the characteristic amalka (imitating a segmented gourd).

Unlike the temples on the plains there is no pillared hall mandapa in the hill temples perhaps due to the lack of clear ground. A silver idol of Kali as Mahishasurmardini was installed by Thakur Himpala in 1959-60.



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