No visit to the state capital Shimla is complete
without visiting Jakhu Hill. This hill looms over Shimla town
and is the geographical nucleus. This temple is dedicated
to the monkey God Hanuman. Dedicated to the monkey god, Hanuman,
Jakhu Temple is east of the town centre near the highest point
of the Shimla ridge at 2455 m. A steep 45 minute walk from
Scandal Point, it offers fine views over the surrounding valleys
out to the snow-capped peaks, and over Shimla itself. Jakhu
is also a beautiful spot to see the morning sun rise and sun
set. Appropriately, there are many monkeys around the temple.
Its a steep 45 minute walk from Scandal Point.
No temple in India goes without a legend, Jhaku has a story
too. It is said that Hanuman, the faithful ally of Lord Rama
of the Ramayana an epic, was the monkey God with whose help
Lord Rama was able to defeat the arch-demon Ravana, the king
of Lanka. The faithful nature of Hanuman is often illustrated
by his representations being found guarding forts and palace
entrances. The British never placed hanuman on top of Jakhu
hill to guard the township. The temple site predates the British
Raj. An episode in the Ramayana had Lakshman, Rama's brother
mortally wounded in a battle with Ravana's forces. Hanuman
was sent to fetch the mythical medicinal 'Sanjivini' herb
from the Himalayas in order to cure the wounded. The legend
about the temple is that Hanuman rested at Jakhu Hill after
collecting the herb. After resting, he journeyed back to the
battlefield of Lanka.
There are many monkeys around the temple, but surprisingly
they don't attack people unless fiddled with. Pilgrims offer
them eatables, which they readily accept. The approach to
the temple is through a dense forest of Deodars, though many
find the climb tiresome. Ponies are available for a to and
fro ride to the temple. The path towards the temple starts
just left of Christ Church. After the hard hack up, the temple
itself, a red and yellow brick affair crammed with fairy lights
and tinsel comes as something of an anti climax. The shrine
inside houses what are believed to be the footprints of Hanuman.
But the monkeys can be a real nuisance, so do be careful and
keep food out of sight and reach. For those who need a helping
hand with the climb, walking sticks are available at teashops
at the base (for Rs 5).