Udaipur (Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh): Being graced by abundance of beauty, there are many places in Himachal Pradesh that are worth visiting, be it for scenic landscapes inhabited by a simple and proud hill people preserving a rich culture or their attractive temples that have bound traditions and religious beliefs down the ages.
From the religious point of view, there are many temples having ancient history which have a rich cultural treasure trove woven around their founding and belief systems.
Goddess Kali temple Mrikula at Udaipur, a scenic place in the landlocked valley of Lahaul is very famous among the locals and devotees from all over the country do come here to pay their obeisance to the presiding mother deity.
On the outside, the temple may look small and simple but when one enters inside, it has a magnificent interior where the carvings on wood is enough to mesmerise you. The beautifully carved wooden temple speaks much about the art and sculpture of the ancient times.
Pandit Durga Das, care taker and priest of temple let Hill Post know about the interesting history of temple. “This temple is more than 6000 years old,” he said. “The temple with all its carving are believed to have been done by God Vishvakarma himself.” (Lord Vishwakarma, according to Hindu mythologies is believed to be the principal architect of the universe itself).
“As the wood carving is done on a large single piece of wood,” said Pandit Durga Das the story goes that it was Bhim, the strongest of the five Pandava brothers, who carried a tree to this place during the time when they were spending a period of 14 years in exile as they stood banished from their kingdom by the Kaurava’s, who were their cushions. The exquisite wood carving was been done by Vishvakarma himself here.”
Earlier the nearby village was called Margul from which the temple derived its name as Mrikula. Speaking about the importance of the temple, the priest said, “it is believed that Goddess Kali killed the demons Mahishasur and Raktbeej at this place. Because of the association, this temple is no less important than a Shaktipeeth.”
About the rituals associated with the temple he said that there was an idol made of an eight alloy metal (ashtadhatu) that is worshiped as the eight armed goddess Kali Mata. During summers many come to seed the goddesses blessings. Besides there is Khappar (a bowl shaped vessel of Kali Mata believed to be used by the goddess to rid the world of demons) kept in a hidden place inside the temple, which the priest worships once in a year, during local festival Fagli.
“In the year 1972, a gang of temple robbers attempted to steal the idol and sell it in the international market but due to the intervention of divine power, the thieves could not go beyond Manali and all of them had to suffer a lot for the sacrilege committed,” the priest recalled.
Ritu Sharma, who had come visiting the temple from Kullu said, “having come to pay my obeisance at this temple is a longtime wish fulfilled. I had heard so much about this temple and was eager to visit the place.”
Having spent time meditating at the temple, Sanjeev Negi from Kinnaur shared his experience with Hill Post. In such a scenic place, their is such a miraculous peace here in this temple that after having travelled such a long distance, I truly feel blessed.”