Flashing Beacon Lights Jam Road To Hatu Peak In Himachal

Hatu Peak, at an altitude of about 12000 feet near Narkanda (7 kms), is at the same height as Leh and is one of the highest points around Shimla (about 70 kms away). Atop the mountain one gets a wide 360 degree panoramic view that can get a  hold of you and  here you will find a small but very beautiful temple that surprisingly is dedicated to Queen Mandodri, wife of Ravana.


Being a Sunday (5.6.2016), it was a bright day when we decided to visit the temple and seek the blessings of the Goddess. Little did we know that there was a fair being organized and that’s perfectly alright, no complaints there. Temple fairs in Himachal can be most interesting and simple at the same time. There will be like two dozen or less temporary shops that will be set up for that day.

Locals will sell mountain high piles of jalebis, pakoras, and other local snacks. Children will get the option of buying some Chinese made toys. And women can refurbish their stock of make up and other accessories. But this post is not about the scenic beauty or the faith of the people in this old and historic temple. We are sharing with you today an experience that seems to have become the norm of the day.


When we reached the bottom of the hill from where the stretch of 7 kms becomes very treacherous, and almost one way, we were told that due to the fair, traffic was being organized in a systematic manner. Only when 50 vehicles will come down from the temple, will another fifty be allowed to go up. We thought that was a fair deal and quietly got into line like many others, already waiting before us. After waiting for almost forty minutes, which were spent in counting how many vehicles had come down, a government vehicle drove in and stood right at the start of the road. It was the state ‘Legal Advisers’ vehicle, a Scorpio and he was seated in the car with his wife. After waiting for about ten minutes the officer and his driver started hassling the Lady Constable and the ASI on duty to let them proceed. The police personnel on duty obviously had very little choice. Another thing that must be mentioned here was that the police had no walkie talkie with them. They were entirely dependent on their cell phones for communication.


The Legal Adviser was allowed to pass, despite knowing the fact that about twenty vehicles were yet to come down. Soon other people like us, who had been waiting for long started questioning the police personnel on duty and asked them to let them through too. As expected all mayhem set loose and in a matter of ten minutes we found our self in the middle of a massive jam. In a shocking revelation, we realized that the number of cars that had been allowed to come up was identical to the number coming down. And mind you we are talking of a road that gets so narrow at places, that you are forced to remember your ancestors, and ask for their blessings. Or you might find yourself at the bottom of a gorge or a mountain side so steep, that no human will be able to find you for days.


The jam took two hours to open, the traffic was moving at snails pace. People from the plains had a tough time driving like this. We saw many cars get overheated and had to be abandoned at the side of the already narrow road. Many families with children and elderly were asked by the drivers to get off the vehicles and start walking. And mind you it is not an easy gradient to walk on.


There is a very interesting forest trail close to the temple which we had intended to do but had to be abandoned, thanks to this jam and utter confusion. By the time we reached the temple it was pouring cats and dogs. And we got so occupied with the fact that going back might turn out to be bigger ordeal, that we could not really do justice to the natural beauty all around. Sharing some pictures that we nevertheless managed to click.

It is very sad that public servants today, are adopting this attitude that they can twist arms and get away with it. If they start behaving so irresponsibly, how can we expect the common masses to abide by the law. If not anywhere else, in the court of God, we all are equal and we should not make the mistake of assuming that some are superior and others inferior.


It was by God’s grace that there was no accident or mishap that could have easily happened. It is our sincere to request to all ‘lal battis’ to not take the law for granted and invite public wrath, for petty matters. They should instead set a good example for others to follow.

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  1. says: Avay Shukla

    The road to Hatu was constructed near about 1998-2000, and is another instance of the mindless road construction indulged in by the politicians of the state. There is no habitation at Hatu and the road was not necessary. I remember walking up to the temple from the Narkanda Circuit House in 1995 with my family, packed lunch in our rucksacks. It was one of the most idyllic days we have ever spent- the gentle ascent through thick forests of pine and oak, little waterfalls gurgling at you every hundred meters, small patches of snow coyly hiding behind the foliage, the resplendent alpine pastures at the top, and the temple itself-quietly meditating on the beauty of nature. There were no crowds then, no shops, no discarded plastic. The road has changed all that, apart from felling thousands of trees, and the lovely pastures are now parking lots. Hatu was meant for the genuine nature lover and devotee of God, not for mass tourism. One by one Himachal’s pristine locales are being destroyed by tourism and short-sighted politicians and administrators.
    When will we ever learn?

  2. says: Nisha

    I have visited Hatu Peak this June-2017 through a local tourist taxi. After all the hurdles of the narrow route and traffic jams in the entire route, I reached Hatu peak only to witness plethora of nonsensical stuff created not only by youngsters but families carrying kids. on the peak the gorges are so deep that a small mistake can lead to major fatalities. People in the rush of taking selfies , were going in dangerous spots with kids. Few stupid boys even made it to reach to one of the two vertical cliffs purely as matter of chance rather than their climbing skills. I was so deeply disturbed to site all this insanity especially those parents who in the rush of adventure were acting so irresponsible. I sat in opposite direction not to see such stupidity anymore and headed back after spending 15 minutes there. It is no common in himachal to hear about accidents/deaths on such events whether its bunch of immature trekkers or rash driving or alcoholism. It is such a big disappointment for Himachalis like me that a serene place is suffering at the hands of momentary pleasure/fun/adrenaline-rush

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