Bijli Mahadev: Solo ride and Trek

This weekend it was time again to delve into the mysteries of my favourite Parvati Valley. Frequented by young Indians and international travellers, Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district is known for its psychedelic trance festivals, hippie cafes, and the quality hash grown in its villages (though it’s illegal in India). The scenery is stunning, too. It has tall Himalayan peaks, lush forests, dazzling streams, and waterfalls, all of which are an intrepid playground for trekking, camping, and rock climbing. However, today’s journey was more into the spiritual side of things, I aimed to ride and walk to the mysterious Bijli Mahadev Temple.

Stepping into the Parvati Valley
Stepping into the Parvati Valley

The road taken starts with the routine, from my stay along the Mandi Manali Highway to Aut, crossing Bhuntar and then taking a left turn from the Kasol Junction into the Parvati valley, keep riding along the right bank of the Parvati River, cross the river at Charod Nala Bridge and continue. This is where the steep climb and the desolation starts, the road starts getting bad to worse to almost nothingness to speak of, except that it’s just a stretch of formation cutting. 

Steep Offroad climb
Steep Offroad climb

The road almost becomes nothing, the only remnants being that of steep and narrow U-turns, with dust, mud and boulders strewn all over. It does get panicky at times, the fear being that of burning the clutch-plate of the motorcycle. Nevertheless, the spirit of “let’s see” remains and I managed to push through the roughest parts of the road that I have seen lately.

The terrible state of so called road
The terrible state of so-called road

After about 90 minutes of arduous biking climb, I managed to cross the village of Shivpuri Bharain high up on the gills and reached the small home of Tekchand and his son David, where I decided to park my bike and start the walk with David. 

Parking at David_s Home
Parking at David’s Home

If you’re looking for a quiet yet stunning alternative to the busier Tosh, Kutla, Rasol or Pulga, then Bijli Mahadev is the perfect place to go. It’s just a 2-mile hike from the parking spor. The first section is quite involving; the trail ascends steeply after sometimes it’s an arduous uphill hike from there. It’s easy to spend a day or two here trekking through the coniferous forest, exploring the apple tree plantations, chilling out in the rustic cafe, or relaxing by the riverside while surrounded by peace and quiet. Some scenes from the trekking route are appended below. 

Start point of the steep climb
Start point of the steep climb
Stop here or gently pass
Stop here or gently pass
View of the village below
View of the village below
Taking a break in the forest trail
Taking a break in the forest trail
Grassy meadows loom large
Grassy meadows loom large
Grazing place for local cattle
Grazing place for local cattle
Janis Joplin, my walking companion
Janis Joplin, my walking companion
Tackling the beautiful yet rather steep slopes
Tackling the beautiful yet rather steep slopes
The gate of the temple complex visible
The gate of the temple complex visible

The reason why Bijli Mahadev Temple got prominence in India is due to the sacred Shivalinga which is located inside the temple. As per sources, lightning and thunder strike at the Shivalinga which results in breaking it into small pieces. The locals and priests apply cereal and pulse flour (sattu) along with unsalted butter on the pieces to restore the Linga in its original form.

Resting on the stairs of the temple
Resting on the stairs of the temple
Backdrop of Bijli Mahadev Temple
Backdrop of Bijli Mahadev Temple
Front face of the temple
The front face of the temple

Various sources have different beliefs as to why lightning strikes at the Shiva Linga. The locals believe that the strike of the lightning is sheer divine grace and the deity wants to protect the inhabitants from all forms of evil. Whereas, others believe that the lightning is itself a form of a deity which has supernatural powers. The origin and the actual story of the Bijli Mahadev Temple is still not known, but due to the above beliefs, it is regarded as one of the most worshipped temples in India.

Shivlinga and pole
Shivlinga and pole
Middle sanctum of temple
Middle sanctum of the temple

The view from the top is mesmerizing to see the least. The mandir stands at the confluence of the four valleys, seen distinctly from the top. The snow-capped peaks, the Trishul as background gives the place a true spiritual baseline for journey into the inner self.

View of four valleys from the top
View of four valleys from the top
Snowy peaks as backdrop
Snowy peaks as the backdrop

Time to return back again after a pretty risky OTR over bad roads bang onto the river basin itself. Once back and over a drink, does one realize, that the shoe is torn, the body is tired, yet the soul is lifted.

Back to the river basin
Back to the river basin
Aftermath, torn shoe and resting drink
Aftermath, torn shoe and resting drink

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