Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
When you are in Garli, you must take time out to visit the two important temples: Masrur Rock Temple and Kalinath Kaleshwar MahadevTemple. Both these temples are said to be constructed by Pandavas during their agyaatwas for Lord Shiva.
Masrur Rock Temples is perhaps one of the most unexplored temples in the area. These have now been declared a monument of national importance and an archeological site, and its restoration is going on. In fact, a board at the site also states that it one of the 27 monuments of national importance directly under the PMO. The temple caretaker informed us that since the time it was taken over by PMO the area has got clean, and remains clean. The PM’s Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan has done a lot of good to this temple. A QR code on the board tells visitors to lodge a complaint if they find any garbage in or around.
All this has renewed the interest of people in this temple. During week days about 100-150 people visit the complex while the number is over 300 during weekends and holidays, informs the caretaker.
We took about an hour and a half to reach the temple from Chateau Garli and en route we even spotted a Bee Farm at Madd village.
The totally unassuming, rock temple looks awesomely beautiful on a closer look, thanks to the intricate carving depicting Gods and Goddesses. The temple has recently become functional, an idol of Lord Shiva is kept here. Though it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it also enshrines stone images of Ram, Laxman and Sita.
Built around the eighth century, this temple is located on the hill top at a height of about 2,500 ft. There is a clean water body on one side and a small government school just outside the boundary wall of the complex.
This monolithic temple is carved out of a single sandstone ridge. A group of 15 monolithic rock cut shrines are found in this temple and archaeologists say that all these 15 temples are carved out of a single rock.
These temples also got destroyed in 1905 earthquake just like the Kangra Fort, but are being restored now.
Located on the bank of river Beas, Kalinath Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple is about 7- 8 km from Garli. It is said that a visit to this temple gives the benefit of having done the chardham (Badrinath, Dwarkadeesh, Puri and Rameshwaram) yatra.
The inner sanctum that has the Shivling is very small, only one person can go inside at a time. The sanctum is manned by the pujaris from down south, brought in by one of the kings, and his ancestors are still taking care of the temple. Incidentally, the shivling is submerged and in two parts, one representing Lord Shiva and the other Goddess Shakti (Parvati).
There is a cremation ground behind the temple where last rites are performed. This temple is considered as important as Haridwar.
The temple complex has a couple of small rooms facing Beas for those who want to meditate.
An old Banyan tree, next to the Shiva temple in the complex is said to be the place where Mahakali performed penance for having placed her foot on Lord Shiva’s chest. According to the mythology, Goddess Parvati assumed the avatar of Mahakali for killing the demon Raktbeej. But her anger didn’t subside even after killed him and as she went on a killing spree, all the Gods and Goddesses prayed to Lord Shiva to bring her back to her senses. Lord Shiva then lies on her path, and as Mahakali steps over his chest, she realizes her mistake. To seek forgiveness for having stepped over her husband, she sat under this very Banyan tree. A small temple was later built to mark the piety of this area.
During the month of Shravan, this temple sees a heavy rush of tourists as well as sadhus.