When we were planning our trip to Kinnaur, a visit to Sarahan was also planned. Before starting from Delhi we had researched enough about places we should not miss when visiting a town or village on the way. But still many things surprised us and this Rajmahal just behind Bhimakali Temple was one of them. This Photo Journey is trying to share some moments spent around this Rajmahal with huge campus near the famous Bhimakali Temple in Sarahan town of Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh.
Architecture of this Rajmahal was almost similar to one which we saw in Rampur, Shimla. We visited Sarahan next day after exploring Rampur and Jeori. If you have missed our old post on Ramapur Kingdom, just check it out at - http://phototravelings.blogspot.com/2013/05/rajmahal-at-rampur-bushahr-in-shimla.html
Usually people know Sarahan because of Bhimakali Temple and folks are hardly worried about this huge campus. But above view caught our attention and these huge houses made us explore possibilities to go there and see. Initially people were hesitant about telling that property belongs to Raja Virbhadra Singh, but gradually we got to know. While having snacks in the market, someone told us that visitors are also allowed inside this campus. He guided us through the main gate where we requested the gate-keeper. He allowed us to go inside and see some of these huge complexes.
As we entered, there was a very well maintained road connecting all Apple orchards & houses. First we crossed few apple trees on boths sides and then there was a gate on right which was a direct entry for Bhimakali Temple. Bhimakali Temple has two main entries, one is from main market and other is from this Rajmahal campus. If you haven't checked our Photo Journey on Bhimakali Temple, check it out at - http://phototravelings.blogspot.com/2013/05/bheemakali-temple-sarahan-town-shimla.html
As we moved close to these huge buildings, we noticed that some families were living there. We didn't ask much but it seems, these were families of folks who were taking care of this whole campus full of Apple Orchards, different buildings and few small temples as well.
At the end of this internal road, there is a huge building which was probably the largest one among all. This was named as 'Shrikhand View'. Above photograph shows one of the main gates for this building. Initially we were hesitating to enter inside this building but staff there was quite welcoming and they guided us through the whole building.
There is a huge lawn around this building and above photograph is clicked form lawn only. Photograph shows view of hills above the main Rajmahal. The very first photograph of this Photo Journey shows this great lawn with main Rajmahal building in the background.
This whole campus is surrounded by Pine forests. In fact whole Sarahan town is mainly surrounded by Pine and Apple Trees :)
Sarahan Palace was alos capital pf former princely state of Bushair for several centuries. Sarahan is famous for it's legends, hilly architecture, special culture and amazing beauty of nature all around.
It's on hill top and there is a deep valley next to it which ends at Satluj River. One can see snow covered peaks of Shirkhand mountains and that is why one of the main Palace is known as Shirkhand View Palace.
Summer capital of Rampur Bushahr which is one of the biggest princely states in the Shimla region is mainly popular for Bhimkali Temple. Sarahan presents striking spectacle of snow-covered Himalayan ranges and a picture of unspoilt pastoral loveliness. It beholds the construction technic of more than 800 years old and also gives a good opportunity to study the western Himalayan architecture.
Shrikhand view has a huge campus and many rooms attached to it. It seems, some of the rooms have not been opened for many years. Some of them have very old styled locks and chains.
With its two multi-tiered sanctuary towers, elegantly sloping slate-tiled roofs, and gleaming golden spires, Sarahan Palace & Bhimakali Temple are few of the most majestic of the few early timber architectures left in the Sutlej Valley... This is an area renowned for its unusual tradition of housing holy shrines on raised wooden platforms.
Following page has some nice details about Sarahan Town, Bhimakali Temple and Sarahan Palace - http://www.trancehimalaya.info/p/sarahan.html
Notice these chains and locks, which are still in use at Sarahan Palace. There are some small temples inside the Palace as well.
These huge seating areas in Placae balconies are really royal.
Bhimakali Temple was made at the order of Raja Shamsher Singh in the mid-nineteenth century. The sanctum also contains a fabulous collection of Hindu as well as Buddhist bronzes.
One of the most interesting structures of the timber-bonded style is Raja Bushahr Palace cum Temple Complex which has been described as one of the finest specimens of hilly architecture. Almost 2000 years old, and like all buildings of the hill type, it is built of layers of rubble masonry and beams of cedar wood.
A View of Bhimakali Temple from Sarahan Palace and few apple trees can be seen on the foreground.