The holy shrine of Surkanda Devi, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas locate all over Indian Sub continent is situated at an altitude 2700 meters and provides a panoramic 360 degree view of snowy Himalayan peaks and surrounding mountains. The shrine is located on Chamba- Mussoorie road, about 6 km from Dhanaulti , 34 km from Mussoorie Mall road and about 65 km from Dehradun. The temple is reached by a trek of about 2 km, Kaddukhal is the place here the vehicles are parked and trek starts.
Dehradun to Kuddukhal and the trek
The temple is reached by a 2 km steep trek from Kuddukhal, whole trek is surrounded by dense forest and beautiful views of surrounding mountains , villages, farms and vegetation. Since the trek is steep and exhausting it is advisable to move on your own comfortable pace. We started from our home in Dehradun at 8:30 am and we were at Kuddukhal at 10:30, credit goes to the well experienced driver. You need very good experience to drive through the hills of Mussoorie-Dhanaulti-Chamba as the roads are very curvaceous and there are sudden steep turns. After taking some refreshment at Kuddukhal we started our trek, it took us about one and half hour to reach the temple premises.
Legend of Surkanda Devi and Shakti Peethas
The origin of Surkanda Devi is associated with Hindu mythology of Goddess Sati, whose father God –King Daksha was unhappy with her choice of husband, lord Shiva an ascetic. In order to embarrass him, Daksha performed a yagna and invited all Gods and Goddesses but his daughter and son-in-law. Raged by this Sati threw herself in the Yagna fire to make the sacrifice impure, her soul left her body at that very moment. Shiva in grief and rage carried his wife’s body on his shoulder and started performing Tandava (the dance of cosmic destruction). He vowed not the stop until the body is completely rotten. Other Gods and goddesses fearing destruction implored lord Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Vishnu with his Sudarshana Chakra destroyed the body of Sati. The places where parts of her body were fallen are called Shakti peethas, temples of the goddess are erected at those places and are known by different names. According to various beliefs there are 51 Shakti peethas all over Indian sub-continent. Goddesses head fell at the spot where the modern temple of Surkanda Devi stands.
Surkanda Devi Temple and Premises
Once you reach the temple you are mesmerised by the views and surroundings. The temple has very beautiful and simple architecture. The premises are clean and surreal. Far off snow clad Himalayan ranges providing amazing views. Very cold and refreshing breeze come straight on your face. The place is covered by fog most of the time of the year. Thankfully the temple is not touched by commercialization, but you will find few refreshment shops on the way and there is one behind the temple.
So if you are on a trip to Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Kanatal or Chamba, do not forget to visit Surkanda Devi for its beautiful architecture, location and views apart from spirituality