Mussoorie-Queen of hills…through my eyes

My latest craving for a jaunt landed me at a place known for its extraordinarily beautiful hills and sunset points-Mussoorie. Also known as the queen of hills, Mussoorie is extremely picturesque. It indeed is a queen of hills. 33 kilometers from Dehradun, and only few kilometers from the holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, Mussoorie is one of the most popular hill stations especially for honeymoon couples and friends looking for a perfect destination for picnic and leisure.




To reach Mussoorie I first landed to Dehradun airport and taxis are easily available for several destinations near Dehradun. Road to Mussoorie from Dehradun is an experience different altogether in itself. Zigzag routes amid the sky touching hills on one side and deep steeps on another makes the whole experience rich. Not only this but one can also feel the fall in the temperature as one reaches near Mussoorie away from the hot or moderate temperature of Dehradun. After an hour and half long journey I was near picture palace road where I had my hotel booked away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s famous mall road which is a unique tourist attraction here but I wanted a place seclude to feel the serenity of the cold hills. An evening stroll, walk in leisurely manner at the mall road is one thing no one coming to Mussoorie wants to miss-neither did I. A cool temperature with chilling wind makes the whole place extremely fascinating and exciting. From books to bakery, apparels to antiques, jewelry, to roadside vendors, mall road never falls short in adding to the exotic experience of tourists the essence of Mussoorie.



Whole city of Dehradun looks amazing from mall road in the evening and makes one feel as if glittering stars have fallen in the valley.


Walk through the narrow lanes or sit on the benches or just enjoy the quaint beauty; shop, bargain cater your taste buds or just spend the quality time with you kith and kin, you can do all this and enjoy the mall road as it has something to offer to everyone coming to it; a solo traveler or a group people.

On day two of my jaunt I landed to Dhanaulti. Dhanaulti is 31 kilometers from Mussoorie and most famous attraction where almost everyone visiting Mussoorie loves to go mostly for its eco park. Dhanaulti is a place where temperature falls to some more degrees. One more place which completes the visit to Dhanaulti is the Surkanda Devi temple. Known as a Shakteepeeth Surkanda Devi temple is situated atop a hill and people walk all the way to the temple. Ascending to the top of the hill is very exhausting but once you are there inside the temple premises, all you feel is the bliss. But it’s not over since from the temple’s open area what you can see is completely enthralling. All the hills and moving clouds over them, fog mixed with mist, great hills extremely high to valleys extremely deep. Peaks of Himalayas are also visible from here as I was told but since it was evening and fog was in abundance, I couldn’t get fortunate enough to behold its view. As per the legends, it is the place where head of goddess Sati fell and a blog on this temple and its story is written by me and can be found in my blogs here (my exact previous blog post).









Eco park-though is a huge park with trees and forest like environment, but what I wanted to experience or what one must do here is to go to the top of the park and see the highest peaks and especially the Himalayan one. What I saw there can be seen here in the pictures.






I didn’t forget to buy the bottles of famous litchi and flowers’ juice just outside the eco-park which this place is famous for and after relishing a sip or two of it, I realized why.

In the evening while returning back to Mussoorie it was in my mind to visit Lal Tibba which is a famous point on Landour road, some 4 kilometers from Mussoorie and is famous for its sunset. But another thing which is worth mentioning is the icy cold wind which kept on making me tremble with cold till I was there taking some pictures of the sunset. It is the highest point which gives splendid view of surrounding landscapes. There was no place in my whole journey where weather was this cold and surrounding was impressively scenic. Sunset however looked something like never seen before by me. Pictures below can speak more on my behalf I guess.






After this, I left for Mussoorie again to continue the trip the next day.

On third day- my focus was mainly to visit a famous yet place less jostled by the tourists- Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Charleville. It is only 3 or so kilometers from mall road. Through roads sans many vehicles and cars unlike all the other roads of Mussoorie I had seen, I reached the temple through narrow road at the end of which is this monastery or temple is located. First thing that came to my mind when I saw it from outside was-beautiful…simply beautiful. The colorful building with cool colors is perfect to look at. Designed like any other Buddhist monastery, it has many small temples and chambers in the temple complex. Main building of temple as any other monastery had Buddha as a prime deity.








After spending some time in peaceful surroundings, I left for Santura Devi temple which was on my way back to mall road. It again is a temple on top of a hill which gives scenic view. It also had many deities inside the temple which again made my whole day very peaceful and blissful.


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Kempty fall though is very famous or the most famous place in Mussoorie but as I like seclusion more than the throng of tourists, I spent not more than 10 minutes at Kempty lake and left.

After this I headed for my hotel at mall road as the day had already been exhausting for me.

Next day I had my flight booked and I left for Dehradun airport again.

And this was my trip to Mussoorie-queen of hills. It was great, it was beautiful, and it was a journey to get me rid of tensions that we all have in city’s diurnal activities. It is a beautiful place indeed to forget worries of life that we have and at least once in life one should visit it especially if one fancies hilly areas and on top of that if one likes to be away from other things to get some quality time for self to explore not just this beautiful place but also one’s own mind and soul.


Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Surkanda Devi Temple-Shiva, Sati, Daksh and the place where the head of goddess Sati fell

Who among us doesn’t know about lord Shiva and his consort goddess Sati who is the manifestation of Adi Parashakti- the supreme source of energy, the supreme power who has given birth to universe and all the planetary positions and all the demigods along with the three prime gods of Hindu pantheon who form a holy trinity- Brahma Vishnu and Shiva. Goddess sati was the first form of goddess Adi Shakti who took human form to marry lord Shiva. Sati loved Shiva since childhood but his father Daksh Prajapati was a staunch devotee of lord Vishnu but at the same time he barred people from worshipping lord Shiva. Not only this but he abhorred lord Shiva to such an extent that he disliked people who had any inclination towards Shiva. So much was this hatred that he abandoned his daughter sati whom he had loved the most in his life just because she had married Shiva against his wishes.


Daksh Prajapati is considered as one of the sons of Brahma who after creating ten manas putra (born of his mind), created sons Daksh, Dharma, Kamadev, and Agni from his right thumb, chest, heart, and eyebrows respectively. It is believed that Daksh with his wife Prasuti practiced penance for thousands of years to get adi Parashakti as their daughter and happy with their devotion, devi gave them boon that she will be born to them and sati was born as daughter who was devi herself.


With passage of time, Daksh turned arrogant with power and sense of feeling that even demigods and saptarishis come to meet him at his will and many of them are his sons-in-law. But he could not stop Sati from loving and worshipping Shiva despite of the fact that she loved her father a lot and was in extreme agony as to what to do with her life as she couldn’t let her father down and at the same time could not stop herself from loving Shiva as they were inseparable since the beginning of time.


However, there came a time when sati married Shiva and left Daksh’s palace to live with Shiva on Kailash Mountains. Major turning point, however, in the development of sects of Shaivism and Shaktism was Daksh Yagna in which he invited all the gods, demigods, rishis and nobles from heavens and all over the universe but intentionally avoided inviting Shiva and Sati. Sati out of filial affection wanted to attend the grand yagna but Shiva stopped her from doing so because he could see the catastrophe that lay in the womb of time. After much discussion, sati got infuriated. It is believed that it was the first time when ten Mahavidyas of Devi durga emerged from the body of sati. Mahavidyas-the ten fiercest forms of Devi durga-are said to be emerged only because she got angry being stopped by Shiva. Hence Shiva allowed her to go to yagna.


When sati reached her father’s palace which she had left some time ago, she was extremely glad to see all her sisters, her mother her relatives and others. But what she realized there stunned her to the core. Her sisters, relatives and her own mother neglected her and did not show any affection to her. No one spoke to her there and among all the demigods, saints and sages, and in front of whole society she felt extremely humiliated. But she could take it all had it not been the question of the respect and dignity of her husband, lord Shiva because what Daksh Prajapati did next was unacceptable to her. Daksh started insulting lord Shiva by calling him immoral, dirty roaming ascetic who accompanies ghosts and goblins. Sati unable to bear it took the form of adi Parashakti and made Daksh realize his mistake. All the guests present there got extremely petrified and that form of her struck terror into their hearts.

 She reminded Daksh who she was. She also reminded him that she was his daughter because she was happy with his penance but in arrogance of power he had forgotten that her relation with Shiva was divine and they were eternal consorts. She however did not kill Daksh-because in human form, he was her father and she couldn’t kill her father-or anyone present there but she couldn’t face her husband again either because he insisted her not to attend the yagna but she didn’t listen to him. She felt extremely remorseful that she disobeyed her husband who was stopping her for her happiness and allowed also for her happiness. Such was her anger and aggravation mixed with guilt that she immolated herself with the fire of her own body’s yoga Shakti.
Everyone got petrified. They had no idea what would happen now when the mother goddess immolated herself and what would be the reaction of lord Shiva who is known for the accomplishment of the task of destruction among the holy trinity.

Atmosphere of yagna turned into that of rampage when Shiva got to know it. He invoked Veerbhadra and Bhadrakali to destroy Daksh yagna. Veerbhadra beheaded Daksh and Bhadrakali destroyed Daksh yagna which is the reason that one of maa Durga’s 108 names is Dakhshyagnavinashini (one who destroyed the yagna of Daksh).


When Shiva reached the locale and heard all the cries and witnessed the bloodshed, he resurrected all those who were slaughtered and blessed them as he is known to forgive all. He also forgave Daksh and replaced his head with that of a goat. But it didn’t help grief stricken Shiva and he couldn’t get peace in his heart and mind.

After that, Shiva carried the burnt body of sati and rendered Taandav dance which is the dance of destruction which brings demolition of the whole creation. Demigods got agitated and prayed to lord Vishnu for help. Thus lord Vishnu had cut Sati’s body into 52 body parts using his Sudarshan Chakra which fell on Earth to become holy spots to pray to the Goddess named Shakti Peeths.

All these Shakti Peeths also have lord Shiva in his Bhairav form. And this is how Shakti Peeths came into existence.

Now there are places on this earth where parts of sati’s body fell and devotees throng from all around the world to these holy Shakti Peeths to seek blessings of maa shakti. I visited one such temple recently in Dhanaulti near Mussoorie. Maa Surkanda Devi’s temple is believed to be the place where the head of sati fell. Though there are other temples which are believed to be the location where sati’s head fell, Surkanda Devi temple is a very known and revered temple.



As the head of sati fell here it was originally called as Sirkhanda which with the passage of time became Surkanda. Temple has a black idol of maa durga which is beautiful and makes the devotees extremely ecstatic and delighted. It was a great experience for me to behold that look of maa durga with motherly affection and tranquility. The temple premise has a temple of Bhairav and maa Kaali as well like other Shakti Peeths.


Besides, it also has lord Shiva and lord hanuman temples.



It is situated on top of a hill in Dhanaulti from where the picturesque hills and valleys can be seen along with the Himalayan peaks. It’s so serene to be at the top of the hill, to have a look on the beautiful foggy hills that one really loves to get lost in the peaceful ambience of the temple. Open area outside temple gives beautiful scenic view to the devotees. The tiring trek to the temple vanishes with such experience and that is a great feeling one gets on top of the hill in temple.


So this is the story of Devi Surkanda where the head of maa sati fell, and Shiva, Shakti (Sati) and Daksh and how Shakteepeeths came into existence. This is the story of love and pain of separation. This is the story of ignorance of Daksh who later felt remorseful and became a devotee of lord Shiva and spent all his life worshipping lord Shiva; passed his life visiting temples dedicated to lord Shiva.

But this could not end the love of Shiva and Shakti which is beyond time and reach of mortals. Sati once again took birth as Parvati as daughter of Himavan-king of mountains and Devi Maina. This time she married Shiva and they got their love to cherish it forever.

And this was my journey to the Surkanda Devi temple which I had been wishing to visit since last few years being a devotee of maa Shakti. The peace of mind that one gets at the temple of maa Shakti is beyond words. I simply can’t describe the motherly affection I feel I get from maa durga. So all that I can say or describe is that if you really wish to feel that divine affection of maa Surkanda or innocent Maa Sati and that serene atmosphere, you must visit the hill station of Mussoorie-Dhanaulti and must visit this divinely great temple amidst the colossal hills and beautiful valleys.

Pictures courtesy- Except wallpapers, all the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s