INDIA TRAVEL - SHRI RENUKA JI - A PLACE OF MYTHOLOGY AND FAITH

Hello friends! There are many places in India with legends attached to them. And each has it's own story. Some have historical values and some carry mythological beliefs. Such places usually carry pilgrimage importance and attract large number of people. However, if these places are nestled in beautiful natural surroundings and also offer adventure activities in and around them, will it not be a double bonanza for you? I take you to one such place which is called Shri Renuka Ji.

Shri Renuka Ji is situated in Giripar area of Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Located at an altitude of 672 m(2300 ft), Shri Renuka Ji is considered to be the birth place of Lord Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The biggest attraction of this place is the Renuka Lake, which is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh. It's circumference is 3214 m. The main feature of the lake is that it is shaped like a woman. It is believed to be an image of Goddess Renuka.


Renuka Lake, Himachal Pradesh
RENUKA LAKE
Pic -hillpost.in
According to Puranas, the story behind Renuka lake goes like this:
Maharishi(sage) Jamdagni and his wife Bhagwati Renuka meditated and prayed for a long time at Tape Ka Tiba, a place near the lake. Happy with their devotion, and with the blessings of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu took birth as their son. Maharishi Jamadagni and Bhagvati Renuka originally named their son as Ram. But Ram performed a Tap(a very tough meditation) of Lord Shiva and pleased him, who gifted him with a divine weapon called Parshu and thereon he started to be referred as Parshuram. He has been called Parshuram everywhere in Puranas and all mythological books.

Lord Parshuram always fought for the rights and justice of common man. Once, when he was away, King Sahastrabahu attacked Tape Ka Tiba and demanded to have Kamdhenu cow from Maharishi Jamdagni, who pleaded with the King that he could not handover the pious cow to him since it was a gift from Lord Indra. Angry at this, Sahastrabahu killed Maharishi Jamdagni. Bhagvati Renuka jumped into nearby Ram Sarovar(pond), which immediately took the shape of a woman and eversince it is known as Renuka Lake.


Renuka Lake, Nahan
CALM AND SERENE RENUKA LAKE
Pic -  hpsirmour.nic.in
Lord Parshuram killed King Sahastrabahu and brought his father, Maharishi Jamdagni, to life with his divine powers. Then he went to lake and requested his mother to come out. Hearing his pleadings, Renuka came out of the lake but insisted that she would continue to live in the lake. However, she promised to Lord Parshuram that she would come out of the lake and meet him on every Devprbodhini Ekadashi. Renuka Ji also promised that people visiting this place on such a pious occasion, would get divine blessings. It is said that scientists have tried to gauge the depth of Renuka lake many times but have not succeeded so far.

Every year, on the eve of Devprbodhini Ekadashi(normally November), Shri Renuka Ji fair is held here. It is a five day affair and is of international magnitude. It begins with the arrival of son Parshuram to meet his mother Renuka. Lakhs of devotees throng the fair site to witness the occasion. Cultural groups from different regions perform at the fair.

You can also enjoy boating in Renuka lake. There are two seater, four seater and six seater boats available and charges very from INR70 to INR300 for half an hour ride. A battery operated vehicle also available to go around the periphery of the lake.


Boats at Shri Renuka Ji, Sirmaur
BOATS AT RENUKA LAKE
Pic - wikipedia.org

Boating at Shri Renuka Ji
BOATING AT RENUKA LAKE
Pic - himachalkesari.in

At one corner of Renuka Lake, Himachal Wildlife Department has built a mini zoo. You will find animals like leopard, deer, bear, ghorals etc. 


Wildlife sanctuary, Nahan
DEERS AT THE MINI ZOO
Pic - tripadvisor.com

Mini Zoo, Nahan, Himachal Pradesh
MINI ZOO
Pic - tripadvisor.com

A little away is the Parshuram temple dedicated to Lord Parshuram.


Parshuram temple, Sirmaur
PARSHURAM TEMPLE
Pic - mysterioushimachal.com

For adventure, you can trek to Fort Jaitak, which was built by Gurkha leader Ranjor Singh Thapa after destroying the Nahan fort. It is a comfortable trek of one hour. Fort Jaitak is situated at an altitude of 1479 m(5000 ft). Although there is not much to see inside the fort but the surroundings are amazing and owing to it's strategic location, it offers a panoramic view of the hills as well as valley around. 


Jaitak Fort, Nahan
JAITAK FORT
Pic - tourmyindia.com

Also visit beautiful and quiet Renuka Ji Temple at the lake. It is believed that it was built by Gurkhas in 19th century. It is dedicated to immortal Renuka Ji.


Renuka Ji temple, Sirmaur
SHRI RENUKA JI TEMPLE
Pic - tourmyindia.com

Renuka Ji Temple, Nahan
RENUKA JI TEMPLE
Pic - tepleadvisor.com
Also read: A COMBINATION OF WILDERNESS AND PANORAMA - SHOJA

To reach Shri Renuka Ji by air, you need to reach Dehradun, which is three hours drive from Shri Renuka Ji. From here you can hire a cab.
The nearest railway station is Ambala, which is 95 km(60 mi) away. From Ambala, catch a taxi to reach Shri Renuka Ji.
Shri Renuka Ji is well connected by road to all the major cities of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana and is at a distance of 255 km(160 mi) from Delhi.

You will find government run as well as private hotels and rest houses in Shri Renuka Ji, so don't worry about staying at this place.

So when are you going to Shri Renuka Ji?


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