Hatkoti temple, the famous and ancient temple of Mata Hateshwari, an aspect of Devi Durga is situated on the right bank of Pabber river in village Hatkoti, tehsil Jubbal at a distance of 104 km from Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. This temple is also one of the prime tourist attractions around Shimla.
Residents of Hatkoti believe their Goddess to be the most powerful of all the Goddesses of northern India. This spot is also a the meeting point of three rivers- Bishkulti, Raanvati with Pabbar which makes it even more holy and auspicious for Hindus. Although there are no evidences regarding the history of the temple but some people believe that it was constructed at some time in the third era. While some others postulate that it was established by Guru Adi Shankracharya.
Legend and History of Hatkoti Temple
As per a local legend, an ascetic girl came to this spot for meditation. The intensity of her meditation was so strong that she eventually vanished and an idol of stone was found in her place. The girl was later acknowledged as an incarnation of Goddess Durga and her idol was enshrined here as Mata Hatkeshwari.
According to another mythological belief, Hatkoti temple stands on a spot where a pitched battle was fought between Gods.There is also a description about Mata Hateshwari in the fifth Khand of Bhagvat Gita where Hateshwari Devi is referred to as the Shakti of Hateshwar. This place is also supposed to be one of the prime residences of Shiva and Shakti.
Based on the architectural layout and designs, the temple is supposed to have been associated with the Gupta era. The moment you enter this temple, its architecture will leave you awe-struck. A lot of historic monuments of this temple remind us of the Mahabharata era. The five stone Deols, the first one largest thereafter decreasing in size in way connote the five Pandavas. At the entrance of the temple, there is ‘Charu’- a huge vessel surrounded by chains.
The beauty of effigy of Mata Hateshwari is beyond words. Made out of a mixture of eight valuable metals, the statue is 1.20 meters tall and so magnificent that one you look at it, you won’t feel like taking your eyes off. Another amusing fact about the idol is that people believe that it changes expressions, at some times it smiles while at other times it looks angry. The idol emits a unique radiance in the dark sanctorum owing to the bronze metal used in its making. Also there is something written in Brahmi script on both sides of the idol.
Known as ‘Yagyashala’ is an extensive hall in the temple premises used for performance of several rituals. There is a havan kund at the center of this hall. Statues of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh And Ganesha have also been placed here. There is also a separate temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the complex.Other sections in the temple premises include a satsang bhawan, kirtan ghar, and a dharamshala.
The interiors walls, roof and idols of the temple are a perfect example of great artistic and architectural skills. In front of the Hatkoti temple towards the east direction, there is a small mountain which is known as the fort of Rambhasur. Rambhasur was the father of Maheshasur and had got Maheshasur as a reward for his devotion to Agni Devta. Pleasing Lord Shiva he attained a boon for his son that he will be undefeatable. He took an undue advantage of this boon and captured all the Gods also depriving them of their powers. These Gods took shelter in places of Pabber valley since they were difficult to reach and asked Mata Hateshwari to protect them. On their plea, Mata Hateshwari assassinated Maheshasur and also came to be known as “Maheshasurmardini” (destroyer of Maheshasur Devil).
- Location → Village Hatkoti, district Jubbal (105 km from Shimla) → Himachal Pradesh
- Dedicated to → Mata Hatkeshwari Devi (Duga ji)
- Main Attraction → Beautiful Architecture, glowing and expression changing effigy of Mata Hatkeshwari
- Main Festival and Fair → Navratras in the months of Chaitra and Aswin (October and April)
- How to reach by Air → the nearest airport – Jubbarhatti
- How to reach by Rail – Nearest railway station → Shimla (105km)
- How to reach by Road → A number of state transport services are available for this shrine. Once can also hire taxi to reach