Bathu ki Ladi- Immersed temples of Pong dam
Mystifying! No comparison! Mind boggling! Ultimate destination! One would mutter in utter surprise; that is what certainly Bathu ki Ladi or Bathu Temple chain, in fact seems like.
Most noteworthy, Bathu ki Ladi is a cluster of 6 temples in a row. Even more, it remains submerged in deep depths of beautiful Pong dam reservoir for almost nine months in a year. With the construction of Pong dam it has been, so to say, swallowed up by this mini sea. Consequently, its underwater sojourn begins gently in July with the increase of water level in Pong dam. By August only the tip of a towering pillar next to these temples is visible. Likewise, Bathu ki Ladi temples of Pong dam reemerge from their mermaid dip in March. Thereafter, they remain in full view up till mid-July. Finally, the immersion process is once again ready to repeat its yearly cycle.
Rustic Nature of Bathu ki Ladi
Rustic Bathu ki Ladi has consequently braved the yearly onslaught except that some plaster and bricks have weathered out. The 1905 devastating Kangra earthquake could also do no harm because as they are of hard sandstone called ‘Bathu’. It is noteworthy, that the temple name, Bathu ki Ladi, too bears the imprint of Bathu stone.
Finally, five of the six temples relate to Lord Vishnu while the Sanctum is in the name of Lord Shiva. Idols of Hanuman and Sheshnaag have also been given respectful seats in this chain of temples. Figurines of Ganesha and goddess Kali are also artistically carved on the stones. Stone images of Lord Ganesha and goddess Kali on both sides of the outer gate remain intact to this day. In contrast, images of Sheshnag, Lord Vishnu and some deities carved out of a different category of stone have suffered partial damage.
History of Bathu ki Ladi temples
First of all, it has traditionally been a place for veneration. Pilgrims from all over the country have visited this chain of temples for Centuries. These majestic and rustic temples have withstood the vagaries of nature for centuries. Above all, massive Pong dam too has not been able to inflict material damage to these temples. Most probably, these temples of 14th to 16th Century are the creation of King Hari Chand Guleria of Haripur-Guler. Because other forts near Pong dam came up around the same period. Notable among them being Haripur fort, Nandpur fort, Kotla fort, Nurpur fort and Taragarh Fort. With mystic yearly disappearance and reemergence, Bathu ki Ladi has acquired a special status as a tourist destination. Consequently, they have almost become a miracle cum adventure for the nature lover and likewise for temple tourist.
Myth & Mystery
The origin of Bathu ki Ladi temples is certainly shrouded in mystery. Likewise, the exact origin of this ancient cluster of artistically chiselled Bathu stone edifice is not known. Different stories relate it from Pandavas of Mahabharata to some local king for building it par excellence. As per local belief, Pandavas during their banishment built Bathu ki Ladi along with a staircase leading to heaven. This assertion bears similarity to the Masroor temple belief as well.
How to reach Bathu ki Ladi
Magnificent Bathu ki Ladi is 65 km from Dharamshala-Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh, India. Delhi is at a distance of 530 km. The nearest Kangra airport is 55 km. Likewise, connecting broad gauge railway head at Pathankot is 55 km. Bathu ki Ladi has fairly well-maintained roads up to Jawali. Furthermore, taxi service from Dharamshala-Mcleodganj, Kangra Airport and Pathankot to Bathu ki Ladi are easily available. Also, Bathu ki Ladi is 30 km from eco-friendly Raadballi Jungle resort for accommodation. One can reach Bathu ki Ladi via Dhameta by road and from Nagrota Surian by country boat. Sailing through Pong dam up to Bathu ki Ladi for one and half hour is perfectly enjoyable. Finally, a visit to the Masroor rock cut temple near Raadballi jungle resort would be an adventurous experience.