TOWN HALL, SHIMLA
This is an old photograph of Town Hall which was first built in 1860 in Tudor style architecture and later again refurbished in 1908 when it had deteriorated. It had ‘Gaiety Theatre’, as a part of it at the beginning and besides this it also had a ballroom, library, bar and numerous other public offices.
KENNEDY LODGE, 1892, SHIMLA
This is kennedy lodge which was built by Major Charles Pratt Kennedy, who was an army officer in Bengal artillery. He moved to Shimla after his tenure in Army and was appointed political agent by the British at Shimla. During his stint, Shimla grew into a famous hill station.
Mall Road, 1870
This photograph is of Shimla’s Mall Road in 1870. The road which was earlier just a country road had already developed well by this time, but after this the Mall road developed phenomenally thanks to the British, who took a very keen interest in developing the whole area as they wanted to have similar surroundings as that of their home country, like having cool climatic conditions to escape from the hot and humid plains of India in summers and this is exactly what they found in Shimla, a cool and serene place with beautiful tall deodar and pine trees. So they really liked the place and this led to the further growth of the Mall Road of Shimla.
Lakkar Bazar, 1892
This picture is of Lakkar Bazar of 1892 and in the picture you can see the public in market, engaged in their day to day life activities. It is said that a large community of wood artisans came from Hoshiarpur in Punjab and settled down here. And slowly the wooden artifacts and other wooden items made by these artisans became popular with the visitors and the place finally came to be known as Lakkar Bazar, which is till this date is very popular for its wooden souvenirs and wooden artifacts among the tourists.
HATU TEMPLE, NARKANDA, HIMACHAL PRADESH.
THE MAIN DOOR OF THE TEMPLE
This is the main door of the Hatu temple and you can see from the picture the door has magnificent intricate carvings on it. Wood carving is a very skilled art and the artisans have to be adept at this art. Here in this picture of the temple door, you can well imagine how much effort the artisan must have put in to carve this fine amalgam of geometrical and floral design. The temple priest is seen here performing his daily rituals.
The art of wood carving can be seen even in the small temples of rural Himachal beyond Shimla. A very beautiful carving which we have often seen on many Lord Shiva temples and Nag temples is a pair of cobra snakes, which really looks elegant in carvings. This pair of cobra snakes is a sign of fertility and is held in high esteem by the local people, who worship it in the form of ‘Naag Devta’. This snake carving can be seen in the verandah or the outer patio of the temple.
THE CARVED CEILING
The ceiling of the temple looks stunning with a beautiful chandelier and carvings of ‘swastik’ and ‘om’ in the centre and is surrounded by bold floral motifs. Lightly coloured bird carvings in blue and green make the ceiling appear more beautiful.
THE LEFT WALL OF THE TEMPLE
This is the interiors of left wall of the Hatu temple and as you can see from the picture that this wall too has many carvings of the various gods and goddesses. Some of the gods are the same ones as on the right wall, whose picture we have already shared in the last post and there are a few new ones like the carving of Lord Krishna, Lord Brahma, and a carving of Lord Hanuman which is different from the carving on the right wall.
The Hatu temple in Narkanda, Shimla is one of the most sought after motorable peaks in Himachal. It is a favourite destination for all the bikers. In winters, however due to heavy rainfall this place gets disconnected from outer world. The temple situated at the highest peak and offers a spectacular view to the tourists.
The renovation work of the temple has been in progress since past many years and is still going on. This marks the hard efforts put by the workers in its construction in all these years gone by. The magnificent artistry done on wood is exceptional. The intricate carvings make the interior of the Hatu temple magnificent and a timeless piece of art.
The above picture is an inside view of the temple which has different forms of Goddess Durga, placed in beautifully carved windows (Jharokhas) of the wood. In the front below is the idol of Goddess Hatu placed in a well decorated altar. It has two lions carved out of wood on either side. They really look very attractive. It is believed that Goddess Durga rides on a lion. Here in the picture we have a glimpse of the priest performing the daily rituals in the temple.
This photograph is of the right side outer wall of the main temple which has carvings of various Gods and Goddess like Lord Shiva and Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Vishnu, Goddess Durga, Lord Hanuman and many others. The carving is done on deodar wood which gives it an excellent finish and a wonderful appearance.
If you get a chance to visit Narkanda, make sure you visit Hatu temple. Its serene environment is good for mind as you experience peace and after all that is what all of us want in life. A few moments free from life’s clutter just for you.