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The five kilometre trek from Banjar is not easy,but the lovely weather, breathtaking view of mountains and lush greenery makes up for this exhausting climb. The hide and seek between sun and clouds accompanied by a light drizzle sets up the mood for a perfect getaway in the hills.

From a distance a towering structure made of wood and stones can be seen. The destination of the trek is “Chaini Kothi’ located in the Chaini village. From a tiring trekker’s viewpoint the destination is so near and yet so far. Ask any local for the distance yet to be covered,the standard answer is “round the corner’. And “round the corner’ is not actually “round the corner” for a city dweller not used to steep climbs.

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After walking or rather climbing for around 2 hours with small breaks to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and chit chat with the villagers,the journey ends at Chaini Village. The awe inspiring view from the village is worth much more than the efforts to reach the place. The panoramic view of Tirthan Valley( the Valley draws its name from Tirthan River, which originates from glaciers of Himalaya) down in the depth surrounded by maze of mountains is beyond any description. It is a feast to the eyes and the appetite does not come down even after spending hours admiring the paradise on earth.

 

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“Chaini Kothi or the the Great Tower of Chaini is the tallest free-standing structure built in traditional local architecture in the entire Western Himalayan region. The Great Tower,in its present condition is more than 45 metres tall.It lost its two upper storeys in the Kangra earthquake in 1905. It is believed that this temple was built as a defensive castle around the 17th Century by a local King (Thakur) Dhadhu and that’s the reason this temple is locally known as Dhadhiya Kothi also. The tower temple stands on a plinth, which is almost 15 meters deep, and is made of locally available stone and deodar wood.Since  these temples were also meant to be defensive structures, no permanent staircase was built at its entrance. A hanging wooden stair was used and it was moved inside the temple once the last person had moved inside.

It is interesting to note here that the village originally known as Kuthed was renamed to Chaini,name of widow of Thakur Dhadu who rebelled against the sub-ordination of Kullu ruler and was killed in an encounter. The widow of Dhadu,then,prayed for the mercy to the Kullu ruler to change the name of village on her name to perpetuate the name of the family.”

Reference: Temple Architecture of the Western Himalaya: Wooden Temples
By O.C. Handa)

 

 

 

 

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