Udaipur of Himachal, Lahaul and Spiti Valley

Udaipur of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul & Spiti Valley

One may misinterpret this beautiful hill station with that of a desert city in Rajasthan, but the 'Udaipur' in Himachal is a picturesque town, located on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is renowned for the ancient Marikula Mata Temple, which is visited by both Hindus and Buddhist pilgrims. The place is located at an altitude of 2,742 meters above sea level and it is named after king Udai Singh of Chamba. Earlier the place was known as Markul because the temple is dedicated to Markula Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga.

History Udaipur offers thick forested and green landscapes that attract a lot of tourists and pilgrims to its unique temples, namely, Triloinath and Markula Devi temples. Earlier the town of Udaipur was known as Margul or Markul and it was in 1695 that the place was renamed Udaipur when Raja Udai Singh of Chamba (1690-1728) raised it to the status of a district centre in the Chamba-Lahaul.

Trilokinath Temple: This is a Shiva temple, which was transformed into a Buddhist shrine by Padma Sambhava. The temple continues to attract both the Hindu and the Buddhist pilgrims. One can still see the statue of Nandi Bull of Lord Shiva in the centre of the compound and a drain at the level of the platform in the sanctorum, which was probably built at the time of construction to drain out the water or milk, offered to Shiva.

Markula Devi Temple: This beautiful temple goes back to Ajayvarman's reign in Kashmir, though no original work of those times survives. The three headed image of Vishnu, which represents the transitional phase in Buddhism is one of the prime attractions in Marula Devi Temple. The exterior of the temple is most ordinary as it has to be renewed time and again because of the vagaries of nature. However, the interior is rich in artistic quality.

Architecture and design The Marikula Mata Temple along with Trilokinath temple forms the two important pilgrimages in Lahaul and Spiti district. Both these temples have been constructed in Tibetan and Hindu styles of architecture with wood and stone. The Marikula MataTemple is known for its amazing architecture and wooden carvings and its wall panel depict scenes from Hindu mythology and epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The outer walls of the temple reflect Kashmiri architecture and has carvings of Yamuna, the Ganga, Yashas, Kinnars, the 10th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Navgrahas, and the sun god.

Highlights For travelers who love trekking, Udaipur is also popular as a camping site. The greenery and breathtaking vistas are unlike other hill stations and promises a spectacular journey through the the barren landscapes, r, green and soothing valleys s to the tourists. Udaipur has several trekking routes that start from Udaipur and take the tourist to places like Kibber, Kangla, and to Zanskar. There is no hotel or guesthouse available in Udaipur and the tourists have to carry water and food or visit Keylong to stay or to have food.