Have you ever been to the highest point in Shimla? No, I’m not talking about a rollercoaster ride or a bungee jump, but the Jakhoo Temple!
It’s nestled amidst the lush green background of the Shivalik hill ranges, and it’s an ancient site dedicated to the Lord Hanuman. But what makes this place truly remarkable is the world’s largest Hanuman statue, which is visible from most parts of Shimla!
Now, before you rush off to see this marvel, let me tell you about the journey. The temple is located approximately 2 kilometers from the Ridge in Shimla’s center, which is a journey of about 30 minutes. You can hire a taxi, get a pony, or walk the picturesque trail of 2 kilometers up the hill to reach the Jakhoo Temple. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, there’s a rope/cable car available too!
But be warned, dear travelers, the monkey population in and around the Jakhoo Hill area is abundant and mischievous. They might snatch anything you’re carrying or wearing, so make sure to keep an eye on your surroundings and carry a stick to keep them away. On the other hand, they’re also quite generous when it comes to food, so feel free to share some munchies with them!
Once you’ve made it to the temple site, you’ll find several eateries, so don’t worry about carrying food. And don’t forget to ring the temple bell before exiting the premises, as it’s considered good luck!
Now, let’s talk about the legend that surrounds the Jakhoo Temple. It’s said that Lord Hanuman stopped at this spot to take some rest before resuming his search for the Sanjeevani Booti to revive Lord Lakshman during the battle of Ramayana between Rama and Ravana. To gather more details about the plant, he landed here, and the Jakhoo hill, which was much higher, sunk halfway into the earth. Hanuman proceeded onto Mount Dronagiri in the Himalayas and promised to visit sage Yaaku to meet him on his return. However, due to the shortage of time and his confrontation with the cunning demon Kaalnemi, he couldn’t make it back to the hill. Sage Yaaku supposedly built this temple in honor of Lord Hanuman.
Legend says that the temple has been built around Hanuman’s footprints, and the monkeys that flock and reside around the shrine here are said to be the descendants of Lord Hanuman. The original date of construction of the temple is not clearly known, but it’s believed to exist since the times of Ramayana.
Now, if you’re still not convinced to visit this place, let me tell you about the scenic vistas Jakhoo Temple provides. Being the highest peak in Shimla, the Jakhoo hill offers amazing views of sunrise, sunset, the lofty mountains of the Shivalik ranges, and the nearby town of Sanjauli. The trail up to the temple is a relaxing, serene path full of narrow promenades and excellent views surrounded by deodar trees. And the temple itself is a quiet place housing a shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, along with murals and paintings showing his feats during Ramayana.
But the cherry on top is the grand 108-feet-tall idol of Hanuman installed here in 2010. It’s a marvelous piece of engineering situated at a height of over 8000 feet, making it the tallest statue in the world at such a height above sea level! It even surpasses the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro, which is 30 meters tall (excluding its pedestal of 8 meters.