Sarahan – Of Mountains & Bhimakali Temple | A Complete Travel Guide

Himachal Pradesh

Sarahan Travel Guide

Last Updated on: Aug 9, 2023 

About this blog: Sarahan is a beautiful destination in Himachal Pradesh known for Bhimakali Temple and great views of the mountains. If you are planning a trip to Kinnaur Valley and thinking of staying at Sarahan, this Sarahan Travel Guide will help you plan your trip. Read this to know about the places to visit in Sarahan, how to reach and where to stay and other practical travel information.

Waking up to the views of mountains is something that I can get used to. However, living in a city, this particular desire remains as such. So when we were at Sarahan, these views of the mountains from our homestay was something that I particularly enjoyed.

Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh is a small town blessed with the exceptionally scenic beauty. Also known as the “Gateway to Kinnaur Valley”, this sleepy little town with cliffs on one side is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Himachal.

Blooming roses

We had earlier visited Sangla and Chitkul at the end of the Rupin Pass trek. However, Sarahan and Kalpa eluded us at that time. So, this time during our Spiti Valley road trip, we decided to stop for a night at Sarahan. And if you are planning a trip to Spiti Valley, you might also consider Sarahan as a stopover.

Sarahan – The Gateway to Kinnaur

Sarahan is beautiful. Surrounded by pine and deodars, the place seems just out of a picture postcard. While most of the Himalayan destinations boast of similar landscape, each place has its own unique charm. There are apple orchards, guzzling mountain streams, flowers growing all around and views of snow-covered peaks.

Views of mountain peaks from Sarahan Himachal Pradesh

Sarahan is also the home to Jujurana, or the tragopan, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh. Thus, Sarahan might be a small town, but it definitely packs a punch. If you can club your trip to Sarahan with Kinnaur Valley (Kalpa, Sangla and Chitkul), it will be an amazing holiday.

 Historical and Mythological Connection

Sarahan also has historical, mythological and religious significance. The Bhimakali Temple, one of the famous temples of India is located at Sarahan. Bhimakali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India.

Sarahan finds mention as Shonitpur in the Hindu mythological texts, Puranas. You might find several folklore and stories associated with the place if you talk with the elders of the town.

Bhimakali Temple at Sarahan, HP

Historically, Sarahan was the summer capital of the erstwhile Bushahr kingdom. Sarahan was located at the strategic point on the Hindustan-Tibet Road that connected Tibet, Kinnaur and the lower mountain areas. Sarahan was thus an important center for trade on the Old Silk Road.

Sarahan in Visuals

Where is Sarahan located?

Sarahan is located about 135 km from Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and 250 km from Chandigarh.

At an altitude of 7589 feet above the sea level, Sarahan is located just above the Sutlej River on the Old India-Tibet Road. A slight detour is needed from the main highway at Jeori to reach Sarahan. The place is about 15 km from Jeori.

Our experience at Sarahan

We visited Sarahan on our road trip to Spiti Valley. After ariving at Chandigarh by 11 AM, we started our journey. We had booked a car for the entire trip and they picked us up from Chandigarh airport.

Staying at Shimla was an enticing option, but we have been to Shimla a number of times and so decided to skip it this time. Moreover, this time, we wanted to explore Spiti Valley and so  we decided to drive to Sarahan on the first day itself.

Apart from a little traffic near Shimla, the journey was quite pleasant. The scenery kept on changing. The landscape changed once we left the precincts of Chandigarh. Shimla brought more greenery and soothing to the eyes. Crossing Shimla, the mountains and vegetation changed.

A forest fire seen in the mountains on the way to Sarahan

The landscape of Narkanda once again differed from what we left back.  Incidentally, Narkanda is also a good place to stop on the way to Kinnaur valley.

We kept on driving, enjoying the views of the mountains and the scenery. At one time, I was feeling a bit down because of the twists and turns on the road. Apparently, an empty stomach makes the problem more pronounced. So we stopped at a local shop and bought local cherries. That was the only thing available! We had a few cherries and continued on our way.

Jeori

By the time we reached Jeori, it was almost 9.30 PM. Almost all the shops were closed down and Jeori looked dark and a little bit scary. We found a small eatery that was open and had our dinner from there. A hot plate of Rajma Chawal is definitely good when you are hungry.

By the time we reached Sarahan and our homestay, it was almost 10.30 PM. Our host was very nice and showed us our rooms.

The rooms were small and cosy. We were so tired at that time, we simply slept.

Morning at Sarahan

View of the mountains from Sarahan

We woke up to a bright and beautiful morning. The first thing I saw when I came out of our room was the views of the mountains. The distant ones were snow-capped and it was a perfect view. As I mentioned before, I really wish I could get used to such views.

After admiring the views for quite a considerable amount of time, we had our breakfast and then went out to explore Sarahan on foot. Bhimakali Temple was located only 1 km from our homestay.

Places to visit in Sarahan

Bhimakali Temple

Bhimakali Temple in Sarahan

Well, the most important and the main attraction of Sarahan is undoubtedly the Bhimakali Temple. The temple dominates the skyline of Sarahan. Just like many other Himachali temples, Bhimakali Temple also has a wooden tower like structure.

Ornate door of the Bhinakali Temple

There is a small market just in front of the temple. There are a few shops and local eateries there. The local bus stand also seems to be right there.

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhimakali, a form of Shakti and the presiding deity of the Bushahr rulers. The temple is well maintained and has several ornate wooden doors.

The towers inside Bhimakali Temple in Sarahan Himachal Pradesh
Bhimakali Temple
Inside the Bhimakali Temple at Sarahan

The most striking feature of the temple is the two towers that dominate the whole architecture. The idol of Goddess Bhimakali is inside one of the towers. We went up the tower and admired the amazingly beautiful wood carvings.

There are smaller temples in the complex dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses. It took us half an hour to explore Bhimakali Temple.

New Palace or Shanti Kunj

New Palace or Shanti Kunj at Sarahan

Coming out of the Bhimakali Temple, we walked down a road beside it. It brought us to Shanti Kunj or the Palace. This is the new palace. The older one and Bhimakali Temple were in the same complex. Later this new palace was built. Apparently, we do not think anyone resides in the palace. So we went inside and just roamed around.

Inside the New Palace
The garden at New Palace at Sarahan

Tragopan Breeding Centre

There is a Tragopan Breeding Centre at Sarahan for protection and conservation of the state bird of Himachal. We saw a sign board to the Tragopan Breeding centre, but did not visit the place.

Please note that the Tragopan Breeding Centre remains closed for visitors from mid-April to mid-August as it is the breeding season at that time.

Apple orchards

Apple orchards at Sarahan with the Bhimakali Temple at backdrop

There are plenty of apple orchards all around Sarahan. It was not the apple season and so they looked like other trees. I am sure during the season in August-September, the place would look like a riot.

Trekking

There is a small trek that you can do from Sarahan – Bashal Peak trek. If you want to do it, please take the help of local guides.

We explored the place at leisure, visited Bhimakali Temple and simply walked around. After that, it was time for our next journey. We were heading towards Kalpa that day. And this was another interesting journey.

On the way towards Kalpa

Sarahan Travel Guide

How to reach Sarahan?

The nearest airport to Sarahan is Jubbarhatti in Shimla. However, this is a domestic airport and quite small, having limited connectivity.

Chandigarh is the biggest airport nearest to Sarahan, the distance beingSarahan almost 250 km. It is possible to reach Sarahan from Chandigarh in a day, provided you start a bit early. We had done that. However, since we started from Chandigarh a bit late, we reached Sarahan quite late.

By Train

Here again, the nearest railway station is Shimla. Once again, Shimla is a smaller station having mountain railways and lesser number of trains.

The main railway station nearest to Sarahan will be Chandigarh again.

By Bus

If you are looking for public transport, reach Chandigarh or Shimla first. From there, take a bus towards Kinnaur. You can take any bus heading towards Reckong Peo, Sangla, Pooh or Kaza. All these buses will stop at Jeori where you will have to get down. You will get HRTC buses from both Shimla and Chandigarh.

Buses are available between Jeori to Sarahan at regular intervals.

When we visited, we came to know that there are only two direct buses running from Shimla to Sarahan – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

By Booking a Cab

You can also book a cab or taxi for your entire trip. A car can cost you around INR 3500 to INR 5000 per day depending on the type and make of the car. This can be a bit expensive if numbers are less.

Self-drive cars are also available from Delhi and Chandigarh. If you are confident with your driving skills, then go for it.

Road towrads Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh

What is the best time to Visit Sarahan?

Sarahan is an all-year-round destination. The place is well connected and the roads are well maintained, so you can visit this place at any time of the year depending on your convenience and choice.

There are, however, two times when Sarahan becomes exceptionally beautiful. One of the best times to visit Sarahan is during August and September which is the apple harvesting season. The entire landscape turns into something that will leave you completely mesmerized.

Spring between March and April is also a good time to visit. The weather is fine and there are colours from the blooming flowers.

Summer months between April and May is the peak season that sees a lot of visitors. Once again September and October is also a peak season and sees a lot of Bengali tourists, especially during the month of October.

Winters are also a good time to visit. However, the weather will be cold and you would need to carry woolen garments with you.

blooming flowers at Sarahan

Where to Stay at Sarahan?

There are many homestays and hotels available at Sarahan. Here are a few recommendations –

Hotel Shrikhand : This is the property of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department. The property is beautiful. There are rooms as well as dormitory available here. You can book online.

Bhimakali Temple Guest House: The temple guesthouse is clean and beautiful with great views of the mountains. I think you have to call them up directly for booking.

Heritage Sarahan: We stayed at this homestay located about km from the Bhimakali Temple. It is a decent homestay with clean rooms and good meals.

Other Things to Consider

Mobile Connectivity: Good mobile connectivity is available from all the networks. Internet spped was also decent with my Airtel and Jio numbers.

ATM: ATM is available at Rampur, 35 km from Sarahan.

Petrol Pump: If you are coming from Shimla, you will get the last petrol pump at Rampur. If you are going towards Sangla or Kalpa, then get your tanks filled at Tapri.

In Conclusion

Sarahan is lovely – a perfect place to be close to nature. However, you will probably not be doing a trip to Sarahan only. It might be clubbed with a Kinnaur Valley trip or a Spiti Valley trip. Whatever are your itinerary, this is a good place to stop for the night.

If you have any questions regarding this beautiful place in Himachal, please drop us a comment below, or mail us with your query. If you have been to Sarahan, please do let us know your thoughts about the place and any other relevant information that you feel travellers must know.

Please share this article with your family, friends and neighbours or anyone who is planning a trip to Sarahan.

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Things to do at Sarahan - Travel Guide
Sarahan Travel Guide
Agni Amrita Travel Blogger

Agni Amrita

We are Agni and Amrita, the 2 Backpackers embarked on the adventure of life together. In between, travel makes us happy as we explore offbeat places and Untold Stories.

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