About Mornee Tramp

An environmental enthusiast who loves tramping through the hills in search of the picturesque.

Temple of Bhuri Singh Deota

Amongst the interesting sites to visit around Morni is a temple with a breath-taking cliff-side location at the centre of the formidable ‘Bhuri-Singh-Deota-Range’. The hill range is a sheer wall of rock running for 15 KM from Sarahan in the South-East to Naina Tikkar in the North-West in Sirmaur District of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is located at Pejarli village at a height of 1870 metres and is dedicated to a local deity (deota) – Bhuri (also Bhur) Singh. The temple offers an unbroken view of a vast area of about 75 Sq. Km that forms a part of the scenic Ghaggar Basin. The basin is ensconced by hill ranges on all sides and is drained by the tributaries to Ghaggar River such as the Dehi Nadi.

Bhuri Singh Deota - the Ghaggar Basin

Bhuri Singh Deota – the Ghaggar Basin

Cliff-side Temple of Bhuri Singh Deota, Sirmaur

Cliff-side Temple of Bhuri Singh Deota, Sirmaur

As per the popular legend, Bhur Singh and his sister Debi were the children of a Bhat of Panwah village. Bhats of Sirmaur are Brahmins by caste who traditionally worked as priests and who would perform rituals such as the deota lagna to invoke the Gods.

To the ill-luck of Bhur Singh and his sister their mother died the Bhat married again. The step-mother was harsh and was given to ill-treating the motherless children in the absence of their father from home. Once she sent Bhur Singh to graze cattle in the forest. When Bhur Singh returned home in the evening it was discovered by the step-mother that one of the calves was missing. She immediately despatched the boy back to the forest with the direction to return only when the missing calf had been found. When the Bhat reached home that evening he found that his son had not returned from the forest. The worried father went in search for his son and found the child and the calf lying dead at the spot where the shrine stands today.

In the meantime Bhur’s sister Debi, who had been given in marriage to a one-eyed-man, was, in her mortification, returning home. Her doli happened to pass the spot where Bhur Singh lay dead. The sister was stricken with grief and threw herself from her doli from atop the cliff. The brother and sister are now worshipped together as Bhur Singh.

There are two temples, one at Pejarli, the other on the high hill known as Bhur-Singh-ki-Dhar.

Temple of Bhuri Singh Deota atop Bhur-Singh-ki-Dhar

Temple of Bhuri Singh Deota atop Bhur-Singh-ki-Dhar

The pujaris are two Bhats, one for Bhur Singh and one for Debi. A fair is held annually at the temple on Kartik Sud Ekadshi, the 11th lunar day (ekadashi) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik. It marks the end of the four-month period of Chaturmas, when Lord Vishnu is believed to sleep. The fair starts in the early hours of the morning and continues till late hours. During the fair at Bhur Singh Deota Temple pujari of Debi, and he dances alone by the night in the temple so that the people may not see him, and at midnight coming out of the shrine leaps on to a great rock above a high cliff. Standing there for a few moments he delivers one oracle, and no more, in answer to a question.

Oracle's Rock, Temple of Bhur Singh Deota, Sirmaur

Oracle’s Rock, Temple of Bhur Singh Deota, Sirmaur

On returning to the temple he swoons, but is speedily and completely revived by rubbing.

Meanwhile, when the secret dancing begins the men of the Panal family form a line across the door of the temple, and those of the Kathar temple rushing upon them with great violence break the line and enter the temple, but leave it again after touching the idol.

As Bhur Singh is known to live on nothing but milk, animals are never sacrificed at his temple. Devotees bring milk and ghee as offerings for the devta.

References:

  1. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province; H.A. Rose (1911)
  2. Gazetteer of the Sirmur State (1934)

 

Acknowledgment:

The photographs have been adapted from the photographs available on the internet that have been clicked by a nature and travel enthusiast Sh. Narinder Sharma. The original photographs can be accessed at http://www.panoramio.com/user/2964099?show=best

Bhoj Kudana

Bhoj Kudana– comprises the dhanis lying in the low hills and spurs to the south of the ‘Valley of Tikkar’ with it twin tals and includes Baghwali, Barat, Bhamnol, Bhiyula, Kudana, Bounta, Dharket, Dharwala, Dighann, Duh, Dundal, Lad, Loharo, Mandhedi, Marad, Mathana, Mau, Meharwala, Samrotha and Tikar.

Samrotha, an important dhani lies atop a hill at the south-eastern boundary of the Morni ilaqa and is home to the locally revered deity, Samlasan Devi.

Samlotha peak from Chikna Ghat, Morni Hills

Samlotha peak from Chikna Ghat, Morni Hills

Tikkar is a large dhani that overlooks the road to Raipur-Rani and the scattered houses of Bhamnol that lies on the terraced-fields along the gentle slopes that drain into Bhim tal, the larger of the Tikkar lakes.

Bhamnol and Tikkar, Bhoj Kudana, Morni Hills

Bhamnol and Tikkar, Bhoj Kudana, Morni Hills

Tikkar from Chikna Ghat

Tikkar from Chikna Ghat

View from Tikkar, Bhoj Kudana

View from Tikkar, Bhoj Kudana

Braat lies further west from Tikkar along the Morni-Tikkar tal-Kambala-Raipur Rani road.

Braat, Bhoj Kudana,Morni Hills

Braat, Bhoj Kudana, Morni Hills

Mustard fields, Braat, Bhoj Kudana,Morni Hills

Mustard fields, Braat, Bhoj Kudana,Morni Hills

Basic Information:

PIN Code:

Hadbast No.

Patwar Circle:

Qanugo Circle:

Sub-Tehsil:

Tehsil:

Block:

Police Post:

Police Station:

Panchayat: Bhoj Kudana

Village Code:

Assembly Constituency:

Parliamentary Constituency:

Polling Station:

Resorts:

Anglers Parc Resort, Morni Hills – it overlooks the Tikkar lakes and offers ‘hut’ accomodation to its guests complete with bamboo roof feel.

Anglers Parc Resort,Morni Hills

Anglers Parc Resort, Morni Hills

 

Morni Wildlife (Herpetofauna): Striped-burrowing frog

Striped-burrowing frog/Greenstripe frog (Cyclorana/Litoria alboguttata)- is a frog of the woodlands and grassy patches generally seen in temporary pools and around ditches. It has a distinctive yellow-green glossy stripe that runs down the middle of the back. Equally prominent is a dark streak from the snout through the eye, ear disc, over shoulder to beyond forearm. The green stripe has distinctive longitudinal skin folds from shoulder to groin. The frog is about 3″ in size – females are larger than males. The frog is olive-brown above and white below. The fingers are unwebbed, toes about half-webbed. The skin of the back has scattered warts and ridges.

The frog is called a burrowing frog because during summers it retreats underground by burrowing and retaining a bladderful of dilute urine that serves as a water reserve (also called a water-holding frog). It becomes inert inside the burrow and develops an impermeable cacoon of partially shed skin to prevent water loss. They emerge after the summer rains.Its rapid ‘quacking’ call can be heard from the ground or from under water.

Striped-burrowing frog- Greenstripe, Berwala choe, Morni Hills (August)

Striped-burrowing frog- Greenstripe, Berwala choe, Morni Hills (August)

Striped-burrowing frog, Berwala choe, Morni Hills (August)

Striped-burrowing frog- Greenstripe, Berwala choe, Morni Hills (August)- the distinctive stripe

Birds of Morni: Grey Wagtail

Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is a small wagtail with a yellow throat (black in breeding males) and vent, whitish underparts and grey upper parts. It has a narrow white supercilium. It can be spotted wagging its tail energetically as it forages for insects in meadows or shallow marshes.

Grey Wagtail, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (September)

Grey Wagtail, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (September)

Shrubs of Morni: Charming Clematis

Charming Clematis/ Dhanwali धनवाली (Clematis grata) is a vigorous Himalayan climber that bursts into clusters of many small cream-colored fragrant flowers with spreading petals from July to September. The climber is found up to 2500 metres. Leaves are compound – leaflets are 1″ to 3″  long, ovate, lance-shaped, strongly toothed/lobed and hairy beneath.

Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

Flower clusters of Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

Flower clusters of Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

Flowers of Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

Flowers of Clematis grata, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara (September)

 

Morni Wildlife (Insects): Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) is a ground beetle of deciduous forests, a little over half-an-inch in length and with long legs.

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- long legs

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- long legs

The large white mandibles give the insect a ferocious look (hence the name ‘Tiger’) and help it subdue its prey – caterpillars, ants, spiders etc.

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- ferocious look

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- ferocious look

This carnivorous beetle can run and fly fast- sometimes so fast that it momentarily blinds itself as the eyes are unable to capture sufficient light! It hunts its prey in sandy areas. The glossy green, hardened forewings give its back a metallic shield-like look and bear the distinctive white spots – generally 3 on either wing – 6 in all.

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- six white spots

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)- six white spots

The female lays eggs in sand and the larvae burrow into the ground to emerge suddenly  like a Jack-in-a-box for pouncing on unsuspecting prey.

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)

Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle, Berwala choe, Morni hills (August)

 

Morni Wildlife (Insects): Yellow Pansy

Yellow Pansy (Junonia hierta) – is a butterfly seen in open scrub and grasslands. The male has a bright yellow upperside and the forewing has jet black corner with white streaks. The anterior portion of the hind wing is black with a large shiny blue spot. In the female the colours are duller and the blue spot is small and ill-defined and may even be absent.

Yellow Pansy (Female) Butterfly, Berwala choe, Morni hills (November)

Yellow Pansy (Female) Butterfly, Berwala choe, Morni hills (November)

Yellow Pansy, Muwas – Belwali Nadi, Morni Hills (Feb 2017)

Trees of Morni: Curry-leaf

Curry-leaf tree/ Kari patta करी पत्ता (Murraya koenigii) – is a small tree, growing up to 20 feet tall, with aromatic, pinnate leaves with 11-21 leaflets.

Curry patta shrub, Mandana, Morni Hills

Curry patta shrub, Mandana, Morni Hills

The plant produces small, white self-pollinating flowers.

It bears small, glossy black berries that yield a single, large viable seed.

Curry patta- berries, Mandana, Morni Hills (July)

Curry patta- berries, Mandana, Morni Hills (July)

The species is named after the German botanist Johann Gerhard König who worked as a naturalist for the Nawab of Arcot in the late 18th century and discovered a number of medicinal plants in his travels across the hills of South India and his voyages to Ceylon and South East Asia.
The plant is best known for its aromatic leaves that are used as a seasoning in Indian curries and also South-Indian/ Sri Lankan dishes like vada, rasam and kadhi. The leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, calcium and folic acid and are used for preparing
Ayurvedic medicines.

Curry leaves

Curry leaves

The plant can be propagated from stem cuttings or from fresh seeds.

Curry tree grows wild all over the Shivaliks upto an altitude of 1500 metres. Morni hills are particularly blessed with this spicy shrub that grows almost like a weed.