visit to the state capital Shimla is complete without visiting Jakhu Hill.
This hill looms over Shimla town and is the geographical nucleus. The
Hanuman temple at the top of Jakhu hill is the highest point in town. The
steep climb is rewarding for the fine views it offers over the surrounding
valleys, out to the snowcapped peaks and over Shimla itself.
The temple is only 2-km from the ridge at a height of 2,438m, but it could be an hour's walk for a person not used to mountain climbing. The temple is one of the most favoured spots for the tourists apart from the pilgrims.
Hanuman, the faithful ally of Lord Rama of the Ramayana an epic, was the monkey God with whose help Lord Rama was able to defeat the arch-demon Ravana, the king of Lanka. The faithful nature of Hanuman is often illustrated by his representations being found guarding forts and palace entrances. The British never placed hanuman on top of Jakhu hill to guard the township. The temple site predates the British Raj.
An episode in the Ramayana had Lakshman, Rama's brother mortally wounded in a battle with Ravana's forces. Hanuman was sent to fetch the mythical medicinal 'Sanjivini' herb from the Himalayas in order to cure the wounded. The legend about the temple is that Hanuman rested at Jakhu Hill after collecting the herb. After resting, he journeyed back to the battlefield of Lanka.
There are many monkeys around the temple, but surprisingly they don't attack people unless fiddled with. Pilgrims offer them eatables, which they readily accept.
The approach to the temple is through a dense forest of Deodars, though many find the climb tiresome. Ponies are available for a to and fro ride to the temple. The path towards the temple starts just left of Christ Church. After the hard hack up, the temple itself, a red and yellow brick affair crammed with fairy lights and tinsel comes as something of an anti climax. The shrine inside houses what are believed to be the footprints of Hanuman.