Baba Garib Nath Ji Temple on the bank Govind Sagar Water Reservoir in Una, Himachal Pradesh

While Covid-19 has successfully kept us off the roads for the past couple of years, this year, right after the second wave, we did manage to steal a visit to our parents in Himachal Pradesh. So we started out early on a Sunday morning and reached Nangal a little after 1pm. From there we took the route via Bhakra toward Thana Kalan in Una District of Himachal. This route offered us the opportunity to take a slight detour close to Ismaila, toward the Baba Garib Nath Ji Temple located on the banks of the magnificent Govind Sagar Water Reservoir. 

When we say "On the banks", this is only true for the Winter and Summer months. As rains cause the water level in the reservoir to rise, the temple is no longer on the bank of the reservoir, it actually gets waterlocked. Water swallows the entire ground floor of the temple and at times also reaches the stunning statue of Lord Shiva on the first floor of the temple. At that point, the temple is like an island and devotees need to take boats to reach it. A quick search on the internet reveals that this would be a sight worth seeing. 

Few weeks back we planned to visit Mandi from Delhi  and this time we thought of taking a little different route. We planned to visit Naina Devi  temple and Bhakhra dam . I visited Naina Devi 15 years back and wanted to know how this part of Himachal has changed over the years.So instead of taking right from Kiratpur Sahib, we went straight towards Una  and took right from Anandpur Saheb . Naina Devi temple is 12 kilometers from the cut from main highway.Road condition is good, even when we drive in monsoons. And it's not steep. It' goes up steadily and offer great views from top.After reaching near Naina Devi temple, you have 2 options to park the car. One is near bus stand, which is paid parking and from here you need to walk up for 1.5 kilometers to reach temple.Other way is to park near ropeway station, take ropeway and reach at the top of the hill. Main temple is 5-10 walk from here. We realized it after we parked the car at Bus stand, climbed up and came down through ropeway. Taxi also goes up till ropeway station near temple, so that's 3rd option if you have driver. I didn't check this place, so not very sure if there is parking there.Weather was lovely so walking up went smooth, but we realized that it's bad idea to come down on feet as we saw few folks slipping down badly.I found this very interesting - this boy was giving 9 coins for 10 rupees and it seems that he does good business. So usually people keep the change and keep giving on the way to folks cleaning the compound.Overall it was nice experience to take a break at Naina Devi and started our next journey towards Bhakhra Dam.Be prepared with papers of your vehicle and an identity card. There would be 3 places near dam where your car and documents would be checked.This drive is beautiful with Govind Sagar Lake on right side.crossing Bhakhra Dam and driving for few kilometers, we stopped Sea Rock hotel for food. Food was nice but we found it little expensive w.r.t. portion size. All the prices were matching to good restaurant in Delhi, but portions were small. But overall we enjoyed what they served.Anyways, the journey continued without any break after that. And we reached when it was dark. The day had started early at 4am, but it was day well spent around natural beauty and Naina Devi.When nature made us feel welcome to the Himalayas || Road-Trip through NainaDevi and Bhakhra Dam

However, since we had reached this place before the monsoon hit Himachal this year, we could drive right up to the temple. The road going down to the temple is narrow and there are several points on it that can be a tight squeeze if you are driving an SUV, and if another vehicle happens to approach from the opposite direction. This happens quite frequently because this is a popular religious site not only for locals, but also for people from other states and also abroad. 

While driving from Delhi to Rewalsar in Mandi, we chose the route via Una because the highway on this route is much better than the other highway which connects Mandi through Bilaspur. And when we are on the way to Una, we often wonder if we should take a quick detour from Nagal through Bhakhra Dam. This route is even shorter thought not a highway. We have taken this narrow route through beautiful landscapes, water streams, well paved roads and greenery all around. In this blogpost we will share the procedure to take this route, things to not do on your way, precautions to be taken and spots to enjoy brilliant views which are restricted by local authorities. There is a major stretch where you are not supposed to stop the car. We shall share precise details like that along with some information about Bhakhra dam.A Joyful drive through Bhakhra dam and the beautiful Govind Sagar lake surrounded by lush green landscapes & sounds of colourful birds all around

The fact that the temple is surrounded by the lush green pastures, once the reservoir's water recedes, also makes this the perfect picnic spot. Though you will not find anything beyond a tea stall in terms of food, it is the perfect place to spread a sheet and enjoy the mesmerizing views of crystal clear water of the reservoir. You can carry a book if you want to and also don't forget to carry sandwiches or paranthas. And the temple too has a langar.

Folks visiting Kullu, Manali, Kasol, Naggar, Rohtang Pass or Mandi cross through Bilaspur town. Many times people intend to take another break before Chandigarh and relax a bit more in the lap of nature. Bilaspur is one of the main towns one has to cross when visiting Kullu Valley and moving back towards Chandigarh/Delhi. And Govind Sagar Lake is nearby. Boat-ride around Bilaspur on your way to Kullu-Manali, Himachal Pradesh


The lack of eating joints or shacks here is actually a blessing in disguise. Though you still find a stray biscuit wrapper or chips packet thrown about, this side of the reservoir is definitely cleaner than the one next to Lathiani. And I think it is everyone's responsibility to keep it clean. 

During this visit to our village in Himachal Pradesh, my sister-in-law had some work in Bilaspur and for that we were required to reach there early in the morning. So we also took our niece and our cousin along to make a full outing of it.The Drive to Bandla Dhar in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh || An excellent paragliding site that offers stunning views of the Govind Sagar reservoir

There are several legends around the temple's history. According to one legend, Baba Garib Nath Ji achieved Sidhi at this spot about 526 years ago. Another legend actually talks about ancient times when Rishi Vyaas's son Shukrdev was born. Apparently along with him 84 other siddh's were also born and one of them was baba Garib Nath Ji. Then about 500 years ago, the locals around this spot saw a ball of light in the bushes in this area. Upon tracing the source, they found Baba Garib Nath Ji meditating here. He introduced himself and told them that anyone who meditates and prays at this spot will be granted any wish. A saint who had a magic wand then apparently created this temple. 

In the sprawling city of Bilaspur, there are several hidden gems that we got an opportunity to explore in our recent visit to Himachal Pradesh. One of them is the Bilaspur side of Govind Sagar dam. Most of the area is flooded during the rains, but otherwise, there is a beautiful ecosystem of flora and fauna and also the magical ancient temples that emerge as soon as the water recedes. Birds of Govind Sagar Water Reservoir, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh || A pocket of heaven for winged water-loving creatures

Till very recently a local by the name of Baba Naseeb Singh ji was serving as the main caretaker of this temple. He fell ill in 1978 and was critical when Baba Garib Nath ji appeared in his dreams and advised him to have some holy ash from the akhand hawan kund. He did so and got better. Then he started the construction of the structure that stands today. After his death, his wife continued the work that her husband had started. So most of the structure that you see right now is comparatively very new.

One more aspect that I want to mention here is that the water around the temple looks really clean and tempting, but please resist the temptation to venture too close to it because it is tricky terrain and several tourists have apparently lost their lives here. 

After spending some time roaming around the grounds, we got back in the car and resumed our journey onward toward our home. But this break was definitely very refreshing and much required. In case you ever happen to be in this area, you too can take a quick detour and explore this area. You will definitely enjoy it. 


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