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. 

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. 

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.

 

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. 

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. 

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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