Cattles grazing in the Shangarh Meadow

Shangarh – The Picnic Land Of Kullavi Mythology

Sainj Valley – the sister of Tirthan Valley in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh has gradually been able to make it to the listicles manufactured for wanderlusters. That it lacks a main river stream flowing by the settlements and villages had been one of the reasons behind keeping the tourist movement towards Tirthan Valley.

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The Himalayan Range of Great Himalayan National Park seen from Sainj Valley
However, the natural wonders and heritage of Sainj like the Shangarh Meadow and Pundrik Rishi Lake would only get more attention and visitors with time. The lush green pasture – a meadow which is home to the Deity Sangchul Mahadev has long been a Sunday picnic spot, even for the local Himachali tourists.
Pundrik Rishi Lake

The Heritage

The Shangarh Meadow – a green pasture of 24 acres
The Meadow is 24 acres of pasture that is believed to host the Pandavas during their run on Agyaatvasa. During their stay, they prepared this land for According to some of the local legends, the Shangarh Meadow has its own ecology and it is supposed to serve as a dedicated grass for the cattle of the region.

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The Shangchul Mahadev Temple and the Meadow
In the current times, the meadow is famous as the abode of Shangchul Mahadev. Locals worship the god as their ancestor and that the final decision in the valley is still attributed to the Deity. Interestingly, the ground and its maintenance committee also provides protection to the eloped couples who come and marry here in the temple of the Shangchul Mahadev.

The Temple

The Shangchul Mahadev Temple
The meadow lends path to the multi-storey temple that is an architectural marvel. Although recently built over the leftovers of the ancient temple, this temple has quickly grabbed the attention of tourists and the local people.
Way to Shangchul Mahadev Temple through the meadow
The ancient temple got burnt down in the year 2015 when a mysterious fire engulfed almost the 3/4th of the village by the meadow. The fire, of course had to start from the temple, as it is believed that the deity takes the pains set upon its people first. The political awareness of the natives helped them get their beloved Chief Minister to arrange funds for the reconstruction. Raja Jee, as he is popularly called, Mr Veerbhadra Singh walked up to the site and offered the first prayers here.

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The local people during a fair in the Sainj Valley
The meadow also hosts cultural fairs and festivals during different months. The idol of the god sitting in the temple is carried on for atrek to other villages and regions around to help him meet his friend or a relative deity.

Shangarh – The Hotspot Of Sainj Valley

The Sainj Valley, owing to its location near the ever-popular Tirthan, has gradually grabbed the attention of tourists and travellers. Any trip to the valley is incomplete without making it to the meadow and the village around. Located at around 12 km from the Sainj market, it can be reached by a road that is still under construction since the advent of tourism in this part of Kullu district. Besides, it can be reached by an overnight journey from cities like Delhi and Chandigarh.
Villages in Sainj Valley
Villages around the Shangarh Meadow have slowly caught up with the demands of ever growing tourism here and the locals have opened their homes and hearts for the travellers and tourists. “Not only has the tourist inflow substantiated the livelihood of the people but it has also helped the people of the valley in all sorts of ways. The travellers bring with them their culture and lives, get to stay here and share those with us. They also take with them good things about our culture. Especially the kids – the tourists have a great impact on them and it’s up to us how we channelise those good things about their culture and help evolve our valley.” – says Rakesh Chauhan, an art and craft teacher with Himachal Govt who hosts guests at his home near the meadow. Besides Govt Service and Tourism, the natives widely depend on agriculture. Apart from the much-acclaimed Golden Apples, villages in the region would be full of crops – wheat, maize, and other vegetables.

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Harvest Season in Sainj Valley

Yet Another Region Falling Prey to Mass Tourism

Tourism has lately picked up in Sainj Valley
Off late, with the internet wonderlust infection around, the region and the meadow has started feeling the pangs of mass tourism on its ecology. People would tell you that the meadow has lost its grass produce significantly. Increased vehicles on the route to some of the most frequently visited villages are disturbing the trails maintained by the locals in absence of roads. Thanks to the locals and their awareness, they have quickly adapted to the demands of mass tourism and have regulated entries into the Shangarh Meadow with certain environmental and maintenance fees. The panchayats and such organisations run awareness programs to help the locals understand the value of sustainable means and how they can earn their livelihood from tourism by maintaining certain limits.
An Old House in the Valley
Shangarh is a gateway to stories and cultures as old a Mahabharata. There are houses and villages as old as the 11th century. Villages till depend upon barter for a lot of daily life commodities thus living close to a perfectly harmonious life with the mother nature. How to reach Shangarh Meadow: From Sainj market, arrange for a ride to Shangarh. The only bus leaves at 4 pm in the evening. A taxi costs INR 800 from Sainj. Best Time to visit Shangarh Meadow: Any time of the year. Winters are a true spectacle. Homestays in Shangarh: We recommend Bawray Banjaray Home in Shangarh (Luxury), Bawray Banjaray Home in Barshangarh. A weekend trip to Shangarh should cost you INR 5000 for a round trip from Delhi.

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