Kasauli the beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh is located about forty kilometers from Kalka and 65 kilometers from Chandigarh by road. Kalka can be reached by train and from there Kasauli can be reached by a bus or a cab in an hour and a half. Compared to Shimla which is more frequently visited hill station, Kasauli is more serene, spectacular and peaceful. During the entire journey from Kalka to Kasauli in a cab, I was mesmerized by the beautiful landscape, cool winds and more importantly the thrilling experience of passing through the clouds. I could actually touch the clouds, a unique rendezvous. Kasauli compared to Shimla, is a smaller hill station and does not boast of many sight seeing places. I realized there, that it is an excellent place to give a well deserved rest to your tiring nerves.
Monkey Point is situated in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. In actual the hill top point is named as Mankey Point, but today people call this as monkey point. The point is named after the priest Mankey, a local villager who built a temple for Lord Hanumana for worship. We will go by the original local pronunciation as Mankey point and Lord Hanuman as Hanumana. It is situated four kilometers from main bus stand of Kasauli. Cabs are available from the bus stand which takes you to the temple. Rates charged vary from rupees four hundred to five hundred. Some devotees even walk down or rather I should write climb up.
Cab dropped me outside a large gate of an Air Force Base in whose premises the temple is situated. Don't forget to take your photo identity cards without which entry is difficult. I was fortunate that I was carrying my photo I- card.
Mobile phones and cameras are deposited at the gate only. So, I could not take any photograph. After passing from the gate, there is a straight road of about 300-400 meters which leads you to the base of the hill at the top of which temple is situated. At base of the hill, there is a restaurant run by air force officer's wives where you can get fast food and tea, c offee. There is just one Prasad Shop near the restaurant. The entire ascent is of just five hundred meters but believe me it is very steep.
There are no shelters along the way as you would find in Vaishno Devi and the road is not even either. However, you can take a breather by resting along the rocks of the hill. There are many verses from the Ramayana written on these hill rocks.
Once you are on the top of the hill you will realise that the hill top is in the shape of a left foot. It is said to be that of Lord Hanumana. It is believed Lord Hanumana while taking Sanjeevani Booti to Lanka, the left foot of the Lord touched this hill top. Hence the hill top resembles that of Lords' left foot. There is small temple for the Lord Hanumana built on this hill top near the place portion resembling sole of the foot. The point is named after the priest Mankey, a local villager who built this temple and used to worship Lord Hanumana. There is a helipad along side the temple. You can go up to a point on the hill top which resembles that of left thumb of the Lords' left foot.
The temple is situated among the clouds with a smoothening cool air current taking off all your tiredness. I actually felt I was in Swarg. The aura of the place seems to echo the fact that Lord Hanumana is Pavan Putra. The temple has an idol of Lord Hanumana depicting the Lord carrying Sanjivini Mountain on His left hand a gadha in the right hand. In the temple there is a Shivlinga also.
There is a small canteen near the temple providing chips and beverages. During the ascent and near the temple you would find many monkeys but locals' advice not to feed them.
The entire ascent, stay and descent took me two hours. But believe me, once you are at Mankey point, you would never like to come back.
The grace of the Lord Pavan Putra at Mankey point and the pure breeze of the Wind God flowing around you make you forget the surrounding and revel in Oneself.
[Ed. August 2008
the author is a practicing medicine in Delhi.
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