Shangchul temple, Himachal Pradesh’s oldest temple gutted in fire

shanghad mandirManali : Shangchul temple, one of the oldest temples of Himachal, and three houses were gutted by fire in Patahara village of Shanghad valley in Kullu district in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. The incident rendered 18 families homeless.

Villagers did not get time to save anything, except for palanquin of the deity. Victims rescued their cattle but lost everything in the incident. Pandavas are said to have built this temple and villagers had spent about Rs 40 lakh in its renovation last year. Patahara village is accessible only after one hour of uphill climb from Ropa or Neuli village, 8 km beyond Sainj town. As fire tenders cannot reach the village, villagers had not contacted the fire department. Sources said the nearest fire station is in Kullu and fire tenders take at least 2 hours to reach Sainj town.

Kullu deputy commissioner Rakesh Kanwar said property worth crores of rupees is estimated to have been destroyed in the incident which destroyed the ancient temple of Shangchul Maharaj and three houses. “18 families who were residing in these houses have been affected. Each family has been provided with immediate relief of Rs 10,000 and 56 blankets have been distributed among the victims. Families would be given free ration through civil supply depots for next 15 days,” he said. Nearly 20 idols, mostly made of ashtadhatu, and other jewellery and relics of the temple were also destroyed.

Regional sub-divisional magistrate has been asked to investigate the reasons behind the incident and he will submit his report within 15 days. According to eyewitnesses, they saw flames on the upper storey of the temple first and then it spread to the lower stories and adjoining houses.

Source : TOI