Geography: It lies 30º 52′ north and 77º 32′ east at an elevation 3647m above msl.
Climate: Pleasant climate during Summer, cold during winter.
How to reach there: Peak can be apporached form Dadahu, headquarter of Renuka tehsil, via Sangrah, Bhawai, Gandhuri and Naura, the distance being about 48 Km. by a bridle path. Another and easier approach to the peak is by the Solan Rajgarh Menus road.
Where to Stay: Dharmsala near the temple.
Establishment of Jyotirlinga:
Shivling situated in Churr Dhaar is a subject of deep and wide study. The establishment cannot be considered in Jyotirlinga, however it has the same significance as Jyotirlinga. There is no written or oral proof of its establishment neither in folk songs nor in folk stories. The only proof of its existence is Churr Dhaar itself.Instead of being deothi (Devalya) it is basically known as Jalaari. The temple of Deities are known as Deothi’s where there Idols are kept at some height known as Gambari, But the establishment of linga in Churr Dhaar is at Garbh greeh. It visualized that the temple was constructed later, earlier there may be a shiv ling or a natural water source. Due to this, temple is recognized by jalaari.
In Churr Dhaar temple there is not yet any idol established nor worship is done. It may be said that once Maharaja Shirgul visited Churr dhaar and made a foundation of this temple. According to folk stories it is described and considered that ascetic shankara chaarya was on his pilgrimage through Badrinath and Kedarnath came to Dharmshala by only a single route that was churr dhaar and he might establish linga, unfortunately there is no written proof of its existence. Although this fact can be explained with full faith that it is established in between two water streams known as Ganga and yamuna. It is a place where pilgrims bathe and wash away their sins, purify their souls and give gratitude to lord shiva by giving water on linga.
Trekkers’ delight: Churdhar holds attraction for the adventurous as well as the religious.
Situated in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh is Chooddhar, once known as Chood-chandni, which holds attraction for its picturesque locales as well as its association with mythology. Legend has it that Bhima’s grandson Barbareek witnessed the Mahabharata war from this summit which rests at 12,000 feet above the sea level. Being a difficult track to tread, the scenery en route turns out to be a paradise for trekkers. After a two-hour drive from Solan, one reaches Rajgarh, midpoint of the journey, famous for its terraced fields and orchards. The next stop is Nauharadhar, the base camp for the summit of Churdhar. Small villages, terraced fields and thin streams dot the route. If luck has it that the sky is clear, the peaks of Churdhar can be sighted from here. Nauharadhar is a small hamlet with nearly 60 shops catering to the requirements of tourists. It is here that the trekking tracks begin. After the steep climb during the first one-km stretch, the trek eases out into a track amid the hills. Wading through the greenery in the terraced fields, one reaches Jau ka baag, which is the last village en route to Churdhar. Ascending the trek, one enters green forests.
The forest with its scenic beauty, the chirping of the birds and cool, fresh air enlivens one with energy and enthusiasm. After a walk of an hour and a half, one reaches Jamnalata, a lush green level ground. Engulfed by forests, the land is a gujjar settlement. The gujjars, along with their cattle, settle here in summer and move to the plains in winter. From here, one enters a forest of deodar trees and encounters another gujjar settlement called Teesri at a height of almost 10,000 feet. The trek from Nauharadhar to Teesri takes around three-and-a-half hours. The road hereafter is tedious and strewn with rocks. After 40 minutes of arduous trek, one reaches Bhimkhanda. The summit of Churdhar is clearly visible from here. This place also has a natural water source. The route ahead Bhimkhanda is very rocky. Trees are scarce and the path has been carved out through huge boulders. Walking up ahead for an hour, a temple appears in sight. This temple is accessible only from May to November each year. Heavy snowfall during the remaining part of the year forces the closure of this temple.
From December to March, a layer of 20-foot snow engulfs the area hiding the temple from sight. The tea and refreshment stalls set up to cater to the tourists have to be built afresh each year. From here, the tourists start for the Churdhar summit which is a further one-and-a-half km from there. This is accomplished only after a steep climb on a hill face. The summit is capped with a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the inner precincts, there is an idol of Lord Shiva while on the outside, a Shivalinga has been installed. While being a tough trek making it a pleasure for trekkers, Churdhar’s mythological importance too holds attraction for the religious ones. It is said that during the Mahabharata, the head of Bhima’s grandson, Barbareek, considered mighty beyond most warriors and granted a boon of invincibility from Shiva, was put by Krishna on the summit.
The legend is it that Barbareek had promised his mother that he would fight the war on the side that was weaker. Unable to grasp the full meaning of his vow, he reached the Pandava camp in Kurukshetra. Only Krishna read between the words and understood the faux pas Barbareek had committed. By his word, he would start fighting on the weaker side till it became more powerful than the other. Then, he would have to switch sides till that side became stronger. Sensing Barbareek’s word and power as a threat to the Pandava camp also, Krishna in the guise of a Brahman asked for the sacrifice of his head. As the last request, Barbareek asked Krishna to show him his universal form and make his beheaded head witness the war. Thereafter, Krishna kept the head on the summit of Churdhar and granted him a boon that he would be worshipped in Kaliyuga. A unique combination of faith and adventure, Churdhar has the potential to emerge as an important location on the tourism map.
Mountain Environment Learning Facility ( Camp Churdhar )
Situated at an altitude of 7000 feet in the midst of a pine and deodar forest comes Camp Churdhar which is just 53 km from Solan (Himachal Pradesh). Camp Churdhar is unique for the variety of landscapes that constitute its surroundings, including the Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary. An ideal place for the students of all age groups to learn about nature and its processes without losing out on any bit of outdoor fun.
Churdhar peak, with height of 3647 metres is the highest peak in outer Himalayas. It is like an oasis of alpine area in an ocean of temperate forests. This is an excellent area for trekking during summer and early winters. The view from Churdhar peak is unparallel. One is sure to come across a large number of multi-coloured and agile Monals in the adjoining forests. Trekking from Nohra, Sarain and Pulbahal is tough but enjoyable. There are Rest Houses at Nohra, Choras and Sarain. There is also a Sarai and a Shiv Temple at Churdhar.
CHURDHAR WILD LIFE SANCTUARY:
Year of Establishment: 1985
Year of final Notification: (Section 26 of WPA, 19720: Notification No. FFW-B-F (6) -28/99 dated . 1.11.99.
Area: 66sq .Km.
Geographical location: District –Shimla, 30o48’ 37”-30 o54’39”N, 77o 23’32”-77 o29 49”E
Altitude: 2, 000 to 3, 650m.
Climate: Rainfall -1500mm; Temperature : 5.0 C to 20.0C.
Vegetation: Froest types include Westem Mixed coniferous , Kharsu Oak and alpine pastures. Forests of Deodar, Oak and other species
Reported Fauna: Common Langur ,Rhesus Macaque ,Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Boar Indian Muntjac, Musk Deer, Goral , Royle ‘s Pika , Indian Porcupine, Koklas Pheasant , Himalayan Monal,Variegated Laughing thrush, Chestnut –tailed Minal, Grey-crested Tit,Black –crested Tit, White-tailed Nuthatch, Himalayan Green Finch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Bull finch.
Census Figures: (2002) : (1999-2000) Goral; (68). India Muntjac (76) Leopard (8), Black Bear (169),Monal (187), Jungle Fow (202) .
Conservation Issues and Land Use: Residents of 23 villages have rights to agriculture, extraction of timber , fuel wood and Minor forest produce, grazing and collection of fodder . Gujjars are given fermits for grazing and periodically bring large numbers of livestock into the sanctuary and Six temporary caps are located within the WLS
Eco-tourism Spots: Churdhar Temple (Shiv Mahadev)
Eco-treks: Nohra-Churdhar -18KM, Chouras –Tissri-11kM, Dopti-Churdhar -16LM, Pulbahal-Dopti-8Km, Chhogtali-Tissri-9KM.
Best Period to visit: May –September.
How to reach:
By Road: Solan to Nohra (HQ of Sanctuary )-70KM,Shimla –Chopal- Sarain (103 Km);
Nearest Airport: Shimla -10 KM, Chandigarh -130 KM.
Contact Office: Range Forest Officer , Nohra dhar; DFO(WL) Shimla:Telephone No. 0177 -2623993