Amongst the interesting sites to visit around Morni is a temple with a breath-taking cliff-side location at the centre of the formidable ‘Bhuri-Singh-Deota-Range’. The hill range is a sheer wall of rock running for 15 KM from Sarahan in the South-East to Naina Tikkar in the North-West in Sirmaur District of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is located at Pejarli village at a height of 1870 metres and is dedicated to a local deity (deota) – Bhuri (also Bhur) Singh. The temple offers an unbroken view of a vast area of about 75 Sq. Km that forms a part of the scenic Ghaggar Basin. The basin is ensconced by hill ranges on all sides and is drained by the tributaries to Ghaggar River such as the Dehi Nadi.
As per the popular legend, Bhur Singh and his sister Debi were the children of a Bhat of Panwah village. Bhats of Sirmaur are Brahmins by caste who traditionally worked as priests and who would perform rituals such as the deota lagna to invoke the Gods.
To the ill-luck of Bhur Singh and his sister their mother died the Bhat married again. The step-mother was harsh and was given to ill-treating the motherless children in the absence of their father from home. Once she sent Bhur Singh to graze cattle in the forest. When Bhur Singh returned home in the evening it was discovered by the step-mother that one of the calves was missing. She immediately despatched the boy back to the forest with the direction to return only when the missing calf had been found. When the Bhat reached home that evening he found that his son had not returned from the forest. The worried father went in search for his son and found the child and the calf lying dead at the spot where the shrine stands today.
In the meantime Bhur’s sister Debi, who had been given in marriage to a one-eyed-man, was, in her mortification, returning home. Her doli happened to pass the spot where Bhur Singh lay dead. The sister was stricken with grief and threw herself from her doli from atop the cliff. The brother and sister are now worshipped together as Bhur Singh.
There are two temples, one at Pejarli, the other on the high hill known as Bhur-Singh-ki-Dhar.
The pujaris are two Bhats, one for Bhur Singh and one for Debi. A fair is held annually at the temple on Kartik Sud Ekadshi, the 11th lunar day (ekadashi) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik. It marks the end of the four-month period of Chaturmas, when Lord Vishnu is believed to sleep. The fair starts in the early hours of the morning and continues till late hours. During the fair at Bhur Singh Deota Temple pujari of Debi, and he dances alone by the night in the temple so that the people may not see him, and at midnight coming out of the shrine leaps on to a great rock above a high cliff. Standing there for a few moments he delivers one oracle, and no more, in answer to a question.
On returning to the temple he swoons, but is speedily and completely revived by rubbing.
Meanwhile, when the secret dancing begins the men of the Panal family form a line across the door of the temple, and those of the Kathar temple rushing upon them with great violence break the line and enter the temple, but leave it again after touching the idol.
As Bhur Singh is known to live on nothing but milk, animals are never sacrificed at his temple. Devotees bring milk and ghee as offerings for the devta.
- A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province; H.A. Rose (1911)
- Gazetteer of the Sirmur State (1934)
The photographs have been adapted from the photographs available on the internet that have been clicked by a nature and travel enthusiast Sh. Narinder Sharma. The original photographs can be accessed at http://www.panoramio.com/user/2964099?show=best
Filed in: Around Morni