Once the capital of Princely Sirmour State, Himachal Pradesh, Nahan is a picturesque town located amidst the lush green surroundings of thick forests and has green valleys, small river streams and a pleasant climate. Situated on the foothills of the Shivalik Ranges, Nahan is a lovely place for a weekend out with friends and family and yet not very popular. And no crowd makes it special.
Do wander down this tranquil heaven that is truly a delightful getaway from city life.
Visit Chaugan, the mall road of Nahan that’s the only place bustling with activity. Take a walk towards the Villa Round, that is surrounded by Pine trees and home to birds and Monekeys! Walk towards the Hospital Road would find you looking over ruins of old buildings and some colonial structures that still stand tall. Standing cheek-by-jowl is Ranzor Palace, whose old stable is now a cinema hall. Another Religious place is
Walk towards the Hospital Road would find you looking over ruins of old buildings and some colonial structures that still stand tall. Standing cheek-by-jowl is Ranzor Palace, whose old stable is now a cinema hall. Another Religious place is Lakhdata Peer
In the evening visit the Rani Tal (built in 1898) that is full of Lotus flowers and the garden surroung it makes for a great picnic place too.
Other places to be visited include Shanti Sangam and tallon that offer beautiful natural surroudings, a historical Miyan ka Mandir and a Gunnu Ghat. Not many know but the ISFTS (Indian Special Forces Training School) is also located at Nahan.
It’s usually more popular as a stop over for people travelling to Paonta Sahib. Buit Nahan is a nice getaway for those craving for some quite time and it doesn’t dissappoint.
Excursions nearby Nahan:
Jamta: is located 13 kms from Nahan and offers a spectacular view of Nahan Town. Explore Jaitak Fort situated right up on the hills on the Nahan-Dadhau Road. You could choose to take a picnic lunch or eat at nearby Sirmaur Retreat or Hotel Grand View.
The historic Jaitak Fort was built by the Sirmour kings and reconstructed by Gurkha leader Ranzor Thapa, who fought a crucial battle with the British here in 1810. There’s a war memorial in Nahan at Pucca Tank to the European soldiers who died fighting this war.
Renuka Lake: The beautiful Renuka Lake is located 35 kms from Nahan and has a circumference of almost 3 kms and is the largest lake in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The lake is shaped like a reclining women’s body and is fed by River Giri, underground springs and rainwater and is home to a variety of marine life.
There is a provision for paddle boating in the lake and you can even walk along the well-paved walking zone. Surrounded with a canopy of lush green hills and a reasonable dense forest, this place is definitely a great weekend getaway from New Delhi, Chadigarh, Dehradun and Ambala.
You can even take a trek of 8 Kms up ‘Jamu Peak’ that has a small temple and offers a beautiful view of the lake and surroundings hills.
History: According to sacred Purans, Parshuram (the 6th Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) was born to Maharishi Jamdagni and Bhagwati Renuka. They meditated near a hillock called ‘Tape Ka Tiba’ (Jamu Peak) near the lake which was then called ‘Ram Sarovar’. With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu fulfilled their desire for a son and took birth as ‘Parshuram’. Legend has it that when the evil Sahasarjuna killed Sage Jamadagini and tried to abduct his wife Renuka, she flung herself into the water and died. The gods restored her back to life but she stayed alive in the water and promised Parshuram that she would come out on the occasion of Devprabodhini Ekadashi every year to meet him and bless those who visit this sacred place and shower her divine blessings to them. One day advance, on Dashmi the palanquin of Lord Parshuram is brought to Renuka Ji from the ancient temple in Jamu Koti village in a traditional procession known a ‘Shobha Yatra’, attended by lakhs of devotees. The place has been sacred since decades and has a temple dedicated to Renuka Ji.
Kids will love to see the amount of fish (Mostly Mahseer) in the Renuka Lake. You may buy flour balls and Roti’s to feed them that are easily available at the temple, but do ask the temple guys if its still allowed. And there are giant turtles that can also be seen in the Lake.
Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary: is also known as ‘Abhayaranya’ and is located just across the lake or you can take a 2 km drive to reach it.
Located in the deciduous forest zone, the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary also has a Zoo that has Asiatic Lions, Spotted Deer, Lion-tailed Macaques, ‘Nilgai’ Methuen, Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bears and more than 300 types of Migratory Birds.
Adjoining the zoo, an armored van enters the large enclosure allowing you a closer glimpse of the lions within. The Lion Safari attracts many and you are sure to spot a few on the trip!
You can also stay here at the HPTDC The RENUKA Hotel that is located right on the Lakeside and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding hills.
Accommodation offered is spacious rooms with a view. Food offered is Pure Vegetarian, keeping in mind the sacred place. Tariffs: 1100-2400 INR Website: www.hptdc.in Contact: 01702-267339
Trilokpur Temple: is located at a distance of 23 kms from Nahan on Kalka-Ambala Highway and can be visited while reaching Nahan. ‘Trilokpur Temple’ was built in 1573 by Raja Dip Prakash and is devoted to Goddess Mahamaya Bala Sundri.
According to locals a pindi (sacred stone) of the goddess was uneartherned and later installed here. Some say that it had appeared in a bag of salt, purchased by a local trader who then asked the King to built a temple. Specially talented masons from Jaipur were called to built the temple.
The name Trilok Pur implies there is a triangle of three Shakti Temples in the area, each depicting different faces of Goddess Durga. The main temple situated at Trilok Pur is the Temple of Bhagwati Bala Sundry (an infant manifestation of Goddess Vaishno Devi) which depicts a beautiful childhood image of Goddess Durga. Another ‘Shakti Temple’ dedicated to Bhagwati Lalita Devi depicting another image of Goddess Durga, is situated on a hillock located at a distance of 3 km in front of the main temple of Bhagwati Bala Sundri. The third famous ‘Shakti temple’ of ‘Tripur Bhairavi’ is situated at a distance of 13 km north west of Bala Sundri temple.
Daula Kuan: is located en route to Paonta Sahib and is about 20 Kms from Nahan. This area is popular for citrus fruit farms and fruit canning factories.
These factories produce quite a large number of Jams, Pickles and canned fruits that are exported internally and globally. Visting them is quite fun and you can see he process closely.
A little away from Dhaula Kuan is ‘Kastasan Devi temple’ where Raja Jagat Singh defeated the advancing army of Rustam Qadir Rohilla in a great battle.
Suketi Fossil Park: is also known as ‘Shivalik Fossil Park’ and is just 21 kms from Nahan. This is one place ideal for kids who will be amazed to see the variety of fossil skeletons here. It is Asia’s biggest fossil park. This is an actual fossil site and has a collection of prehistoric vertebrate fossils and skeletons that have been recovered from here at Suketi and also from the upper and middle Siwaliks geological formations of sandstones and clay.
The park has a display of the fossil finds and also an open-air exhibition of six extinct mammals formed in life-size models made of fiberglass and resins, in a natural ambiance of the Sivalik Hills.
There is also a museum, within the precincts of the park, where the fossils are curated and exhibited and is visited by research scholars from all over the world and are also helpful in conducting scientific developments.
I remember visiting this place in early 90’s and the feeling of awe still exists.
The park is situated along the Markanda River and can be easily approached from the main highway. On October 31, 2010, Senior lecturer of commissioned Interns of Department of Geological Survey, found around two and a half feet long ivory, buried in Sand soil. The age of the ivory dates back to being 150,000 years old, on the basis of the Carbon Dating done in the region. (source: Wikipedia)
Timings of Fossil Park: 9.30 AM – 5 PM except on Tuesdays (closed)
Stay Options at or Near Nahan
Other good hotels at or near Nahan include:
Hotel Grand view: has 38 well appointed rooms, a swimming pool and even a spa! Each room offers stunning views of the surrounding valley and Shivalik Hills. Tariffs: Packages start at 9000 INR Per Couple for 2 Nights / 3 Days
Apart from these, there are plenty of other accommodation available on Kala – Amb road like Black Mango, Natraj Hotel, Sunshine, Kalamb Resort, Hotel Ashwin etc.
Nahan Distance Chart from Major Cities
- Ambala – 68 Kilometers
- Chandigarh – 84 Kilometers
- Dehradun – 91 Kilometers
- Shimla – 136 Kilometers
- Ludhiana – 172 Kilometers
- New Delhi – 262 Kilometers
Best Route: Delhi -> Karnal (immediately after the Haveli restaurant take right) -> Shahbad -> Saha -> Shezadpur -> Kala Amb -> Nahan
Do check out Kangojodi – a delightful camping experience in the Shivalik Hills.