The road-side village of Jagatsukh is located on the left bank of Beas about 15km from Naggar. This ancient village (old name Nast) assumes great importance as it was the capital of Kullu before Naggar. Mian Goverdhan Singh in his book, Wooden Temples of Himachal Pradesh mentions that there are seven temples at Jagatsukh. Penelope describes only two in her book along with mention of a number of stories about Jagatsukh. She gives a vivid description of a bungalow, built in 1880s, in the southern end of the village, for the ‘great father figure of Indian archaeology, General Sir Alexander Cunningham, who used it as his base for an expedition to Ladakh’ (this old bungalow located near present bus-stand of Jagasukh was owned by Pandit Balak Ram, then by an ‘eccentric’ English woman artist Mrs. Budd, and now by Mr Shafi). Penelope tells an interesting story about Jagatsukh, “It was here that, in the early sixteenth century, Sidh Pal met the goddess Hidimba, under the guise of an old woman, who prophesied that he would recover the kingdom of his ancestors. And it was here too that the dynastic name was changed from Pal to Singh, for when Sidh Pal was one day holding a calf for his Brahmin hostess while she milked the cow, a lion suddenly appeared which he killed on the spot and was from then on given the name Singh-lion-which he passed on to his successors”.
During my various visits to Jagatsukh, in late January and early February 2009, I could see temples of Sandhya-Gayitri, Shiva-Parvati, Jagannath, Rama, Jamdagini Rishi, Takshak Nag (Banahra) and Bhandar of Takshak Nag (Banahra) in company of Pandit Mehar Chand Shastri of Jagatsukh. In addition, we also climbed upto the Jagatsukh Fort of Pitti Rajas, also referred by Penelope.
Sandhya Gayitri Temple
The chronology of temples in Kullu Valley is difficult to understand, though there is a reference to an epigraph found in this temple by Hiranand Sastri (Historical Documents of Kullu, 1907-08) on two stone slabs referring to a date of construction around 1428 AD (Hutchinson and Vogel). Most probably, Maharaja Udharan Pal, 72nd Raja Kullu built it. Many authors believe that the present temple (Vernacular Temple) has been build in place of the eighth century original temple (Classical Temple), the relics of which can still be seen in the courtyard of the present one. This gabled roofed temple which has been renovated and modified several times, is covered with the slate roof and built on a rectangular platform.
Views of Jagatsukh village from Banahra and Pitti Fort
The temple is on a rectangular platform and further strengthens the view that the fine art of decorative wood carving is still alive among the local villagers and the local deities are at the helm of its proliferation. The temple is of Type 2 i.e. built in the alternate courses of wood and rectangular stones.
Takshak Nag Temple Bhandar
Piti Fort, above Banahra