Surkanda Devi is a Hindu temple located near Dhanaulti’s small resort hamlet in the district of Tehri. It is at an altitude of approximately 2,757 meters; it is located close to nearby Dhanaulti hill stations (8 km) and Chamba (22 km) & approximately 3 km walking distance from Kaddukhal, the place where vehicles park. It is surrounded by dense forests and provides a picturesque view of the surrounding area, including the north of the Himalayas and the south of some cities. Between May and June, the Ganga Dussera festival is held annually and attracts a lot of participants.
The snow-covered Himalayas and a beautiful view of the forest area between Mussoorie and Chamba. Every year in the month of June a big local fair is held here, drawing visitors from all over.
Surkanda Temple History
The legend of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha, is synonymous with one of the most prevalent mythologies about the source of worship at the site. Daksha was dissatisfied with the selection of his daughter’s husband, so he did not invite Shiva or Sati when he made a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities. Sati threw herself into the fire in a fury, knowing it would make the sacrifice unclean. Sati left her body at that moment to be reborn as the goddess Parvati because she was the all-powerful mother goddess. While Shiva was struck by his wife’s loss with sorrow and frustration. He put the body of Sati over his shoulder and began his Tandava all over the heavens, vowing not to stop until the body was completely rotted away. The other gods pleaded to Vishnu to pacify Shiva, fearing their annihilation. Therefore, Vishnu pursued everywhere Shiva went while dancing. He sent his Chakra Sudarshan to kill Sati’s corpse. Her body pieces fell before Shiva was left to bear without a body. Shiva sat down to do Mahatapasya when she saw this. Given the similarities in name, scholars usually do not accept that this tradition has given rise to Sati or widow burning custom.
There are 51 parts of Sati’s body spread across the Indian subcontinent according to various myths and traditions. Such places are called Shakti Peethas and are dedicated to the goddesses of various powers. Part by part, the body was divided. Making his way back to Kailash, Shiva went through this place with Sati’s dead body whose head dropped at the spot where Surkhanda Devi’s new temple stands. His title was Sirkhanda, which in the passage of time was renamed Surkanda, because of the fall of the head part of Sati.
How to Reach Surkanda Temple
The spot is most easily reached from Dehradun from the southwest but is a popular day trip to Mussoorie and Landour for tourists. It is situated on a hill and one gets there from Kaddukhal village on the Dhanaulti–Chamba road after a steep 1 km trek. Approximately 33.9 km, 57 minutes. From Mall Road Mussoorie and 113 km from Devaprayag, Uttarakhand, India, 2 hours and 10 minutes away.
The nearest railhead is the Dehradun Railway Station at a distance of 27 km from the temple.
The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport at a distance of 27 km from the temple.