Mathi Temple

Mathi Temple is located in Chitkul village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Signup for full VR Experience ! Book a holiday package to Mathi Temple.

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Mathi Temple

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Mathi Temple

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Location

Sangla-Chitkul Road, Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh 172109 , India

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Mathi Temple is located in Chitkul village near the Indo-China border in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Situated among the snow-capped Himalayan mountains, Chitkul has a population of around 600 and is located in one of the least populated districts in the country. The river Baspa flows in the valley which is characterized by moderate vegetation and high mountains. Chitkul is considered as the last and highest village in the region after which the roads terminate near the Indian border.

Considered to be the wife of Lord Badrinath, goddess Mathi is considered the local deity of Kinnaur and is highly revered here. There are three temples in Chitkul of which the old Mathi temple is believed to be over five hundred years old. According to legend, the goddess settled here after a long journey and blessed the place. The village prospered thereafter resulting in higher yield of farm produce and also fodder for animals. The main temple was constructed by a native of Garhwal and devotees come here to pay respects to the goddess.

 The old temple of Mathi ( Image:bnomadic.com)

The temple features the indigenous architecture of Himachal Pradesh responding to the climate and geological conditions of the land. Stone, slate and wood are the primary building materials due to their local availability. These have helped the vernacular structure to evolve as an organic part of the landscape. The temple stands on a raised stone plinth above which a square chamber forms the main temple. The stone plinth has a huge mass to serve as a dampener to the earthquakes prevalent in the region. The small structure above uses the Kath Kuni technique of construction that employs alternate layers of wood and stone interlocked to provide structural stability. Horizontal wood members are placed to interlock at the corners and packed with dressed stone to fill the cavities forming as the result of interlocking. The walls are raised in this manner and the subsequent upper level is entirely constructed with wood. The upper level projects outwards beyond the walls at the lower level creating an outward mass. The wooden structure has sloping roofs covered with slate that provides protection from wind and snow. There is a little decoration in the window frames and under the roof overhangs but nothing as intricate as that in the newer temples around.

The new Mathi temple at Chitkul (Image: globingaround.com)

The newer temples have been made in similar style, but are intricately carved and are larger than the older one. All external wood faces are carved to extreme detail and reflects ingenuity of the workers and craftsmen. The carvings include simple geometric patterns to dragons adorning the posts at the entrance. Two lion statues guard the entrance. The roof has conical elements above the gable covered with slate. This is also built in the traditional Kath Kuni technique derives from the vernacular architecture here.

 

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