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Asia's highest temple of Lord Shiva at Jatoli is an architectural wonder
Describing a temple is not an easy task. It needs a spiritual understanding of the place, the historical background and finally the deity's blessings, which slightly elevate you to write about the religious place. This is what exactly happened with me before I could really muster courage to describe about this wonderful piece of architectural beauty and the Asia's highest temple of lord Shiva. I, therefore, bow before the deity, the Lord Shiva and take spiritual pleasure and the strength in describing this temple at Jatoli near Solan.

Jatoli is a place about seven kms away from Solan in Himachal Pradesh. Jatoli means long Jata (hairs) which further signifies the long Jatas of lord Shiva. While tracing the history of this place I came to know that there existed the oldest temple of lord Shiva where an ancient lingam is placed. According to a legendary belief, lord Shiva visited this place and slept for a night. Similarly other legendary stories also support the same belief.

It is said that temples are the back-bone of Indian Medieval architectural heritage. Each temple has some peculiar architectural features. While constructing a temple few basic things are kept in mind. These are broadly categorized as the area, the community, the local belief, the customs and the historical significance of the place. The architectural style is adopted in such a manner that it suits the religious sentiments of the people. This further leads to create a spiritual environment for generating positive vibes. To achieve this, architecture of a religious place should also complement the historical facts, the faith of the people and the cultural heritage. It is only the faith that has inspired the finest literature, architecture, painting and the music in the entire world.

The architectural design of Shiva’s Temple in Jatoli is marvelous. This temple has been built according to Indo – Aryan Style where the top tower is round with a curvilinear outline which ends into a tip. The tip of such temple is usually decorated with golden kalash.  Few modifications have also been carried out by giving a touch of fusion of Southern or Dravidian- Style to this temple. The Shiva’s temple at Jatoli has three consecutive sub-pyramidal structures which end in a tip. The tapering part in the temple architecture is called as Shikhar or the pinnacle. The height of this sub pyramidal has been maintained in ascending order but kept little lower than the main pyramidal of what is called as ‘Vimana’. At the base of first sub pyramidal platform Lord Ganesha has been seated. In the second sub pyramidal area ‘Shesh Nag’ occupies the place.

The frontal area around these pyramids has been decorated with one yellow- green colored kalash on each side. At the base of the platform of third sub pyramid one can see a trishul distinctively on each side. There are figures of gods and goddesses along the front and lateral sides of the temple. The main pyramid is tallest among all sub pyramids, thus making the height of this temple 111 ft., and has been given the tag of highest temple of lord Shiva in Asia. The construction the temple was completed in 39 years.

A doorway called Mandapam leads to the main entrance of the temple. Here the devotees assemble for darshan of the Shiv lingam. At Jatoli, Shiv lingam is unique. It is made up of transparent glass like structures, which is housed in silver structure comprising Vishnu Pitha and Braham Pitha.

On the northeast corner of the temple lies a water tank known as ‘Jal Kund ‘ where the water flow is natural and is considered auspicious and pious  like the holy Ganges. This water is said to have some medicinal qualities to treat skin diseases. There is a main cave on the left side of the entrance of this temple where Swami Krishanand Paramhansji used to reside. Construction of this temple was his visualization. In the outer courtyard, just in front of mandapam, a giant statue of Nandi with Ganas adds charm to this place.

Thus, there is a combination of myth, reality, art, culture and heritage at this magnificent temple. I’m grateful to my wife Kamlesh Gera, who consistently encouraged me to visit the temple. My pilgrimage to this wonderful religious place would have never been completed without spiritual support of my friend N. S. Bhatnagar and his wife, so my heartfelt gratitude to both of them.

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