Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Paonta Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, India

Paonta Sahib is a sacred town built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. The road passes through Sataun and follows the Giri River along the beautiful scenery. Situated on the banks of Yamuna River, Paonta Sahib is a bustling township with growing industries. It is one of the important holy places for the Sikhs. It retains tangible memories of Guru Gobind Singh in the form of his weapons and a majestic Gurudwara. It recalls his presence even in the name of the city which is derived from Paonta meaning "foot", either because he set foot on this place or, according to an alternate story, he lost an ornament which he wore on his foot called "Paonta" while bathing in the Yamuna river.


There is a legend in this town that surrounds the ruins of this old capital of a princely state. Sirmouri Tal, not very far from Paonta Sahib was destroyed by the curse of a court dancer when the the ruler went back on an oath to give half of this kingdom in case she crossed a narrow gorge on a rope. This, she did but the wily ruler the offered her the entire kingdom if she could dance her way back. She started back but as she was half way across, he cut the rope hurling the helpless girl into the stream. Floods followed which swept away the city, the ruler and the royal house, as a result of dancer's curse. Vishawkarma temple and few other Hindu temples are also located in Paonta Sahib. The water of river Yamuna is being dammed down stream of Paonta which will soon have a water reservoir where water sports will be organised.
Approach
Road:
 Paonta Sahib is easily approachable from Nahan (45 km) and there is regular bus service connecting the places. One can also come from other routes by bus or car/taxi from Dehra Dun (45 km), Haridwar (117 km) and Shimla (180 km).