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Mahasu Devata Temple Hanol

Mahasu Devata Temple is a famous temple in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand. The shrine is dedicated to the memory of Mahasu Devata, a popular God-King known for his protective prowess. It is one of the oldest temples of the region and is on the list of ancient temples protected by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).


Mahasu Devata Temple is situated in Hanol near Dehradun on Tuini-Mori road. It lies on the east-side bank of the Tons River in Chakrata which is approximately 180 km from Dehradun. It is at a closer distance from Mussoorie which is just 78 km away. This 9th century temple was constructed in typical Huna style of architecture but has evolved over the years with various styles getting mixed in subsequent developments.


According to a popular legend, a demon called Kirmir wrecked havoc on the people of Hanol and killed them at will with his unmatched strength. Huna Bhatt, a god-fearing Brahmin was most affected as Kirmir had devoured his seven sons. When the demon cast an evil desire on the Brahmin’s wife, she prayed to Lord Shiva for protection. The couple was asked to perform some holy rituals to get succor from the demon. Their prayers were granted by the creation of four Mahasu Devata brothers called Vasik, Pavasi, Chalda and Botha. The temple at Hanol is dedicated to Mahasu Devata Botha.

The Lota-Pani Method of Disputes Settling

Mahasu Devata emerged as a just and efficient judge. He resolved disputed not only of the mortals, but also reigned supreme over numerous gods and goddesses. Even today, the deity exercises his authority over religious and secular matters. In Hanol, disputes of various kinds are resolved using a unique Lota-Pani method.

A metallic goblet is filled with water ritually by a person not involved in the dispute. The persons involved in the dispute have to drink the water invoking the name of Mahasu Devata. The wrong-doer is believed to suffer on drinking the water. The decision of the deity is accepted by the locals as the final word.

The Gold Fixation of the Deity

A unique aspect of Mahasu Devata is his petulance when it comes to handling of precious ornaments. People in this region do their gold and silver transactions very carefully for the fear of displeasing the deity. The bullion in Mahasudom is the property of the deity, even if it is the possession of individuals of the villages, according to local tradition. Any gold going out of the deity-dom triggers a series of sufferings for the persons or families involved as they attract the fury of Mahasu Devata.

The Jagara

The Jagara celebrated for Mahasu Devata is typical to his cult and is not for outsiders. It is held in the month of Bhadon of the Indian calendar on the eve of Naga chauth as this is the day when the lord appeared from the ground. The images of the Lord are ritually bathed and wrapped in the folds of a sheet of cloth. During the ceremonial procession, no one is allowed to be near the image to avoid the curse of the Lord. Just before sunset, the image is taken inside the temple and placed on the altar. There are various rituals and festivities associated with the Jagara including sacrificing of a goat for pleasing the deity.

The Annual Fair

Mahasu Devata fair is held every year in the month of August and is regarded as the most important religious fair by the locals. The fair is held at Hanol is celebrated by the Jaunsari tribe. Other communities also join them. This fair represents the cultural harmony between the various communities of the region.

Best Time for Visit

The summer months from March to May are the best months to visit the place as the climate is pleasant and enjoyable. These months see peak footfalls from pilgrims and visitors. Rainfall is normal but the roads become very slippery making traveling very challenging. Winters are chilly and can be extreme at times.

How to Reach

By Road

Mahasu Devata temple is 180 km from Dehradun and approximately 80 km from Mussoorie. There are buses and private vehicles available to take you to Hanol.

By Rail

The nearest railway head is Dehradun at 180 km.

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport at 207 km.

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