Paonta Sahib, a city sacred to the memory of Guru Gobind Singh,
the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, is also a bustling township with growing
industries. It retains tangibly memorials to the martial Guru in
the form of his weapons and a majestic Gurudwara and recalls his
presence even in the name of the city which is derived from "paon"
meaning "foot" either because he set foot in this place
or according to an alternative story, because he lost an ornament
which he wore on his foot called a "paonta" while bathing
in the river Yamuna which flows here.
Overlooking the river is the Gurudwara where Guru Gobind Singh
held court and wrote the major portion of the "Dassam Granth".
The Guru also built the Paonta Fort in over hundred acres of land,
which housed not only his followers, but as many as 46 famous
poets. Regular poetry reading sessions and symposiums were organised
to encourage the sort form. The guru left Paonta Sahib after the
battle of Bhangani with Raja Fateh Shah, in which he defeated
the errant ruler's army after thirty days of battle.
Surrounded by a sal forest and on the banks of river Yamuna, the
historic town of Paonta Sahib (350m) was founded by a tenth sikh
guru, Guru Gobind Singh. When only 16 years old, the Guru left
Anandpur Sahib and on the invitation of Raja Maidini Prakash of
Sirmour, lived at this beautiful spot for over four years. The
historic gurudwara commemorates his stay and interestingly the
water of the Yamuna fall silent below this- which happened at
the Guru's behest. The old 'Paonta' means 'Space for a foothold'.
How To Reach
Paonta Sahib is connected by road. From paontasahibji it is 81
km via Nahan and 60 km via Rajban. From Dehradun, it is 44 km.
The closest railheads are at Ambala and Dehradun. The nearest
airports are at Chandigarh and Dehradun. Taxis/buses are available
for Paonta Sahib at all places.
Places to visit
GURUDWARA PAONTA SAHIB: This site was
Guru Gobind Singh's home for over four years and it was here that
he wrote the Dasam Granth. Within its precincts are the Sri Tlab
Asthan where he disbursed salaries and the Sri Dastar Asthan were
he judged the turban -tying competitions. At the Kavi Darbar Asthan
poetic symposia were held. There is also a memorial to Kalpi Rishi
and a museum that displays pens of the Guru and weapons of the
YAMUNA TEMPLE: This ancient shrine
is immediately below the gurudwara and is dedicated to the goddess
GURUDWARA TIRGARH SAHIB (22 km): This
is built on the hillock from where Guru Gobind Singh shot arrows
at the enemy.
GURUDWARA BHANGANI SAHIB (23 km): This
commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's first battle when he defeated
Raja Fateh Sahib and his allies..
SHIVA TEMPLE, PATLIAN (4.5 km): Surrounded
by fields and sal trees, the linga in this temple is supposed
to be steadily increasing in size.
SHRINE OF BABA GARIB NATH (8 km): Located
in a sal forest and with an excellent view of the area, the shrine
is revered by childless women.
RAM TEMPLE: Within Paonta Sahib and
also known as the 'Mandir Shri Dei Ji Sahiba, this is located
near the Yamuna bridge. With exquisite marble work, this was built
in 1889 in memory of Raja Partap Chand of Kangra by his wife who
originally belonged to Sirmour. The Kirpal Dass Gurudwara is just
part of the temple.
GURUDWARA SHERGARH SAHIB (12 km): At
this spot Guru Gobind Singh beheaded a dangerous man-eating tiger
with a single swipe of this sword.
SIMBALWARA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: 12 km
off the main Paonta Sahib Nahan road, this is known for a variety
of bird life.
SIRMOUR (16 km): Here are the remains
of the old capital of the princely state of Sirmour. The town
is said to have been destroyed by flood in the 11th century, when
it was cursed by a dancing girl.
NAGNAUNA TEMPLE (16 km): Built in a
hollow near the village of Puruwallia, this temple is closely
allied with the legend of Sirmour's erstwhile ruling house.
KATASAN DEVI TEMPLE (30 km): Also known
as Uttam Wala Bara Ban, this is on the Paonta Sahib-Nahan road.
The Shrine is revered by local people. At this spot, the forces
of Sirmour defeated the maruding armies of Ghulam Qadir Khan Rohiolla.
NAHAN (45 km): Built in a series of
interlocking circles, this charming town was funded by Raja Karan
Prakash of Sirmour in 1621. It has numerous pleasing walks, several
temples, a gurudwara and interesting architecture - including
many old places.
FOSSIL PARK SAKETI (60 km): This was
the site of the largest fossil find in the Siwalik hills. The
park has a museum and life-size models of the animals that once
roamed these tracts.
BALASUNDARI TEMPLE, TRILOKPUR (63 km):
Legend has it that the Devi's pindi appeared in the bag of slot
brought by a local trader. The temple built by Raja Deep Parkash
of Sirmour in 1573. close by is a recently built Shiva Temple.
ADVENTURE AND FISHING: The most
popular trek in the area is to the 3,647m high Choordhar - which
poetically translates as the "Mountain of the silver bangle".
HPTDC also organises Trekking Package from its Marketing Office,
Chandigarh. Tel.No. 91-172-708569, Fax No. 91-172-708569.
Fishing is possible on the Giri and Yamuna rivers near Paonta
In winter, the temperature can hover around freezing point when
heavy woollens are required. Summer temperature are high and cottons