Shani Dev Temple

About Shani Dev Temple

Shani Devi Temple adorned in the sleepy hamlet of Kharsali in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand is considered as the oldest temple of Shani Dev. Positioned at 7,000 feet above sea level in Kharsali, the Shani Dev Temple is the winter seat of Goddess Yamuna.

In Kharsali1km from Jankichatti, Uttarkashi
1 hr

Shani Dev Temple in Kharsali

It is the first temple site in the Char Dham Yatra circuit to be visited by the pilgrims. The Shani Dev temple is highly revered by the locals as they believe that the temple was built by the mighty Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharatha.

Religious Significance of Shani Dev Temple

As per Hindu mythology, Shani Dev collectively hailed as the ‘God of Karma and Justice’ is the son of Surya or the Sun God and the brother of Goddess Yamuna. On Akshaya Tritiya during the first week of May every year, Lord Shani Dev visits his sister Yamuna at Yamunotri. He then returns to Kharsali and wait for ‘Bhai Dooj’ or ‘Yam Dwetiya’ to come so he can take his sister to Kharsali. This auspicious event usually falls two days after Diwali. As the portals of Yamunotri temple are closed during winters (from November-April), the idol of Goddess Yamuna is brought to Shani Dev temple at Kharsali for worship. One can see two large vases known as Rikhola and Pikhola that are bounded by chains as the locals believe that during full moon night these vases run towards the river.

Architecture of Shani Dev Temple

The Shani Dev temple of Kharsali  exhibits a remarkable stone architecture that resembles a fort having four storey structure. The facade of the temple reminds of the tower monasteries of Tibet. The material used for raising the foundation of the temple include stones, wood, Urad dal or Vigna mungo from which the mortar part is build to fix the stones together. A narrow wooden staircase leads to the bronze effigy of Shani Dev, Chhaya, Sangya and Nag Devta that are enshrined on the fourth floor of the temple building.

Since the region is prone to earthquakes and floods, wooden slits have been constructed on the top floor of the building to shield the temple. The temple has sustained few natural disasters and has stood firm on its ground since eternity, strengthening the faith of devotees in the Lord. Those who visit the temple offer Urad Dal or 'Black Gram' to appease the God.

Location & How to Reach Shani Dev Temple

Shani Dev Temple is nestled in Kharsali village of Uttarkashi district and can be approached by two routes. The travellers can either take the route from Hanuman Chatti towards Yamunotri or the one from Janki Chatti. If you are unable to trek, ponies and dandies are available at cheap rates to reach the temple. Buses to Kharsali are easily available from cities like Dehradun and Rishikesh. Dehradun railway station at 171 km away is the nearest railhead to Kharsali. Jolly Grant airport at 197 km away is the closest air connectivity, from here the travellers can avail the helicopter service to Kharsali a 30 min flight from Sahastradhara helipad. Remember that helicopter service needs to be booked beforehand.

Read How to Reach guide for Kharsali.

What is Shani Dev Temple famous for?

Shani Dev Temple is popular place for following activities/ interests - Temples.