When one hears about Chehni Kothi for the first time, an impression dwells that a colonial-styled bungalow might be waiting for you deep in the woods. However, since I belong to the hills, I knew from my instinct that this could not be a bungalow as it is located in a small village in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh in India.
If you are coming by bus or any other means of public transport, you will have to get down at Jibhi which is another popular getaway among travelers who do not wish to trek a lot, yet be among nature. Jibhi also offers numerous options for a comfortable stay including Seri Homestay, Jibhi which not only offers local cuisine but a range of adventure activities too.
The trek to Chehni Kothi, some 3-4 Km before Jibhi is mesmerizing indeed as you are in raw nature with pure breeze of Himalayas giving you the confidence to walk that extra mile. A 20 minute walk along a motorable road will bring you to Shringa Rishi temple. The pagoda styled temple will definitely remind you of similar structures if you have seen some in Thailand.
The motorable road virtually ends here and after a 30 minute slow paced walk, you will have the first view of Chehni Kothi.
The twin towers of Chehni Kothi are located in the middle of the village in the main courtyard. These are two towers and the taller of the duo is known as Chehni Kothi. The unique hill architecture and the creative art work done on the wood is something that will attract your attention instantly.
A flight of steps takes one to the top of Chehni Kothi but travellers and visitors are not allowed to climb, perhaps for safety reason which seems quite valid given the height of Chehni Kothi. The fortified tower has a temple where the local priest goes occasionally for offering prayers.
The history of Chehni Kothi is old and exquisite. Nothing much is mentioned in history books but locals point out that a king built this for safety purpose perhaps in 17th Century.
Architecture of Chehni Kothi
While locals differ on the origin of Chehni Kothi with some pointing that it is around 1500 years old, the designs and woodwork done on walls indicate that it was indeed built around 17th century only since the architecture and wood work indicates so. The 30 meter high tower and that too built without use of any steel or modern building aids can be an eye opener for new age engineers.
To provide firmness to the structure, stones have been placed between layers of wood. The wood beams too criss cross each other at corners of tower. The outer finishing has been done with mix of local soil and cow dung.
Infact, this kind of architecture is not new in the region and almost every traditional house has been designed the similar way. Chehni Kothi is one of these and you will definitely adore the place and the friendly nature of locals when you visit this region in Himachal Pradesh in India.
How to Reach
Jibhi, the getaway point for Chehni Kothi trek