Whenever a cow gives birth to a calf, the first ghee made from the cow’s milk will be saved for worship. In Indian families, the first milk from a cow is considered auspicious. I was blessed to be born into a family where cows are still part of the culture.
This is a ritual that I have seen my mother and grandmother follow whenever a new calf is born. I was curious to know why we collect ghee in a jar and no one is allowed to eat from that particular jar. I went to my grandmother to get my answer. That is when I came to know that the first milk ghee was collected for Budhi Nagin in Serolsar Lake.
Origin of Budhi Nagin
Famously known as Buddi Nagin, she was blessed with some powers of Durga Maa, a manifestation of Nava Durga. Buddi Nagin was from the Seraj area of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh. She got married in the Suket area now popularly known as Karsog district in Himachal.
Buddhi Nagin once went near the Satluj River’s local water territory. She instructed her mother not to wake her children until she returns. Her children were sleeping in a basket of husks in the kitchen. People used to keep their children in husk baskets before baby prams became a norm.
After a while her mother was worried as the kids were sleeping for a long time without waking up. Neglecting the instructions given by Budhi Nagin, her mother picked up the blanket. As soon as she did, she was shocked to see 5–6 snakes in it. Frightened, she threw ash from the kitchen on the snakes. Snakes ran away in different directions. It is believed they were forgotten after this.
When Buddha Nagin came back, she was heartbroken that her kids had gone away. She took a step to leave the village. A small stone Murti is still worshiped in the house where Buddha Nagin lived in the Bhiuri village of Karsog.
This small house can’t be rebuilt or renovated. Budhi Nagin left the house and reached Serolsar Lake near Jalori Pass in Banjar Valley of Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.
Buddhi Nagin is believed to be the mother of Nagdev – the snake god. Locals of the region believe Nagas to be associated with Shiva. Every Naga has its own area and village that is named after them like Chowasi Nag, Hungru Nag, and Jhakad Nag.
In these villages, many other beautiful temples are constructed with Himachali architecture. They have lovely wooden carvings. Every year, Nag Devtas, priests, and villagers go around their area. People offer donations in any form to the Nagas. They also perform local Himachali dances called Nati.
The lake is located in the center of mesmerizing meadows. One can enjoy the most spectacular sunset and admire the 360-degree view of all the mountains.
Abhi Chidiya of Serolsar Lake
The story goes that Buddhi Nagin came to this place and sat on a big stone. There were 60 Joginis called the Paudi of Inderdev. Joginis or Yoginis are young girls. Some were going to Shikari Devi in Mandi, and some to Jalori Jot. They saw Buddi Nagin sitting in Serolsar Lake. Jognins approached her and said, “Let’s play a game together.”
They thought that because she was old, they can easily defeat her. It was decided that if Budhi Nagin wins the game, she will accept this place as her holy place, and if Joginis win, she will leave this place.
While playing the game, one of the girls cheated. This made Buddi Nagin very angry. She cursed her to become a small bird forever and assigned it the task to clean the little water body. That small bird is known as Abhi Chidiya.
Buddi Nagin won the game and hence decided to settle here forever. She was carrying a small pot with her when she left her home. Roaming around in Serolsar, that pot fell from her hands and a lake emerged at the same spot. This is how the lake was formed.
The stone on which Buddi Nagin was sitting is now known as Kala Pathar.
During exile, after the Pandavas reached Jalori Pass, they came to Serolsar Lake. They started growing rice around the lake. It is said that Buddi Nagin emerged in front of them and went back to the lake.
Pandavas took her Murti out of the lake and kept it outside the lake. They built a small temple for her on the banks of the lake. It has been renovated many times since then. The current temple is the fourth temple after renovation.
Offering Ghee at the Budhi Nagin Temple
Budhi Nagin, the mother of all the Nag Devta of Mandi and Kullu region, was very fond of cows. So, people bring ghee for her when they visit her temple. It is believed that if you pour ghee inside a temple, it directly goes to the center of the lake, where Budhi Nagin resides.
People bring many kilograms of ghee to the temple and lake. All the Nagdevas of the region visit Budhi Nagin once a year on special occasions. Special occasions are predicted by local priests.
Temple is closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall.
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Mystical Facts about Serolsar Lake
No one knows the depth of the lake.
There is another mystery-laden story. Once a Brahmin, along with his family was taking a stroll around the lake. He fell into the lake. His family tried to save him but wasn’t successful. After 3 years, Brahmin came back from the lake. Budhi Nagin made him promise not to tell anyone about her.
His family relentlessly kept asking him, “Where did you go?” and “How were you saved? In the end, Brahmin spoke the truth. He told that when he fell into the lake, he reached the bottom of the lake and Buddi Nagin saved him. She lives in a golden palace there. She used to churn curd and he saw many containers of milk there.
As soon as he spoke the truth, he died. Villagers came to the lake and everyone was experiencing some mysterious activities. It was inferred that Buddi Nagin wanted that lake to be left untouched and should be kept clean. The lake is indeed always clean; not a single leaf can be found inside the lake.
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The Suket area of Karsog is just adjacent to Jalori Pass in Banjar Valley of the Kullu district. Jalori Pass is one of the passes that connects the Kullu and Shimla districts. It Pass was built by the British to gain access to Kullu.
The altitude of Jalori Pass is 2000 m. Jalori Pass is closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall. Banjar Valley is one of the offbeat tourist destinations in Kullu district.
Kullu district is divided into three main valleys: Tirthan, Banjar, and Sainj Valley. Jalori Pass is a beautiful driveway road to Jibhi with dense deodar trees.
From Jalori’s pass towards Shimla lies the Anni district of Kullu. Anni is a well-known place for apple orchards, and during the season, one can enjoy a beautiful view of apple orchards too.
Hike to the Serolsar Lake
Are you bored with city life? Reconnect yourself with nature by hiking in the Himalayas. A beautiful 5 km hike to the lake in Jalori Pass is perfect for you.
It is easy to hike – just a straight walk through a dense jungle of deodar and banyan trees. It rewards you with a 360-degree view of all the mountains and the most spectacular sunset in the mountains.
Every season’s path is different; summer’s path is vibrant with the popping colors of Moses on the tree trunks. You will also see some of the rarest species of flora and fauna, including rare herbs, medicinal plants, and wilderness.
There are many homestays nearby Jalori Pass to stay at a very good price. Camping facilities are also provided in the meadows of Jalori Pass. Jalori Pass is easily accessible.
- Spring and summer are the best times to visit the lake
- The total distance of the hike – 5 km
- Level of hike: Easy
- Distance of Jalori Pass from Shimla: 158 km, a 5-hour drive
- Nearby place by Jalori Pass: Jibhi (12 km)
This post is written by Pallavi Thakur as part of the IndiTales Internship Program