Mahunag Temple: A Spiritual Gem in Karsog Mandi, Himachal Pradesh


The Mahunag Temple, located in the Tehsil Karsog of Mandi district, is a serene and sacred place nestled in the beautiful landscapes of Dev Bhoomi Himachal. It stands as a testament to the rich history and profound faith that is embedded in the hearts of its devotees. The temple is dedicated to Mool Mahunag and is situated in Bakhari Kothi Gram Panchayat Sawamahun Tehsil Karsog. The temple is approximately 37 kilometers from Karsog and 80 kilometers from Shimla via Tattapani, making it an ideal destination for spiritual seekers who crave a tranquil escape.

Mythical Origins and Cultural Significance

Mahunag is believed to be the incarnation of the charitable Karna. Dev Badeyogi is considered the guru of Mahunag. In the war of Mahabharata, Arjun killed Karna by deceit. But Arjun was filled with guilt after killing Karna. It is said that Arjun, with the help of his snake friends, brought Karna's body and performed the last rites near Tatapaani on the banks of Sutlej. A snake appeared from the same pyre. That snake settled at this place. Even today, people worship this snake god in the form of Mahunag.

Mahunag is worshipped for curing snakebites; believed that no one dies of snakebite when Mahunag is invoked. According to legends, whenever the worshippers are in agony and they ask for Lord Karna’s help, He metamorphoses himself into a ‘mahu’ (bee) and hastens to their assistance. The faithful also believe that Lord Karna’s benedictions would help them decide on legal matters and family differences. 

Historical Events and Royal Devotion

The Mandi district records speak about the temple, which was constructed in 1664 by Raja Shyam Sen, who was a great devout of Lord Karna. It is believed about Mahungag that once King Shyam Sen of Suket was imprisoned in Delhi by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb by deceit. He wanted to subjugate Suket to his king. Raja Shyam Sen of Suket remembered many gods and goddesses to get freedom from captivity. But he could not escape from captivity. Then the king remembered Nagraj Karna. Mahungag appeared to the king in the form of a bee and promised to soon release him from captivity. The king said that if he would be freed from captivity, then he would surrender half of his kingdom to King Karna Mahunag. After this, the Mughal Emperor wanted to play chess, but he could not find any player to play. Then he freed Raja Shyam Sen from prison to play. That day, King Shyam Sen kept winning in chess and in the end, he won the game to be free and also started towards his kingdom.

As per his promise, the king decided to give half of his kingdom and 400 rupees in cash and silver every year to Mahungag. But Mahungag did not take such a large area and took only a limited area of Mahungag area. Mahunag donates gold but does not adorn himself with gold. The Mahunag temple has a 1.25 kg gold mehra and 8 silver umbrellas.

Another Legend

It is said that Mahunag originated in Shaindal, a village here. When a farmer was plowing the field, suddenly a spot came, and the plow got stuck in the ground. Despite the farmer's efforts, when the plow did not come out, the soil was removed. Then it came to know that there is a mohra (stone idol). Attempts were made to take him out, but as soon as the tiger came out, he flew away and established himself in Bakhari, where the original Mahunag temple is located today.

Akhand Dhuni

As soon as you enter the outer building, you see the Mahunag deity. On the left side is burning an unbroken incense.

Based on folklore, there is a story about Akhand Dhuni burning here. It is said that there used to be a tree here on which lightning fell from the sky, and that tree caught fire. Since then, it has become a tradition that this dhuni never gets cold. Another special thing is that no one has ever taken ash out of this wash till today. This has been burning continuously for centuries, where its ashes go is a mystery till now.

Architectural Design

Dev Mahunag temple is an amediable styled Pahari temple. The building is made entirely of stones. Its doors and windows are made of deodar wood with beautiful carvings. The temple has two main parts, one is external and the other is internal. There is a circular path between the two buildings. Inside, there is a small apartment featuring anthropomorphic images made of silver and brass sheets representing the deity. This temple built in folk style is very beautiful to see.

Annual Festival - Mool Mahunag Annual Fair

The Celebration of the Mool Mahunag Annual Fair in Karsog is a vibrant and spiritually significant event, held annually to mark the auspicious occasion of Sankranti – the first day of the sun's transition into the sun sign Capricorn or Makara in Hindi, symbolizing the devotion to the Sun God.

This cultural extravaganza extends over five days, offering a rich tapestry of festivities and traditions. The fair unfolds on a picturesque venue, a rectangular piece of land named Bagra Dhar, adorned by tall pine trees, located approximately 2 kilometers from the Mahunag temple.

Key Highlights of the Fair

  • Nati Folk Dances: A traditional dance form that captivates onlookers with its vibrant colors and rhythmic beats. The dancers, dressed in colorful attire, move energetically to the music, their movements telling the story of their culture and heritage. The air is filled with excitement and a sense of celebration, as attendees soak in the authentic and cultural experience of the dance. 
  • Diverse Activities: There is a multitude of diverse activities and games that offer a lively and festive atmosphere. From traditional games that have been passed down through generations to newer activities that appeal to all ages, there is something for everyone. Attendees can engage in friendly competition, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. 

Spiritual Splendor

Devotees from across Himachal Pradesh converge here for darshan, creating a spiritual confluence. The grandeur of the palanquin, used to adorn the idols of Deity Maharaj, is a spectacle to behold. The chariot's silver-covered rods and intricately designed silver masks contribute to its majestic appearance. A silver box encases idols of King Karna Ji Maharaj and his deva gunas, while the upper part showcases the seated statue of Shri Mahunag Ji, with hair gracefully hanging behind.

Ornate Chariot and Umbrella

Every part of the chariot is adorned with silver and silver coins, exemplifying meticulous craftsmanship. The bamboo wood umbrella, intricately shaped for graceful movement during dances, adds a touch of elegance to the procession.

Ensuring the comfort of devotees, meticulous arrangements have been made for their accommodation. The Public Works Department has constructed a rest house, conveniently located one kilometer away, enhancing the allure of this sacred site.


The Mahunag Temple in Himachal Pradesh is not merely a place of worship; it is a living repository of myths, history, and cultural traditions. The tales of Karna, the historical events during the Mughal era, and the vibrant annual festival collectively contribute to the temple's cultural richness. As devotees continue to seek solace and blessings at Mahunag, the temple remains an emblem of spiritual significance and cultural heritage in the sacred land of Dev bhoomi Himachal. 

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