Surkanda Devi Temple is located near Dhanolti in the Unniyal Village of Tehri district of Uttarakhand. It is one of India's 51 Shaktipeeth temples and is of great religious importance. Surkanda Devi Temple is located at an altitude of about 9,041 feet above sea level. The place is encompassed by dense and thick backwoods.
The trek starts from Dhanolti and there is a well laid trail throughout. Initially for a few meters, you’ve stairs and then you’ve the concretized trail fenced on the valley side till the top. This trail is very scenic and offers beautiful views of the surroundings. From the top, you can enjoy stunning views of the dense forests and panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks.
The architecture of Surkanda Devi Temple is fascinating. The simple structural sanctuary of the temple is the idol of Marsarkanda Devi, beautifully adorned with silk robes and silver crowns. The idol of Lord Hanuman and also the statue of a goddess sitting on a lion can be seen on the temple grounds. Ganga Dussehra is a major festival celebrated here. The festival begins on the first day of the month of Jyeshtha and ends on the tenth day. Navaratri is also celebrated at this temple.
Surkanda Devi Trek is an easy trek and can be done by both beginners and experienced trekkers.
Table of Contents
Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop in comments at the end of the page if you need any help! You will get all the information required to do Surkanda Devi Trek on your own.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents.
- Trail Information
- Best Season to do the Surkanda Devi Trek
- Difficult Sections on the Surkanda Devi Trek
- How to Reach the Surkanda Devi Trek
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Emergency Contacts on the Surkanda Devi Trek
- ATMs and Networks on the trek
- Places to visit after the Surkanda Devi Trek
1. The architecture of the temple
The Surkanda Devi Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth and has a great religious importance. The architecture of the temple is fascinating. After a hard ascent, the first glimpse of the temple draws your attention too.
Surkanda Devi Temple at the top. Picture by Deepali Bansal
2. The views on the trail
The views you get on the trail are breathtaking. Though the entire trail is concretized and well laid out, it offers you some of the best views. Every turn on the trail opens up to beautiful views of the surrounding valley. Don’t forget to take some time out and enjoy these views along the way.
Beautiful views of the surroundings you get throughout the trail. Picture by Deepali Bansal
The views from the temple are beautiful too. You get a 360-degree view of the entire valley surrounding the temple. You also get majestic views of the snow capped mountains from here. The views are worth the struggles to reach there.
Route Map of Surkanda Devi Trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro
Section I: From the base to the Summit
Trek Distance: 2.5 km
Trek Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Altitude gain: 8192 ft to 9041 ft
Highlights: Temple Darshan, Viewpoint, Sightseeing, bird-watching and photography
Concretized stairs leading toward the massive red-painted entry gate mark the starting point of the trek. The entire trail of 2.5 km is steep and sloppy. However, it's a well-laid trail with fencing throughout the valley side.
Start point of the Surkanda Devi Trek. Picture by Deepali Bansal
The stairs ascend gradually to the steep uphill. It leads to the starting point of the ropeway. The ropeway service is fully functional now. It is about 502 meters long and takes 10-15 minutes to reach the top. Near this area is the pony hiring area, from where you may hire a pony to cover the entire length. The amount per pony is variable and depends on your visiting season. However, we do not advise trekkers to take a pony or any animal to trek. We encourage you to trek with the right spirit of trekking.
Aerial view of the ropeway to Surkanda Devi Temple. Picture by Deepali Bansal
Ahead of this, the trail is concretized, curvy, and steep. You may rest on the benches placed on the way if tired. About half a kilometer ahead is the shop area where you will find essential food and drinks along with religious materials & prasad. This is the last place for you to buy anything. There are no shops going further.
A glimpse of the curvy uphill trek with proper trail and fencing. Picture by Deepali Bansal
The dense forest around the trail gives the entire landscape a breathtaking view. The trail is popular amongst bird watchers and photographers. Every turn of the trail unfolds the beauty of mountains. You won't be disappointed at all at any point in the trekking.
Every turn on the trail leads to a beautiful view. Picture by Deepali Bansal
As you gradually walk forward, the trail goes slightly uphill. Long steps throughout the trail will help you maintain your pace. Strong winds and a mesmerizing view of nature will detoxify you while trekking. There are many viewpoints on the way. Or you may say that every turn is a viewpoint.
Soon you will see the shoe keeping area near the temple where you must remove leather belts and shoes. Near this is the ropeway endpoint. Pony also drops you at this spot only. The temple is about 100 meters from here.
Note: There is no stream or water source on the trail. So carry at least 2 liters of water per person.
The temple has an open ground in front of it and large spaces around it, from where you can easily enjoy the beauty of the landscape. The Himalayas in the north and valley view in the south adds to the beauty of the place. At the top of the hill, the cool breeze gets stronger, giving you a more relaxed feeling. So you might need a woolen layer there.
Panoramic view of the valley. Picture by Deepali Bansal
The temple is well built. This ancient temple is famous for its architectural beauty. In the winter, the entire temple is surrounded by thick snow layers, which makes the trek slightly challenging but even more beautiful.
Surkanda Devi temple. Picture by Deepali Bansal
From the summit, you get breathtaking views of snow capped mountains. Spend around half an hour to one hour here.
The descent is through the same route as the ascent. It’ll take about an hour to descend.
Glimpse of snow-capped Himalayas from the top of the hill. Picture by Deepali Bansal
Note: Since May 2022, the ropeway service has been operational. The ropeway is about 502 meters long and can carry up to 500 tourists per hour. The ropeway facility is a significant relief for the devotees visiting Surkanda Devi temple for darshan and also makes the trail less crowded for trekkers.
The story of Surkanda Devi Temple is deeply rooted in the Hindu Mythology. It's said that a Yagya was arranged by Daksha Prajapati. In that Yagya, Lord Shiva was not invited on purpose and was insulted by Daksha Prajapati. Sati Mata couldn't stand this and ended her life in the fire of sacrifice. When Lord Shiva got to know about this, he was out of control. He destroyed Yagya and decapitated Daksha Prajapati. He later regained Prajapati's life but gave him a goat's head. Lord Shiva picked up Sati Mata's corpse and ascended into the sky. Vishnu cut Satimata's body into 51 parts using his Sudarshana Chakra. These parts fell into different parts of India, each becoming a Shakti Peeth. Mata sati's head fell into where the Surkanda Devi Temple is now standing.
Best season to do the Surkanda Devi Trek
Surkanda Devi Trek can be done throughout the year.
The temperature at Surkanda Devi temple drops to 2-3 ℃ in winters. Thick white snow sheets in the entire landscape give the place an astonishing view.
In monsoon, the slope becomes too slippery, and thus,you need to be extra careful. But this is the best time to witness the whole place in lush greenery.
Strong winds can be experienced almost all year round. Warm clothes are thus recommended for Surkanda Devi Trek from October to April.
Difficult Sections on the Surkanda Devi Trek
There are no difficult sections on the trek as such. The trail is also concretized and well laid out throughout.
However, the ascent is steep and could be tiring. Make sure you’re well prepared. Keep hydrating yourself during the trek.
How to Reach the Surkanda Devi Trek
The trek starts from Dhanolti. You can reach the base either by Private Vehicle or Public Transport.
Reaching the Surkanda Devi Base by Your Own Vehicle
Surkanda Devi Base is about 65 km from Dehradun. It'll take about 2 hours to reach. Use this link to help set navigation on google maps.
Reaching the Surkanda Devi Base by Public Transport System
There are buses from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Take a bus to Mussoorie.
From Mussoorie to Dhanolti, buses run in the early morning between 6.00 AM and 7.30 AM. It costs between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per person.
Nearest Airport and Railway Station
Airport: The nearest airport is Dehradun Airport, about 97 km from the temple.
Railway Station: Dehradun Railway Station is the nearest and is about 67 km from the base.
Frequently Asked Questions
Permission and Camping
No permission is required to do the Surkanda Devi Trek. As it’s a place of religious importance as well, camping at the peak is prohibited.
Stay Options near the Trek
You can easily find a good staying option near the trek.
Kanatal and Dhanolti are the most opted places to stay when visiting the Surkanda Devi temple. The charges are, however, variable depending on the season of visit and services provided. You can easily get one for under Rs 2,000 with few facilities in your stay.
Timings on the Trek
There are no specific timing restrictions to do the trek.
However, for the temple visit, timings vary depending on the season.
- 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM during summer.
- 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM during winters.
Food and Water Source on the Trek
Food: There are many small shops near the base of the trek and on the trail, as mentioned above. You may enjoy some local food in these shops.
Green Tip: Make sure you always carry a tiffin box and a mug along with you. This is to make sure that you don’t litter anywhere on the trail and keep it clean.
Water: There is no natural water source on the way so don't forget to carry your water bottles with you. There are local shops from where you get packaged water bottles. But these are again not sustainable. Carry at least 2 litres of water with you.
Emergency Contacts on the Surkanda Devi Trek
Nearest Hospital and Police Station
Hospital: Landour Community Hospital is the nearest hospital and is around 30 km from the base. It takes about an hour to reach there.
Police Station: Police Post Dhanolti is the nearest police station and is around 6 km away from the base. It takes about 15 minutes to reach there.
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System(ERSS) number - 112.
ATMs and Networks on the trek
There are no ATMs anywhere near the base. Make sure you carry enough cash from Mussoorie or from the city you’re traveling from.
You get a good network of all major service providers such as Jio and Airtel throughout the trek.
Places to Visit after the Trek
- Kanatal: Kanatal is a famous hill-view destination in Uttarakhand, situated 10 km away from Surkanda Devi Temple. You can go trekking in the Kaudia forest range in Kanatal if you are a nature seeker. It is also famous for its camping beauty and location. The place is enveloped in lush green cover where you can definitely seek peace by sitting under the stars or enjoying the snowfall.
- Dhanolti: Dhanolti, the land of hidden treasures of nature, is around 6 km away from Surkanda Devi Base. The place is bordered by rhododendron trees, making it an incredible landscape. It is famous for camping, birding, mountain climbing and other adventurous activities.
- Landour: Home to the highest peak of Mussoorie, Landour is famous amongst tourists for its excellent nature trails and the snow-capped Himalayan views. Lal Tibba, the highest peak of Mussoorie is also located here. If you are seeking thrill and adventure, it is a must to go.
Trek documented and photos contributed by Deepali Bansal.
Trek edited by Manasa N L.