MORNI HILLS Places to See
Morni Hills is a hill resort in the Panchkula District of Haryana. This hill is an off shoot of the Shivalik mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Morni derived its name from that of a queen who ruled the city. The village of Morni, is on the mountainside at an altitude of 1220 metres overlooking the panoramic view of the Himalayas. There are two lakes and the river Ghaggar meanders through the mountain ranges. These lakes seem to be interlinked since the level of water remains identical in both the lakes, though they are separated by a mountain. These lakes are considered sacred by the local populace.
Morni is a sleepy village with a general rhythm where people move about on their daily occupation like farming on the terraced fields or tending to their animals.
It is believed that Morni is an ancient place as fossils of certain extinct animals were found during the period 1831 to 1843 while digging the Daob Canal. The fossils were found by the team led by Captain Cautley. It is stated that Morni was the bed of a sea and the soil was pushed up to make it a firmer ground, when the sea receded.
Morni, going by the excavations and the artifacts dug up from the ancient Thakur Dwara Temple, is said to have been in existence in the 10th Century AD. A lot of artifacts consisting of Brahminical sculptures from the Prathihara period which include Kartikkeya, Surya,Siva, Uma-Maheswara, Ganesha, Lakulisa, Nataraja, Trimurthi and Siva Lings have been excavated.
The Meers of Kotaha ruled over this place from Kotaha. There was a small fort in Morni.
PLACES OF INTEREST
- Old Fort in Morni: This old fort is in ruins. The locals believe that it belonged to Queen Morni. The fort had been built sometime in the 17th century at the time when the Meers of Kotaha ruled from Kotaha. This was a small fort. The Morni Fort came under the Raja of Sirmur in 1814 when the Gurkhas attacked his kingdom. Later the Fort was taken over by the Gorkha commander, Gouree Sah until its surrender in 1815 to the British.
- There are three manmade lakes; Tikkar Tal, Bada Tikkar and Chhotta Tikkar.
- Temple of the Holy Trinity: There is an old temple on the banks of the lake believed to be built in the 12th century. It is believed that a Shiva temple was there at this location, previously.
- Gurudwara Nada Sahib: An important Gurudwara for the Sikhs.
- Mandhana Cliff: This is an impressive mud cliff from where the forests and the occasional nullahs are seen below.
- The Adventure Park: A man made park made by the Government is between the twin lakes of Tikkar. This Park offers a number of amusements for the kids. Near the Park is a waterfall at Thalapur.
Trekking, hiking, hang gliding and rock climbing are popular activities in the hills. February and March are best suited for trekking and climbing hills. Morni hills are also game for wild nature enthusiasts. It is a wonderful place for the bird watchers as the hills are abode to crested Kingfisher, Bar tailed tree creepers, Oriental Turtle Doves, Himalayan bulbul, red jungle fowl, black Francolin, Wallcreepers and Quails. The Beruwala check post is one place for the bird enthusiasts to watch for migratory birds from Siberia, Afghanistan and Europe. The best time for bird watching is in the months from September to December. Water sports like boating, canoeing, kayaking and sailing are also present in the lakes.
The hill stations have accommodations provided by the Haryana Government, The Forest Department and a rest house by the Public Works Department. There are dormitory accommodations provided by Haryana Government at Tikkar Tal.
BEST SEASON TO GET THERE
The best season to visit Morni Hills is between September and March as the climate will be pleasant at that time. Summer is from April to June and is hot and humid. In July and August there are intermittent rains and winters are cool and pleasant.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are roads to all major towns in Haryana. Government buses and taxies ply these roads. The distance between Chandigarh and Morni Hills is 42 kms; Shimla is 152 kms; and Delhi is 276 kms. by road. The nearest railway station is at Chandigarh. Chandigarh has the nearest airport.