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Sui Mata Mela – Story And History Of Sui Mata Temple At Chamba Town – Himachal Pradesh

Sui Mata Temple is located at upper terrace in Chamba town in Himachal Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Queen Sunayana, a queen of Shaila Varman. Over 1,000-year-old, Suhi Mata temple at Chamba is an inseparable part of its cultural heritage. 

Sui Mata, as she was popularly called, was buried alive, having willingly agreed to sacrifice her life to propitiate the gods and thus bring water to the newly formed capital.

The temple, approached by a series of stone steps constructed later, marks the spot where the queen stopped to rest on the way to her death.

Sui Mata Mela

An evocative bust of Sui Mata forms the shrine, and this is the site of the annual Sui Mata fair, celebrated primarily by women in April/May.

Palanquin of Rani Suhi is brought from princely palace to the temple for the fair. The three-day fair is attended by thousands of people.

During the fair, young girls decked in their finest and traditional costumes, sing an elegy called ‘Sukraat’ in the local dialect. Sukraat symbolises the very night when water of the Sarotha burn (nullah) reached the town.

Story Of Sui Mata

During the 10th century CE, the Chamba area in Himachal Pradesh had no rain for years and King Sahil Varman tried to please the gods in almost all possible ways but nothing worked. He finally consulted the oracles and sorcerers who told him that he needed to sacrifice either his wife or his son to bring water to his kingdom. With a heavy heart, the king decided to sacrifice his son but his wife, Queen Sunayana, could not bear the son getting sacrificed so she sacrificed herself.

It is believed that she buried herself alive. After her death, her body was buried around the temple’s premises. Soon, water started flowing in the kingdom and from then on, there has never been a shortage of water in the region.