The Jogini Falls Hydro Dispute.

Jogini Falls is an area of not just outstanding natural beauty, but is a sacred place where the village goddess lives in the tumbling rushing waters of the falls.

Currently (August 2011) the villagers of Village Vashisht (whose local goddess she is) & Village Goshale (who own the land on the far (North) side, are embroiled in a dispute over building a hydro project on the stream just below the falls.stop-jogini-hydro-work-poster-4.jpg

Jogini Falls are on the Northern edge of Vashisht Village & mark the village boundary. Land on the other side of the falls belongs to the village of Goshale.

Sacred to the village protective goddess, who is said to reside inside the rushing waters of the beautiful falls.

Below the falls there is a small shrine, almost unnoticeable but important. Below that is a Main Shrine (small temple) said to be more recent.

Villagers go to Jogini Devi to offer thanks & offerings & to ask for her intercession. As it is such a peaceful, even soporific, sacred place, many villagers also go there occasionally to sleep.

Jogini Falls is a waterfall with a stream running down to join the river Beas in the Kullu Valley below. It is sacred to the the village goddess Jogini & is therefore a place of female power, known as a shakti peeth.

The Shakti Pithas (Sanskrit: शक्ति पीठ, Bengali: শক্তিপীঠ, Śakti Pīṭha, seat of Shakti) are places of worship consecrated to the goddess Shakti or Parvati or Sati or Durga, the female principal of Hinduism and the main deity of the Shakta sect. They are sprinkled throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Updated (20131210) link to On 31st April 2012 The Himachal Pradesh government cancelled the 1MW hydro project at Jogini Falls/Chhor Nala.

Jogini Falls (reported in The Flower Raj Wiki 20120502) success! Though the court cases still stand & I wonder if the Himachal Cabinet deciusion has been promulgated yet: in any case, work has stopped & pipe lengths & reinforced croncete still litter the hilsside.

Jogini Falls is a working place of sacred space - without the centuries of interaction with the villagers of Vashisht, it would not be the same.

Jogini-Falls-North-Side-1.png

Jogini Falls is the border between the land of two villages, Vashisht & Goshale. But since the actual village of Goshale is on the other side of the valley, Jogini Falls has always been associated with Vashisht village & Jogini Devi is a protective local goddess to Vashisht Village, not Goshale.

Spiritually the land close about the falls is part of Jogini Devi & hence Vashisht. And in practice it is the villagers of Vashisht who go there to worship & to cook, to make offerings & to ask for help. In fact it is said that the land on the Northern side of Jogini Falls was given to Goshale Village as crop land as they have much less land then Vashisht & are poorer.

So when in 2009 the villagers of Goshale organised a hydro project to make electricity from the waters flowing just below the Jogini Falls, the villagers of Vashisht were upset.

Here the story gets complicated, depending on who you talk with. Some say that in 2009 villagers from Vashisht threw the Goshale building equipment down the naala (stream), thus effectively stopping the project, at least temporarily.

In 2011 the project was kickstarted after discussions between the two villages broke down.

It is said that some Vashisht villagers wanted again to destroy the machinery, but the Vashisht Devataa (local God) speaking through his shaman, told the villagers that violence would only make their karma worse, that the villagers of Goshale were heaping bad karma on themselves, & that they should pursue legal avenues to stop the project.

Since then the villagers of Vashisht, together with many sympathisers from other villages & including foreigners living in Vashisht & visitng, have demonstrated & marched & are pursuing the Himachal Pradesh Government to have the project cancelled.

More details are available on The Flower Raj Encyclopaedia page Jogini Falls which will be updated as more information comes in. If you have anything to add or find other links, please contact us



About the Author

Nico Morrison has been visiting Vashisht for some years; he is getting to know the villagers, recording & researching the social & spiritual interactions of the village people. Nico can be contacted via this Contact Us Form.