Local deities or folk deities are the most extensive feature of the religious life of Dehradun District; The Mahasu temple is one of them. Hanol villages and the temple of Mahasu are in a mountainous interior between the Jamuna and Satluj River.
This temple is considered to be sacred tirtha for the folks of Hanol. The cultic domain of the Mahasu is not only confined to Uttarakhand but extends far beyond the adjoining area of Shimla district and Trans-Giri part of Sirmaur District in Himanchal Pradesh.
Mahasu is a gramdevta (village Goddess) of this village. There are four deities collectively known as the Mahasu in regional dialect. The four deities are Mahasu, Basika, Pawasi and Chalda. There are numerous legends associated with the origin, though, it is generally believed that originally Mahasu belong to Kashmir and brought here by one Huna Bhat (Brahmin) of Mandarath.
The architecture of temple is a unique and harmonious blend of Stone and wood. These temples are placed under sub-style of the nagara. It consists of mukh-mandapa, sabha mandap mandapa and garbhagriha. The sanctum’s Shikhara above the griva has aesthetically camouflage on all side with elaborated wooden superstructure and is covered with slated pent roof and projection of Balcony with dangling fringes and the pendant corner bells. The temple has highly decorated door frames. Images of Gods and Goddesses are placed on the lintel (horizontal beam) – mostly in the centre of the lintel. This lintel is called Lalata-Bimba. The vertical parts of the door frame which are called doorjambs may have one or more shakhas or parallel vertical offsets. These are decorated with many floral and geometric designs and also there are panels which depict Gods and Goddesses as well. At the bottom, there are some panels where images of either security guards (dvara-palas) or river Goddesses – Ganga and Yamuna are placed. Architecturally the original mulaprshsada is far more ancient and assignable to 9th – 10th cent then the wooden contraption on the top. The mandapa and mukh-mandapa were added later and have undergone many changes in the subsequent period.
-By DeepShikha Semwal