Mahasu Devta temple, dedicated to the ''God of Justice'', Charkrata, Uttrakhand

Mahasu Devta temple, Uttrakhand Mpionet com.
In the Garhwali area (a hilly region) the main deity is Lord Mahasu that is  worshiped as  ''Mahasu Devta'' in the temple. It is located on the  eastern bank of Tons River (Tamas) at Hanol village (Deharadun District), near Chakrata, about 190 km from Dehradun city. The devotees are mostly  the local people of Hanol  and others from  nearby villages of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.  The worship of  the village deities is common in this region  and it is affiliated to Hinduism.  This temple village of Hanol is a sort of pilgrimage place for people living in vast areas in the mountainous parts of Uttrakhand, west of Yamuna River.   Built in the 9th century  in the Kath-Kuni or Koti-Banal style of architecture, it is a monument under the control of the ASI -  the Archaeological Survey of India  that considers it an ancient place of worship in Dehradun circle.  The elevation of this place is 1,050 meters (3,445 ft). The Kath-Kuni architecture is a local one.  In  the summer (March to May), the climate is very pleasant and it is nice to visit this place. In the rainy season July- September, the roads are wet and slippery. 
Mahasu Devta temple,Hanol.Uttrakhand
Mahasu Devta temple,Hanol.Uttrakhand
This region was a sort of deitydom. The decision of the deity takes precedence in every aspect of the villages here and the people have to  oblige  the village god/goddess. The belief  is strong and to the core among them. They won't do anything to earn the fury of village devta.  There are many Mahasu Devta Temples  in this region  and the ones at places like  Kotua, Laksiyar,  Bisoi, Buraswa, etc are popular
About Mahasu Devta,  the South Indians  have not heard of such village gods of the northern states. Comparison with 'Ayyanar worship' or  'Kaaval Devyam' worship in villages  is not a good bet and it is  different from Mahasu Devta worship.  In the world of innumerable indigenous gods and goddesses,  Mahasu Devta, it is said,  is not only supreme but also the sole arbiter over the mortals.  With respect to matters of religion, rituals and secular aspects  of the people of this region,  his authority  and  religious dispensation  can not be either questioned  or overlooked.   An interesting tradition here is in case of dispute between two people, the matter is amicably settled  through a unique 'Lota Pani' adjuration - a sort of taking oath.  The  challengers  are asked to drink the water ritually kept in the metallic container (lota) in the name of  Mahasu Devta by the judge.  The contender who has given  the false statement  will suffer upon  drinking the water.

During the colonial rule, the officials did not accept the legality 
of this age-old theocratic dispensation of justice and  governance of  Mahasu Devta by way of chanting ''mantra''-  ''Om Shree Mahasu Devaye Namah''.  In the early 1820s the English company officials tried their level best to get rid of  the authority of Mahasu Devta.  The company was interested in taking over the tribal lands with permission from the local community in this Deitydom. They considered the deity worship  a  ''great nuisance' to them. They also concluded that  it  was exploitative and burdensome to the locals and common man.  EIC officer young took special powers  and banished  Chalda Mahasu and his deputy attendants (birs) from Jaunsar and Bawar parangna. The people never paid any attention to that order. To them, ''the deity's  decision is always regarded as final and irrevocable''.
When it comes to gold or silver ornaments, etc, it is  a sensitive matter and Mahasu Devta has full control  over them. The disposal of gold or gold ornaments by anyone in this region  to outsiders is an  offence, a sort of taboo. This will end up in the loss of  property, contracting disease, or even life. The remedy is retrieving it and  depositing the ornaments, etc in the treasury of deity. This may reduce the sin a bit.  If such gold goes outside the deitydom, the offender will earn the ire of  Mahasu Devta, the village deity. It is therefore imperative  that silver or gold articles must stay within the confines of the Deitydom. 
Mahasu Devta temple, Uttrakhand Fiveprime com.
The major festivals are Bissu, Basant Panchami, Diwali, Paush ki Dhaal and Holi. A unique aspect of this temple is there are two spherical rocks about one foot in diameter. A man  must  lift these rocks on your shoulder and head and then throw them to the ground. It is believed that only a man of true devotion and piety 
can achieve this feat. Thousands of devotees from various places visit Mahasu Devta Temple to seek the deity's blessings. Mahasu Devta or Lord Mahasu is worshiped as a ''God of Justice'' and 
his decision was believed to be acceptable by natives and local rulers.  
The Mahasu Devta fair at Hanol – held every year in August – is the best venue/opportunity  to  get to know the cultural heritage and traditions of local tribes.