Himachal Pradesh is famous for its natural beauty and hill stations, but it is also famous for the temples of Devi. These temples of the Mother Goddess or Devi are famous temples that are very ancient and built many centuries ago. There are so many mythological legends which are associated with these temples.
These stories and legends make the temple even more attractive and wonderful. The best thing about these temples is that they are situated in scenic mountains and serene valleys. The landscapes that you can see from these temples are one of the most beautiful.
Who is Devi in Hindu Mythology?
In Hindu mythology, Devi is the feminine form of Shakti or Power. Devi means the Mother Goddess. She is worshipped in many forms in the Hindu religion. All these forms are divine goddesses who possess supernatural and magical powers. Devi has many forms such as Chamunda Devi, Lakshmi, Parvati, Kali, Sati, Durga, Saraswati, and innumerable others forms.
Devi is lovingly called Mata or mother. She is the supreme mother who protects her devotees from difficulties and dangers. She even blesses those devotees, who worship her with deep devotion.
The Famous Devi Temples in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh has not one but nine very famous Devi Temples. All the temples are devoted to one or the other divine forms of Devi. Some of these temples are also included in the Shaktipeeths of Sati Devi. Sati was the divine consort of Lord Shiva who immolated herself after her father tried to insult Lord Shiva and didn’t invite him to the celestial yagna.
Lord Shiva took her body and flew across the heavens. When he was flying the various parts of Sati fell on the earth, and the places where they fell become sacred spots. The temples in these places are called Shakti Peeths.
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Here are the 9 Devi Temples in Himachal Pradesh to visit that are significant historically, traditionally and spiritually to provide inner peace from city rush.
1. Naina Devi Temple, Bilaspur
The most famous Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh is situated in Bilaspur District and it is called Naina Devi Temple. The temple is built on top of a hill and there is a cable car facility to reach the temple. Devotees even go on the road that winds up the hill and then climb some steps to reach the temple.
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According to the mythological tales, the eyes of Devi Sati fell at this place. Naina Devi Temple is located near Gobind Sagar Lake. This temple is also called Mahishapeeth, and this is so because the Goddess slayed the demon called Mahishasura and took out both his eyes. Raja Bir Chand built this temple in the 8th century. Naina Devi Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth temples of Devi Sati.
2. Jwala Ji Temple, Kangra
The oldest and most sacred temple of Devi Sati is situated in Himachal Pradesh and it is none other than Jwala Ji Temple. The temple is famous in Hindu mythology as the temple where the tongue of Sati fell. The temple is even mentioned in the Mahabharata and other sacred Hindu mythological texts. The most interesting thing about Jwala Ji Temple is the eternal flames that are burning here for many ages.
According to legends, the clothes of Sati also fell here along with the tongue. The clothes went up in flames and since then, they have continued to burn here. It is said that the goddess resides here in the form of flames. The flames are named after the nine goddesses called Annapurna, Mahakali, Chandi, Hinglaj, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika, Anji Devi, and Vindhya Vasini.
3. Chintpurni Devi Temple, Una
Another famous Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh is Chintpurni Devi Temple. This is a Shaktipeeth temple of Sati, and it is believed that the feet of Sati fell here. Chinnamastika Devi is the main deity of this temple. She is shown holding her head in her hands. She is shown headless because a famous legend mentions how she kills a demon after a long battle. Her divine forms want more blood, and that is when she cuts off her head and offers blood to the divine forms.
The temple is situated in very scenic surroundings and devotees can view the beautiful landscapes of the Shivalik Mountains from this temple. Navratri and other Hindu festivals are celebrated here and big fairs are organized near the temple.
4. Chamunda Devi Temple, Kangra
Chamunda Devi is a divine incarnation of Goddess Durga. Chamunda Devi Temple is one of the famous Devi temples in Himachal Pradesh. This temple is situated in Kangra and is very close to Palampur. Many famous legends make this one of the most visited temples in Himachal Pradesh. The temple is also called Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham. Devotees believe that Shiva and Shakti reside here in this temple. The temple was constructed around 400 years ago.
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According to a popular local legend, the goddess appeared in the dreams of a priest and told him to dig a particular spot. The priest did so and found the idol of the goddess from the earth. The idol was established at the place and a temple was built there which is now called Chamunda Devi Temple.
5. Mansa Devi Temple, Panchkula
Mansa Devi is a divine form of Shakti and the temple in Panchkula is dedicated to her. The goddess emerged out of the mind of the great sage Kashyap. This is the reason why she is called Mansa Devi, or the goddess which emerged from the mind. There are many temples of Mansa Devi in North India, but the Mansa Devi Temple in Panchkula is a very famous Devi temple, where the main deity is Mansa Devi.
The temple is very close to Chandigarh. The temple is situated in a large complex and there are three temples in this complex. Maharaja Gopal Das Singh constructed Mansa Devi Temple in 1783. The temple is situated in scenic surroundings and greenery. Visitors can view the scenic landscapes of the Shivalik Hills from this temple. Navarati festival is celebrated with great devotional energy in this temple.
6. Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Kangra
Bajreshwari Devi or Vajreshwar Devi Temple is devoted to one of the divine forms of Goddess Kali called Vajreshwari Devi. The temple is in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh.
This temple is very famous as it is one of the famous 51 Shakti Peeth Temples in Himachal Pradesh. According to the popular legend of Sati, it is the left breast that fell here at this place. It is said that the Pandava brothers built the original temple after they had a dream in which Goddess Durga came and instructed them to build a temple in her name. One of the stories also tells of how Goddess Durga applied butter to heal her wounds after the battle with the demon Mahishasura.
To mark this event, the priests apply butter to the Pindi of the goddess in this temple. The temple is built of stone and looks like a fort. The temple celebrates festivals such as Makar Sankranti with many celebrations and events.
7. Sheetla Devi Temple, Una
Sheetla Devi Temple is one of the famous Devi temples in Himachal Pradesh. The temple is situated in the district of Una in Himachal Pradesh. Sheetla Devi is a divine form of Goddess Durga. The goddess took the form of Sheetla Devi to fight a terrible demon called Jwarasur.
Lord Shiva and Parvati took the form of Bhairav and Sheetla Devi to kill Jwarasur who was spreading a deadly disease in the world. Sheetla Devi brought the power of her coolness to protect the children and parents from the disease.
The temple is covered in white and is constructed out of stone. Navaratri is a festival that is celebrated with great devotion in this temple.
8. Baglamukhi Devi Temple, Kangra
A famous temple in Kangra is dedicated to a divine form of the goddess and she is called Baglamukhi Devi. The Baglamukhi Devi Temple in Kangra is one of three famous Baglamukhi Temples in India. The deity of this temple is shown with a black face with golden eyes.
The Baglamukhi Temple is one of ten mahavidyas of the divine goddess. The meaning of the word ‘Baglamukhi’ comes from two words, which are ‘Bagla’ means the bride, and ‘Mukhi’ means face. She is a goddess that appeared to fight a demon who terrorized the gods. She had a hypnotizing face and the powers to fight off the evil demon. The temple is colored yellow color as it is the favorite color of the goddess. This temple is one of the Siddha Peethas of the goddess.
9. Vaishno Devi Temple, Katra, Jammu & Kashmir
The most famous of all the Devi temples in India is situated near Jammu in a small town called Katra. There is hardly anyone who does not know about Vaishno Devi Temple. The temple is one of the greatest Hindu pilgrimage destinations in all of India.
Millions of Hindu pilgrims come from all over the world to undertake the Vaishno Devi Yatra. Vaishno Devi is a divine incarnation of Goddess Durga, and she has the powers of all three goddesses, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. The temple is situated on the top of a mountain called Trikuta Mountain. Devotees trek many kilometers on foot to reach the temple.
Nowadays ropeway cable car is a very easy way to reach the temple. Old and weak people travel via cable car to pray to Vaishno Devi. Young ones often travel on foot and this also allows them to see the various scenic landscapes of Jammu. Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peeth temples in India. This temple is famous also because it is one of the richest temples in India.