Thursday, 23 April 2015

P for Pilgrim Special - Shakti peeths in HP

This post is written for A to Z Challenge.

P for Pilgrim Special - Shakti peeths in HP

As per Hindu mythology Lord Brahma performed a yajna to please Shakti and Shiva. Goddess Shakti emerged, separating from Shiva and helped Brahma in the creation of the universe. Brahma decided to give Shakti back to Shiva. Therefore his son Daksha performed several yagnas to obtain Shakti as his daughter in the form of Sati. It was then decided that Sati was brought into this world with the motive of getting married to Shiva.
However, due to Lord Shiva's curse to Brahma that his fifth head was cut off due to his lie in front of Shiva, Daksha started hating Lord Shiva and decided not to let Lord Shiva and Sati get married. However, Sati got attracted to Shiva and finally one day Shiva and Sati got married. This marriage only increased Daksha's hatred towards Lord Shiva.
Daksha performed a yagna with a desire to take revenge on Lord Shiva near munimandala. Here Daksha invited all the deities to the yajna except Lord Shiva and Sati. The fact that she was not invited did not deter Sati from attending the yagna. She expressed her desire to attend the yagna to Shiva, who tried his best to avoid her from going but Shiva eventually relented and Sati went to the yagna. Being an uninvited guest, Sati was not given any respect at the yagna. To add to it, Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati was unable to bear her father's insults toward her husband, and she immolated herself.
Shiva on knowing this got angry and took virbhadra avatar and destroyed Daksha's yagna, cut off Daksha’s head, and later replaced it with that of a male goat as he restored him to life. Virabhadra did'nt stop fighting he kept raging with anger. Gods prayed Lord Vishnu who started fighting with Shiva. Still immersed in grief, Shiva picked up the remains of Sati's body, and started Tandava, the celestial dance of destruction, across all creation. The other Gods requested Vishnu to intervene to stop this destruction, to which Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra and cut the Sati's corpse. Thus, the various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent. These sites are known as Shakti Peethas today. It is believed that there are 51 Shakti Peeths across this subcontinent.

Out of 51 Shakti Peeths, Himachal is privileged to have 5 Shakti Peeths. 

1. Chintpurni Temple in Una district.

2. Chamunda Temple in Kangra district.
3. Bajreshwari Temple in Kangra district.
4. Jwalaji Temple in Kangra district.
5. Naina Devi Temple in Bilaspur district.

Chintpurni Temple in Una district : Chintpurni is around 45 km from Una towards Kangra and is motor able till the temple. It is believed that when one of the severed feet of Goddess Sati, fell in Chintpurni. It is also called Chinmastika.


Chamunda Devi : The Chamunda Devi Temple is in the heart of the city on the mainm highway from Dharamshala to Palampur about 18 kms from Dharamshala and 55 kms from Jwala Ji. It is on the banks of River Baner.

Main Chamunda Temple

The temple is dedicated to Chamunda Devi, who is a form of Durga / Shakti. Chamunda Devi Mandir is believed to be the abode of 'Shiva and Shakti'. Due to this reason, it is also known as 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham'. A second belief says that the term 'Chamunda' has been derived from two words, 'Chanda' and 'Munda'. As per the mythological legends, Durga made a goddess with her power, to slay the demons, Chanda and Munda. With her immense power, the Goddess killed the demons. Goddess Durga became happy with the slaughter and blessed the goddess that she would be known and worshipped as Chamunda.

In the corner of the temple, one can see small footsteps of the Goddess on a stone. Besides the main shrine, there is a marble staircase that takes down to the cave of Lord Shiva. This is a cave-like scoop where Shiva Lingam is placed. Its a must visit.

The Hanuman Idol in the temple complex

There is also a huge Hanuman Idol on the outside of the main temple which is worth a gauge. One can spent some time on the banks of the river flowing by the sides of the temple.

River Baner

The river sight besides temple

Bajreshwari Devi : Situated in the main Kangra district is believed to have been built on charred breasts of Sati.  Worth noticing in this white temple are the three Gumbaj of the temple which are designed as a temple , a mosque and a Gurudwara. This is also called Kangra Devi or Nagarkot Dham.

Bajreshwari Devi

Jwala Ji or Jwalamukhi : is 48 km south of Dharamshala or 30 kms from Kangra. If you are coming by road from Una, you can divert from Dehra to Jwalamukhi which is around 25 kms from Dehra. Its believed that the burning tongue of Goddess Sati fell in the Jwalamukhi region. 

The  main entry of Jwala ji

In the main Temple you can see continuous flames coming out which is till date unexplained.

Jwala ji Jyoti in Jwala ji complex

Jwala Ji
Its believed that once Akbar didn't believe in the sacredness of the temple, yet offered a gold Chhatra for the temple which Goddess didn't accept and converted the metal in a mysterious metal. The chhatra is still preserved here of which no scientists have been able to detect the exact nature of the metal till date.
Chhatra givedn by Akbar

Naina Devi : The eyes of Goddess Sati fell here. Naina Devi falls in the Bilaspur region of Himachal Pradesh. One can turn uphill around 24 kms  towards Naina Devi from Anandpur Sahib in Punjab to reach here. It is believed that the eyes of Sati fell here.

Mata Naina Devi

Naina Devi Temple

If one is travelling to visit only shakti peeths from Una/ Chandigarh , he can first visit to Chintpurni, then to Bajreshwari Devi, and lastly Chamunda. On the next day one can visit Jwalaji early and then move to Naina Devi and way back to Chandigarh.

This was with P. Tomorrow it would be Q.

For other posts on Himachal written as part of Ato Z Challenge : List of post on Himachal Pradesh written as part of A to Z challenge.

Aditya Sinha

For other participants in the challenge visit : A to Z Challenge

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