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The name Chamunda is a combination of 'Chanda' and 'Munda', two monsters that the Goddess has killed. Chamunda Devi Temple also known as Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham and is located at Chamunda, Kangra district on the banks of river BanGanga (Baner) in Himachal Pradesh, about 1000 m above sea level.
It is in the vicinity of Mandi, Dharmshala and Palampur town. Chamunda temple is an architectural creation belonging to the 1600s. Considered a form of Kali, she resides along with Nandikeshwsar, who is a form of Lord Shiva. Hence, this temple is also known as Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham. Nandikeshwar is a form of Lord Shiva who resides here.
The idol, due to its highly sacred nature, is totally covered by a red cloth. Lord Shiva, on the other hand, is present as a symbol of death and destruction along with Goddess Chamunda. The main temple is called the Aadi Himani Chamunda, which is much more ancient than this. Situated up the hill it is difficult to reach the spot. The present temple was built 400 years ago probably to avoid the difficult and dangerous trek upwards to this ancient temple on the hill.
Goddess Chamunda Sakti Peeth: History Associated With This
According to mythology, when there was a duel between Lord Shiva and Jalandhara, Goddess Chamunda Devi took the place of Rudra during the war. Hence, she is also called Rudra Chamunda. As per another folklore, upon orders of King Shumbha and Nishumbha, the entire demoniacal army led by Chanda and Munda stepped onto the peak of the hill where Goddess was resting peacefully. Looking at her serene beauty, Chanda and Munda, felt compelled to attack her, thinking that she is docile and timid. Durga, upon seeing these two demons, got into a fit of rage, with her face taking a pitch-dark hue. As the demon army enveloped the unarmed Goddess from all sides, Chanda and Munda advanced toward her. At this time, Goddess Kali, emerged out of her violent rage, from her forehead, and roared at them.
Dressed in a garland of human heads around her neck and covered by a tiger skin, looking ferocious, she had her mouth wide open, which was ready to swallow the demons. Kali killed them in an instant and a temple was raised in this place where Goddess Kali killed Chanda and Munda. The war was fought between deities and devils in Savarni manvantara. From Bhagwati Kaushiki's eyebrows, emerged Goddess Chandika who was given a task of killing both Chanda and Munda demons.
After a fierce battle, Devi Chandika subdued both the demons, destroyed them and produced their heads to Devi Kaushiki who blessed Goddess Chamunda with a boon that said the whole world would venerate and worship Chamunda devi as a prominent deity on earth.
Apart from a temple guest house and shrine, there is also an ayurvedic dispensary, a library, and a Sanskrit college. This temple, for whosoever visits Palampur, the hill station known for its stunning views and locales, has been a major tourist attraction. Palampur is dotted with tea plantations all the way up to the temple. Not just the spiritual mysteries, it is the architecture, and the archaic feel that brings the visitors to its lap over and over again.
This temple is also where devotees offer their prayers as well as perform tarpan to their departed forefathers. Taking a dip in Ban Ganga and reciting Shata Chandi is deemed very sacred. In the yesteryears people used to offer sacrifices to the deity.
Goddess Chamunda Shakti Peeth: Legend Associated With It
Legend has it that 400 years back, when the devotees found the trek upwards extremely difficult to manage, the king of this area prayed to the Goddess for permitting him to shift her abode to a more accessible area. As per a dream visitation and instructions from the Goddess, the king dug at a particular place for constructing the temple, wherein he found an idol of Goddess Chamunda Devi which seemed so heavy to lift that everybody who tried it gave up finally. At this juncture, the priest had a dream in which Goddess told him to treat the idol with lot of care and devotion and try lifting it only after completing the early morning ritualistic bath and wearing holy robes.
Devi Mahatmya, Ramayana and Mahabharata can be seen displayed in paintings. Hanuman and Bhairav can also be spotted in this temple. Nandikeshwar dham, is adjacent to the sanctum of Chamunda and houses a Shivalinga above which a big rock hangs in the air, without any support. Now the rock is supported at the corners.
Goddess Chamunda Shakti Peeth: Temple Timings
- Winter: Morning: 6:00 am to 12:00 noonn / Evening: 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm
- Summer: Morning: 5:00 am to 12:00 noon / Evening: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm
- Winter: 8:00 am and 6:00 pm / Summer: 8:00 am and 8:00 pm
Although Goddess Chamunda displays divine wrath, she is truly merciful to her devotees. The idol of Chamunda is dressed in rich clothes and is visible to the eye right from the entrance to the temple and the divine aura here, is to be sensed and experienced. On either side of the shrine, you can see the images of Bhairav and Lord Hanuman at the sides. They are meant to safeguard the goddess.
Goddess Chamunda Shakti Peeth: Significance:
The Shata Chandi hymns is recited in the traditional Vedic style by a group of priests and pandits there, soak your senses in its divine vibrations. It thrills you to bits and rejuvenates your soul.
You can see the footsteps of Goddess Chamunda on the stairs of the temple. As you go downstairs, down the marbled steps, you will be led to the cave of Lord Shiva wherein you can see the Shivalinga and offer your respect to the deity. The aarti is conducted at the main temple of Chamunda, which heals you from the inside. There is a pond on the premises, that connects directly to the Ban Ganga River wherein devotees take a spiritual dip there. This is one of those temples that even the feminists love to visit, as stree shakti reigns supreme it signifies women's empowerment. More than all, it is the architecture that holds you in rapture and leaves you with a sense of awe.
Goddess Chamunda Shakti Peeth: Ideal Time To Visit
Although visiting the Himachal is ideal at any time you decide to visit, it is between the months of September and December that is advised.
Goddess Chamunda Shakti Peeth: How To Reach
You can reach this temple via air, bus and Train. The Kangra airport is very much close by. Chamunda Marg Railway station is the nearest railway station. It takes only ten minutes to reach the temple from the Railway station. The nearest bus stand is the Chamunda Devi bus stand which is less than half a kilometre to reach the temple.
You can hire a local bus, taxi, or auto to reach the temple.
Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Kindly consult the concerned expert before practising or implementing any information and assumption.
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