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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chamunda Devi Temple

Chamunda Devi Mandir is located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh on the banks of Banganga (Baner) River. Temple dates back to the 16th century. The temple is dedicated to Chamunda Devi, who is a form of Durga Maa. Chamunda Devi is considered as the wrathful form of Durga, but at the same time, the Goddess is kind to her true devotees. 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. The main shrine is adored by the images of Lord Bhairav and Lord Hanuman on its sides. Actually, these lords are considered as the guards of the Goddess. Temple is also known as 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham'. The temple was originally located at some remote spot which was not easily accessible. Around 400 years ago the king and a Brahmin priest prayed to Devi for permission to move the temple to some easily accessible location. Devi appeared to the priest in a dream giving her consent. She directed him to dig in a certain spot and an ancient idol would be found and that idol should be installed in the temple and worshipped as her form. The king sent out men to bring the idol. Although they were able to locate it but were not able to lift it. Again Devi appeared to the priest in a dream. She explained that the men could not lift the holy relic because they considered it an ordinary stone. She instructed him to get up early in the morning, take a bath, wear fresh clothes and go to the place in a respectful manner. He did as he was told and found that he could easily lift what a large group of men could not. He told the people that it was the power of the Goddess that brought the idol to the temple. The Chamunda Devi Temple is said to be more than 700 years old. There is a Kund (tank) where devotees take a dip. The idol in the main temple is considered so sacred that even the eyes of devotees are not allowed to touch upon it; it is kept completely concealed beneath a red cloth. There are several brightly painted figures of gods and goddesses around the place.

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