Chamunda Devi Temple is a renowned holy shrine of the Hindus. Located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Chamunda Devi Mandir is at a distance of 10 kms from Palampur, on the banks of Baner River. This ancient temple dates back to the 16th century. 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'.
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.
There is nothing extra-ordinary about the architecture of this temple,
but the divine aura spell bounds the devotees with its spiritual appeal.
In the temple, the main image is visible from the main entrance. 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. The main image of the Goddess is visible draped in rich
Chamunda Devi is worshipped daily while the sermons include 'Aartis' at
intervals. Reciting the hymn of 'Shat Chandi' with devoted heart at this
temple is considered auspicious. 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. People visit
this cave and worship Lord Shiva with great devotion.
Lord Shiva is said to be one of the complex Gods of the Hindu pantheon,
since he is the destroyer as well as the restorer. Here, Lord Shiva is
believed to have been present in the form of death, destruction and dead
bodies. One can also observe ancestral worship near the banks of Ban
Ganga River. In the vicinity of this temple, there is a cremation ground
that serves to 22 villages of the nearby areas.
In the temple complex, there is a huge pond with images of Lords and
people can take bath here. There is sculpture of Goddess, in which, she
is garlanded with serpents, scorpions, and skulls. During the time of
Navratras, the temple is crowded by large number of people. Pilgrims
from far and near come to visit this temple of great legacy and
religious importance. Chamunda Devi blesses all her true devotees.
The temple is situated in the picturesque beauty of lush green
mountains. Many saints can be seen here involved in penance and
meditation. In the past days, the image of the Goddess was situated on
the hill above the present site of the temple. The site was found to be
in a remote area, where it was not possible for everyone to reach and
moreover, it was quite risky. There is a story behind the establishment
of this temple.
Legend behind the relocation of the Temple
Around 400 years ago, a King and a Brahmin priest prayed to Chamunda
Devi asking her consent to shift the image to an accessible location.
Chamunda Devi appeared in a dream to the priest granting him the
permission. She asked him to dig a certain area and subsequently, they
will find an ancient idol. They can brought the idol in the temple and
worship her. The priest told about the dream to the King and sent his
men to bring the idol. The men got the idol, but they could not lift it.
Again, the Goddess appeared and asked the priest that the men could not
lift the idol because they took it as an ordinary stone. She told the
priest to get up early in the morning and take a bath. After wearing
fresh clothes, he should go to the place in a devoted manner. The priest
did the same what was told to him. He found that he could lift the idol
easily. He placed the idol in its present location and from that time,
the Goddess is worshipped by people.