Shri Naina Devi – Temple of Strength
One of the major attractions of Himachal Pradesh, Naina devi Temple,one of the 51 Shaktipeeths is connected to NH-21 highway and is 70 kilometers from Bilaspur.The Temple has presiding deties belonging to both Hindu as well as Sikh community.Naina devi was named after the famous mythological story about Goddess Sati.As the temple is one of the Shaktipeeths,it therefore signifies the place of strength i.e Shakti in Hindi.
Naina Devi Temple is located on a triangular shaped hill also known as Naina Dhar hill,which is 3535 feet above the sea level.The temple attracts large number of worshippers as the place is believed to be the famous shrine of Goddess Sati.One of the popular hill resort located in Himachal Pradesh known by the name of Nainital has been named after the famous Naina devi temple.This one of the place where the devotees can have a complete spiritual experience,with breathtaking views on the way and at the temple.People from every part of the country come here to seek blessings of Naina Devi Maa.It is situated 20 kms from Anandpur Sahib and is surrounded by famous land marks of Bhakra Dam,Anadpur Sahib and Govind Sagar lake.
History & legend of Naina Devi Temple
- Naina Devi Temple is based on many mythological stories and one of the interesting story is of the Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati.
- Goddess Sati,also known as Goddess Parvati was wife of Lord Shiva.Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in yagna(sacrificial bonfire) which distressed Lord Shiva.
- Lord Shiva,therefore, took the corpse of his wife Sati on his shoulder and started his Tandav dance,carrying the corpse across the country,
- This angered all the deities in the heaven.Lord Vishnu,on seeing this,decided to take action about the ongoing situation,as it would lead to holocaust,Therefore,Lord Vishnu unleased his Chakra onto Sati’s body that cut her body into 51 pieces.These pieces fell on different parts of the country and the place where this pieces fell are now known as Shaktipeeths,and thats why there are in total 51 Shaktipeeths across the entire country.Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Goddess Sati fell down.
- Another story related to this temple is of a Gujjar boy named Naina.Once,he was grazing his cattle where he saw that a cow was showering milk from her udders on a stone.This continued for a few days.One night when he was sleeping,Goddess came in his dreams and told him that the stone is her Pindi.Naina told about the entire situation and his dream to Raja Bir Chand.When Raja saw this happening for real,he built a temple on that spot and named after Naina’s name.
- Shri Naina Devi temple is also known as Mahishapeeth temple because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess.According To legends,Mahishasur was immortal by power acquired in him given by Lord Brahma,but had one condition that only an unmarried woman would defeat him.Due to this boon,he started spreading terroe on Earth and Gods.To cope with the demon,all Gods combined their power an created a Devi (Goddess) to defeat him.When Mahishasur got mesmerized by the immense beauty of Devi,he proposed to marry her.Devi told him that she would marry him if only he overpowers her in a battle.And thats when Devi defeated demon by taking out both his eyes.As “naina” means eyes in Hindi,the temple was thus given the name as “Naina Devi”.
One more famous tale is associated with the temple is of the great Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. when he left for his military campaign against Mughals in1756,he performed a sacrificial yagna to seek blessings of the Goddess.After getting the blessings,he eventually defeated the Mughals in the battle and thats why the place is called as the “Temple of Strength”
Significance of Naina Devi Temple
- The temple is situated on a triangular hill which offers a great view of the foothills near Naina Dhar hill and also offers the view of beautiful Gobind Sagar lake which was created Bhakra Nangal dam.
- The temple is dedicated to Goddess Naina,legend say its a spot where Goddess Sati’s eyes fell and hence the name.It is situated at the end of the naini lake and also its surrounding areas is really serene,positive and peaceful,a perfect place to have a getaway with your spiritual side,The moment you enter the vicinity of this temple,a calming aura of the place that take over your senses and certain lightness and calmness is experienced.Also,the temple compound provides unobstructed view of the Nanital lake.
- The best part of this temple is there are no “holy men” distracting you,no beggars,very serene environment conducive to meditation and prayer.
Naina Devi Temple Timings
- Naina Devi Temple gates remain open all days of the week.The visiting hours of this tempe is between 5:00 am and 7:00 pm.
- The first morning aarti is known as the “Mangal aarti” which happens around 4:00 am in the morning when the priests open the temple gates and ring the bell to wake up the deities which is a part of daily tradition.
- The next aarti happens around 6:00 am which is known as the “Shringaar aarti”.
- All the rituals and poojas,shanas are done in front of devotees and by the priests who present themselves in the premises without fail everyday.
- This is then followed by the afternoon aarti which is performed by everyone in chorus which occurs around 12:00 pm.This aarti is known as the “Madyaanh aarti”
- Evening aarti is the best to attend as the surroundings and weather becomes serene and the worshippers get a spiritual experience and also the temple gets beautifully decorated and lit up during evening and night.There are two bells which are rang by the devotees where the sound of those big bells mesmerizes everyone.The evening aarti occurs around 6:30 pm and is the final aarti of the entire day.
Festivals celebrated at Naina Devi Temple
- Navratras:Navratri denotes a 9-day & night festival and gives opportunity to worship Divine Goddess. Each day of Navratri is celebrated in honor of Nine Goddesses. Different forms of Goddess Durga are as following:
Makar Sakranti: Makar Sakranti is celebrated in almost all states of the country in different cultural forms. People take dips in holy rivers like Ganga Sagar and Prayag to get blessings of Lord Sun. Makar Sakranti is celebrated as Pongal is South India, Maghi in Punjab Uttarayan in Gujarat and Magh Bihu in Assam. The festival falls on January.
Vasant Panchami: Dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, Vasant Panchami spreads yellow color all around. Goddess is dress in yellow and worshipped with Puja and Yajna. People wear yellow clothes and share yellow hue sweets with their friends & relatives. The festival falls on February .
Maha Shivratri: Also known as Great Night of Lord Shiva, Maha Shivratri is dedicated to worship of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati. Some people fast on this day while others celebrate it by reciting Shlokas and singing bhajans. The celebrations and worship continue till late night when devotees offer fruits, coconut, Ganga Jal and Bilva leaves to Lord and Goddess. The festival falls on February.
Holi: The festival of Holi is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. According to the legends, the demon Hiranyakaship wanted to kill his son Prahlada because he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. So, the demon made a plan with his sister Holika to kill the son. Holika tried to kill Prahlada and sat with him in fire. She died in fire and Prahlada rescued. The festival falls on March.
Ram Navami: This festival celebrates the birth of Seventh Avatar of Lord Vishnu; Shri Rama who was born on the 9th day of Chaitra month. Shri Ramchandra killed the evil king Ravana. The festival falls on April .
Raksha Bandhan: The festival of Raksha Bandhan denotes and further strengthens the bond of brother and sister. Still celebrated in a traditional manner, sister ties Rakhi on wrist of her brother and expresses her love. In return, brother promises to protect her forever and offers her gifts. The festival falls on August .
Shri Krishna Janamashtami: Also known as Sri Krishna Jayanti and Krishnaashtami, this day is celebrated as birthday of Lord Krishna. The festival falls in August.
Ganesh Chaturthi: This festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesh, one of the most popular Hindu Gods and a symbol of good luck. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by offering laddoo and milk to the Lord. The festival falls in September.
Dussehra: Also known as Vijaya Dashmi, Dussehra is celebrated as the day of victory of Shri Rama over Ravana in Satya Yug. Demon Mahishasura was also defeated by Goddess Durga on the same day. The festival falls in October.
Karva Chauth Vrat:On Karva Chauth, married ladies observe a rigorous fast without meal and water so as to pray for long lives of their husbands. Nowadays, young girls also observe this fast to get good life-partner. The festival is celebrated mostly by North Indians and falls in October.
Diwali: Diwali or Deepawali signifies the return of Lord Rama after 14-years of exile from Ayodhaya. The night of Deepawali is celebrated by lights and fireworks. The festival falls in November .
New Year Eve: Every year, the New Year Eve is celebrated with great zeal in the temple. The entire complex is decorated combined with special Pooja of Shri Naina Devi Ji.
How to reach
By Air: The nearest airport is the Chandigarh International airport which is about 100 km from Naina Devi temple.Domestic flights are available from the main cities i.e Bangalore,Delhi,Mumbai,Bhubaneshwar,Ahmedabad, Hyderabad,Kochi,Shrinagar and Chennai.One can hire taxis directly to Naina Devi Temple or can take trains running between Chandigarh railway station and Anandpur sahib by coming to chandigarh railway station from airport which is 16 kms from the airport.
By Train: Anandpur railway station is at a distance of 30 km which is the nearest railway station to Naina Devi.Devotees can hire taxis from there to reach Naina Devi bus stand where one can take Palkis to reach the destination.
By Road:The temple is connected with national Highway-21.Transport bus services are provided by the government of Punjab and Haryana from all important cities.One can also take bus from delhi which is located about 350 km from the temple.
Delhi to Naina Devi temple
By Air: Connecting flights are available from Delhi where one can reach Chandigarh airport and from there hire taxis directly to the temple.
By Train:There are trains available between Delhi and Anandpur Sahib railway staitions.One can hire taxis from Anandpur station which is situated at a distance of 30 km from the temple
By Road:Naina Devi Temple is located on the National Highway,thats why becomes easy for the worshippers coming by road.Delhi is at a distance of 350 km from the temple and transport buses are available to and fro from Naina Devi and Delhi.
Mumbai to Naina Devi Temple
By Air:Connecting flights are available from Mumbai where one can reach Chandigarh airport and from there, hire taxis directly to the temple.You can take IndiGo (flight) from Mumbai to Chandigarh then take Uhl Janshatabdi(train) from Chandigarh to Anandpur Sahib
By Train:There are no direct trains available between Chatrapati Shivaji Terminas (Mumbai) and Anandpur Sahib railway staitions.There is no direct train between Mumbai and Anandpur Sahib. The cheapest way to reach Anandpur Sahib from Mumbai is to take Swaraj Express (train)from Mumbai to Ambala Cantt then take Koaa Nldm Exp(train) from Ambala Cantt to Anandpur Sahib.
By Road:There is no direct bus between Mumbai and Anandpur Sahib. You can take Paschim Express(train) from Mumbai to Jalandhar then take State Transport Bus from Jalandhar to Anandpur Sahib
Hotels to stay
Free stay maintained by temple trustees:Trust has constructed the Patiala Dharamshala, langar and another motel near langar area that provides free staying facility to 1,000 devotees.
Paid stay maintained by temple trustees:Temple Trust has also constructed Matri Aanchal,Matri Chahya and Matri Sharan staying shelters with a capacity of 45 rooms and 14 dormitories. The cost of staying at these places is very nominal and affordable.
Also,there are lot of Private hotels and lodges available which are at a close proximity to Naina Devi temple.Good rated hotels are available where one can accomodate.
- Trust is running the shop no. 1 in the temple complex since 01-03-1994. This shop provides pure ghee sweets to the visitors that include Halwa, Besan Laddoo, Jalebi and Barfi. This shop is running on a no-profit and no-loss basis & also provides other things like coconut, hara meva and dhoop, etc.
- There are many restaurants near Naina Devi temple where the food and ambience is good.One can explore visit these restaurants after taking the tour of Naina Devi temple.
- Located in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, Naina Devi wildlife sanctuary is one of the most visited sanctuaries by the tourists coming to Himachal. Located at an altitude of around 500-1100 meters above sea level, the sanctuary is situated in the inner hills of Shivaliks harboring a wide variety of flora and fauna.
- Bhakra Dam:Bhakra Dam, is situated at a height of 226 m above sea level, stuns the visitor with its sheer height. The 90 km long dam is spread over an area of 168 sq km and is a combination of Bhakra dam and Nangal dam. Bhakra dam is 13 km upstream from Nangal city and Nangal dam, on the other hand, is 13 km down-stream.
- Gobind Sagar Lake:Gobind Sagar Lake over the Sutlej River is a huge reservoir and is the result of Bhakra Nangal, the world’s second highest gravity dam. It is a major landmark of Bilaspur District. It covers an area of 170 sq km and its length extends up to 90 km. The lake is named in honor of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru of Sikhs.