Shri Chamunda Devi

This is a holy shrine of 'Shiva' and 'Shakti' and is known as "Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham'. It is situated on the bank of Ban-Ganga and has been a seat of spirituality since ancient times. The place is full of natural beauty, peace and bliss and as such a natural refuge for saints, tantriks and meditators. The cremation ground of twenty two villages in the form of "Maha Kali Chamunda' is a boon for tantriks. The great Lord "Ashutosh-ShivShanker' in the form of death, destruction and de- vourer is sitting with mother Chamunda. The de- votees worship Shiv and Shakti by hymns, offer- ings and give alms. Ancestoral-worship (Shradha- cermony) is also performed here. After taking a bath in Ban-Ganga it is auspicious to listen or re- cite 'Shat-Chandi' hymns. Earlier, animal-sacrifice was also prevalent as a form of worship. In addition to this girl-worship is a part of rituals.

Way to Shrine- There are two routes for pilgrim's convenience. One is from Pathankot to 'Paprola'. It passes through a small railway station, 'Malan'. The holy Chamunda temple is only 4 kms away from this 'Malan' station. One can reach the shrine by bus or traverse it by foot. The other route is from Jwala-Mukhi. The bus journey from Jwala-ji to Kangra is of about 2 hours duration. From Kangra to 'Malan' takes about l'l/2 hours in bus journey. From Pathankot, there are direct buses also, going to Chamunda via 'Dharmshala'.

The story of Shri Chamunda Devi

The mythology of this goddess has been chronicled in "Durga Sapt-Shati'. It is more elaborately given in the seventh chapter of this book. The geographical location of the temple, its tradition and history are perfect proof of its ancient past. This is the place where the two great demons 'Chand' and 'Mund' came to fight with goddess and goddess appeared in the form of Kali and killed both the demons. When 'Kalika' presented the heads of 'Chand' and 'Mund' to the goddess Amba, from whose prowess Kalika was created, then the goddess became happy. She gave a boon to Kalika that she will be remembered and worshipped as Chamunda.

The story goes as follows : Chand and Mund led a huge army with weaponary on being ordered by their king 'Shumb' and 'Ni-Shumb'. They saw goddess sitting on a peak of Himalaya and the goddess was smiling. On seeing the goddess unarmed the two demons tried to catch hold of her. The whole army took up their arms and encircled goddess. The goddess got enraged and furious. Her whole body became black with anger and brows raised on forehead. Immediately, 'Kali-Devi' appeared with a sword in her hand. She roared violently. She was wearing a strange dress. A gar- land of human heads was gracing her neck. Her body was covered by tiger-skin. Her skin looked dry and her shape ferocious. Her eyes drawn deep and mouth wide open and tongue brandishing violently.

Her roar trembled the skies. She attacked the demon army swiftly and killed the demons mercilessly and ate them. Her fierce march of kil ling went unabated. Whosoever came in her path, was killed and swallowed by her. She swallowed bodyguards, elephants, soldiers along with their weapons. In similar way she put in her mouth, chariots along with horses and drivers and chewed them making a horrifying noise. At some place she would grab people by neck and somewhere she would catch hold of hair. She would swallow the arrows and other weapons thrown on her by the demons. In this way the goddess Kali put an end of the demoniac army, by killing and devouring them.

On seeing the whole army having been annihilated by goddess, the demon 'Chand' ran to- wards 'Kali' and showered a rain of dangerous arrows and covered her by hurling hundreds of discs (chakra). The goddess opened her mouth fully and started to swallow the discs in the same way as clouds swallow the sun-rays. Her anger went on increasing and with it her ferocity increased. She roared and took hold of a huge sword and jumped over 'Chand'. She caught hold of his hair and cut his head. On seeing 'Chand' getting murdered, 'Mund' attacked the goddess. The goddess was further angered by it and she cut the head of 'Mund' and threw it on earth. The remaining army, sensing danger to their lives, ran away in all directions. At the end the goddess Kali collected the two heads of demons and presented to the goddess 'Chandika'. She told her that now she should kill 'Shumb and Ni-Shumb' by herself. Chandika became happy and she spoke to Kali with a sweet voice, "Oh goddess Kali! As you have killed the two demons and presented their heads to me, so you shall become famous in the world as

Chamunda." History of the Temple

It is said that a devotee from this village was or- dered by 'Chamunda goddess, in a dream, to build a temple over her 'Pindi' and put up an idol. She asked her devotee to fetch the idol across BanGanga and place it in the temple and worship the same. Same devotee constructed the temple. The temple is seven hundred years old. Who was the devotee of the village and his where about is still a mystery. From where and how the idol was brought is also not known. The person who constructed the temple is also not known. Research work is going on the period of construction and other mysteries surrounding the temple.

Chandi Devi Temple

This temple is located- near Mayapuri (Hand- war) on the eastern peak of Shivalik mountains across the ganges. This is similar to Mansa Devi temple. After the 'Vijya Dashmi' festival, a festival cal- led 'Chandi Chaudus' is celebrated here on the fourteenth day of lunar fortnight. From Haridwar one has to walk about a kilometre up to 'Chandi Ghat' and cross the bridge over ganges. The way to temple is tedious and has ascent of five kilometres. As such it is better to travel in the morning. There is no arrangement of food, drink on the way and therefore the pilgrim should carry the essential articles with himself.

On the descent of this mountain is another beautiful temple of 'Anjana Devi'. In the midst of mountains is the temple of 'Gouri-Shankar' and 'Nileshwar Mahadev'. They are located in the midst of dense forest and the place is full of wild beasts including lion and tiger.

One more ancient temple of Chandi Devi, of historical importance, is located 10 kms. away from Chandigarh. It is said that the name Chandigarh was given to this city because of this temple. The temple precincts are of exquisite beauty. The place can be reached by bus easily.

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