The Naina Devi

The eyes of Sati fell here when Lord Vishnu shot arrows to. cut the body of Sati into pieces, to delude Shiva's at- tachment. The holy shrine is situated on the top of Sivalik hills near "Anand pur Sahib'— a famous Railway. station on Bhakhra-Nangal Railway line, in the state of Punjab. The Naina devi temple is visible from Anandpur Sahib towards north. Situated in H.P. the temple of Naina Devi is quite near the border of Punjab State.

Daily bus-services ply from Mangal to Naina Devi. The hours for last bus may please be con- firmed at the Nangal bus stand itself. A three hours run by bus leads the travellers to Naina devi bus-stand, through a circular zig-zag road. From here one has to climb a hill before reaching the temple. It takes about half an hour for a person of average health to ascend 2 kms. journey on foot. Cemented stairs have also been constructed for the facility of pilgrims. One can find small shops, selling the articles of Bhents—offering to the deity— at the bus stand itself and on the sides of stairs ascending to the temple.

Accomodation : Pilgrims stay mostly at the houses of Pandas, who help them in worshipping and having darshan during the busy days. Rooms are available in the temple premises and dharamshalas. Tourist Bungalow, near bus-stand, provides furnished rooms at nominal charges.

In the temple, the deity is manifested as Pindi— a consecrated piece of stone worshipped as goddess. Although the shrine can be visited any time throughout the year, but on the festive periods of 'Ashtami' in August and 'Navratras' in October, it draws a large number of devotees shouting sloagans hailing the victory of Goddess.

The brief history of the temple: (The tale of Naina—a milkman)

Long-ago, the hill side is said to have been inhabited by some milkmen. One of those named Naina used to bring his cattle here, at the hill top, where plenty of grass was available. Under a peepal-tree, which still exists, one of his cows used to stop daily and he (milkman) saw the same scene on many days and used to think about it as to why the cow stops at this particular place to drop her milk in a strange manner?

At last, he began to displace the heap of dry leaves under that Pipal tree, where his cow used to stop. As he was doing so, he found the 'Pindi', an idol of the goddess under those leaves. He thought of the place to be having some divine powers; so he worshipped the goddess and placed the idol as before, beneath leaves. As described by the old priests of Naina Devi shrine, the milkman got the sight of the goddess in his dreams, the same night. The goddess told him that she was abiding there at the hill top in the shape of a Pindi. Now, with her own will, she wanted to manifest herself for the benefit of all. The goddess told him to build a temple at that very place where he saw her idol beneath a Peepal-tree and that she would be famous by his Name—Naina. Naina was a faithful devotee. So, the next day, he started grounding the temple of the goddess. The place became popular among the devotees, within a short interval, more and more so when their desires were fulfilled due to its greatness. After some days, so many devotees began to visit the temple from the far-distant places also. They donated generously to build a beautiful and magnificent temple of the great goddess. Hence the pilgrimage started here and the place became popular as Naina Devi, after his name attached to the deity.

There is a small cave near the temple, known as the cave of Naina-devi. Pilgrims go through this cave also, while they visit the shrine.

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