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Naina Devi Temple (Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh)

About

Naina Devi is a town and a municipal council in Bilaspur district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The hills of Naina Devi overlook the Gobind Sagar Lake. The lake was created by the Bhakra-Nangal Dam. Several mythological stories are associated with the establishment of the temple.

The Temple of Shri Naina Devi Ji is situated on a hilltop in the Bilaspur Distt. Of Himachal Pradesh in India.The temple is connected with National Highway No. 21. The temple at the top of the hill can be reached via road (that curves round the hill up to a certain point) and then by concrete steps (that finally reach the top). There is also a cable car facility that moves pilgrims from the base of the hill all the way to the top.

According to a legend, Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in Yagna, which distressed Lord Shiva. He picked the corpse of Sati on his shoulder and started his Tandava dance. This horrified all deities in the heaven as this could lead to holocaust. This urged Lord Vishnu to unleash his Chakra that cut the Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Sati fell down.

Another story related to the temple is of a Gujjar Boy. Once he was grazing his cattle and observed that a white cow is showering milk from her udders on a stone. He saw the same thing for next several days. One night while sleeping, he saw Goddess in her dreams who told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina told about the entire situation and his dream to Raja Bir Chand. When Raja saw it happening in reality, he built a temple on that spot and named the temple after Naina’s name.

Shri Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess. According to the legends, Mahishasur was a powerful demon who was blessed by the boon of immortality by Lord Brahma, but the condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. Due to this boon, Mahishasur started spreading terror on Earth and Gods. To cope with the demon, all Gods combined their powers and created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was gifted different types of weapons by all Gods. When Mahishasur got mesmerized by the immense beauty of Devi and proposed her to marry him. Devi told him that she will marry him if he would overpower her. During the battle, Devi defeated the demon and took out both his eyes. This urged Gods to happily applaud “Jai Naina” and hence the name.

Sunday, August 3, 2008, proved to be catastrophic day for this temple as at least 123 people died (many of them women and children). There are conflicting reports about the cause of these deaths. One report states that they were due to people falling down the cliff after the guard railing broke. Another report claims that they were due to rumors of a fight at the temple causing panic. And another states it was due to police who hit the fleeing worshippers with canes to get them to continue moving.

This happened in the holy month of Sawan, and the Temple’s being a Shakti Peeth (place of strength) meant that there were as many as 3000 devotees present. According to the Times Online, 50,000 people were expected to attend Naina Devi during the day of the stampede, as part of a nine-day festival which had just started.

According to Daljit Singh Manhas, a senior police officer from the area, at least 40 of the victims were children. The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh announced a compensation of Rs.100,000 for those who died, Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Shri Naina Devi Ji is one of the most notable places of worship in Himachal Pradesh. Located in Distt Bilaspur, it is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths where limbs of Sati fell on Earth. This holy place witnesses the huge crowd of pilgrims and devotees round the year and especially during Shravan Ashtami and in the Navratras of Chaitra & Ashwin.

Special fair is organized during Chaitra, Shravan and Ashwin Navrati, which attracts millions of visitors from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other corners of the country.

Shri Naina Devi Temple is located on an altitude of 1177 meters in Distt. Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. Several mythological stories are associated with the establishment of the temple.

According to a legend, Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in Yagna, which distressed Lord Shiva. He picked the corpse of Sati on her shoulder and started his Taandav dance. This horrified all deities in the heaven as this could lead to holocaust. This urged Lord Vishnu to unleash his Chakra that cut the Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Sati fell down.

Another story related to the temple is of a Gujjar Boy named Naina. Once he was grazing his cattle and observed that a white cow is showering milk from her udders on a stone. He saw the same thing for next several days. One night while sleeping, he saw Goddess in her dreams who told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina told about the entire situation and his dream to Raja Bir Chand. When Raja saw it happening in reality, he built a temple on that spot and named the temple after Naina’s name.

Shri Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess. According to the legends, Mahishasur was a powerful demon who was blessed by the boon of immortality by Lord Brahma, but the condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. Due to this boon, Mahishasur started spreading terror on Earth and Gods. To cope with the demon, all Gods combined their powers and created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was gifted different types of weapons by all Gods. When Mahishasur got mesmerized by the immense beauty of Devi and proposed her to marry him. Devi told him that she will marry him if he would overpower her. During the battle, Devi defeated the demon and took out both his eyes. This urged Gods to happily applaud “Jai Naina” and hence the name.

One more story is associated with Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji. When he left for his military campaign against Mughals in 1756, he went Shri Naina Devi and performed a Sacrificial Yagna to seek blessings of the Goddess. After getting the blessings, he successfully defeated the Mughals.

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Timing

POOJA NAME POOJA TIME
 Mangla Aarti  4:00 AM
 Shringar Aarti 6:00 AM
Mid-Day prayers 12:00 PM
 Shyan Aarti 6:30 PM
 Shayan Aarti  9:30 PM

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Distance

  • From Delhi it is 353 KM away.
  • From Mumbai it is 1817 KM away.
  • From Kolkata it is 1805 KM away.
  • From Chennai it is 2520 KM away.

Location

Bilaspur,
Himachal Pradesh 174029.