Not far from town is a famous temple with dhauladhars forming a majestic backdrop. It is an enchanting sport with a glorious view of mountains, the Baner Khud (Khud means Hillside), Pathiar and
Situated at a height of 1000m above sea-level, Chamunda Devi temple is a famous tourists destination of Himachal Pradesh. Overlooked by the mighty Dhauldhar ranges, the temple is rightly situated on the bank of river Ban Ganga. Every year, a large number of devotees travel to this holistic destination of Himachal Pradesh to get blessings of goddesses 'Chamunda' (Hindu deity). Chamunda Devi Temple is located at distance of 15 km from Dharamsala and at a distance of 10 kms from Palampur. Chamunda is a little station on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar narrow gauge railway track. There is the Chamunda Devi Temple, right on the banks of the Baner River. It is also a pretty picnic spot with a good view of the mountains.
Chamunda also known as Chamundi, Chamundeshwari and Charchika, is a fearsome aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother and one of the seven Matrikas (mother goddesses). She is also one of the chief Yoginis, a group of 64 or 81 Tantric goddesses, who are attendants of the warrior goddess Durga. The name is a combination of Chanda and Munda, two monsters whom Chamunda killed. She is closely associated with Kali, another fierce aspect of Devi. She is sometimes identified with goddesses Parvati, Chandi or Durga as well. 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'.
Legend : The legend of the temple is related with two demons Chanda and Munda of Shumbh Nishumbh, the notorious demon king. With their wicked mind, they try to harass the goddess Ambika, which turned out in the form of battle between the gods and demons. Chamunda, emerged as Chandika from an eyebrow of goddess Ambika, was assigned the task to eliminate the demons. Chandika destroyed those two demons and presented their heads in front of Ambika. Pleased with the act of Chamunda, the goddess Ambika named the city as Chamunda and since then the temple Chamunda Devi is worshipped with that grace and faith.
The surroundings of the temple provide an excellent venue for meditation prayers and spiritual attainments. It is an enchanting and charming spot with fascinating view of the mountains, rivers and forests. The location of temple was used as a cremation ground by the people of 22 villages and supposed to be a place of solace, spiritual attainments. A large number of devotees travel to this place for worship and to attain spiritual peace for their ancestors. Taking dip in the Ban Ganga river is considered as more auspicious and sacred. People perform prayer to Lord Shiva with the water of Ban Ganga river. A 700 years old temple, Chanmunda Devi comprises of big complex with a 'Kund' (pond) in it. As per the rituals, the devotees coming to the temple take holy dip in the Kund. The main deity of the temple is kept under cover and is not accessible by the visitors, because of its sacred importance. There is a cave-like scoop located at the back of the temple, representing the stone lingam ( embodiment of Shiva). Apart from these attractions, there are many brightly painted images of gods and goddesses located in the vicinity of the Chamunda Devi temple.
Goddess Kali is believed to be present at the Temple. Chamunda Devi Temple witnesses a big rush of devotees, especially during the Navratris. During "Shravan Ashtami" during the month of July-August, a grand fair is held here.
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 clothes.
About Relocation of this Temple : It is believed that around 400 years ago, a Raja and a Brahmin priest prayed to Chamunda Devi asking her consent to shift the image to an accessible location, then Maa Chumnda appeared in a dream to the priest granting him the permission. She told 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 ordered 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, wear fresh attire and then go to the place in a devoted manner. The priest did the same what was told to him. He found that idol and lifted that idol easily. He placed the idol in its present location and from that time, the Goddess is worshipped by people.
FAST FACTS :
Altitude : 8500 ft.
Best Time to Visit : Mid June to Late October
Climate: In winter, the temperature can drop to freezing point, so heavy woollens are recommended. During summer, the climate is mild and light woollens / cottons are recommended.
HOW TO REACH / GETTING THERE / ACCESS :
Air : Nearest Airport is at Gaggal which is connected with New Delhi and Chandigarh by Indian Airlines Flights.
Rail : Nearest railway station is Pathankot for broad gauge trains and there is also a narrow gauge train in Kangra district for which the railway station is Nagrota Bagwan.
Road : Chamunda is situated 10 km west of Palampur and 15km from Dharamsala. Regular Bus and Taxi services are available from Pathankot, Delhi and Chandigarh. Tourists can hire private taxis from Palampur or Dharamsala to reach the temple. Besides, state transport bus services are also available to reach this place.
Other Interesting Places in and around Pangi Valley
- Bhagsunath / Bhagsunath Temple
- Chaminda Devi Temple
- Dal Lake
- YOL Camp
- War Memorial
- Chruch of St. John in the Wilderness
- Chinmaya Tapowan
- Kangra Art Museum
- Masrur Temple or Masroor Temple
- Kunal Pathri
- Norbulinka Institute in Dharamsala
- Namgyal Monastery
- Khanyara or Khaniyara or Khaniara
- Tatwani and Machhrial
- Kareri - 35km from Dharamsala