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Himachal Guide - Temples

Temples of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal is god's own abode. There are too much temples that one cannot even count them all. Alsmost every temple has some kind of fair or festival connected with it. Dotted with temples, the State has literally one every hamlet. Most of the temples have legends dating back to centuries, some as old as mankind itself. Himachal Pradesh is quite aptly called "Devabhoomi" - Abode of the Gods. There are more than 2000 temples and religious places scattered all over the state. Many of these are quite well-known and attract thousands of devotees throughout the year. Some of the famous temples are described below :

Hidimba Devi Temple, also known as the Hadimba Temple, is located in Manali, a hill station in the State of Himachal Pradesh in north India. It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba, who was a character in the Indian epic, Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground, which was worshiped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in the year 1553.

This is one of the most striking temple in Kullu, where 20 metre tall image is supposed to attract special blessings from the skies in the shape of lightning. From the temple a panoramic view of Kulu and Paravati valleys can be seen. A 60 feet high staff of Bijli Mahadev temple glistens like a silver needle in the sun. in this temple of lightening it is said, the tall staff attracts the divine blessings in the form of lightening. The rest of the story can be heard from the priest, which is un-believable but true.

The pilgrimage centre revered equally by the Hindus, the Sikhs and the Buddhist alike. Rewalsar in Mandi district is about 20 km. from Mandi town. A natural lake with floating islands on it are a unique attraction of the lake one can see the Shiva temple, the Guru Gobind Singh's Gurudwara and Buddhist Monastery. The Hindus believe that it was here that the 'Lomas Rishi' held his penance in devotion to lord Shiva. Overwhelmed, Shiva gave the rishi, the seven floating islands in reward. This is a very sacred place. Other famous temples are Bhutnath and Triloknath.

The Prashar Temple is located in the town of Mandi in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The Prashar temple is built in the 14th Century and is a shrine where the rulers of Mandi came to worship at one point of time. The Prashar Temple in Himachal Pradesh is built in pagoda-style and it stands in the small green hollow around the Prashar Lake. This temple is positioned above the town of Pandoh. The views of the mountains around are splendid and picture-perfect.

Shri Bhima Kali Temple is a temple at Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh in India, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, presiding deity of the rulers of former Bushahr State. The temple is situated about 180 km from Shimla and is one of 51 Shakti Peethass. The town Sarahan is known as the gate way of Kinnaur. Down below at a distance of 7 km from Sarahan is the River Satluj. Sarahan is identified with the then Sonitpur mentioned in Puranas.

Hatkoti Temple is situated 105 kilometers east of Shimla. Hatkoti Temple is noted for its unique architecture which dates back to the Gupta period. The Gupta dynasty ruled northern India from the 6th century AD to the 9th century AD.
Hatkoti Temple is actually not a temple in isolation; it is a an aggregation of a number of small temples on the banks of the Jabbar river. The temple complex in essence consists of a main temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, flanked by a small temple for Lord Shiva. It is interesting to note that the entrance of the Shiva temple is smaller than the ShivLinga (the material representation of Lord Shiva) housed inside the temple- pointing to the fact that the temple was constructed later than the installation of the Lingam.

The ancient temple at Baijnath is particularly beautiful and is 16 Km from Palampur. Built of stone in the 9th century AD, in the shikhara style, it is a fine blend of sculpture and architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Baijnath is close to Palampur and Kangra.

The temple, dedicated to the wrathful form of Goddess Durga, is situated atop the Shah Madar hill. A small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva also stands right behind the main Chamunda temple. Infront of the temple, there are two old peepul tree standing on a platform. These trees have been providing shelter to the incoming visitors for long. Moreover, from this platform, you can also catch fantastic views of other temples and landmarks of the town.

The Temple of Shri Naina Devi Ji is situated on a hilltop in the Bilaspur Distt. of Himachal Pradesh in India.It was built by a Gurjar Shepherd. 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.
The hills of Naina Devi overlook the Gobind Sagar lake. The lake was created by the Bhakra-Nangal Dam.

At a distance of 10 km. from Nadaun is Jwalamukhi, the town of temple is dedicated to Bhagwati Jwalamukhi, where eternal flames represent the deity Jwalamukhiji. Besides, there is the Gorakh Dibbi, Chaturbhuji Temple and a host of other smaller shrines. The gold plated dome of present Jwalaji temple was erected by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. There are legends of Akbar having sent his offering to the Deviji.

The temple dedicated to Mata Chintpurni Devi is located in District Una of Himachal Pradesh. Mata Chintpurni Devi is also known as Mata Shri Chhinnamastika Devi. Devotees have been visiting this Shaktipeeth for centuries to pray at the lotus feet of Mata Shri Chhinnamastika Devi. They bring with them their worldly concerns and seek blessings from the Devi. It is believed that if you ask something from the Devi with a true heart, your wish will be granted.
Apart from the holy shrine, according to Manav Bhardwaj, the place is full of picturesque surroundings. Some very nice places for sight seeing, indoor and out door activities are situated in and around Chintpurni. Chintpurni is very well connected through roads and with good number of hotels and dharamsalas erceted in and around chintpurni, accommodation is not a problem at all. You can come here for religious visit, on a holiday or for both, you would enjoy your time there and should return with everlasting memories.

The Kangra town known to the ancients as Nagarkot, is the seat of Shri Bajreshwari Devi. Though the main temple was ravaged by foreighn invaders and flattened by the 1905 earthquake, it has since been restored to its pristine glory. At Kangra one can also visit the historical Kangra Fort and also trek up to Jyanti Devi Temple.

Known for its monolithic rock-cut temples, Masroor is 38 km from Kangra Town. There are 15 rock-cut temples in Indo-Aryan style and are richly carved. It is a unique monolithic structure in the sub-Himalayan region and is a protected monument.
The main shrine contains three stone images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. The temple complex is located on a hill and also has a large rectangular water pond. The view of snow clad Dhauladhar is amazing from the temple premises.
The nearest visitable places includes Pong lake near Nagrota Surian, 10 km from Masroor and hot water springs at Tattwani village, on the bank of Gaj rivulet near Salol village on Lunj- Gaggal road, 15 km from Masroor. It is accessible from Gaggal (30 km) on Nagrota Surian link road and 22 km from Ranital road.

It is a situated 7 kms. from Indora on the meeting point of the Beas and the Choch rivers. There is an old temple, built in Mughal style, housing 6 feet long and 5 feet round 'Shivalinga' The 'Linga' here is of its own kind not found anywhere in the world.

Regarded as the Main and oldest as well as the largest one in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, the Laxmi Narayan Temple attracts a whole lot of visitors. This temple was built in the 10th century by Sahil Verman in Shikara style. The Laxmi Narayan Temple is constructed in the Shikhara style. There is Bimana (Shikhara), garbhgriha and also a mandapa like structure. The wooden chattris and the shell roofs reflect the climactic condition of the place where snowfall is quiet expected. It continued to be embellished by the Rajas who succeeded to the throne of Chamba. The six temples in the Laxmi Narayan Temple complex are arranged from north to south and are dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu.

Chaurasi temples in bharmaur the main temples of lakshmi devi, ganesh, manimahesh and narsing in bharmaur are known as the chaurasi temples. According to a legend, chaurasi yogis visited bharmaur during the reign of king sahil verma. Pleased with the king's humility and hospitality, the yogis blessed the king with ten sons and a daughter champawati. The temples dating back to the 9th century, are one of the most important early hindu temples in the chamba valley. The distance of 65 km from chamba to bharmaur is covered by hired vehicles buses ply only during yatra days in september.