Shri Naina Devi Ji Temple – Shaktipeeth of Durga

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Shri Naina Devi Ji Temple

Shri Naina Devi Ji Temple is one of the most prominent places of worship in Himachal Pradesh and is dedicated to Goddess Sati, who was an incarnation of Goddess Durga. Surrounded by Govind Sagar Lake and Bharka Dam, the Naina Devi temple at Bilaspur is about 15 kms from Ganguwal and about 18-km from Anandpur Sahib. Like most of the Indian Shaktipeethas in the country, the origin of this famous and one of the most revered shrines also dates back to the self-immolation of ‘Sati.’ Nanina Devi as the name suggests is believed to be the place where the eyes of Sati fell.

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History
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.

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Naina Devi temple is also known as Mahishapeeth as Goddess defeated demon Mahishasur who was blessed by the boon of immortality. The condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. After this, Mahishasur started spreading terror. To cope with the demon, Gods created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was offered various weapons by all Gods. On seeing her, demon Mahishasur got mesmerized by her beauty. She promised him that she will marry him if he would defeat her. During the battle, Devi killed the demon and took out his eyes. Gods happily applaud “Jai Naina” and hence the Devi named as Naina Devi.unnamed1

As per another version, in 1756 Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji left for his military campaign against Mughals. He visited Naina Devi temple to seek her blessings. After getting the blessings, he defeated the Mughals.unnamed3

Nirmand- Largest and Most Ancient Village, in Kullu District

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Nirmand is believed to be the biggest village in Asia. However, it is hard to say how much ground this claim holds, you will eventually start believing the same after paying a visit the village. This beautiful hamlet stands overlooking the Satluj Valley and is about 150 km from Shimla and 17 km from Rampur.

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The village that is often referred to as the ‘Kashi of the Himalayas’ is home to shrubs of herbs and trees of golden apricots, green almonds, cherries and delicious apples. Nirmand is renowned for its exquisite wood and stone temples of the 6th and the 7th centuries. The name Nirmand is a spoiled form of Nrimund, which means the head of man as the severed head of Sati is said to have fallen here after destruction of Daksha Yajna, also referred to as Daksha-Yajna-Nasha. It is believed that Lord Parashuram made the Brahmins settle here to eliminate the Kshatriyas, from the face of the earth.

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History
According to one belief Devi Ambika of Nirmand is Ambika of Mahabharata. Another legend is that in the Satyug when the demons created an atmosphere of terror in the Himalayas, Parshuram came to Nirmand. Here a Naga attacked him and lord Parshuram cut the Naga deity into pieces. Parshuram, then in his rage, eradicated many demons with his axe. But he could not overcome them all. When Gods saw that even Parshuram was unable to kill all the demons they went to Lord Vishnu. They meditated upon Mahakali (Ambika) on the advice of Vishnu. Then Devi Ambika fought the demons using her weapons like khapar (bowl), trishul (trident) and sword and killed all of them. After this event a temple was constructed for Devi Ambika at Nirmand. The Devi has eight mohras and the main mohra is called bhadrakali

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Deo Dhank
The Dhar Deo Dhank Cave is 3km from Nirmand towards the south. A narrow gorge leads one to the temple complex. The cave is quite deep and about 6 feet in height. A shivalingam is enshrined inside the Dhar Deo Dhank cave. From the top of the cave water seeps down inside, drop by drop. Such a phenomenon is looked at as a miracle of nature, otherwise there is absolutely no trace of water on the rock in the hill. There is a bunch of revered trees outside the cave under which idols of other divinities are kept. The entrance to the cave is shaped in the form of Lord Ganesha. The local people consider it an exceedingly hallowed shrine.

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Jamdagni Rishi(Jamlu Devta) Temple Malana – The Oldest Democracies in World

Malana-2This is an ancient temple in Malana village that is prohibited to touch (a fine of 250 is levied). Malana is known for the best grown charas/weed/grass. The males can take weed openly while it isn’t taken in the right spirit for a female to have the same as she is responsible to involve in religious chores. The sad part is that the children are also found selling weed to tourists. Quite an ecstatic place.

That’s right Avid well spotted ” In the close vicnity of the priest’s house is the abode of Jamdagni Rishi called Jamlu Rishi in the local dialect.”

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A Peep into its History

Jamdangni  Rishi in the days of yore worshipped Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha. After his intense prayers, Shiva appeared before him and told him to ask for a boon. Jamdagani Rishi asked for a place, secluded and full of nature’s bounty. Shiva told him to go to Malana. The Rishi’s two brothers followed him. In order to avoid them he created mist in the valley and told his brothers that the place was not good and further said that if they want to stay they could. His brothers lift his company and one of them went to Lahoul and the other to the Banjar valley. Malana was already in the control of a big Rakshasa when Rishi reached there the Rakshasa retaliated, which resulted in a fight between the two.

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The conflict between Jamdagni  Rishi and Banasura ended with the understanding on the following terms :-

Administration and justice were to be handled separately
The members of the executive were to be selected in consultation with Banasura.
Justice was kept under the preview of Jamdagni Rishi.
In case of a dispute in the administration it was to be sorted out by the judiciary.
The Kanashi language was made mandatory for those living in Malana, and also the customs and traditions prevalent there.
During festivals, the first sacrifice was to be made to Banasura the Rakshasha. With the passage of time, Jamdagini Rishi gained superiority over Banasura, but the village retained its traditions which are still followed there.

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Religious Beliefs

The village priest Bua Ram, who is the only person in the village to wear a white turban, can be recognized form a distance. His forefathers have been there since ages to take care of the village-shrine and pass on the injunctions of the Jamlu Rishi to the villagers.

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Bua Ram, the priest has a two-storied house, well decorated from outside and embellished with intricate wood carvings. His family members are to stay separately but they do visit him while providing food and other things to him. In the close vicnity of the priest’s house is the abode of Jamdagni Rishi called Jamlu Rishi in the local dialect.

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Jamlu is the most revered and is considered to be the king. His courtiers are elected and they collect funds for the following services for the upkeep and maintenance of the civic amenities:

  1. Land revenue from the villagers of Malana.
  2. From outsiders who graze their cattle in Malana.
  3. Offering of devotees in cash and gold and silver horses.
  4. From the offering of visitors.

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The administration of Malana is based on religious faith and to maintain the faith the elected members select Bhandaris among the villagers who are assigned the following tasks:

  1. To collect tax on land from the area, which falls under the jurisdiction of the village shrine.
  2. To deposit land and other revenues in the shrine treasury.
  3. To maintain the income and expenditure account.
  4. To collect and deposit the offerings.
  5. To arrange funds for functions and festivals and to organize them.
  6. To hold symbols of Jamlu devata during the religious processions.

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Phag Fair – Celebrate the Arrival of Hindu New Year

padam palaceRampur Bushahr

The principality of Basher (also known as Bushahar, Bushahar, Bushahr) was once among the largest of the twenty-eight Shimla Hill States under the administration of the British Raj keen to invest on regional and transcontinental trade and exploit Himalayan resources. It bordered on the north with Spiti, on the east with Tibet, on the south with Garhwal, and on the west with Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumharsain, Kotgarh, and Kulu. Caught in the machinations of the British imperial enterprise, it was subjected to political cum-economic vicissitudes, acceding to the Indian Union in 1947. On the 8th March 1948, along with twenty other princely hill States of Punjab and Shimla, Bashahr signed an agreement which resulted in its inclusion in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh.

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Phag Festival
An annual Phag fair is organised to herald the New Year (Chaitra-Vaishakh) as per the Hindu almanac, by the residents of Rampur in Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh. This four day long festival aims to celebrate the arrival of Hindu New Year, in the last week of Phalgun month of the Hindu calendar. This is a historic fair, which we have been celebrating from a long time.  Phag is derived from the Sanskrit word Phalgun or Fagun. The Phag festival showcases the cultural heritage of Himachalis (the residents of Himachal Pradesh). Seventeen deities from five districts; Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, take part in the fair that is celebrated with much devotion and cultural display.

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History of Phag Festival
Bushar dynasty was founded by ‘Pradhuman’, the son of Lord Krishna.In order to marry of Banasur daughter, the local chief of Shonitpur (Sarahan), Pradhuman have come to that place. He had an encounter with Banasur in which Banasur succumbs to his death. Pradhuman became the chief of Bushar and Kinnaur regions, since Banasur had no son.

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Rampur was once the capital of Bushar State and Situated on the banks of the River Satluj.Phag fair dates back to Bushar dynasty centuries ago when the a lot of shepherds used to come to the gates of the palace’s along with their herds of sheep. And, the King used to host a fair for them.

Furing this festival farmers come in large groups to Rampur, carrying local deities on their heads or in religious processions.

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