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.
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.
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.
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.