About Chamunda Devi Temple
Chamunda Devi Temple, or the 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham,' is one of the most prestigious and renowned holy shrines of the Hindus. It was built during the reigns of Maharaja Umed Singh and is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Chamunda Devi Temple is also known as the abode of Lord Shiva and Mata Shakti and presents the impressive architecture of the old era.
The temple is located on the banks of Banganga (Baner) River in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and is only 10 km from the well-known Palampur city. It is one of the most visited places in Chamba and is full of devotees throughout the year. But, Navratri season is the most bustling time as thousands of devotees come to get the blessings of Chamunda Devi.
This 16th-century temple is the unique masterpiece of ancient times and is full of floral and animal carvings on silver sheets. It was built using only wood and gabled roofs. It has a cave-like scoop with structures (Lingam) representing Nandikeshwar (Shiva) and a running water pool with the statues of Lord Shiva and Saraswati at the backside of the temple.
Not only this, but the temple complex also houses a handicraft center, which allows visitors to explore the vibrant culture and art scene of the Kangra district through the local artifacts. Visitors can take back souvenirs from a range of items, including wood carvings, wooden toys, handkerchiefs, honey, black pottery, chappals, Kangra tea, and world-famous Kangra paintings, etc. This is the place where radiance glorifies, making everything tranquil and shower fervor.
How to Reach Chamunda Devi Temple
By Air: The nearest airport is Gaggal, which is connected through Indian Airlines flight with New Delhi and Chandigarh.
By Train: The nearest railway station for narrow-gauge tracks is Palampur, and for broad gauge lines, the nearest railway head is Pathankot.
By Road: Dharamshala, Palampur, and Pathankot, are the leading towns of Himachal Pradesh that offer various transport services including state-run buses, cabs, auto-rickshaws etc. One can easily reach the base of hilltop based Chamunda Devi Temple by using public transport and then either trek, climb stairs (378 steps) or drive to the temple.
Best Time to Visit Chamunda Devi Temple
Chamunda Devi Temple entices followers throughout the year from all over India and even outside India because of being one of the most prominent Hindu shrines. But being a hilly shrine, the weather here plays an essential role in deciding the best time to visit.
The climate remains pleasant during June to October period as afterwards, the season brings chilly and cold temperatures. Also, this is the season when the devotees can appreciate the grace and enthusiasm of Navratri festivities.
The temple gets adorned with splendid decorations of lights and flowers to celebrate the festivals, and enthusiasts from all over the country gather to receive the shower of Goddess’s blessings. Not only this, but this festive season also lets visitors experience the lush greenery, spectacular views of mountains, and valleys surrounding the temple.
What Not to Miss at Chamunda Devi Temple
Places to Visit near Chamunda Devi Temple
There are numerous attractions near Chamunda Devi Temple, which entice the visitors with their appeal and beauty, and the top 5 of these destinations are:
1. Lakshmi Narayan Temple: This beautiful 10th-century Shikara shaped temple is another must-visit destination of Chamba. It is the oldest and the largest temple in Chamba and also boasts of being the house of the most beautiful idols of Lord Vishnu and Shiva. The architecture and structure of this temple fascinates its visitors and devotees as the temperature inside the temple remains pleasant all through the year, even when the outside temperatures are plummeting low.
2. Himachal Emporium, Rang Mahal: The best place for handicraft lovers, this place in Rang Mahal is run by the Himachal Tourism department and offers all local craft items. Visitors can buy beautiful masterpieces like wooden or metal artworks, paintings, remains, famous shawls, or chappals all in one place.
3. Chaugan Market: Another must-visit destination when in Chenab is this lovely local shopping promenade. It houses several small shops selling local artifacts and organic items. It is the perfect place to explore the tradition and culture of the Chamba valley. The site is also famous for its annual Minjar Mela, which features villagers clad in colorful local attires and is full of fun and frolic.
4. Manimahesh Lake: This sacred lake is considered to be blessed by the goddess Kali and protected by Lord Shiva. Thousands of believers come here during the festival of Janmashtami and take a bath in the holy water to get the blessings of spiritual powers. This enchanting lake is full of captivating scenic excellence and also an excellent place for adventure buffs to enjoy the trekking trip to this location.
5. Bhuri Singh Museum: This museum is dedicated to Raja Bhuri Singh, the ruler of Chamba, and houses the artifacts and items of the royal family. It has on display heritage items including carved doors, coins, frescoes, paintings, jewellery, costumes and musical instruments which represent the culture and tradition of Chamba. There is minimal entry fee for this museum and is open for all days except Mondays and national holidays.
Other Essential Information About Chamunda Devi Temple
Location: Chamba-Jhumar Rd, Mohalla Surara, Mohalla Sapri, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh 176310
Price: No entry fee
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
History of Chamunda Devi Temple
The pictorial shrine’s history is as enthralling as the views of the Chamba Valley from the hilltop of the temple. The Goddess Ambika was believed to be relaxing on top of the hill when two nasty demons, Munda and Chanda, came and disturbed her, which got her changed into fierce Kali.
This angry Kali killed those two devils, and a Chamunda Devi temple was built on the same place to worship the mighty Goddess Kali by the name of Chamunda Devi. This goddess was adorned with ornaments of bones, skulls, serpents, and scorpions, which represent disease and death.
As the temple was situated in hard to reach jungle area it was moved to its current location some 400 years ago. The statue of the deity in this temple was found after digging the land and was established to this place by the Goddess’s grace and power.
The temple also has the paintings of Goddess Mahatamay and others depicting the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It also has the idols of Hanuman and Bhairon on the sides of the Goddess Chamunda Devi’s main idol in the temple, which serves as a guard to the deity.
Places to Eat near Chamunda Devi Temple
1. Langer Bhavan: This is the nearest place where you can satisfy your palate after visiting the Chamunda Devi Temple. Here you can relish on the delicious food, and it is located on Chamunda Temple Path, just a few steps away from the temple’s premises.
2. Kake Da Dhaba: Another nearest eating joint is this dhaba which serves delicious food at reasonable prices. It gets open at 7 in the morning and serves till 11 PM. It is pure Vaishno dhaba and serves only vegetarian food.
3. Park View Restaurant: Widely known for its Jeera rice, dal, and curd combo, this restaurant offers both veg and non-veg varieties. It is located on the Museum Road and serves delectable cuisine and a vast range of food options.
4. Jagan Restaurant: This restaurant specializes in local delicacy Madhra and is one of the reasonable places in Chamba. It is also located on the Museum road and is famous for its welcoming and smiling staff and is a perfect place to enjoy the delicious food with your loved ones.
5. HPTDC Iravati: Café Ravi View is a small food joint run by HPTDC, which serves exclusivities of Himalayan cuisine and other Indian varieties, all in budget prices. The staff here is very courteous and helpful, which makes the culinary experience more memorable.
Travelers tips before visiting Chamba Devi Temple
1. Though the climate of Chamba is pleasant throughout the year, monsoons can sometimes bring heavy rains and landslides, so it is not advisable to step outside during heavy storms.
2. Wearing comfortable clothes like a t-shirt and lowers is recommended if you want to trek to the Chamunda Devi temple.
3. If you want to enjoy the spirituality and solace at its best, then plan your trip during off-season times
4. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the full festivities with enthusiasm, then visit during either Janmashtami or Mahashivratri.
5. Do not forget to take back home the cherishable exclusivities of Chamba like metal or wooden artifacts, chappals, paintings or shawls.