Naina Devi Temple

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Naina Devi Mandir is about 20 kms from Anandpur Sahib that I visited in March 2014 for the Hola Mohalla festival. This temple is also associated with the 10th Sikh Guru, Govind Singhji. Will explain in various captions. ''The Guru, while reading the Puranas had been deeply struck by the idea that God sends a saviour at critical times to save the virtuous n destroy the evil-doers. He believed he had been sent for the same purpose''.

View of Naina Devi mandir from Anandpur Sahib. ''In the Chandi Charitra the Guru says that in the last God had deputed Durga to destroy evil-doers and this duty had now been assigned to him. He sang the praises of Chandi so that they might be chanted for warlike purposes, and that even cowards on hearing the story might obtain courage. Such being the accomplishments of a woman, what ought not a brave man to accomplish?''.

Road to Naina Devi is good. If heavy traffic in Anandpur go thru village. Young boys drive motor cycles with flags as you see. Speed and power only matter. ''Learned Pandits advised the Guru to perform the grand ceremony of Homa. He invited Pt Kesho from Kashi to conduct the ceremony at the hill of Nainadevi. The ceremony began on Durga Ashtami day, in Oct 1698, and lasted for full 6 months. At the close of this period the sacred Navratras began on 21/3/1699. When all the ghee and incense had been burnt, and Pandit tired the Guru came forward with a naked sword and, flashing it before the assembly declared:''

There are monkeys and monkeys along the way. U see them in the background of the Naina Devi Mandir ie on top of hill, see white structure on right of pic. ''This is the goddess of power! This took place on 28 March 1699, the Durga Ashtami day. The congregation was then asked to move to Anandpur, where on New Year Day of 1st Baisakh, 1756 Vikram Samvat, he would create a new nation. He gave a stirring speech''. The History n Culture of Indian People volume 7 pg 316. This explains why so many Sikhs visit Naina Devi. In fact everyone I spoke to in Anandpur Sahib said that when devotees came for Hola Mohalla visit to Nainadevi is a must.

Pic taken from Naina Devi Mandir ie on top of the hill. Houses that you see are of locals. U see cars parked - devotees get off and then walk up stairs from there. Far end on right of pic is Anandpur where Khalsa was born. Naina Devi is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths where limbs of Sati fell on Earth.

3 ways to reach Temple. One is by stairs, two is by rope way as you see and three is by car. Water body in background is Gobind Sagar Lake that forms part of Bhakra Nangal Dam.Naina Devi attracts devotees round the year and especially during Shravan Ashtami and in the Navratras of Chaitra & Ashwin.

I took a car on hire from Anandpur to Naina Devi and then Bhakra Nangal Dam ended with return to Anandpur. Cost me Rs 1500/ in March 2014. We parked at the car park and I began a 10 minute walk to temple. Saw a couple of pani puri stalls, could not resist. Very tasty. Naina Devi is at a height of 3535 feet above sea level.

A bit later saw this devotee with band etc walking towards the temple. Joined him for a short while. According to Indian tradition ''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. 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.''

When we reached the steps the crowd broke into a dance. Some other devotees joined in - the fun is for you to see. ''Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess''. To know more about temple Click here

Shop enroute to mandir. There are shops from where you can buy prasad etc and leave your footwear. Be sure that the way you come down is the way u went up or you could get lost, temporarily though. I did so ie why saying.

Entrance to Naina Devi Mandir. It is a Shaktipeeth. To know important places to visit here Click here

Since it was Hola Mohalla time place was very crowded. However, crowd was well managed by local police. On right is main temple. Photography inside the temple complex is not permitted. It took some doing to take this pic from a distance.

Side view of temple. Note it is on top of the hill. Mata ki kripa hai that the temple exists as is. ''Guru Gobind Singh was a worshipper of the Divine Mother (Shri Bhagauti/Bhagawati). Not only did he entrench Her in the Ardas as is evident from his writings, but also sought Her blessings for the completion of the holy Granth Sahib''. To read more on blog by Jagbir Click here

Close up view of the hills in front of the temple (ie on left of pic). Note the network of roads and practice of terrace farming on the hill right in front of pic. Per Jagbir blog referred to earlier In the tradition of Lord Rama, Guru Govind Singh performed a year- long Chandi Yagna at Naina Devi (the shrine of the Goddess of beautiful eyes) overlooking Anandpur Sahib before launching upon his mission.Sikhs want to erase reference to Divine Mother. But how are they going to delete the Aykaa Mayee (One Mother) who is entrenched in their Jap Ji Sahib.

Group of devotees Naina Devi. During this yatra many many devotees would call out to me and ask to have themselves clicked. When I asked them for email id they would say post on facebook and we will see it. To know all about Naina Devi Mandir Click here

Overview of Gobind Sagar Lake. On left hill a rock above which is a red colored railing - just there is a ancient Shivji ka Cave. Wanted to visit the gufa but there was a long que. U can see the ropeway vehicle - very small. During the monsoons the view would be awesome.

Whilst going to darshan had heard about invite to langar. On my way back dropped. They were serving kadhi rice, one of my favourites.

Group of retired men peeling boiled potatoes. Area where langar was is actually a open hair hall with stage. Hope to visit Naina Devi in peak winters some day.

Making kadhi (right in front) and puris behind. The temple trust also runs a free langar service not sure if it is this one.

Another view of the hill and plains from Naina Devi Mandir. Left is car parking lot for those who use stairs to reach temple. On right of pic are the plains, buildings that you see are Anandpur Sahib. Before that observe closely, you will see two canals that are shown in the Fields of Punjab photo collection.

Devotees who come to Anandpur Sahib on motor cycles have flags like what you see. Stop one is Anandpur, two is Naina Devi ie 20 kms away, three is Bhakra Nangal Dam ie another 20 kms away. They return via Nangal to Anandpur. Great drive. To see pics of Jaswant Garh War Memorial in Arunachal Pradesh Click here

A view of the Gobind Sagar Lake. Details of lake and Bhakra Dam are in next pic. Do go for boating in lake. There are many shops which sell fish ie from the lake. Looked very tempting.We must thank our stars there were no anti-dam activists in those days or! To see pics of Tawang Monastery Click here

Key points. Gobind Sagar Lake when full covers an area of 168 sq kms, storage capacity is 9,621 million cubic metres, project took 15 years to complete ie from 1948-63. It was made at an investment of Rs 235 crs (unbelievable). To see the water of Gobind Sagar Lake in Rajasthan Click here

My driver Jaswinder Singh Saini. Made this yatra very comfortable. Stays in a village few kms away from Anandpur Sahib. Strongly recommend him. He is happy to pick you up from Chandigarh Airport, a two hour drive to Anandpur Sahib, take you to Naina Devi/Bhakra Nangal Dam and drop you back to Chandigarh. His nos is 9463595758. He parks vehicle at Verka Chowk in Anandpur Sahib.To see pics of Farms of Punjab Click here