Chamunda Devi Temple
Just 24 Km from Kangra and 15 Km from Dharamsala is the famous temple of goddess Chamunda Devi (Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham). At the back of the temple is a cave-like scoop where a stone “Lingam” under a boulder represents Nandikeshwar (Shiva). The temple complex is an enchanting spot with glorious view of Dhauladhar, the Baner Khad and Dadh. A vast running water pool houses the statues of Lord Shiva and Saraswati. A trek of about 16 Km up in the Dhauladhar ranges is the ancient temple of Aadi Himani Chamunda.
Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Kangra
In the middle of the town of Kangra is the temple dedicated to Bajreshwari Devi. It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. Known once for its legendary wealth this temple was subject to successive depredations by invaders from the north. Destroyed completely in 1905 by an earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1920 and continues to be a busy place of pilgrimage. In the surroundings of Kangra, one can visit the historical Kangra Fort at Old Kangra (3 Km) and also trek up to the temple of Jyanti Devi located on the hill top, opposite to the Kangra fort.
Jwala Devi Temple
The famous temple of Shaktipeeth Jwala Devi is 35 Km from Kangra and 53 Km from Dharamsala. Dedicated to the “GODDESS OF LIGHT”, the temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in northern India. There is no idol of any kind, the flame is considered as a manifestation of the goddess. An eternally burning and shining blue flame emanates from the rock sanctum and is fed by the priests with the offerings of devotees. The golden tower (dome) of the temple was a gift from the Emperor Akbar. Two important fairs are held here during the Navratras in earlier March/April and September/October. Hotel accommodation, Sarai’s, rest houses and HPTDC hotels with modern facilities are available for visitors to the shrine.
Chintpurni Devi Temple
This Shakti-temple is located on Dharamshala-Hoshiarpur road on a ridge. Thousands of devotees visit this temple. In addition to many religious festivals, the main fair is held during the 10 days of “Shukalpaksh” in August. There is a Yatri Niwas which is managed by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Shri Naina Devi Ji, Bilaspur
Shri Naina Devi ji temple is situated on a beautiful hillock, about 60 Km from Bilaspur and about 20 Km from Anandpur Sahib. It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. According to a belief, once Shiva’s consort Sati, died to avenge an insult. The estranged Shiva picked up her corpse and gyrated in his horrific dance of destruction. Then Vishnu, the preserver, unleashed his Chakra and cut the body into 51 pieces to save the earth from Shiva’s wrath. Naina Devi is where Sati’s eyes are believed to have fallen. Nearby is the holy cave in the name of Shri Naina Devi. A big fair during Shravan Ashtami and in the Navratras of Chaitra & Ashwin, fairs commemorating the goddess are held here.
Bhimkali Temple, Sarahan, Shimla
On Hindustan Tibet Road from Jeori Sarahan is (17 Km) with spectacular view of Srikhand range. Sarahan has the majestic Bhimkali Temple. Himachal Tourism runs Hotel Shrikhand. Saharan is the gateway to Kinnaur. A Pheasant Breading Centre and stadium are worth visiting.
The cave temple of Baba Balak Nath is thronged by devotees all the year round. It is situated on the Dhaulgiri hills on the border of Bilaspur and Bilaspur (40 Km from Bilaspur and 45 Km from Hamirpur) and is well connected by roads from all sides. During Navratras, there is a continuous stream of visitors to receive blessings of the Baba and Government makes arrangements for stay in tented colonies and provides water, toilets and other essential services. Additional accommodation and installation of rope way to Shahtalai is expected to attract more tourists. Shahtalai associated with legends of the saint is about 5 Km from Deotsidh. En-route Deotsidh, one can enjoy pleasing sights of Bhakra Dam as well as of Shri Naina Devi temple complex. Nangal, the gateway to Bhakra dam is about 100 Km from Hamirpur.
Hari Rai Temple, Chamba
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to 11th century. It was probably built by Salabahana. This temple lies in the north-west corner of the main Chaugan, which had become the official entrance to the town by the end of 19th C. A steep path leads to the old Shitla Bridge, which was constructed in the year 1894. The temple is built in Shikhara style and stands on a stone platform. The Shikhara of the temple is finely carved. This is one of the major old temples, which is away from the old township and the only one near the Chaugan.
Much of this temple is hidden behind some unimaginative structures of the British period behind the Gandhi Gate and the Fire Station Building. The Gandhi Gate was built in the year 1900 to welcome Lord Curzon, Viceroy. It is the only structure that has been coated with saffron color and stands out because of its prominent color.
The temple enshrines a marvelous bronze image of Lord Vishnu in the form of Chaturmurti. The temple of Hari Rai is believed to be of great antiquity and legend affirms that the Ravi once flowed in a shallow stream across the Chaugan and the temple had to be approached by stepping stones.
Laxmi Narayan Temple, Chamba
Laxmi Narayana Temple, which is the main temple of Chamba town, was built by Sahil Varman in the 10th century AD. The temple has been built in the Shikhara style. The temple consists of Bimana i.e. Shikhara and GarbhGriha with a small antralya. Laxmi Narayana Temple has a mandapa like structure also. The wooden Chhattries, the shell roof, atop the temple were in response to the local climatic conditions as a protection against snowfall.
There are several other temples within the complex. The temple of Radha Krishna, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and Gauri Shankar Temple are among these. The temple of Laxmi Narayana continued to be embellished by the Rajas who succeeded to the throne of Chamba. Raja Balabhadra Verma perched the metallic image of Garuda on a high pillar at the main gate of the temple. Raja Chhatra Singh place gilded pinnacles on the temple tops in 1678 as a reaction against the orders of Aurangzeb to demolish the temple. Later Rajas also added a shrine or two, thus enriching the complex.
Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour
The 9th century temples at Bharmaur are among the most important early Hindu temples in the Chamba Valley. According to legend, 84 (Chaurasi) yogi’s visited Bharmaur, capital of King Sahil Varma. They were so pleased with the king’s humility and hospitality that they blessed him with ten sons and a daughter, Champavati. A cluster of shrines commemorates that visit. The temple square is the Centre of all activities in the little town of Bharmaur and the Lakshmi, Ganesh, Manimahesh and Narsing temples, the main shrines, are splendidly set off by the dramatic mountains cape. Bharmaur is 65 kms from Chamba.
Masroor Rock-cut 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.
26 Km from Kangra on Hoshiyarpur road, near Bankhandi is situated the ancient temple of Mata Baglamukhi. The temple has the stone idol of Mata Durga and is said to be a fine example of stone carving.
Hatkoti Temple, Shimla
(Pls check copy) Motorable on Shimla-Rohru highway. Famous for ancient temple of Mata Hateswari in the midst of paddy fields on the right bank of the Pabber River. HPTDC runs Hotel Pabber here.
Sankat Mochan, Shimla
On Shimla-Kalka road (NH-22) is famous “Lord Hanuman” temple. It commands an excellent view of Shimla town. The place can be visited by Bus/Taxi.
Tara Devi, Shimla
On Shimla – Kalka road (NH-22) this holy place is accessible by Rail, bus and car. From the station/road-one can visit the temple either on foot or by taxi / jeep.
Jakhoo Temple, Shimla
Two km from city centre, this is Shimla’s highest point and offers a panoramic view of the town’s hills and distant mountain ranges. There are spectacular views at sunrise and sunset especially during the monsoons. The peak has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Legend has it that he stopped here while searching for the sanjeevani plant – the herb required to cure Laxman who lay mortally wounded on a battlefield in Lanka in an episode from the epic Ramayana. A variation of the legend says that his sandal fell here. The temple has been exhaustively renovated and this vantage point is being connected by a ropeway. At the top of the hill in the temple complex at 108 feet tall idol of Lord Hanuman is a big attraction for the tourists.The way to the temple is, on foot, from the Ridge near Christ Church. Other option is to hire pony from the Ridge or drive taking via the Cart Road.
Kali Bari Temple, Shimla
Few yards from scandal Point towards General Post Office. It is believed that the idol of Goddess Shayamla is enshrined there.
Parashurama Tal & Renuka Temple
At the base of the Renuka Lake, this large pool is considered to embrace Lord Parshurama, who wished to spend all eternity at his mother’s feet. Reportedly built overnight by an invading force of Gurkhas in early 19th Century, the original temple of Renukaji is here. Both mother and son are reunited every year at a celebratory fair held in November.
On the left bank of the Renuka Lake are three Ashrams run by Sadhus and these have inns to accommodate pilgrims visiting this sacred lake. Gayatri temple has a rare 1.60 meter high Panch Mukhi Ma Gayatri statue made of marble. There are marble idols of Ganpati, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Indra as well. This temple is dedicated to Ma Gayatri – the mother of Vedas, the treasure of Hindu wisdom.
Hadimba Temple, Manali
Manali has many attractions but the chief centre of interest, historically and archeologically, is undoubtedly the DHOONGRI TEMPLE dedicated to goddess Hidimba, the Bhim of Mahabharat fame. It has four-tiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. This temple located amidst wooden forest of deodar is about 2.5 Km. from the tourist office. It is a pleasant experience to stroll in the temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held here in May.
Manu Temple, Manali
3 Km from the main bazaar in old Manali lays the temple of MANU RISHI. It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu in India, who was the creator of human race on the earth.
Vashisht Hot Water Springs and Temples
Vashisht, a small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass is worth a visit. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to Vashisht Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists. Turkish style showers fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby spring is provided for bathing.
Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kullu
Placed at a height of 2460 meter is Bijli Mahadev, a sacred destination, 14 Km to the south-east of Kullu and a three Km trek from Mansari village. A beautiful meadow with an ancient Shiva temple, famous for its stone Shiva-Linga which shatters (it is believed)each time lightning strikes it, only to be resurrected by the Pujari. The prospect from Bijli Mahadev is enthralling with a panoramic view of the Kullu & Manikaran valleys. It is a favorite spot for visitors and the local populace alike. One can also visit the Palani fall which lies six Km to the north of Bijli Mahadev and is a popular picnic spot. If visit the fall in March, take a stop at the fair which is held there annually during this month.
Raghunathji Temple, Kullu
1 Km from Dhalpur (Kullu), Raghunathji is the principal deity of the valley.
Mathi Devi Temple, Kinnaur
This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. It is situated on the right bank of Baspa River. There is a road along the left bank from Karcham. There are 3 temples of local goddess Mathi, the main ones are said to have been constructed about 500 years ago.
Kinner Kailash, Kinnaur
One can undertake this holy parikrama from Morang and return to Kalpa / Karcham in 7- 8 days.
Tattapani, 50 kms from Shimla
Motorable on Shimla-Mandi Highway via Naldehra. Tattapani has hot water springs having sulphur contents, also Hindu temples and Shiv Goofa at Saraur (4 Km) are worth seeing places
Bhootnath Temple, Mandi
Practically synonymous with Mandi and located in its very heart, this is as old as the town itself and dates back to the 1520s. In March, the festival of Shivratri is a major event and the Bhootnath temple is its focus. For an entire week the town celebrates the arrival of hundreds of local deities on elaborately decorated palanquins.
Baijnath Shiv Temple
This particularly beautiful ancient Shiv temple at Baijnath is 16 Km from Palamur, on the Pathankot-Mandi national highway. Built of stone in the 9th century AD in the shikhara style, it is a fine blend of sculpture and architecture. The temple is easily accessible from both Palampur and Kangra. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in the country. Every year during the Shivratri fair, pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colorful fair and festivities.
Trilokpur Temple, Nahan
Built in 1573 by Raja Dip Prakash, this temple is situated at a distance of 23 Km from Nahan and 6 Km from Kala Amb, the gateway to Nahan from Haryana. Trilokpur is a place of great religious importance. The temple of the goddess Mahamaya Balasundri is very famous and attracts lakhs of pilgrims from all over Northern India, especially from Haryana and Himachal. A fair is held twice a year during the Navratras in March/April and September/October when a large number of devotees visit this temple and pay their respects to the goddess. This place is approachable by bus and taxi.
Trilokinath Temple, Lahaul-Spiti
Trilokinath means the Shiva. A temple is situated in the village which is about 4 Km short of Udaipur on the left bank of Chenab River. Devotees from far off places come to pay their respects at this unique temple. This Shiva temple was given a look of Buddhist shrine by Guru Padmasambhava by installing the 6 armed image of Avalokiteshvar. It is now sacred both to Hindus and Buddhists alike and attracts many pilgrims from both these communities. In August, a big festival named Pauri is held for three days when people including the sadhus and followers of various religious sects gather to receive the blessings of Lord Trilokinath.
Ancient Temples around Paonta Sahib
Other places of interest around Paonta Sahib are the Patanjali Jyotirlinga Temple, said to have been worshipped by Maharishi Patanjali, a disciple of Maharishi Vyas – the author of epic Mahabharat. Also of interest is Shiva temple at Shivpuri about 8 Km from Paonta Sahib; Bhadarkali temple and the Sikh shrine of Tirgarhi at Bhagani; and the Gangvaha Tirth across the Yamuna where, as per a legend, river Ganga crossed over the Yamuna bank to please Rishi Gautam, the husband of the legendary Ahilya. On The Himachal side of the Yamuna bank near Gangavaha Tirth is Rampur Ghat, which legend associates with the crossing of river Yamuna by Lord Ram on a boat.
At Paonta Sahib, to the right of Yamuna Bridge stands the Dei-Ka-Mandir, constructed about a century ago by the sister of the then ruler of Sirmour to propitiate Lord Ram, the family deity of the Suryavanshi Sirmouri rulers.