Chamunda Devi Temple, India
The Chamunda Devi Temple is one of the most famous temples of India. It is located in Himachal Pradesh and is a popular tourist destination. Situated on the banks of Ganga and 1000 meters above the sea level, it is overlooked by the mighty Dhauldhar ranges. The surrounding mountains, rivers and forests enhance its enchantment and charm.
There are many legends in different versions on the origin of the Chamunda Devi Temple. One of the legends has it that the wicked demons Chanda and Munda of the notorious demon king Shumb Nishumb tried to harass Goddess Ambika, leading to a fierce battle between the gods and demons. A terrifying image of Kali emerged from the frown of Goddess Ambika and she fiercely fought the demons singlehandedly and presented the slain heads of Chanda and Munda to the Goddess. Pleased, the Goddess blessed Kali by bestowing the title Chamunda.
The temple was relocated to the current location from a dangerous and remote location about 400 years ago. Here too, there is a legend. The reigning king, along with his royal priest prayed to the Goddess for permission to relocate to a new place, which she granted. The Goddess directed the priest in his dream to mount an ancient idol in the new temple which could be found at a certain location. The men who were sent to get the idol found it but could not lift it. The Goddess appeared again in the priest’s dream and told him that the men considered the idol to be a mere stone piece and so, could not lift it. She directed him to go to the place with respect and bow in front of the idol. The priest did as he was told and lifted the idol easily.
The temple has many attractions including beautiful images and carvings of gods and goddesses. The complex also has a handicrafts center for wooden carvings, Kangra paintings and other items. It is one of the most charming and impressive temples of India.