Every inch of this land is heavily steeped in mythology, and every art and architecture has its own importance. If there is anything great and concrete that has survived the rigors of time in India, then it is surely the temples of ancient time. The earliest temples are the rock cut and cave temples in India.
India is a land of Gods and wonderful Temples historically referred to the territory bounded by the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas often known as 'Dev Bhumi' or the abode of Gods. These magnificent ancient temples, some of which are in ruins speak of the golden time when India was at the vanguard of civilization. All these temples are famous and sacred for their unique features and spirituality and architecture. They are traced at Barabar Hills in Bihar, Elephanta, Bhaja, Karla, Kanheri, Nasik and Ellora all in Maharashtra, Badami in Karnataka, and Pallavaram and Mahabalipuram in Tamilnadu belonged to the 3rd and the 2nd century B.C.
Arrive Delhi, met upon arrival and transfer to the hotel White House for overnight stay.
Early morning drive to Mansa Devi Temple at Panchkula via visiting Sakhumbari Temple. Arrive and darshan of Mata Mansa Devi. After darshan proceed for Nainadevi temple and check in at the hotel on arrival for overnight stay at HPTDC Hotel Hill Top.
Shakumbari Devi : Shakti Peeth Shakumbari is situated at a distance of 40 Kilometer to the north of Saharanpur. The Devi temple situated in Shakumbari area dates back to ancient times although there is no concrete historical and archeological evidence. The popularity of this temple has been increasing day by day and lacks of devotees visit this temple for "DARSHAN” .Twice a year i.e. in the month of Ashwin and Chetra the famous Shakumbari mela is organised during the days of Navratra. The idols at Shakumbari temples do not seems to be of a very ancient architecture. Some people beleive that this temple was constructed during the Marathas while other believe that ADI SANKRACHARYA performed his Tapshaya here and these idols were installed by him in this temple. It is said that MAA Shakumbari killed Mahishasur Maha Daitya. About Shakumbari it is also believed that the Devi performed Tap for 100 years having a vegetarian meal only once every month end. During this the Rishi Munis who came for devi's DARSHAN were welcomed and honoured with vegetarian meals. Because of this the temple was named as Shakumbari devi temple. About one kilo meter east of Shakumbari lies the Bhura Dev (BHAIRAV temple which is considered to be the guard of Shakumbari Devi. Because of this all the devotees to Shakumbari first visit Bhura dev temple.
MANSA DEVI TEMPLE lies in Bilaspur village, about three kilometers east of Mani Majra. There are two temples here. The older one is said to have been built by the ruler of Mani Majra (1815 AD). The legend is that originally the shrine was in the territory of erstwhile while Princely state of Nahan and the stream which supplied water to the pilgrims visiting the temple, was cut off by some hill people causing great distress to the pilgrims. There upon the goddess appeared in dream of Gurbax Singh, ruler of Mani Majra and asked him to construct a temple for her at this place. This temple contains thirty-eight panels of wall paintings besides floral designs painted all over the ceiling and the arches leading into the temple. The drawings of the temple are not of high standard but a great variety of themes is illustrated. The other temple is said to have been constructed by Maharaja Karam Singh of erstwhile while Patiala State 1861 AD to commemorate his success in the battle against the Gurkhas.
Kali Mata Temple Kalka : AADI SHAKTI MAHA KALI incarnated herself. Today there is a new temple of MAHA KALI at this place that has been constructed over the old temple made of stones. It is believed that the Paandavaas located the main idol of MAHA KALI in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. IN the circumambulation of the temple, idols of LORD HANUMAN, SHIVA, SIDH BABA BALAK NATH, SHIV PARIVAAR, VISHNU, NAL, NEEL, SHANI, BHAIRON and GODDESS LAKSHMI, SARASWATI and DURGA are present. Idol of LORD GANESHA is places on the main gate. In the temple premises idols of MAHA KALI MAA, MAHISHASURMARDINI DURGA and NARSINGH are placed. CHARAN of MATA KALI and a Havan Kund are also present in the temple premises, just opposite the sanctum sanctorum. Temple is open from 4 AM to 10 PM.
Naina Devi : Shri Naina Devi Temple is one of the 51 SHAKTI PEETHS. According to a belief once Shiva's consort Sati, died to avenge an insult. The distranged 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. The temple is situated on a beautiful hillock. Nearby is a holy cave in the name of Shri Naina Deviji. A big fair during Shravan Ashtami is held every year. Again in the Navratras of Chaitra and Ashwin, fairs commemorating the goddess are held here. For night stay, rest houses and sarais are available. For tourist a Route to -Ritual Aerial Passenger Ropeway- is also available from is also available from main Swarghat-Bhakra road to the temple.
Once you reach the hill top - take prasad from any of the various shops. After crossing the Main Gate, you will find a big Peepal tree on the left side. On the right side of the Temple there are idols of Lord Hanuman Ji and Lord Ganesh Ji. After reaching the main entrance to Temple, you will find two statues of Lions. Inside the temple, you will have darshan of Three deities. On the extreme left is Mata Kali Devi, the centre representing two Netras or eyes is Maa Naina Devi and to right side is idol of Lord Ganesh.
Early morning proceed to Nainadevi Temple for darshan and attend morning aarti. Later in the morning drive to Sidh Baba Balaknath temple. Proceed for darshan of the cave and other temple complex. Later proceed to Chintpurni mata temple. After darshan of Mata Chintpurani check in at the hotel for overnight stay HPTDC Hotel Yatri Niwas.
The Baba Balak Nath Sidhpeeth
Baba Ji is said to have taken birth in Gujarat, Kathiabad. The name of His mother was Laxmi and that of his father Vishno Vaish. Here Baba Ji named as ‘Dev’ became lost in ‘Bhagvad devotion’. Seeing this, his parents wanted to marry him; but Baba Ji didn’t agree and left His home in search of ‘Parma Sidhi’ and came by ‘Swami Dattaitreya’ in Junagarh on Girnar hill - a historical place. It is here Baba ji learnt the basics of ‘Sidhas’ from Swami Dattaitreya and became ‘Sidha’ and came to be known as ‘Baba Balak Nath Ji’. According to ‘Lok Srutis’ Baba Ji reincarnates Yuga and Yuga. He was known as ‘Skanda’in ‘Sat Yuga’, ‘Kaul’ in ‘TretaYuga’ and ‘Mahakaul’ in ‘Dvapra Yuga’. ‘Mahakaul’ of ‘Dvapra Yuga’, while going to ‘Kailasha Parvata’, met an old woman on the way. The old lady asked the mission and destination of Baba Ji. After knowing all that the old woman advised ‘Mahakaul’ to meditate on the bank of ‘Mansarovar’ and request ‘Mother Parvati’ (who would come there for bathing on special occasions), help him in reaching ‘Lord Shiva’.‘Mahakaul’ acted as told and became successful in his mission of reaching ‘Lord Shiva’ On seeing ‘Balayogi Mahakaul’, ‘Lord Shiva’ became very happy and blessed Baba Ji to be the ‘Sidha symbol’ of worshipping for devotee sin ‘Kaliyuga’ and his child like image to remain for ever.
While in the Sherine : the images of other Hindu Gods and Goddesses also grace these temples. A mound, below the ‘Gufa’ called as ‘Thara’ – is the main worshiping site of the ‘Sidhpeeth’. Thus, the architectural design of the buildings in the temple complex is of ‘Shikhara’ and ‘Dome’ style. Other archeologically important places in the temple complex include ‘Langar Bhawan’ alongside Bhartrihari temple and the ‘Matha’- about one kilometer from the ‘Gufa’.
The Samadhis of the ‘Mahantas’ of ‘Giri Sect’ – the lineage of the ‘Gurus’ of Baba Balak Nath ji can be located in the ‘Matha’. Two of these Samadhis had been laid near Bhartrihari temple. A visit to above mentioned places concludes the pilgrimage of a devotee to the ‘Sidhpeeth’.
Chintpurni Devi : The temple is open from 4 am to 11 pm. Bhog is offered from 12 noon to 12.20 pm. Snana is performed from7.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
According to Markandeya Purana, goddess Chandi defeated the demons after a fierce battle but two of her yogini emanations (Jaya and Vijaya) were still thirsty for more blood. Goddess Chandi cut off her own head to quench Jaya and Vijaya’s thirst for more blood. She is usually shown holding her own severed head in her hand, drinking one stream of blood spurting from the arteries in her neck, while at her side are two naked yoginis, each of whom drinks another stream of blood.
Chhinnamasta, the headless goddess, is the Great Cosmic Power who helps the sincere and devoted yogi to dissolve his or her mind, including all the preconceived ideas, attachments and habits into the Pure Divine Consciousness. Cutting off the head suggests the separation of the mind from the body, that is the freedom of the consciousness from the material confines of the physical body. According to Puranic traditions, Chhinnamastika Devi will be protected by Shiva - Rudra Mahadev in the four directions. There are four Shiva temples - Kaleshwar Mahadev in the east, NarayhanaMahadev in the west, Muchkund Mahadev in the north and Shiva Bari in the south - which are nearly equidistant from Chintpurni. This also confirms Chintpurni as the abode of Chhinnamastika Devi.
While at Temple : Devotees usually bring offerings for the Devi. Sweets (eg suji halwa, laddoo, barfi), kheel (sugar-coated puffed rice), batasha, coconut (or other fruits), chunni, dhwaja (red-coloured flag) and flowers are some of the offerings that devotees bring. You may buy prasada from one of the shops in the bazaar. You may leave your shoes at one of these shops as shoes (and other leather items) are not allowed in the temple bhavan. Please wash your hands after taking off your shoes. It is also customary to cover your head in the temple bhavan with a cap, shawl or handkerchief.
As you enter the temple main gate, on the right hand side you should see a stone. This is the stone which Pandit Mai Das had dug out to reveal the water spring as commanded by the Devi. In the center of the Bhavan is the temple garbha griha. The image of Mata Chintpurni Devi is installed here in the form of a pindi (a round stone). Please queue up for a darshan of the Devi and make your offerings.
Morning drive to Dharamsala. Visit Mata Jwala ji Temple and Brijeshwari Temple at Kangra and Chamuda Devi Temple. Late proceed to Dharamsala and check in at one of the hill resort hotel for overnight stay Hotel Him Queen. Rest of the evening free to enjoy this hill station.
JawalaMukhi is a famous temple of Goddess JawalaMukhi - The deity of flaming mouth. The temple is built over natural jets of combustible gas, believed to be the manifestation of goddess. The temple lies in the lap of Shivalik range of Kangra valley called "Kalidhar". This is believed to be the first ever temple built by the Pandavas.
JawalaMukhi is a great heritage centre for not only the people of JawalaMukhi, Kangra or Himachal Pradesh but of the whole nation. This monument of national heritage has assiduously been preserved by all those who looked after the affairs of this place, be they the managers or Pujaries of the temple or be they mendicants who wandered to the place from time to time or be they the people of deity or the pilgrims or be it the State Government.
Once you reach the main gate of Temple, buy Parshad from any shop around the way, you can also bring your own offerings from home. In general Pan,Supari,Dhawaza,Narela,loung,elaichi are accepted as Parshad according to Holy Shastras.
Before crossing the main gate of the Temple, you have to put off your shoes and wash your hands.
When you enter the Temple you will find the two lions in front of temple of MAA JAWALAJI, And there you can have the Darshan of MAA JAWLAJI.
There are other places and temples of religious and historical significance in the periphery of the main temple. These can be enumerated as Gorakh Dibbi (The boiling water body - must visit), A temple of Sidh-Naga-Arjuna (a disciple of Guru Gorakh Nath), Lal Shivalaya and Ambikeshwar temples dedicated to lord Shiva, Tedha mandir dedicated to Lord Rama ( This temple got its name due to its tilting in the earthquake of 1905), a Gyatri Devi Temple, a Bhairva Temple, Astbhuja Durga Temple , Ganesha temple and Tara Devi Temple.
Vajreshwari Devi :
Popularly known as Nagarkot Dham or Kot Kangra, the temple dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari Devi was once the most renowned shrines of Northern India. It is a famous Shaktipeeth where the left breast of Pauranik Sati Parvati is stated to have fallen. The Devi is worshipped in the form of Pindi. A legend avers that the body of demon king Jalandhara is buried at this place. According to another legend, the Goddess Vajreshwari received injuries while killing the demon Mahishasur which were cured by applying butter. The tradition is still celebrated on Makar Sakranti every year.
Though the main temple was ravaged by foreign invaders and completely destroyed by the 1905 earthquake, it has been restored to its pristine glory. It was rebuilt by the Temple Restoration Committee in the existing form in 1930. The three domes of this temple depict the architecture of religions places of Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs which is quite rare.
Once you reach the main gate of Temple, buy Parshad (Food blessed by God ) from any shop around the way, you can also bring your own offerings from home. In general Pan,Supari,Dhawaza,Narela,loung,elaichi are accepetd as Parshad according to Holy Shastras, After crossing the main gate and all the shops on the way you will reach near the Temple. Before entering the Temple you have to put off your shoes and wash your hands. When you enter the Temple you will find MAA VAJRESHWARI DEVI and there you can have the Darshan of Goddess. The main gate is towards south direction which emphasisis that the temple had been a great centre of Tantra under Jalandhara Peeth. Around the main Temple there is Tara Devi Temple, Bhairon Temple. While during the earthquake in 1905, rest of the temple was ruined, the temple of Tara Devi maa remained in its original position. There are also two big trees of "Peeple & Banyan Tree" on which people tie threads when their wishes are fulfilled
Around 400 years ago the king and a Brahmin priest prayed to Devi for permission to move the temple to some easily accessible location. Devi appeared to the priest in a dream giving her consent. She directed him to dig in a certain spot and an ancient idol would be found and that idol should be installed in the temple and worshipped as Her form.
The king sent out men to bring the idol. Although they were able to locate it but were not able to lift it. Again Devi appeared to the priest in a dream. She explained that the men could not lift the holy relic because they considered it an ordinary stone. She instructed him to get up early in the morning, take a bath, wear fresh clothes and go to the place in a respectful manner. He did as he was told and found that he could easily lift what a large group of men could not. He told the people that it was the power of the Goddess that brought the idol to the temple.
In the temple now you can see scenes from the Devi Mahatmya, Ramayan and Mahabharata. On either side of the Devi's image is Hanuman and Bhairo.
The famous Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham is an abode of Shiva Shakti since the saga of Puranas. According to a legend, the Goddess Chamunda was enshrined as chief Goddess with the title of Rudra in the battle between demon Jalandhra and Lord Shiva which made this place famous as “Rudra Chamunda”. Another legend has it that “Savarni Manamantra” battle between the gods and demons, Chamunda emerged as Chandika from an eyebrow of Goddess “Kaushiki” and was assigned the task of eliminating the demons “Chand” and “Mund”. Chandika fought a fierce battle with these two demons and at last killed them. Goddess Chandika took the slain heads of the two demons “Chand” and “Mund” to the Goddess “Kaushiki” who being immensely pleased, blessed Chandika and bestowed upon her the title of “Chamunda” ,the name which is famous all around the world.
Once you reach the main gate of Temple, buy Parshad (Food blessed by God ) from any shop around the way, you can also bring your own offerings from home. In general Pan,Supari,Dhawaza,Narela,loung,elaichi are accepetd as Parshad according to Holy Shastras. After crossing the main gate and all the shops on the way you will reach near the Temple. Before entering the Temple you have to put off your shoes and wash your hands. When you enter the Temple you will find main hall and in that is the MAA CHAMUNDA DEVI TEMPLE. And there you can have the Darshan of Goddess Chamunda. Near the main Temple on the left hand side down stairs there is a Shiva Temple. The Shiva Temple is situated under a very huge rock and is known as Nandi Keshwar Dham.
Morning couple of hours free to explore this town of Tibetan settlement. Later at around 11 AM drive to Katra via Jammu. Room for wash and change and relax for couple of hours at hotel Vaishnodevi in Katra. After wash and change proceed to Banganga and commence trek to the Vaishno Devi Shrine. Darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi late in the night.
Mata Vaidhno Devi
The 13 Kms hilly track between Katra and Bhawan contains number of ancient temples and view-points for rest and enjoy natural beauty. The first stop is at Banganga, 1 Km away from Katra where one can have holy bath in the Banganga and have a Langer/Parshad (free food) run by famous T-series Industries.
The second stop Charanpadhuka is about 2.5 Kms away from Banganga. It is believed that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji took rest while moving towards the Trikuta Hills. The place contains the foot prints of Goddess, and thus the place is named Charanpadhuka Temple..
The third stop Adkuwari is about 3 Kms from Charanpadhuka. Here one can stay for night as half of the journey is over. At Adkuwari the devotees can have Darshan of Adkuwari Temple and Gerbhjoon (an ancient Cave of about 20 feet). It is believed that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji hide herself from Bairon Nath in this cave for 9 months.
After a steep height of about 4 Kms from Adkuwari the fourth and last stop is Sanjichat. The Sanjichat is the highest place in the track. One can enjoy the aerial view of Katra, Udhampur, Reasi and Jammu.
From Sanjichat about 2.5 Kms downhill track led to Bhawan the holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. About 0.5 Kms from Bhawan on the Bahawan-Sanjichat track an about 2 Kms link track lead to the Bairon Nath temple. The track is further linked with Sanjichat though dense forest containing different species of wild life such as Langoor, Monkeys and other wild birds.
Register yourself at the booking counter Katra and get the yatra slip
Get permission for the video camera, if interested.
Return to Katra after Darshan in the morning. Later after wash and change and little relax drive to Amritsar in around 7 hours time and check in at the hotel Golden Tower. Evening pay your first visit the Golden Temple.
Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar
Built in the third decade of the 20th Century, this temple echoes not the traditional Hindu temple architecture, but that of the Golden Temple. It rises from the midst of a tank and has canopies and the central dome in the style of the Sikh temple. Its foundation stone was laid by one of the greatest reformers and political leaders of resurgent India, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. It is a well-known repository of Hindu scriptures.
Golden Temple : literally meaning "holy pool of nectar", is the home to the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, and is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. Founded by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ramdas, it was completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. Work began in 1573 on digging the holy pool. In 1601 Harmandir Sahib was completed and 3 years later, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book was placed there.
Early in the morning pay your second visit to the holy sherine of Golden Temple. Little early in the morning check out from hotel and proceed to Delhi with stops to visit :
Devi Talab Mandir : The old Devi Talab has been renovated and in its centre, a new temple has been built. Recently a model of Amarnath Yatra has been built in the premises. An old temple of goddess Kali also stands by the side of the Devi Talab. The gilded Mandir is famous for the 'Hariballabh Sangeet Sammelan' held every year in December at its precincts for the past 125 years. Famous classical music exponents - both instrumental and vocal come together and perform at this gathering. In Devi Talab, there is a large masonry 200 year old tank sacred to Hindus.
Kali Devi Temple, Patiala : Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was inspired to build this temple and bring the 6-ft statue of Kali from Bengal to Patiala. This large complex attracts devotees, Hindu and Sikh, from distant places. A much older temple of Raj Rajeshwari is also situated in the center of this complex.
Ma Bhadra Kali temple (near Kurukshetra)
The famous Ma Bhadra Kali temple celebrates the legend of Sati Mata. It lies a short drive from the Sthanesar Mahadev Temple. The learned say Sati's lower limb fell here, granting the area the sanctity of a Sidh Peethor a place where wishes are fulfilled. The temple has been renovated with red stone and the inner sanctum has been beautified. At a well in the precincts, devotees offer terracotta horses as offerings in thanks-giving, each time their wishes are fulfilled. The inner sanctum of the temple houses both the awe inspiring and the sublime forms of the Mother Goddess Kali. Thousands of devotee throng the temple on the holy days of Navratre (March-April and September-October) and every Saturday.
Arrive Delhi and check in at hotel White House for overnight stay.
Full day visit to the temples of your choice in Delhi. Overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport in time to board flight for onward destination.