About the Temple
The temple of Bhadra Kali is famously known as Sri Bhalei Bhadra Kali Mata temple. It is located at the height of 3800 ft on a place called Bhalei. The temple stands on the top of the hill, surrounded by Deodar trees, on the bank of Chamera Lake. The temple deity is a black stone idol of Goddess which stands 2 ft tall and is enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The original Bhalei Mata temple was built in the 18th century by the local ruler of the Chamba. The old temple was constructed with woods and stones. The idol of Goddess was placed inside the wooden box. The temple of Bhalei Mata was rebuilt in the 19th century by the state government. The structure was replaced with different stones, sands and irons. The main gate of the new temple is decorated with images of various Gods and Goddess.
The temple of Bhadra Kali was actually built by King Pratap Singh during the 18th century. The legend says that the deity appeared in the dreams of King Partap Singh and told him that she is kept under the soil at a place called Bharan about 3 km from the present site of the temple. The deity ordered the king to bring her from there and establish a suitable temple for her. Next day, the king with his servants went to the site and discovered the idol. The king then decided to build a temple in Chamba town. On their way back, they took a halt at Bhalei and when they resumed their journey, the servants could not lift the palankeen of the deity in which she was being taken to Chamba. A priest from Kilod village was invited to interpret this incident. He interpreted that the deity did not want to go to Chamba, rather she wants her temple to be erected at the site.
According to another belief, the locals were not happy with the idea of the deity being taken to Chamba. They requested the king to construct the temple at Bhalei. The king agreed and built the temple at Bhalei which was later renovated by Raja Sri Singh. In 1973, some thieves stole the idol of Bhadra Kali but it was recovered at Chohra near the present dam site. It is believed that the idol of the deity seems to be perspiring since then.
Festivals and Celebrations
A big havan ceremony is performed during Ashvin Navratras and Chaitra Navratras. The festivals of Dussehra and Deepawali are celebrated with great zeal.
How To Reach
By Road: Bhalei is 50 km away from Chamba on Salooni road. Buses and taxis are available to reach the temple.
By Train: The nearest railway station is in Pathankot (70 km).
By Air: The Pathankot airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 120 km. Another airport is located at Gaggal in Kangra at a distance of 180 km.