About the Temple
Located in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, Naina Devi temple is among one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. The temple is devoted to Goddess Naina Devi and it is situated on Naina Dhar hill which overlooks the Gobind Sagar lake. Naina Devi temple has emerged as one of the holiest places for Hindus and Sikhs. The temple is surrounded by three famous landmarks such as Bhakhra Dam, Anandpur Sahib and Govind Sagar Lake.
Temple History and Temple Legend
Raja Bir Chand constructed this temple during the 8th century. The temple has a mythological association with Lord Shiva & Guru Govind Singh. According to a legend, Goddess Sati immolated herself in Havan Kund, which angered Lord Shiva. He carried the corpse of Sati on his shoulder and performed Taandav. This horrified all deities in the heaven as this could lead to annihilation. Lord Vishnu unleashed his Sudarshan Chakra and chopped Sati’s body into 51 pieces. At this place, the eyes of Sati were dropped.
Another story states that a Gujjar Boy, Naina while grazing his cows observed that a white cow is pouring milk from her udders on a stone. At the same night, Goddess appeared in his dreams. She told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina narrated his dream to Raja Bir Chand who built a temple on that site and named the temple after Naina’s name.
Naina Devi temple is also known as Mahishapeeth as Goddess defeated demon Mahishasur who was blessed by the boon of immortality. The condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. After this, Mahishasur started spreading terror. To cope with the demon, Gods created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was offered various weapons by all Gods. On seeing her, demon Mahishasur got mesmerized by her beauty. She promised him that she will marry him if he would defeat her. During the battle, Devi killed the demon and took out his eyes. Gods happily applaud “Jai Naina” and hence the Devi named as Naina Devi.
As per another version, in 1756 Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji left for his military campaign against Mughals. He visited Naina Devi temple to seek her blessings. After getting the blessings, he defeated the Mughals.
Festivals and Celebrations
The temple witnesses the huge crowd of devotees especially during Shravan Ashtami and Navratras.
The festivals of Makar Sankranti, Maha Shivratri, Holi, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra and Diwali are celebrated with great devotion. A fair is organized during Chaitra and Ashwin Navratri.
How To Reach
By Air: Chandigarh (135 km) and Bhuntar (131 km) are the nearest airports.
By Rail: The nearest rail-heads are at Kiratpur Sahib and at Shimla.
By Road: Bilaspur is connected with all the major towns of Himachal Pradesh by road. Located at the top of the hill, the temple can be reached via road and then by concrete steps. It has a cable car facility that moves pilgrims from the base of the hill all the way to the top.