Visit famous temples in Himachal Pradesh to celebrate Chaitra Navratri in April this year, for its peaceful environs and rich cultural traditions
Himachal Pradesh is also known as the Devbhoomi and is famous for its temples. People from Himachal Pradesh celebrate the two Navratra that takes place in April and October in the year with much devotion.
It is a time when people collectively pay their respect to the goddess Durga – the Goddess of cosmic powers. It is one the major festivals celebrated in the state, including other parts of the country.
The Navratra melas are organised in almost every part of the state. It’s an occasion to meet relatives and friends.
During the festival, the devotees from India and abroad visit famous temples in Himachal Pradesh in Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts of the state, to pay courtesy to goddess Durga. Thousands of devotees from all over India come every year to the Devi temples of Himachal.
Navratra means ‘nine nights’, symbolising the purity and power that fills everyone with utmost ‘shakti’ to live their lives to the fullest.
People conduct ritualistic puja and fast for nine consecutive days and nights, while following the lunar calendar. Chanting of mantras, reciting of hymns and singing of bhajans and folk songs accompany the rituals for nine days.
Chaitra Navratri is also known as ‘Vasanta Navratri’ marking the start of summer or ‘Rama Navratri’ as the ninth day of the Navratri festival marks the birthday of Lord Rama. During the Chaitra Navratri the nine days are dedicated to the worship of the nine forms of Goddess Shakti and most of the rituals are similiar to the ‘Shardiya Navratri’.
One of the important rituals in Navratra is the veneration of little girls. They represent goddess Durga and are known as ‘kanjaks.’ It is mainly performed on the eighth day or Ashtami.
In Himachal Pradesh, the last day of the festival marks the start of the Navratra celebrations. This last day is believed to be the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after killing the demon King Ravana.
Processions along with the deities of various temples of Himachal Pradesh are organised during the festival, when devotees worship the Divine Mother or Devi Shakti, who is worshiped as Devi Durga, Devi Laxmi and Devi Saraswati. Nine forms of the Divine Mother, Mookambika, Bhavani, Bhairavi, Sarvamangala, Jagadamba, Chandika, Bhadrakali, Annaporna and Durga, are worshiped during the Navratra festival.
People adorn colourful attires for the occasion and each day of this nine-day-long festival is denoted by a particular colour. Special arrangements are made by the government of the state to ensure that devotees and visitors have a hassle-free stay during this festive period.
The two Navratra also brings a multitude of devotees, from all over the country, to the state. It’s the time for the Navratra Pilgrimage to famous temples in Himachal Pradesh called Shakti Peethas located in various parts of the state, such as Sri Bajresjwari Devi Temple, Chintapurni Temple, Sri Naina Devi Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple and Jawalamukhi Temple.
Sri Naina Devi Temple, Bilaspur
One of the famous temples in Himachal Pradesh dedicated to goddess Durga is located in Bilaspur. During the Navratra festival, the nine-day long celebrations are held here. On the first 3 days, Devi Shakti is worshipped as Devi Durga, the symbol of power.
During the next 3 days, Devi Shakti is worshipped as Devi Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and the last 3 days Devi Shakti is worshipped as Devi Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
Sri Jawalaji Temple, Kangra
Another of the famous temples in Himachal Pradesh is located about 34km south, in the Kangra valley. During Navratra, huge numbers of devotees gather here and fairs are arranged on this occasion.
Chintpurni Mata Temple, Una
Possibly, one of the most famous temples in Himachal Pradesh recognised as one of the Shaktipeethas of the Hindus, Chintapurni Mata Temple, located at Una district is situated on the top of Sola Singhi Hills. The temple is also famously known as Devi Chinnamastika Temple. During Navratra, special celebrations and fairs are held at the temple premises, where devotees gather.
Chamunda Devi Temple, Kangra
Located about 10km away from Palampur, on the shores of Baner River, Chamunda Devi Temple is another one of the famous temples in Himachal Pradesh and is a Shaktipeetha of the Hindus. The Navratra festival rituals here are observed meticulously.
The first 3 days of the festival are dedicated to the 3 forms of Durga, and she is worshipped as Kali, Parvati and Kumari, representing all woman kind. During this occasion, on the day of Mahanavami, also known as “Kumari Puja,” nine young girls are given due importance.
Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Kangra
One of the famous temples in Himachal Pradesh recognised as a Shaktipeetha of the Hindus, Bajreshwari Devi Temple is located in Kangra Old Township. The temple that was destroyed in 1905 was reconstructed again in 1920. The Navratra festival is celebrated with great joy at this temple and thousands of devotees flock here to become part of the Navratra celebrations.
The tremendous faith and reverence towards the mother Goddess pervades the air. All the temples in Himachal Pradesh are beautifully decorated. The two Navratra celebrations have become a major treat for visitors, making this beautiful Himalayan state a prime tourist attraction.
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