Himani Chamunda, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
Himani Chamunda is a Hindu temple dedicated to Chamunda, situated in the Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India, in the Himalayas.Barfani Chamunda or Aadi Himani Chamunda is a Hindu temple near the town of Chamunda (Himachal Pradesh). At 2810 metres and flanked by Dhauladhars; Aadi Himani Chamunda temple is accessible via two well-defined trek routes. The more frequented trek route connects Chamunda temple with Aadi Himani Chamunda via Jadrangal. This is a route frequented by pilgrims and it is a much straighter and paved with stone steps. The other trekking route is lesser known, but is more scenic. This route starts near Jia Village. Jia is a picturesque mountain hamlet nestled in Dhauladhar foothills. This picturesque village is 7 kilometres from Chamunda town. The village is dominated by a hydroelectric power project overlooking the village. If you are driving to Jia, plan a visit to the upper reservoir of this hydroelectric project. The drive is quite scenic and is worth a detour.
The temple stands close to the ruins of the palace of Raja Chandar Bhan Chand Katoch (d. 1660), and is of least the same age, if not far older. Until 1992 the temple was also derelict but has been restored, in very large measure as a result of the dedication and hard work of one man, Mr. P. D. Saini, a retired Class 1 officer, who worked on its restoration for 20 years after his retirement, with the assistance of a group of devotees. He continues (as of 2013) to devote himself to the improvement of the temple even after its administration was taken on by the government.
The temple environs are of outstanding natural beauty and for that reason a destination for trekkers.
Aadi Himani Chamunda Temple (3185 meters) is located on a hilltop North East to the existing Chamunda Devi Temple in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. One can reach there after hiking about 13 Kilometers from Dharamshala Palampur state Highway (Jadrangal Village) and 8.5 Kilometers from the last motor able road at Kardiana. The trek to Aadi Himani Chamunda Devi requires about 6-7 hours and moderate expertise is required. Devotees visit the sacred shrine throughout the year except winters. As per locals goddess Chamunda killed two demons Chand and Mund from the top of the mountain by throwing huge boulders on them, one can still find one of the boulder above the Shiva Temple located near existing Chamunda Devi Temple on Dharamshala Palampur state highway. The recent temple build in past decade was destroyed by the fierce fire in 2014 and now its been again under reconstruction by the help of devotees and Temple Trust. The water is available till the half way and after that pilgrims need to carry their own. One can also find tea shops cum resting location multiple times till the hilltop temple.
Legend / Local stories
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