Naina Devi, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh
Legend / Local stories
Shri Naina Devi Temple is located on an altitude of 1177 meters in Distt. Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. Several mythological stories are associated with the establishment of the temple.
According to a legend, Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in Yagna, which distressed Lord Shiva. He picked the corpse of Sati on her shoulder and started his Taandav dance. This horrified all deities in the heaven as this could lead to holocaust. This urged Lord Vishnu to unleash his Chakra that cut the Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Sati fell down.
Another story related to the temple is of a Gujjar Boy named Naina. Once he was grazing his cattle and observed that a white cow is showering milk from her udders on a stone. He saw the same thing for next several days. One night while sleeping, he saw Goddess in her dreams who told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina told about the entire situation and his dream to Raja Bir Chand. When Raja saw it happening in reality, he built a temple on that spot and named the temple after Naina’s name.
Shri Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess. According to the legends, Mahishasur was a powerful demon who was blessed by the boon of immortality by Lord Brahma, but the condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. Due to this boon, Mahishasur started spreading terror on Earth and Gods. To cope with the demon, all Gods combined their powers and created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was gifted different types of weapons by all Gods. When Mahishasur got mesmerized by the immense beauty of Devi and proposed her to marry him. Devi told him that she will marry him if he would overpower her. During the battle, Devi defeated the demon and took out both his eyes. This urged Gods to happily applaud “Jai Naina” and hence the name.
One more story is associated with Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji. When he left for his military campaign against Mughals in 1756, he went Shri Naina Devi and performed a Sacrificial Yagna to seek blessings of the Goddess. After getting the blessings, he successfully defeated the Mughals.
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