Unlike Uttaranchal which has resplendent pilgirimage desitinations, only some parts of Himachal Pradesh can boast of really time less pilgirmage centres. Some of the most well known pilgrimages is situated in and around Kangra. Kangra or Nagarkot Dham as it is popularly known is home to one of the most historically well known temples known as theVajreshwari Devi Temple. Kangra is well connected to New Delhi by road and about 510 Kms. from Delhi which takes around ten hours drive. The road passes through many important places like Kurkshetra, Karnal, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ropar, Anandpur Sahib (important Sikh Pilgrimage) and Una. The place is also connected by train which goes upto Pathankot and from there by narrow gauge uptill Kangra. Some Airlines also fly upto Gaggal Aiport which is about 30 odd Kms. away. The full details about the history of Kangra can be viewed at www.hpkangra.nic.in
View of Vajreshwari Devi Temple
The temple is a sidh peeth and is reverned asafter Parvatis demise and tandva form taken up by Lord Shiva, in order to preserve the earth from destruction Lord Vishnu had unleashed hisChakra to cut the body of Sati into 51 pieces and wherever a piece of Sati landed became a Sidh peeth. It is stated that the left breast of Sati landed at this place and hence the nameVajreshwari Devi. There are many dharmashalas available at Kangra or else there are budget hotels also in the vicinity. Before reaching Kangra one has to pass through Una District which is again home to another Sidh peeth known as Chintpurni Devi situated at an altitude of 940 meters from mean sea level and about 430 Kms. from New Delhi. It is said that the feet of Satifell at this place.
Outside Chintpurni Devi Temple
Next visit was to the famous pilgirmage centre of Jwalaji Devi which is situated 30 Kms. from Kangra and the view enroute is enchanting. It is said that the tongue of Sati fell at this place and an eternal blue flame leaps from the depths of earth since times immemorial.
Enchanting View of Beas river enroute Jwalaji temple -
Just outside the Jwalaji Temple
Apart from Jwalaji the other main pilgrimage centre that is situated near Kangra is the famousChamuda Devi temple where pyre of dead Hindus is aflame every day. This place is situated at around 7 Kms. from Kangra enroute to Dharmshala which is the district headquarters of Kangra. The place is dedicated to godess Ambika who upon being constantly harrassed by agents of demon called Chand & Mund constricted her brows from which emerged the fierce figure of godess Kali who immediately killed both Chand & Mund. Having been pleased at her success, godess Ambika dedicated the place of worship in name of Chamuda Devi. This place is essentially a tantric cult centre of practice of godess worship.
Chamunda Devi Temple view from road to Dharmshala
Another excursion other than the pilgrimage that can be undertaken from Kangra is to Dharmshala & Mcleod Ganj (headquarters of Government in exile of Tibet). The place is worth visiting but so much has been said and written about the place that I am not inclined to burden my readers with details of these places. However,for information regardingplaces to stay in these pilgrimage desinations one may visit the website www.hptdc.nic.in/cir0301.htm
View of distant Dhauladhar Ranges from road to Dharmshala