The history of Chamundaji goes like that the goddess Ambika was once harassed by Chanda and Munda who were the mischievous agents of the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. Enraged, Ambika knitted here brows and from their folds emerged a terrifying form of the goddess Kali who slew them. Pleased, Ambika declared that Kali would now be worshipped as ‘Chamunda’ – slayer of Chanda and Munda. This is the most popular of the legends connected with Chamunda Devi who is worshipped all over India. In the Kangra area, her shrine is located on the banks of Baner (also known as Banganga) rivulet. Lore has it that a local ruler and a Brahmin prayed to the goddess to allow them to build her a temple that could be reached with relative ease. The goddess Chamunda appeared to the Brahmin in a dream and told him where her image could be found under the soil. The image was found but could not be moved. The goddess again appeared to the Brahmin and told him that the image could only be lifted by him with due reverence and after all suitable ablutions has been undertaken. This was done and the image was placed at the present location and the temple was built.
The temple draws thousands of worshippers every year. Chamunda Devi is said to have the power to grant boons and many come to her for help. The gate is flanked by images of Lord Hanuman and Lord Bhairav who are considered as the guardians of the shrine. By the temple of the Devi, there is a narrow staircase that leads down into a cave. In this, a shivlinga, the symbol of Lord Shiva is worshipped. The shrine also has a large water tank in which various images of Hindu deities have been placed on pedestals.
Height: 1000 m
Climate: In winter, the temperature can get quite cold when woollens are required. It is hot in summer and cottons are recommended.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Chamundaji
Road: Chamundaji is 105 kms from Pathankot, 15 kms from Dharamshala, 55 kms from Jwalamukhi, 25 kms from Palampur and 284 kms from Shimla.
Rail: The nearest broad gauge rail station is at Pathankot 105 kms away and the nearest narrow gauge station at Kangra is 35 kms away.
Air: The closest airport is at Gaggal, 28 kms away.
Tourist Attractions in Chamundaji
Navratra Fairs in March-April and September-October are as auspicious occasion for pilgrimage.
Gopalpur (12 kms) has an attractive small zoo where a variety of Himalayan birds and animals are housed.
Kangra (768 m, 35 kms) with its famous shaktipeeth Temple of Brajeswari is a part of the pilgrim circuit of Chamundaji.