Himachal Yatra – Naina Devi

After having good time in London for about 5 days we reached India…. finally.  We were welcomed by hot weather, mosquitoes, dust, traffic jams and noise pollution.  After spending 2 years in Iceland, these things pinch more… at least for a few months, till the mind and body remember their default settings.

A week was spent in Diwali festival, sending and receiving gifts meeting relatives and  friends.  Then we decided to go on the Himachal Yatra.  Whenever I go abroad or come back from there, I always visit Jwalaji temple because I owe my present position to the boon given by Jwalaji.  In 2011 I could not visit Jwalaji because I had to rush to Iceland on short notice, hence the first programme was to visit Jwalaji, to pay my thanks for all what I have got due to her blessings.

Laxman was ready to go with us with his skoda Laura automatic for our comfort .  On 17th Nov,2012, we started our MahaYatra at around 4 in the morning.  Soon we were on the highway.  There was no fog, so the speed was good.  NH from Delhi to Ambala was not in that condition as we saw it 4 years ago.  There were road works going on at many places, and the condition of the road was pathetic at some places…however the toll rates have increased.

As gathered from one of Nandan’s comment, we decided to try the new route to Ropar.  Instead of going via Chandigarh, we went on the Ludhiana road and took the road, just before the first toll plaza towards right, the path indicating Kharar.  The road proved to be a boon… it was newly laid with no traffic jams and soon we reached Kharar.  It saved at least one hour journey time.

Road from Ropar to Kiratpur had been at its worst, whenever we travelled on this patch… But this time, the road was great and the payment of Toll was a pleasure.  Passing Kiratpur, we started towards Anandpur Sahib.

 

Road to Anandpur Sahib

This patch of Road from Kiratpur to Anandpur Sahib has always been good, even when all other roads in Punjab were horrible.  The road is always in good condition with welcoming gates and flowers around.

Welcome Gate before Anandpur Sahib

We reached Anandpur Sahib..brought our car near the main KeshGarh Sahib, clicked some fotos.  Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara is a historical place where Guru Gobind Singhji started the  Khalsa Panthh to fight against the tyranny of invaders.  BUT at the same place Khalistan was also declared by separatists and traitors.  The Gurudwara has a complex of many gurudwaras and KeshGarh Sahib is the biggest.  Since we had to reach Jwalaji today itself, we postponed the visit to Anandpur Sahib for return journey.

Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib

Just by the end of Anandpur Sahib, there is a right hand turn for Naina Devi.  We turned right and Naina Devi was in view.  Guru Gobind Singhji had great devotion for Mother Shakti.  He had done tapasya of Mother Kali in his last birth at Hemkunt  where Kali appeared before him and gave him two swords Miri and Piri (bravery & Spirituality) and promised him Moksha after he lays his life for saving hinduism, in his next birth.

Another view of Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara

 

Guru Gobind Singhji remembered all his past births and has written about this in his book Bichitar Natak.  Guru GobindSinghji spent his childhood here with his father Guru Teg Bahadur Singh, who initially built the Gurudwara here. Guru Gobind Singhji decided to make this place his permanent abode..  just below the temple of Naina Devi, so that Shakti continues sending her blessings to him.   (Many separatist sikhs refute these stories due to propaganda of khalistanis… but a wise Sikh granthhi told me this story, which I re-confirmed after reading Bichitar Natak).

 

We had an interesting incident 8 years ago, when we were going to Jwalamukhi via Anandpur Sahib.  After Kiratpur we saw a huge traffic jam caused by hundreds of trucks full with sikh devotees going to Anandapur.  It was perhaps some big sikh festival and sikhs were stopping vehicles and requesting people to take Langar from road-side langars.  Hundreds of people were eating free meals from langars.  Time was around 2-30 pm and we were hungry.  A sikh stopped our car too and asked us to eat something.

 

We were feeling hungry so we left the car and sat by the road-side where they were offering food.  When food was put before us, my friend became health conscious and pointed towards the flies and the dust enveloping the food.  Afraid of possible food-poisoning, we left the food and dashed our car towards Jwalamukhi.  In the way, the car punctured and after we changed the wheel, it refused starting.  We waited long for some one to come and help us.  After wasting a good 3 hours, the car finally started.  When we reached Jwalaji, it was almost 10 and most of the shops were closed.  We went to the only opened dhaba and ordered our Lunch+dinner.

When the food came, I saw a fly in the dal and when I tried eating Ghobi Aloo, it was leaving cobwebs, means it had become stale and uneatable.  We shouted at the Dhaba man, left the food and went to our hotel and slept.

After refusing the Langar, we had to sleep empty stomach that day…. now I leave the incident to your own judgement, without giving my opinion.

There are 3 ways to the temple of Naina Devi… one is that we turn towards Manali from Kiratpur Sahib and before Swarghat we turn left and reach Naina Devi. Another is from Nangal via Bhakhra dam… but the route from Anandpur Sahib is the most beautiful with Canals, forests and good roads

Road to Naina Devi

Canal on way to Naina Devi

Naina Devi temple is on the highest peak in the area and is visible from Kiratpur Sahib to Nangal.  The more we climb the clearer becomes the temple.

Naina Devi temple on top of hill

Since we were in no mood to climb the 1 km odd ascent, we reached the base of the rope-way.  Last time there were lot of shops at the base, but this time most of the shops were closed, and the rope way empty to our surprise.

Base of Rope way to Naina Devi

We purchased the tickets which were Rs 100 per person plus 10% entertainment tax.  I asked the counter man as to what is meaning of entertainment tax ? We are going to a temple and there is no entertainment in this.  Why are you turning our devotion to entertainment ? He said – ask your government, they have asked us to levy this tax.  Chalo we boarded the third class fiber glass cabin and started our journey.  The vistas around were beautiful. We could see the vast Gobind Sagar Lake of Bhakra Dam.

View from Rope way cabin

When we reached up, we found the reason of empty ropeway and closed shops.  Now cars can reach upto temple and hence people were coming upto temple on taxis, instead of standing in que for the rope way.  We bade farewell to the rope way and started our journey towards Temple.

I had come here in 1977, for the first time and the temple was lesser known then with mainly local devotees.  After so many years, after land-slides and stampede killing many, the temple still fascinated me.  It is on top of a hill and we can see all around from the temple.  Almost full view of Lake, Anandpur Sahib, Nangal …all can be seen clearly from the temple.

Naina Devi temple

The story is well known… when Sati killed herself in the yagna fire of her father, for the sake of respect of Lord Shiva. he carried her dead body all around earth.  Vishnu cut the body in 108 pieces, to relieve Shiva of his distress.  The pieces fell on the ground and a Shakti Peetha was formed.

Outside Naina Devi Temple

 

There are records available for 52 shakti peethas spread over Tibet,Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Trinkomalee in sri lanka and Hingulaj Bhavani in Pakistan is still visited by many shaktas. The rest of the 56 shakti peethas are around the world and no record is available…But I feel where ever in the world God is worshipped and a grand temple/mosque/church is established, must be actually a shakti peetha.

 

View of bus stop from temple. This is base for trek to temple

Naina Devi is the Shakti peetha where Sati’s eyes fell.  In Nainital also there is Naina Devi temple besides the lake.  They say one eye fell in Himachal and the other fell in Nainital.  Ki faraq painda e ??  If we have devotion we find shakti peetha anywhere.  Well the temple was in chaos, full of gandagi, indiscipline crowd, confused policemen and pujaris, as in most of our temples.  We had  darshan in one hour… (This was the first time I saw que in temple in my 5 visits).

We left the temple and started towards Nangal via Bhakra Dam.  The policemen there searched the car and asked

Policeman : इस  सूटकेस में क्या है

SS- सर इसमे केवल एक हाईड्रोजन बम्ब है…. जी कुछ कपड़े है

Police – दूसरे सूटकेस में क्या है

SS- जी उसमे विमान-भेदी तोप है… जी उसमे खाने पीने का सामान है

Policeman-कहां जा रहे हो ?

SS- हम ये इलाका उड़ाने आये है, अगर आपकी इजाजत हो तो… जी हम केवल भाखड़ा देख कर आगे चले जायेंगे

policeman insisted that I shutoff the camera and keep it in suitcases, so that we do not snap photos of Bhakra (the fotos which are easily available on net)

Proof ?  the photo of Bhakra dam put on net by NIC, the Government agency

Bhakra Dam

Bhakra Dam foto from http://www.powermin.nic.in

Finally we reached our destination of the day Jwalamukhi…Jai Jwala Ji ki.

we arrived Jwalamukhi

35 Comments

  • Dear SSjee ,

    This was the first English post I have read on Naina Devi and it was soul enlightening. The pictures once again are very clear and colorful , even the atmosphere was transparent with no fog and clouds. The narration was as usual very smooth . Nice information on Guru Gobind Singh.

    But what I found very attractive in this post which I look in every religious post is the Emotion or Bhavana.

    ” Whenever I go abroad or come back from there, I always visit Jwalaji temple because I owe my present position to the boon given by Jwalaji.” Wonderful SSjee.

    I once got the massive favours from Lord and then forgot him due to Ego and selfishness which I still repent. But still the Great Omkaar was kind enough to forgive me and brought me on right path.

    A very good post . Waiting for next one in Mahayatra…..

    • SilentSoul says:

      tks vishalbhai ! Lord doesn’t care for our forgetfulness or our careless behavior and keeps reminding us…After we are his little children.. how can he be rude with us ?

      During my second visit here with my father, I was told by him that I should, with devotion ask something from Jwalaji and it would be given… and just to prove my father wrong, I asked for an impossible job for me, where I can see many countries… and the next year I got that job, which was 100% impossible, given my poor academic record in college. Afterwards I always visit this temple to pay my regards to the presence of Holy Energy present in this temple. Even after so many years, I get tingling all over the body specially in spine, when i see the blue flame of Jwalaji burning.

  • Praveen Wadhwa says:

    SS Ji, Pictures are so crisp and I felt I am standing in Punjab.
    Sorry to know about Dhaba Incidence. I always pick a smallest dhaba where food is made outside where one can see it. I always avoid these so called new generation of Tourist Dhabas.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Praveen ji, In Jwalaji, now the food situation is good. Most of the dhabas prepare food before our eyes. It is normally during festive season of Navratras and shrawani months, that the food may be stale.

      Now I only eat at Hotel Jwalaji of HPTDC, who have a track record for providing fresh food all over Himachal.

      Tks for your comments

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    From the volcanoes of Iceland to Nyaas Shri Jwalamukhi of Punjab, it has been a long journey indeed. Thank you, SS, for sharing you experiences with us and we look forward to eagerly reading about your experiences, both khatti and meethis, during you recent ghumakkari in India.

    Even though Divine Shakti is everywhere, there are places where She is more accessible to the lay devotee. Hinduism is not polytheistic but pantheistic, a much higher concept than mere monotheism. “I feel where ever in the world God is worshipped and a grand temple/mosque/church is established, must be actually a shakti peetha” is a sublime reiteration of Hindu philosophy.

    Hinduism believes that there are as many paths to God as there are individuals. The is no ONE path and all paths lead to the same destination. It is so elevating to know little known facts about Guru Gobind Singhji and sad to see many of his followers treat Hinduism with disdain.

    I also liked the way you exposed the absurdity of preventing photography at certain places in the age of spy satellites and google maps. And the ridiculousness of charging entertainment tax from pilgrims. Why not call it surcharge, educational cess, value added tax or any other tax?

    Thank you also, SS, for giving us glimpses of the historic Anandpur Sahib. Looking forward to reading about it when you visited it on your way back.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thankyou very much DL bhai for your comments. You are so right… hindu philosophy can not be grasped with a mind set of abrahmic faiths. Hindu philosphy is unique in a way that in it, God does not Make the universe…. God becomes the universe and hence, is there in each particle ?? ?? ??? ?????.

      Shakti concept is another beautiful concept where female part is considered equal to God, the male principle. People have today forgotten the core of our philosophy and the result is the shameful act of disrespect to women… as you might have seen in recent years specially in Delhi and surrounding areas.

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        Totally agree, SS bhai. The recent comments of Mohan Bhagwat regarding rapes happening in India and not Bharat is not an urban versus rural divide as is being portrayed in the media. It is about the cultural and moral values inculcated in the youth. If the youth are taught to see Shakti within every woman, they can never show any kind of disrespect towards women, forget such ghastly crimes. India, not Bharat, is afflicted by the disease of materialism and consumerism. Parents have no time to concentrate on the moral education of children and leave it to the schools. The only way to arrest this fall is by focussing on instilling the proper sanskars in the next generation.

  • Kanu says:

    Very ineteresting!

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello SS ji,

    Very nice post. I had heard of Naina devi temple, but was not sure of its route and how to access.

    Thanks for taking us there.

    Information regarding Guru Gobind Singh ji was quite intresting to know. Thanks for sharing.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Abhiruchi, have you ever had a visit to Himachal ? I hope soon you will have this Shakti Yatra of Himachal.

      tks for yr comments

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear SS,

    Thanks a lot for taking us wonderful Journey Shakti Peeth. In pervious posts at Ghumkkar it was described that roads were not good, but you travel on two roads and find well. “You had come there in 1977, for the first time and the temple was lesser known then with mainly local devotees”. But as you mentioned Guru Gobind Singh worshipped Shakti, this temple has devotees from hundred years. But main rush during Navartra specially during Srawan Navratras people visited there all over world. I normally visit when less people there. For car’s going up to top, who has special permit. There was planning ropeway from Anandpur Sahib to Naina Devi, but as you see Rs.100 ropeway fare and nobody there hard for company to bring new project.

    These are trains running from Ambala Cantt to Anandpur Sahib, Buses are easily available any time.

    No. Name Type Dep ?? To
    AMBALA CANTT to ANANDPUR SAHIB
    14553 Himachal Express Exp 03:05 ANSB
    64515 Ambala Nangaldam Pas… MEMU 06:10 ANSB
    54511 Ambala Nangal Dam Pass 07:35 ANSB
    64511 Saharanpur Nangal Da… MEMU 08:55 ANSB
    64517 Ambala Nangaldam MEM… MEMU 11:40 ANSB
    12325 Kolkata Nangaldam Gu… SF 12:20 ANSB
    74991 Ambala Amb Andaura … DEMU 14:20 ANSB
    12057 New Delhi-Una Jansha… JShtb 18:15 ANSB
    12063 Haridwar Chandigarh … JShtb 18:15 ANSB
    64513 Saharanpur Nangal Da… MEMU 18:55 ANSB

    Regards

    • SilentSoul says:

      tks Sharmaji for elaborating my post. For Naina Devi, I think one should go upto Nangal from where regular buses ply for Naina Devi. I think there is no bus from Anandpur and one has to pay hefty amounts to taxis

      • Surinder Sharma says:

        Buses ply from Kiratpur Sahib and Nangal Dam to Naina Devi. Above mentioned all trains has stopage at Kiratpur Sahib and Nangal Dam. Kiratpur Sahib is before Anandpur Sahib and Buses for Himachal easily available from there. If someone visiting in group then Anandpur Sahib is good, Anandpur Sahib to Naina Devi can visit in Taxi which is easily available from there and only little difference in bus and Taxi fare when in group.

        Regards

  • Dear SS,

    There is a deep sense of contentment after learning about your spiritual leanings, heart warming story of Guru Govind Singh Ji and Goddess Shakti. A great value addition has been offered by Vishal, Surinder Sharma Ji and quite predictably, from DL by way of their comments.

    Our leaders with their tiny hearts and brains have decided to divide the society into as many religions, sects and castes as they may can. Historically, Guru Govind Singh Ji and several other great leaders laid their lives to save Hinduism from the onslaught of foreign rulers. In those days, every Hindu family was asked to give the eldest son to become a sikh, the warrior force to protect the society. They were given special symbols – Kesh, Kripan, Kachh, Kangha and Kada (metallic bangle) also. It was much like Indian soldier being given a distinctive uniform, a distinctive way of life, vigorous exercises to pursue.

    Now our political opportunists have declared Jains, Sikhs as separate religions and religious minorities. Being regarded a religious minority earns you many privileges so every one is trying to dissociate himself from majority Hindu society and being counted as a separate religion and be considered a religious minority so that more and more benefits are accorded to them.

    It is a matter of great satisfaction that in their hearts and souls, Sikhs, Jains and rest of the Hindu society are inseparable. All of them are mutually respectful for all saints, gods and religious traditions and sacred books.

    Your GF3 (is it Girl Friend, 3rd version?) camera is providing you with good visuals. Please thank your daughter from our side also. We are being able to see good pics because of this gift to you.

  • Almost two decades earlier, some closely knit families of Saharanpur had chartered a bus for a spiritual tour which included a visit to Chintpurni, Jwalaji, Naina Devi, Vaishnodevi etc., and their offer to us to join in was gladly accepted by us. After visiting Naina Devi shrine, we had proceeded to the next destination via Bhakhra Dam. But rest of the details have got mixed up now after these many years. Since it was not a luxury bus and we are not habitual of so much travelling in buses, it was quite tiresome also. But overall, we look back at this trip with thankfulness to those families who offered us this great opportunity.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks SS (saharanpurwala) for your kind comments. Hindus have survived in north mainly due to sacrifices made by Sikh guru… some sikhs earlier provoked by british and later by pakistan are taking hindus as their enemies… but Truth can not die and one day they will understand their mistakes

      Hope my posts have brought out the memories of your yatra 20 years ago… and also hope a new yatra will soon be made to this mysterious Shakti Triangle, by you and your family

      • ???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? ???????? ?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????-???? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???, ??? ?? ?? ???????????? ??????? ?? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ??.??.??. ???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?? ??? ????-???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ????? ???, ???? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ??, ?? ?? ????????? ????? ???? ???? ?? / ?? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ????, ???? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ?? , ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???-??? ??? ? ! :)

        • SilentSoul says:

          That was a typo mistake and I have edited it to read as “some sikhs”???? ???? ???????????? ?? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ?????, ????? ? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ???. ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ??, ???? ??? ?? ??????, ??? ?????? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ??????

          -????-???? ????? ?? ?????? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ??
          -12 ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??…?? ???? ??? (????? ?? ???? ???) 12 ???? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????)
          -?????? ????? ??? 1982-83 ?? ????? ??? ?????? ????-??????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??… ?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ??…

          ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??: ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ? ??? ?-??? ?? ????? ???? ???

  • Laxman Bhatia says:

    ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??????

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. Ji…
    ????????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????…..| ????? ???? ????? ?? ???????? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ???…???? ????? ??? ….. | ???? ?? ???? ??? ? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ? ???? ???? ?????….???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?????….???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ….??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ???……| ??? ???????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??….| ???? ?? ??? ???????? ???? ?? ????????? ?? ??????? …..|
    ????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ???….
    ??????? …

  • SilentSoul says:

    ??????? ????? ??, ?? ?? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ????? ??..??? ????? ?? ???? ?????.

    ?? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??, ?? ??? ?? ???? ??

  • Stone says:

    Lovely post SS sir, somehow I always like your “India-related” posts “more” than your other equally nice posts about foreign countries . :-)
    Other than post, really liked the interesting exchange between Sushant Singhal ji, DL sir and you.

    So far I’m yet to meet a single sikh who agrees with ‘Sikh’ religion originating from Hinduism story, that’s probably because of corrupted notion of religions painted by religious and political leaders.

    At the same time, what Sushant Singhal ji has mentioned in his comment about his experiences at Golden temple is also true.
    So in all it’s a complicated situation.

    Btw, loved your ‘default settings’ remark :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Amid all this intellectual talk, I would try to be brief. I am very happy that finally someone took my suggestion around driving directions :-)

    Good photos and an engaging log SS.

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    A very nice post & good collection of photos.

    Information given in the post is valuable as I have not visited there but visited at Nainidevi temple at Nainital. It’s really a good habit to go Jwala Ji every time after your abroad trip.

    still to read your post of Jwala Ji.

    Thanks again for the nice post.

    Regards.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Saurabh ji. Naina Devi, Jwalaji, Chintapurni, Kangra and Chamunda are sidhha temples and all can be visited in one trip.

      Tks for your comments

  • Sir,
    thanks for your nicely described post and good photographs.
    Jai Mata Di..

  • This blog post is so informative! The pictures that you have shared are amazing.
    One place you missed is Naina Devi JI Cable Car which is situated near the NH-21 Road which is going to Nangal,1177 Altitude, timings 8:15 AM – 7 PM (April to October). The cable car journey gives amazing panoramic views of the hill station.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks for your comment.. but seems u commented without reading the blog. I have written about the cable car and photo 8 & 9 are of cable car.

  • Great blog amazing information! And thank you for sharing your ropeway experiences

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