Most Visited Pilgrimage Sites in Himachal Pradesh
There are many pilgrimage sites in the country which receives thousands of pilgrims every day; below are the famous pilgrimage sites in Himachal Pradesh. Though people believe that god resides everywhere around you, but there are interesting stories that make these holy places mesmerizing. There is a different aura of these sites which gives a different satisfaction to the pilgrims.
Naina Devi (Bilaspur)
Naina Devi is the first in the list of most popular pilgrimage sites in Himachal Pradesh .This temple located in Bilaspur district at an altitude of 1177 meters. It is said Goddess Sati burnt herself, this made Lord Shiva furious. When Lord Shiva gets enraged he performs his Tandav Dance, and so he did holding Goddess Sati on his shoulders.
This further led Lord Vishnu to strike his Chakra cutting the body parts of Goddess Sati in several pieces; and her eyes fell to this temple. Pilgrims visit Naina Devi Mandir carrying faith in their hearts that Mata Naina Devi will eradicate all the problems from their life and bestow prosperity upon them.
Jwalamukhi Temple (Kangra)
The temple lies in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and counted in most visited pilgrimage sites of Himachal Pradesh. Jwalamukhi got its name from Jwala (flame) and mukhi (mouth). The idol of this temple is one of its kind; an eternal flame in the rocks.
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Jwala and it is believed that here is Goddess Sati’s tongue fell after being struck by Vishnu’s Chakra. The flame is covered with a dome made of gold, and the gold was gifted by Akbar. The gold turned into an unknown metal later and people said that the goddess did not accept his offering.
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Baijnath temple lies in a small town in Dhauladhar Range and one of the most religious pilgrimage site in Himachal Pradesh. This one thousand year old temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A great throng of pilgrims visit Baijnath temple especially in Shivratri festival.
There are inscriptions on the wall interpreting the story of Baijnath temple. It is believed that Devil Ravana worshipped the lord here. This temple is made of Nagri style of architecture. After being dilapidated because of an earthquake, it was renovated by Raja Sansar Chand.
Hadimba Devi (Manali)
Hadimba Devi temple is the most popular temple in Manali and has triangular top divided into three segments. The temple has four storeys and is made up of wood. Hadimba was mother of Ghatotkach and used to come here to meditate and escape from the misdeeds of his brother who was a devil. The main thing for which this 500 year old temple is revered is the footprint of Mata Hadimba.
The temple was built by Raja Bahadur Singh and receives even higher number of pilgrims during the fair or mela “Saroohni” in his remembrance. On the birthday of Mata Hadimba Devi, ladies come from nearby and faraway towns to celebrate this day by worshipping her with even higher zeal.
Bijli Mahadev (Kullu)
Bijli Mahadev temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shivling inside the temple was once struck by thunder lightning and broke it into pieces, and then a priest used butter to fix it piece by piece. This is something that happens today as well.
The tall staff receives blessings in the form of lighting, breaking the shivlinga into pieces and later the priest fix it by using butter and sattoo. The temple is visited by even larger number of pilgrims in “Shivratri” and is a part of a beautiful landscape with lush green mountains on the backdrop.
Baba Balak Nath (Hamirpur)
This caved temple in the border of Hamirpur and Bilaspur is believed to be home of Baba Balaknath with his idol in it. His shrine is also known as Deotsingh. Pilgrims come from different corners and offer him gud ki roti and goats (they are not slaughtered but fed).
Though women are not allowed near the deity but the can have darshan from a distance. Looking at the increasing number of crowd, government has put efforts to provide them with lodge, transport and other facilities.
Mata Vaishno Maha Devi Tirth Temple (Kullu)
Situated in Kullu, 35 Km from Manali, this temple was founded in 1966 and receives thousands of pilgrims each day ever since. Swami Sewak Das Ji Maharaj was a saint, who in search of peaceful environment for meditation came here and realized that Mata Vaishno resides here.
The saint is also famous for his preaching about “Nishkaam Karseva”, which means self service. The temple was founded in 1962, lies in the center of lush green valleys and has beautiful wooden works and carvings. Don’t get yourself confused between Vaishno Devi Mandir in Jammu and Mata Vaishno Maha Devi Tirth Temple in Kullu.
Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara (Manikaran)
This is the most sanctified shrines of Sikhs; the Gurudwara was built to commemorate the visit of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. In 1574, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was on a tour with his disciple Bhai Mardana to different places where he preached life lessons and Manikaran was his last stopover. Manikaran Gurudwara is also known for its hot spring.
This was the spot where Nanak ji sat, upon a stone, and later asked his disciple to lift it. And when it was removed, hot spring emerged. It is believed that dipping one’s body in the hot water from the spring makes them attain a place in heaven and have a prosperous life.
Rawalsar Gurudwara (Mandi)
This Gurudwara commemorates the visit of one of the eminent Gurus of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh. He came here on the occasion of Baisakhi and to meet the king of Mandi, Raja Siddh Sen. During that time, there were major uproars in the area because of a famous ruler Aurangzeb; hence they both talked about how these problems can be tackled.
The Gurudwara has a tank and the water from this tank is considered to be holy. Whoever takes a dip in the water or even touch it gets sanctified.