Temples of Himachal Pradesh

Temple Trip Across Himachal, India

Known as the Land of Gods, Himachal Pradesh, a hill state of India makes for a great Temple Trip holiday. Do you know, since ages, gods from across the state are carried in their palanquin to Kullu for the yearly worship of Raghunathjee.

An interesting theory states that Raja Jagat Singh, the ruler of Kullu in the 16th century, tortured a brahmin named Durga Dutt. The king wanted to possess the pearls that were touted to be in his position. Sadly the brahmin along with his family burnt himself to death, and cursed the Royal family before death. Raja Singh then lost appetite for life and saw blood all around him. Then on the insistence of a religious man, Lord Rama' statue was brought into Kullu from Ayodhya. Since then God and Goddesses gather in Kullu on Dusshera, as part of Himachali tradition.

Growing up in a state so rich in heritage and culture, a simple day long trip from parent's to grandparent's house always went through different temple visits. Like Jakhu temple, where Lord Hanuman rested while looking for Sanjeevani. Or Jwalamukhi, where the holy flame has been alive, for decades. Or Chamunda Devi, which has a cremation ground in its premises.

In this article I bring to you a round-up off different temples, you must visit in Himachal. But Before that some Himachal Trivia. 

-Himachal Pradesh is a state of India and is literally nestled in the lap of Himalayas. A prominent Sanskrit Scholar, Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma coined its name Him-Achal meaning Snow-land. 

- Commuting to Shimla by the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train takes you through 103 tunnels and over 806 bridges. And ladies and gentlemen this has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and has a world record of covering the steepest slope (5816ft) in least distance, all of 96kms. 

-Kangra PaintingsChamba Rumal, Kullu Shawls and Caps and of course Apples and Dry fruits are popular  Himachali-produces. Do you know that Chamba Rumal has an intersting Double Tanka embroidery. This creates identical designs on both sides of the handkerchief or rumal. 

- Did you know Manali-Leh National highway is the highest motor able road in the world. 

- Most famous Himachalis are Captain Vikram Batra,  Major Somnath Sharma (first recipient of Param Veer Chakra), Sardar Shobha Singh (renowned artist famous for her painting 'Sohni Mahiwal', his house has been converted into a museum in Andretta near Palampur. Great Khali, Suman Rawat (Athlete), Preity Zinta, Kangana Ranaut, Mohit Chauhan and Anupam Kher

Now for the Temple Trip across Himachal:

I suggest you plan your journey from Shimla- Chintpurni- Jawalamukhi- Naina Devi- Bhagsunath-Chamunda-Baijnath, Naina Devi and back to Chandigarh. 

Shimla: The capital of Himachal has beautiful temples that people come to visit from near and far;

1) Jakhu Temple: This one keeps the Ramayana alive in our hearts. It's said that during the Lankan battle between Rava and Rama, Lakshman was fatally injured. Then heroic Vanar or Monkey king Hanuman was asked to find a special herb or butti called Sanjeevani. On his way he stopped over at Jakhu mountain for guidance by the sage Yaaku. In fact when he landed here, the mountain top was flattened due to his weight. But when Hanuman continued his journey, his friends were left behind sleeping. And the monkeys who have taken over the Jakhu Hills are believed to be their successors. The temple is believed to have been constructed by sage Yaaku himself in honour of Lord Hanuman. 

When you enter Shimla, the tall statue of Hanuman, built in the Jakhu hills, greets you with its towering size. At 108feet, it is considered as one of the worlds tallest statue.  

How to get there?

1) A steep upward road takes you to the top of the hill. You can walk from the Ridge, approximately it will take 25-30 minutes. There are shops you can pick up water bottles and packaged snacks. 

2) You can hire a taxi to take you straight upto the temple and back. Highly recommended if you are travelling with the elderly.

3) A ropeway project has also been inaugurated, and Rs..550 is the ticket price for a two way trip for an individual. It takes just  5 minutes.  

Tip: Beware of the monkeys, they are even known to snatch bags and eatables. 

2) Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir: This almost marks the entrance point of Shimla on the Kalka-Shimla highway, and is thronged by devotees almost every weekend. As early as 1950's a spiritual Guru, Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj chose this site for constructing a temple of Lord Hanuman. In fact the temple boasts of a huge Langar hall, where visitors are served with prashad or food. And the kids can taste Himachali food here like Madira.
The annual Dusshera and Navratara melas here are hugely popular. And there is a small children's park that the kids love. A beautiful Ganesha Temple portraying the architecture of the south, has been recently added at the complex. 

How to reach there?

1) You can catch a local bus to Sankat mochan or hire a taxi to reach this temple on the outskirts of the city. Avoid going during rush hours because you could get caught in the Shimla-chandigarh highway traffic. 

3) Kalibari Temple: Built in the year 1845, Kalibari temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, popularly known as Goddess Shyamala in Himachal. And the town of Shimla derived its name from this very deity's name Shyamala. It also has a small temple dedicated to God Shiva in the premises too.

During Navratris and Dusshera, the road from ridge to Kalibari Temple is full of vendors selling toys and trinkets. There is also a Dharamshala in the temple premises for devotees to stay overnight. 

How to get there?

1) You can take a beautiful walk from the ridge Shimla to this Temple. The walk is not tedious, is short and can start or end at a tasty meal at popular restaurants at the Ridge.

2) You can use a shared taxi to drive you till Devicos, then walk up a small but steep slope to reach this beautiful and serene place. 

Tara Devi Temple

4) Tara Devi: Tara Devi temple is situated on top of the Tara par vat. Hundreds of years ago goddess Tara, was worn by the kings of Sen dynasty in a small locket around their neck. Once on a hunting expedition in the jungles of Juggar, near Shoghi (Shimla), the Sen king, Raja Bhupendra Sen saw Goddess Tara, God Bhairav and Lord Hanuman in his dreams. Immediately Goddess Tara's temple was built. Later, Raja Balbir Sen of the same dynasty built Goddess Tara temple on top of the Tarav Parvat, where it is situated today. Walking through the forest to reach the temple will be an experience that will be etched on your mind forever. But makes sure to carry water and food, as it is a long walk.

And yes start early if you intend to trek uphill. 

How to reach there? 
- An hour's drive from Shimla through Shoghi can take you all the way up to the temple. But the uphill drive is not for the faint-hearted and it is better to have a local driver drive you up.

- A beautiful trek through the Tara Parvat, is a popular way with the locals to reach the temple. It is a day long trip to walk up through the pine forest. For this you can either travel in a local bus, till Tara Devi bus-stop or hire a taxi for the same. 

5) Kamna Devi: Built by the Raja of Junga, Kamna Devi, is situated near Bailuganj, on the Bilaspur- Shimla highway. The temple can be approached only by a steep road, which is better covered on foot. It is close to another must visit landmark of Shimla, The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. The hill is a beautiful place to plan a day-trip too. There is a very strong belief that anyone who visits this temple, will have his/her wishes fulfilled. Don't forget to carry food for the kids, as there is no eating joints here.

How to reach? 

You can actually take a long walk from the Mall Road, via Cecil and Indian Institute of Advanced Study and the university road to this temple and then walk uphill for a km. 

Or you can take a local bus or taxi to Bailuganj. If you are travelling with elderly then hire an SUV that can take you straight till the temple.

6) Dhingu Mata: This is a beautiful temple that is situated on top of a hill on the Shimla-Kufri highway, in Sanjauli. However Dhingu Mata Mandir means a lot of walking uphill. The temple is beautiful and the view from this place is beautiful on all sides. The kids can soak in a lot of sun on the way uphill and enjoy some Maggi along the way too.

How to reach?

1) There are numerous steps that can be tedious to walk up, if you are not a local. But the kids find it fun.

2) Hire a taxi that takes you almost upto Dhingu Mata. But I would avoid this trip with elderly people. 

Popular places to stay in Shimla

Oberoi Cecil


Hotel Marina

Radisson Hotel Shimla

Welcome Heritage Woodville Palace 

Hotel Combermere

A small legend that you must know about before we head to other temples in Himachal:

The legend goes that goddess Shakti was born to King Daksha as Sati. Sati married Lord Shiva much to King Dakshas dislike. In order to insult his son-in-law, King Daksha organised a huge Yagna and did not invite Lord Shiva for it. While performing the yagna alone, Sati could not bear the insult that her father was unleashing on her husband and herself and so she immolated herself in the sacrificial pyre. Enraged, Lord Shiva carried her burnt body with him and perfomed the 'Shiva Tandav', that had the power to consume the entire universe. To clam Lord Shiva down, Sati's body was then dismembered and different parts of her body fell in different parts of India. In these places temples were made and these are known as Shakti Peethas. Himachal Pradesh is blessed to have some of these Shakti peethas, where the believers can have their wishes fulfilled. 

Chintpurni temple in Una is one of the Shakti Peethas, where the feet of Sati are believed to have fallen down. Also known as Chinnamastika, the devotees woes are guaranteed to end here. It is where your worries or Chinta will end. The temple was originally built, when Goddess Durga is said to have visited an ardent believer Bhai Mai Das in his dreams. 

Legend also goes that Maa Parvati along with her aides Jaya and Vijaya defeated and killed some Rakshasas. Jaya And Vijaya were still longing for more blood, on their repeated instance for food, Maa cut off her own head, Her blood spilled in three direction, 2 were consumed by her friends and one fed her own self. It shows the selfless and sacrificial nature of Maa Parvati. And every year during Navrataris huge fairs are conducted in the town.

How to reach?

By road Chintpurni is approachable from both Shimla and Chandigarh. 

By Train: the closest railway station is at Amb Andaura (approx. 20 kms away).

By Air: Chandigarh and Gaggal are the two Airports near this. 

Best Paces to stay:

The Chintpurni Heights, 

Hotel President, Chintpurni 

Jawalamukhi Temple

Jawalamukhi Temple: This is believed to be the first temple ever to be built by the Pandavas. According to the Sati and Lord Shiva legend, this is also where the tongue of Sati had fallen down and hence this temple is also one of the major Shakti Peethas of India. 

This is an idol-free temple where goddess Jawala is represented by the flame that never goes out. Jawalamukhi literally also means Volcano. The temple has ever-burning 9 flames named after different forms of goddess Durga- Mahakali, Annapurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Vidhya, Basni, Saraswati, Ambika, Anji Devi and Maha Lakshmi. 

The dome in the temple is made of pure gold and has a foldable all-silver door too. 

How to reach here?

Approachable from Shimla, Chandigarh, Dharamshala and even Jammu, Jawalamukhi is situated in the Kangra valley.

By road- from Shimla, Chandigarh, Dharamshala or Jammu

By Air: Gagal airport id around 50kms aways from here.

By Train: The closest stations are Pathankot and Kangra.

Where to Stay?

Hotel Jawalaji HPTDC

Chamunda Devi: Goddess Durga made a Devi from her own energy to slay the demons Chanda and Munda. This is also from where the temple and goddess got her name Chamunda. In the premises is also a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and one has to brave some steps to reach that gufa. This temple dates back almost to the 16th century and is also known as the abode of 'Shakti adn Shiva' and is also known as 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham'. 

It is fascinating to observe that this temple also has a cremation ground in its vicinity (although it is below and far removed from the main temple and Shivling-Cave. 

You know this temple was relocated? The King and his priest prayed to Mata Chamunda's for her permission and was granted the same through a dream. She guided them to dig out her idol from a particular area. Although the idol was found, the workers found it impossible to carry the goddesses' idol to its current location. It took believe and devotion on the part of the priest to be able to carry the idol and play it where we find it today. 

How to reach Chamunda?

By Road and Train: It is very close to the towns of Palampur, Dharamshala and Pathankot by road and train. 

By Air: Closest Air station is Gaggal.

Where to stay?

HP Tourism Yatra Niwas

BhagsuNath Dharamshala: In the picturesque Dharamshala is built the Bhagusnath temple that is equally famous for its waterfall. Legend has it that King Bhagsu had to face the ire of the snake god, when he stole water from the Nag Dal Lake near by. The King then built this temple as a teen of forgiveness and the water in the two pools in the temple seem to have medicinal and healing properties. 

How to reach?

From main Dharamshala you can hire a taxi to this temple, either from Dari, katwali or Mcleodganj. Or you can brave out the local buses.

Where to stay?

Fortune Park Moksha

Udechee Huts

The Pavilion by HPCA

Asia Health Resorts and Spa

Himachal Pradesh, a hill state of India makes for a great Temple Trip holiday.

Baijnath Temple: This is a beautiful temple that was built way back in 1200 A.D and it showcases the Nagara style of temple architecture. It is a temple dedicated to the 'ardhnareshwar' or 'half man and half woman' form of God Shiva.

Legend goes that Ravana, the great king of Lanka, pleased Shiva and earned a boon of invincibility from him. He also requested Lord to accompany him to Lanka. Lord Shiva thus took the form of a Shivling and asked Ravana to carry him to his kingdom. But he warned Ravana, that if he was not to place the Shivling on the ground, on the way, There lord Ganesha in connivance with the lord wind, created a situation where Ravana was forced to hand over the shilling to a shepherd, in order to answer the nature's call. The Shepherd was none other than Lord Ganesha himself, who placed the Shivling on the ground and hence Baijnath temple came into its being.

Do you know that unlike most of the Indian states and cities, Ravana's effigy is not burned in Baijnath as a mark of respect to his devotion for lord Shiva. 

How to reach here?

You can take a flight to Gaggal airport or a train till Amb Andaura. 

By car Baijnath is accessible from both Mandi and Palampur side.

Where to stay?
Taragarh Palace

Budha Mal Castle 


Rakh Resort 

Naina Devi Temple: This is another Shakti Peetha, This is where the eyes of Sati had fallen after she had jumped into the yagna pyre, cause she could not bear her husband Lord Shiva and her humiliation. The name of the temple 'Naina' literally means 'Eyes'. 

Interestingly this temple is also know as 'Mahishpeetha', because this is also marked as the place where the Naina Devi herself killed the demon Mahishasura.

Another legend goes that once lord Brahma, delighted with the devotion and prayers of demon Mahishasura, granted him a boon. He was blessed to be invincible and to live forever. The only exception was that he could be killed by an unmarried girl. Drunk on power, Mahishasura spread a reign of his terror. To counter his devilish ways, the gods and goddesses combined their Shakti or their powers and created Naina Devi. When Mahishasura saw the goddess, he was bestowed by her beauty and he extended a marriage proposal to her. Naina Devi challenged the demon and told him, that if he were to defeat her in a battle, she will readily accept her proposal. The Devi then fought ferociously and reduced him to ashes. 

This temple Naina Devi, on the top of a hill is also equally revered by the Sikhs. In 1765, the Sikhu guru, Shri Guru Gobindh Singh Ji started a war against the atrocities of the Mughals, and seemed the Devi's blessings with a huge Yagna. 

How to reach here?

The Chandigarh airport is closest to this place.

The Anandpur Sahib railway station is another way to reach Naina Devi. 

For cars and lighter vehicles, the road goes all the way upto the temple. For the more enthusiasts, a flight of stairs is there to climb all the way up from the bus station.

Another interesting way is the Ropeway, that starts at 8.00 am in the morning. 

Where to stay?

The Kikad Lodge 

The Hill Top

I hope that this article will be helpful for anyone who is looking at a divine journey through Himachal Pradesh. in a part two of this Temple Trip across Himachal, I will cover the upper region of Himachal and famous temples like Hatkoti and Hridimba. Till then don't forget to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest handle by the same name @ketchupmoms. Also don't forget to subscribe to our mail-list for more travelling and breezy parenting ideas.

Till then Jai Mata Di!

Comments (20)

Judy Posted on Mar 29, 2018

I have been to jakhu & taradevi temple to been to others.. will plan it soon..


Saakshi Gulati Syal Posted on Mar 28, 2018

Very interesting and a detailed post! We travel a lot but still haven\'t been to Himachal


Dipika Singh Posted on Mar 28, 2018

Himachal has been one of the best treasures our country has, and the temples shrines in HP are too precious. I have been lucky to visit few in my life, this post is nostalgia


Minakshi Bajpai Posted on Mar 28, 2018

Himachal Pradesh is truly the land of temples. It is one of the best tourist spot in India where you can find mesmerizing architectural temples.


Mala Posted on Mar 28, 2018

After reading this post I am planning to visit these religious places in Himachal. you have described these places so well


Papri Ganguly Posted on Mar 28, 2018

Very interesting and informative read. Have heard a lot of stories about these temples. Wish to visit there.


Jhilmil Posted on Mar 27, 2018

What an awesome trip you had..I remember tripping to chamunda device n jwala Mata..


Rakhi P Posted on Mar 27, 2018

I have heard a lot about the temples in Himachal and their beauty. Loved reading more in details about them on your post.


Jhilmil D Saha Posted on Mar 27, 2018

This is a wonderful post. Great for those planning for temple trip to Himachal


Snigdha Prusti Posted on Mar 27, 2018

This post is definitely work as a guide while travelling to Himachal .. I am going to save the post ..


Ruchi Verma Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Would really wish to travel Himachal some day and sure this is going to help me


Varsha Bagadia Posted on Mar 27, 2018

I didn\'t know there were so many beautiful temples in Himachal. Beauty pics.


Rumana Jauhar Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Wat a great post with all required information thanks for sharing


Preety Tiwari Posted on Mar 27, 2018

I am very superstitious and every year I plan a temple trip, himachal is in my list always... Thanx for sharing such useful info


Sabeeka Lambe Posted on Mar 27, 2018

A temple trip sounds so peaceful and fun especially to observe the amazing architecture..


Jiya Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Himachal is one the best place to visit in North India. I have visited 24 destinations in Himachal pradesh. I just love this place


Mrinal Kiran Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Wow! I have always been interested in ancient temples and their history! Loved this post! ❤


Anchal Narayan Posted on Mar 27, 2018

We have been to few of them. I wonder how we missed so many. Thanks for this list :)


Aditi Singh Posted on Mar 27, 2018

This is so informative . Had no idea about these places. India is certainly so vast.


Sadaf Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Wow! This is such a detailed post you put together on how people can go around temples in Himachal.


Charu Chhitwal

Charu Chhitwal, Founder KetchupMoms has daring tastebuds, a love for travel and an owl for her soul. It’s little wonder then that she loves to write and share her tips and tricks on traveling, food,

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