What is Dhari Devi All About?
Located at Dang Chaura on the Srinagar-Rudraprayag road, Dhari Devi temple is just a few kilometres away from Pauri Garhwal district. Situated in the famous Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand, on the bank of the Alakhnanda River, Dhari Devi temple is believed to be the protector of the pilgrims of Char Dham. Dhari Devi temple has an idol representing Goddess Kali with her upper half body in a fierce image. The lower half of the Goddess’ idol is positioned in Kalimath, the place where She is offered prayers in Kali roop. Precisely, Goddess Kali is the dark as well as the dangerous form of the Goddess Parvati who protected Gods by drinking the blood of demons. Goddess Parvati took to the dark form (Kalirup) while fighting with the demon King Mahishasur and his entire arm force. Goddess Parvati needed to kill Raktabij, the demon whose single blood-drop felling on the ground would turn it into fierce and gigantic demon like him. By chopping off the head of Raktabij and drinking his blood, Goddess protected all Gods along with heaven and set peace everywhere. This story related to the Dhari Devi has one more side to it that Maa Parvati had turned into a strikingly beautiful lady bathing on the spring near the demon Mahishasur’s palace in order to attract the demon King and kill him later.
Among famous beliefs about the temple, a local legend states that at the time of huge flood in Alakhananda River everything was swept away. Upon hearing a woman’s cry near the River’s site, locals reached there only to found the upper half of the Goddess’ idol that got attached against a rock there. Locals then implied it as Her wish to be installed at the same place which later on became popular as Dhari Devi.
Ever since the Goddess’ idol has settled here in Dhari Devi temple, it is believed that the Goddess changes appearance during the entire day. Going by the local lore, the deity keeps changing the appearance into a girl, a woman or an old lady. Among most important festivals celebrated in the Dhari Devi temple are the Durga Puja and Navratri, when a huge number of devotees gather to attend special puja amidst the beautifully decorated temple.