Do you know where Naina Devi got its name originally from?
Naina Devi is basically a town in Bilaspur district in Himachal Pradesh, India. Surrounded by the Govind Sagar Lake and Bharka Dam; 18 km away from Anandpur Sahib, the temple is located on a hilltop in the district. Just like most of country’s Shaktipeethas, the origin of Naina Devi one of the most celebrated shrines dates back to the Sati’s time. It is believed that due to the self-immolation act of Goddess Sati, Naina Devi is a place as name also suggests the one where Sati’s eyes fell. However, several other mythological stories are also associated with temple’s establishment.
Located at the top of the three-sided hillock, the Naina Devi temple offers a splendid view of Gobind Sagar on one side and holy Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara on the other. While entering through the main gate of the temple, which is guarded by two statues of lions against all evils; devotees bow in front of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman first. Inside the temple, three deities are revered among which are Goddess Kali, two eyes of Naina Devi and Lord Ganesha. Devotees generally commence a walk of nearly half an hour to have complete darshan of the celebrated God and Goddess.
In reference to another story of Naina Devi temple, it is called Mahishpeetha because the Goddess had killed demon Mahishasura and also took out his eyes. The demon was blessed with a boon to be very powerful and not be defeated by anyone except an unmarried girl. He then started troubling people all across the earth and distressed deities then combined their powers to create Goddess named, Naina Devi. When the demon got mesmerized by Goddess’ beauty and asked her to marry, Devi asked him to agree if he defeats her in a war. During the war the Devi, as assumed defeated the demon and took out his eyes.
Inside the temple, there is a really narrow and beautiful holy cave in the name of Shri Naina Devi. Visiting the Goddess in this holy cave is customary for devotees, since homage to the deity is considered incomplete without visiting this cave. Apart from the everyday visits by devotees, here a grand fair is held during the Shravan Ashtami every year. These fairs can also be seen happening during Navratras and people come in huge number to pray to the Goddess during these times.