Site Name: Chandi Devi Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple dedicated to Shakti
Location: Haridwar, Uttarakhand state, India
Highlights: An important temple of Goddess Shakti across India
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar
Nearest Airport: Dehradun - 35 kms from Haridwar
How to reach: Well connected by road
Hotel: A lot of options including low cost and free accommodation such as ashrams
Restaurants: Varieties of options - but only vegetarian
Haridwar is a religious city located on the banks of the beautiful Ganges river in Uttarakhand state of India. The city is an ancient city and has so many sacred places and temples for Hindus. It is considered as one of the seven most sacred sites of Hindus. Haridwar is dotted with a lot of religiously important sites such as temples and ghats. Let us explore a popular temple named Chandi Devi temple in this article.
Chandi Devi Temple is one of the most important temples of Haridwar. (The other two important temples are Maya Devi temple and Mansa Devi temple). It is located on top of the Neel Parvat on the Eastern Summit of the Sivalik Hills of the Himalayan range. The temple was built by the Kashmir King Suchat Singh in 1929 CE. However, it is believed that the main deity of the temple Chandi Devi was installed by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century CE. The temple is also called as Neel Parvat Teerth. It is one of the five holy pilgrimages located in Haridwar.
There is a river ghat called as Chandi Ghat of the rive Ganga, named after this temple, which is located at a distance of around 3 kms from the temple.
As per the legend, there were two demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha who captured the throne of Indra, the King of Devas. The Devas sought the help of Parvati, the mother Goddess. She took the form of Chandi aka Chandika. As she was very beautiful, Shumbha proposed to marry her. As the Goddess refused, he sent his demon chiefs Chanda and Munda to kill her. Chandi created a Goddess called Chamunda out of her anger. Chamunda killed those two demons. Then, Shumbha and Nishumbha came to fight. They were ultimately killed by Chandi. It is believed that Chandi rested for a short while she was on top of the Neel Parvat hill and the temple is exactly located in that site. The two peaks in this mountain are named as Shumbha and Nishumba.
The temple which is located at a distance of about 4 kms from the well known landmark Har Ki Pauri can be reached either through 3 kms of trekking route or through cable car (ropeway) service. The trekking route as well as the temple complex has hundreds of monkeys and the devotees need to be very careful. The rope way service in this place is called as Chandi Devi Udankhatola. The temple is located at an altitude of 9500 feet. From the cable car, one can get a very good view of Ganga river and the dense forest.
The temple is very simple in its structure. It is built in they typical North Indian modern day architectural style with simple cone shaped vimanas. The main deity Chandi Devi idol is made of red stone; it is not in a defined structure/shape; only two eyes are visible in this idol and not other part of the body.
There is a marble idol of Goddess Chandi who is found with four arms and seated on the lion is also present next to the main deity.
Near this temple, there is a very rare temple dedicated to Anjana Devi, the mother of Hanuman, is located.