BRAJESHWARI TEMPLE

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» North India
» Himachal Pradesh
Location: Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
Presiding Deity: Goddess Sati
Re-Built In: 1905
Main Attractions: Navratras

Mr. F. Cunningham's District Gazetteer of Kangra has the following account of the Bajreshwari temple in Kangra:- 'The temple of Bajreshwari or Vagreshwari Devi at Kangra is - perhaps the most famous in this district. It is said to have been founded by the divinity of that name at a famous 'Ashwamedh' or horse sacrifice, which was held on the spot. The famous Mehmood of Ghazni is said to have invaded the district and destroyed the temple, building a mosque on its ruins.

It was, however, restored and is said to have been visited by Akbar together with his celebrated Diwan Todar Mal. There are some temples in the vicinity which, are, said to have owed their origin to Todar Mal. Finally, Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited and under his orders the domes of the temples here and at Jawalamukhi were guilded. Subsequently devotees from Amritsar subscribed together and presented the temple with marble floor."

THE LEGEND OF BRAJESHWARI TEMPLE
According to legend there was a severe and prolonged drought in Kangra area of Beas basin and hundreds of people started dying. A few devotees fasted and did 'havan' and penance to propitiate goddess Durga. It is said the goddess showed them the spot, where the breasts of Sati had fallen and wanted a temple to be built for the Goddess Bajreshwari at that place.

Bajreshwari was another manifestation of Sati. This mythical origin of Bajreshwari Devi and the temple enshrining her is firmly believed throughout Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of people visit the temple and the rush is greatest during the Navratra days. The valuable jewels and other articles offered to the deity by the devotees attracted the invasion of Sultan Mehmood of Ghazni in 1009.

It is said the temple was plundered and gold, silver and jewels were carried away. Sultan Mehmood left a small garrison at the place. But thirty-five years later the Hindu princes under the guidance of the Raja of Delhi regained possession. A replica of the idol was enshrined. In 1360 Emperor Feroz Tuglak again invaded Kangra and the temple was again plundered and desecrated. Emperor Akbar is supposed to have visited the temple with his diwan Todar Mal and restored the temple to its previous glory.

The temple was razed to the ground by an earthquake in 1905, but a new one came up the very same year, thanks to the Kangra Restoration Committee.



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