Himachal Pradesh is quite aptly called Devabhoomi—Abode of the Gods. There are more than 2,000 temples and religious places scattered all over the State. Many of these are quite well known and attract thousands of devotees throughout the year.
Every hill and village of the State boasts of proudly hosting Hindu temples and shrines.
The splendid heights of the Himalyan ranges, with its great scenic beauty and aura of spiritual calm seem the natural home of the Gods.
BAIJNATH TEMPLE: Baijnath Temple is one of the major shrines and a famous pilgrimage spot in the State where devotees from different corners come to pay homage to Lord Shiva.
The temple is only 16 km from the main town of Palampur in the Beas Valley. Here, the homage is paid to Vaidyanath or the lord of physicians, one of the different forms of Lord Shiva.
As far as the history is concerned, the temple has been in worship since 1204 AD. There is an amazing story about the temple. It is said that king Ravana had worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple and had sacrificed his head ten times at a place marked out in the temple.
JAKHU TEMPLE: Jakhu Temple is a famous temple dedicated to the Lord Hanuman the saviour. The temple is located on the highest peak of Himachal Pradesh at about 8,500 feet in the east of the historical ridge ground in Shimla. It is said that the temple is from the time of Ramayana.
Jakho Temple in Shimla is really an amazing place to explore where you will also see countless ape and monkeys in their natural habitant.
LAKSHMI NARAYAN TEMPLE: One of the largest and the oldest temples at Chamba stands proudly in the form of Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Housing six different temples in its complex, the temple was built in the 10th century. Arranged from north to south, all the temples in the complex are dedicated to either Lord Shiva or Vishnu. Some additional temples are also housed in the complex including Radha Krishna Temple, Shiva Temple of Chandragupta and Gauri Shankar Temple.
CHAMUNDA TEMPLE: It is only few kilometers from Dharamshala and is considered as more than 700 years old.
Commonly known as Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham, it is a famous temple of Goddess Shakti who is the Goddess of power. The temple complex holds a kund in it where devotees take a holy dip in it because it has sacred importance. However, the main deity of the temple is not accessible to the visitors as it is under cover. A cave like scoop that is at the back of the temple has importance of being representing an embodiment of Shiva in the form of stone lingam.
JWALAMUKHI TEMPLE: 30 kms south of Kangra Valley in the lap of Shivalik range and 56 kms from Dharamshala, the Jwalamukhi Temple is dedicated to the ‘Goddess of light’.
One of its own kinds of temples, there is no idol in it. An eternally burning and shining blue flame emanating from a rock sanctum is only worshipped here as a manifestation of the Goddess. Dedicated to the Goddess Jwalamukhi, the temple is one of the 51 power spots or Shaktipeethas of India.
NAINA DEVI TEMPLE: Surrounded by Govind Sagar Lake and Bharka Dam, the Naina Devi Temple at Bilaspur is about 15 kms from Ganguwal and about 18-km from Anandpur Sahib. Like most of the Shaktipeethas in the country, the origin of this famous and one of the most revered shrines also dates back to the self-immolation of ‘Sati.’ Nanina Devi as the name suggests is believed to be the place where the eyes of Sati fell.
Having entered the main gate of the temple, devotees bow to Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman first. Two statues of lions at the main entrance of the temple guard it against all evils. Three deities are revered in the temple namely Mata Kali, two eyes of Naina Devi and Lord Ganesha.
HADIMBA TEMPLE: Hadimba Temple at Manali is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba hold a very devoted history.
Constructed by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in 1550 AD, Hadimba Temple Manali is a much revered deity of the locals where the Goddess is regularly consulted in times of natural hardship or calamity. According to locals and legendary related to temple, animal sacrifices are still made here in her honour.
MATA CHINTPURNI TEMPLE: Dedicated to Mata Shri Chhinnamastika Devi and Mata Chintpurni Devi, the temple is one of the fifty-one Shaktipeethas in India. Lying in the Una village of Una district in the State of Himachal Pradesh, the name of the temple literally means a remover of troubles and worries.
BAJRESHWARI TEMPLE: Bajreshwari Temple or Vagreshwari Devi Temple is located in the centre of Kangra town. The temple receives the highest number of visitors among all the other temples in the district. One of the unique things about this holy shrine is that it has been attacked regularly by invaders from the north western part of India.
JAKHU TEMPLE: Located in Shimla, it is an ancient temple that is devoted to Hanuman. Interestingly, the temple has a large number of monkeys around it, but they never attack the visitors.
CHAURASI TEMPLES: The 9th century temples at Bharmaur are among the most important early Hindu temples in the Chamba Valley.
CHATTARI TEMPLE: Not far from Bharmaur (Chamba) is the Chattari Temple with early examples of carved wood and an 8th century brass image of shakti.
Besides the above temples one can also see Mandi, Prashar Temple, Hanogi Maa & Koyla Maa Temple, Raghunathji Temple, Bijli Mahadev Temple, Dhoongri Temple, Bhimakali Temple, Hatkoti, Jakhu and Sankat Mochan, Naina Devi Temple, Renuka, Baba Balak Nath Temple and many more.
(Inputs from Himachal Pradesh Tourism)