Naina Devi

This is one of the 51 shaktipeethas (where the severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell) associated with the cult of Goddess Durga. It is believed that this is the location where the eyes of Goddess Sati fell and that is why the temple is called Naina (literally meaning eyes) Devi. There is also a peepal tree within the premises that is considered to be as sacred as the temple. It is believed that the actual ancient temple was built in the 15th century under the rule of the Kushan empire. Located 100 km away from Chandigarh, it attracts thousands of devotees every year. The temple is perched at a height of 11,000 m in the Shivalik range. A large number of pilgrims  visit the temple during the nine day festival called Navratri as well during the season of monsoon.  From the temple, a wonderful view of the Gobind Sagar lake can be availed. This lake lends a sense of serenity and natural sublimity to the backdrop of the temple. The scenic beauty of its location also makes it a must-visit. 

Naina Devi

Bhima Devi temple

Constructed sometime between the 9th-11th centuries AD, the ruins of the Bhima Devi Temple are an interesting spot to learn more about history. As evident from excavations from around the area, the temple was once dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that there were three stone plinths here, which may have belonged to the beautiful ancient temple.  The stone plinths indicate that the temple must have been built in the Panchayatan style of architecture, in which a main shrine is located at the centre and four sub-shrines are placed in the four cardinal directions. This makes a total of five temples. The temple has figurines and sculptures that are similar to the ones in Khajuraho. Moreover, the remains have shown that the ancient temple included architectural elements like chaitya windows, Bhadramukha and miniature turrets, among others. 

According to inscriptions unearthed by archaeologists, this area was once referred to as Bhima Nagar. This name is believed to have been derived from a much revered local temple dedicated to Bhima Devi. There are a number of references to this area either by the name of Bhima Nagar or by the name, Panchapaura, which seem to suggest that this was a place of considerable importance between 9th and 12th centuries AD. 

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Bhima Devi temple

Mansa Mandir Chandi Mandir

Both Mansa and Chandi temples are very popular and a visit to both can easily be clubbed together as they lie only 10 km away from each other. The Chandi Mandir is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who is believed to be the goddess of power. It is a shaktipeetha (devotional shrine where the severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell), from which the city of Chandigarh draws its name. A large number of visitors come to worship at this temple at the time of the Navratris, a nine-day holy festival. 

The Chandigarh Mansa Devi Temple is located in Panchkula, which  is 8 km away from the city. This too is a shaktipeetha dedicated to Mata Mansa Devi. According to local legend, the head of Goddess Sati fell here and as a result, a temple was built in her honour. There are two temples in the Mansa Devi premises. The main temple was believed to have been established by the ruler of Manimajra (a historical town in Chandigarh) in 1815 AD. The new temple, however, is credited to the Maharaja of Patiala. A scenic garden with a large number of medicinal plants has also been created right next to the temple where visitors can relax. The festivities of Navratri see large footfalls.

Mansa Mandir Chandi Mandir

Chaneti Stupa

The ruins of the ancient baked-brick Chaneti Stupa are said to be dating back to the Mauryan period when the city of Shrughna (now Sugh) was under the rule of emperor Ashoka.

According to an account given by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, Sugh was home to a number of important stupas as well as a monastery. The village of Chaneti lies about 3 km north-west of Sugh, and it is highly likely that the stupa at Chaneti was among the ones referred to by Hiuen Tsang. The architectural style of this stupa, formed by concentric layers to create a hemisphere, corresponds with Shahpur and Dharmarajika stupas at Taxila. When constructed, the stupa was most probably surrounded by a wooden railing as no trace of a stone railing has been found. The Kushana period saw the construction of four shrines in four directions near the old circumambulatory path (pradakshina path). A new pathway was also built underneath to walk around it. This is the only place in India where Shugna period terracotta figures of Vaanara (monkey) have been found. Archaeological pieces of evidence have suggested that this was an important trade juncture on the Uttarapath, which lay on the banks of the Yamuna river. According to the travel records of the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, the village was big enough and important enough to be home to about a 100 Hindu temples, 10 stupas and five monasteries. 

Chaneti Stupa