Must Visit

Mansa Devi Temple, Panchkula

4.0 / 5 46 votes


Weather:

Ideal Time: 2-3 hrs

Timings:

Summers: 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
Winters: 5:00 AM - 9:00 PM.

Entry Fee:

No entry fee
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Mansa Devi Temple, Panchkula Overview

Nestled in the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range, the beautiful temple complex is spread over an area of 100 acres bordering the village of Bilaspur, near Mani Majra, in the Panchkula district of Haryana. The Mansa Devi Temple has maintained the sanctity of being an important shrine for worshipping Shakti (Mansa Devi), the divine feminine personification of the innate cosmic energy that is said to epitomize and rule the forces of the universe, in Hinduism and Shaktism. The entire temple complex is spread over an area of about 100 acres of the Shivalik foothills. The main attraction of the temple is formed by a tree around which devotees tie sacred threads to get their prayers answered.

It is wonderfully designed with the main temple having thirty-eight panels of wall paintings, besides floral designs all over the walls and ceiling. Constructed during the early 19th century by Maharaja Gopal Singh, it is one of the most renowned Shakti temples in North India. Shaktism is one of the most followed beliefs in this part of the country, with important Mansa Devi shrines in many of the northern states. The temple is now maintained as a heritage site by the government. Drenched in legends and myths, a vibrant atmosphere is ever-present here.

Set against a scenic backdrop and amidst some beautiful, lush green lawns, this temple is a must visit for peace lovers. Tourists consistently speak of the remarkably clean premises. The main temple can be accessed after climbing quite a few stairs. Voluntary free kitchens or 'bhandaras' operate within the shrine complex and provide free food to all pilgrims. The temple gathers huge crowds on auspicious days, especially during the Navaratra Melas. These fairs are a huge attraction twice a year for nine days. The Shrine Board makes elaborate arrangements for the comfortable stay and darshan of the devotees.

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Maharaja Gopal Singh of Mani Majra commissioned and started the construction of the temple in 1811, and it was completed in 1815. Actually, the complex consists of two temples, the other Patiala temple built in 1840 during the reign of Maharaja of Patiala is about 200 meters away from the Mansa Devi Temple.

After the merging of the princely states post-independence into PEPSU (Patiala and Eastern Punjab States Union), the Raja of Mani Majra appointed priests to look after and worship the presiding deities. However, their responsibilities became independent, and the land could not be maintained further for proper facilities and visiting devotees. This prompted the Government of Haryana to take over the temple and set up the Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (SMMDSB), as a result of which the condition of the Mansa Devi Temple has improved significantly.

In the sanctum sanctorum, the main deity Mansa Devi is worshipped along with Lakshmi and Sarasvati. There are many legends associated with the region. When Lord Brahma created the universe with the help of Shakti, he decided to give back Shakti to Shiva. Brahma's son, Daksha, carried out different penances and yajna (fire offering) to gain Shakti as his daughter in the form of Sati. She was married to Shiva against his wishes.

Once, when Daksha performed a yajna, Sati and Shiva were not invited. Upon seeing the uninvited guest, Sati, Daksha began berating and reviling Shiva. Not being able to tolerate her father's words against her husband, she sacrificed herself in the fire by committing suicide. Angered and raged by Daksha's insults and her death, Shiva in his Veerabhadra avatar destroyed Daksha's yajna, cut his head off and later replaced it with that of a goat as he was restored to life. Shiva picked up Sati's body and performed the tandava, the celestial dance of destruction and death.

Fearing his rage, other gods called upon Vishnu for help. Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra, the fierce disc weapon, which cut through Sati's body. The body was dismembered into 108 various parts, 52 of which are said to have fallen in India and the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, while the remaining on other planets in the universe. Sati's head is said to have fallen here at Panchkula. These locations are now called Shakti peethas, where a temple is dedicated to the goddess.

Thousands of ardent devotees, pilgrims and tourists flock to the Mansa Devi Temple during the famous NavratriMelaa. The number usually rises to lakhs during the festival. The Navratri celebrations are held twice a year for nine days. They are carried out in the months of Chaitra (first month of the Hindu calendar) and Ashvin (seventh month).

The majestic temple is lively during these times, and pleasant arrangements are made by the shrine board such as providing tented accommodation, blankets, dispensaries, clean toilets etc. for warm stay and darshan of the devotees. On the 7th and 8th days of the festival, the complex is shut down for a couple of hours during the night for maintenance purposes.

1. Prasad and temple offerings can be purchased from shops outside the temple.
2. Beware of pickpockets. Keep your footwear in your vehicle or deposit at the stand.
3. Visit early to avoid the rush.
4. If you wish to stay here for a couple of days, a tourist rest house nearby offers good accommodation. A permanent langar is held here by the Chandigarh Grain Market Association, where a free delicious meal is served to all visitors!

The vast complex is situated just outside Chandigarh at a distance of 11 km and 5 km from the Panchkula bus terminal, from where you can catch regular buses or rickshaws directly to your destination. The nearest railway junction is in Chandigarh.

During peak season such as in Navratri, special buses are organized by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking and Haryana Roadways for catering to the needs of countless tourists and devotees who travel here.

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