Dear readers, in my second adventure journey across the Dev Bhumi – Himachal , I will take you all to one of the most sacred shrines of our beautiful hill state. As many of you may not be aware ( as I was myself unaware until I took this journey) that the original shrine of Mata Chamunda Devi is located at Adi Himani Chamunda Devi Peak ( 3100 mtrs ), around 10kms uphill trek from the present day Chamunda town.
I have always been a mountain lover. Growing up in Himachal in the laps of the mighty Dhauladhars has always made me have that adrenaline rush to scale these challenging heights. A few days ago, during my vacations at Palampur, as I gazed out of my bedroom window and saw the dominating Adi Himani Chamunda Devi Peak, I told myself that I had always wanted to be there and it was time now to go out into the laps of my beloved Dhauladhars.
As is customary in my lifestyle, I checked up the details for the climb from my travel companion, Google Earth and prepared my kit, got my maps and other travel essentials ready. I got company from one youngster who happens to be a close relative of mine. As I was recovering from a long illness I had to take extra precautions during the ascent.
We started of the day well and reached the road-head which is at a village called Dhota, 5km from SH37 ( Palampur – Dharamshala Rd ) . We parked our car and started the arduous climb for Adi Himani Chamunda Devi Peak at 1030h. It is a steep uphill climb of 10kms. The first half of the climb is a very steep challenging climb. After exactly 6km one reaches a tiny hamlet used by the local shepherds called Ghari. From here on the climb is tricky nevertheless one lifetime experience. It had started to rain en-route and it made the climb all the more challenging and definitely fun.
At exactly, 1400h after a climb of 3 1/2 h we scaled the peak and reached the holy temple of Goddess Adi Himani Chamunda Devi. The peak is at a height of 3100 M and one has to climb over 2000M in10 kms which tells you the steep incline of the climb. We offered our prayers and prayed for blessings of the Goddess. We had the bhandara lunch which was being offered by the local devotees. By now the weather had packed up and it continuously hailed and rained for 1 1/2 h. After it cleared off we were lucky to take the view from the peak. It was breathtaking. It was fabulous. The mighty Dhauladhar Matterhorn Peak was a sight to watch at. There was a freshness in the air and one could feel the serenity in the environment. To sum it up it was indeed a heavenly sight. As we were running out of time, we started off back at 1530h and descended down at a fast pace. We were at the roadhead by 1830h and drove back home.
The legend of the temple is related with two demons Chanda and Munda of Shumbh Nishumbh, the notorious demon king. With their wicked mind, they try to harass the goddess Ambika, which turned out in the form of battle between the gods and demons. Chamunda, emerged as Chandika from an eyebrow of goddess Ambika, was assigned the task to eliminate the demons. Chandika destroyed those two demons and presented their heads in front of Ambika. Pleased with the act of Chamunda, the goddess Ambika named the city as Chamunda and since then the temple Chamunda Devi is worshiped with that grace and faith.
I love climbing mountains and I love meditating and when I get to combine the both, the experience is a complete bliss – meditation in the serene mountains. It was a divine experience.During the entire walk, I kept focusing at the most important teaching of my Guru HH The Dalai Lama – The essence of our lives is to seek happiness and one of the sources of happiness is to be always calm, kind, compassionate and gentle to others. I had really practiced this noble thought of his throughout the climb and when I reached back my home that night, I was a much better human being.
In the end , I would invite all my readers to come and share the splendid beauty of this serene, picturesque holy Shrine at Adi Himani Chamunda Mata Peak and seek her blessings. Truly, it would be a walk to remember….