Kunjapuri Devi Temple in RishikeshThere are fifty two Shaktipeeths located all over the country. The Kunjapuri Devi Temple marks the location where the chest of the Mother Goddess was cremated by the Gods and the temple constructed to mark the area. Kunjpuri Devi Temple also has the distinction of being one of the most popular among the thirteen significant temples that are spread across the Shivalik range.
The Kunjpuri Devi is an incarnation of Mother Durga, the militant Goddess who has the power to vanquish all evil forces. The Kunjpuri Devi Temple is situated about fifteen kilometers away from Rishikesh on a hillock all by itself. The one unique feature of this location is that there is a breathtaking view from the temple at sunrise and sunset. This is especially so, as one visualize the snow-clad peaks of Swarga Rohini, Banderpunch, Gangotri and Chaukhamba.
The panorama of the Garhwal Himalayas spreads out before the visitor standing at the threshold of the Kunjpuri Devi Temple. The road up to the temple is undulating and dangerous but the road to the temple is smooth. About eighty steps carry the tourists upto the very door of the sanctum sanctorum.
On arrival at the base of the temple, in fact right at the parking itself, there are lots of shops selling ‘prasad’ that was appropriate for paying obeisance to the devi or Mother Goddess.
After climbing eighty steps from the road level one is at the main-entrance of the Kunjpuri Devi’s Temple. The entrance has lifelike images of a painted lion and elephant busts at the very entrance adorning each side. The central courtyard surrounds the main temple and a huge Shivalinga as a part of the Goddess. There is a larger than life idol of Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva flanking the chief deity.
The ‘puja samagri’ or offerings to the Goddess are in the form of incense stick or ‘agarbati’, a red veil or ‘chunari’, dry fruits, coconut, green cardamom and vermilion or ‘sindoor’. All these are offered to the mother Goddess to appease her and seek her blessings for the entire family. Rice puffs are the sanctified food of the goddess and are distributed as ‘prasad’ to all the devotees thronging there.
Despite the chilly weather one feels warm and cosy inside he temple as if one has been enveloped in the Mother’s lap.
Kunjpuri Devi Temple TimingsThe daily visiting timings of the temple are from 6.00 am to 8.00 am with just about one hour in-between as other temple formalities like arti and cleaning up are also done during these hours. Thus, it is wiser to start early and wait for the temple to open rather than take the risk of missing the ‘darshan’ altogether.
The best time to visit the temple is during the months from October to May. The greatest festival celebrated with a lot of pomp and gaiety here is the Dushera festival.
Precautions to be takenAlthough there are no restrictions whatsoever like entry is free and photography is allowed, however, one must be very careful with the elderly and the children. This is because the temple is situated at a height of 1645 meters above sea level and may prove a challenge for those who are not acclimatized. Especially as they may find difficulty in breathing in the rarefied air. Another precaution for the elderly is that there are 500 to 1000 steps to be climbed up before one reaches the temple threshold.
Reaching Kunjapuri Devi Temple in RishikeshAir: The Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun, is the nearest located just thirty five kilometers from Haridwar. From there one can hire a taxi to reach the temple directly.
Train: From Dehradun to Haridwar and then onto Rishikesh there is an efficient train service.
Road: Some of the major distances are - Badrinath at 301 kms; Delhi at 224 kms; Dehradun at 43 kms; Kedarnath at 228 kms; Gangotri at 258 kms Yamunotri at 288 kms. and Uttarkashi at 154 kms. There is a well connected roads network.
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