(Last Updated on : 20/12/2014)
The temple of Bajreshwari or Vagreshwari Devi at Kangra
is the most famous and venerated by the devotees. The famous Mahmud of Ghazni
is said to have invaded the district and destroyed the temple, building a mosque on its ruins. However later the temple was restored and is said to have been visited by King Akbar
together with his celebrated Diwan Todar Mal. There are many other temples in the vicinity which are said to have owed their origin to Todar Mal. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited he ordered that the domes of the temples here and at Jawalamukhi to be decprated. Subsequently devotees from Amritsar
subscribed together and presented the temple with marble floor.
Legend of Bajreshwari Devi Temple
According to legend there was a severe and prolonged drought in Kangra area of Beas
basin that led to the death of hundreds of people. A few devotees began fasting and performed havan (fire ritual) to propitiate Goddess Durga
. It is said the goddess showed them the spot where the breasts of Sati had fallen and wanted a temple to be built for the goddess Bajreshwari at that place. Bajreshwari is considered to be another manifestation of Sati. This mythical origin of Bajreshwari Devi and the temple enshrining her is firmly believed throughout Himachal Pradesh
. Thousands of devotees throng the temple and the rush is greatest during the Navaratri
The valuable jewels and other articles offered to the deity by the devotees attracted the invasion of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in 1009. According to history the temple was plundered and gold, silver and jewels were all looted. A small garrison was left at the place by Sultan Mahmud. Thirty-five years later the Hindu princes under the patronage of the Raja of Delhi regained possession. A replica of the idol was again enshrined.
In 1360 Kangra was again invaded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq
and the temple was again plundered and desecrated. Emperor Akbar is supposed to have visited the temple with his dewan Todar Mal and restored the temple to its previous glory.