According to mythology the divine spouse of Lord Shiva once started dancing and in her joy she lost herself and went on with a fierce dance putting the three worlds in danger. All the other gods concerned about the world approached Lord Siva for help. Shiva in order to stop the goddess laid himself on her route of dance. When Kali had put her feet on prostrated Siva she came to herself and stopped. In this manifestation the spouse Kali is painted black on the face and she looks fierce with her garland of skulls and tongue protruding out of remorse for treading on her husband's body.
Legend of Shyama Kali Temple
Raja Shyam Sen ruled Mandi from 1664 to 1675. He was a great devotee of goddess Kali. Once Raja Jit Sen of Suket, ruler of the adjoining State, insulted Shyam Sen and Shyam Sen invaded Suket. Before proceeding for the battle Shyam Sen prayed and invoked the blessings of Goddess Kali. On his victory he was said to have built the temple and installed the deity.
According to another legend the Sikh kingdom after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 went through tough times. During the rule of Maharaja Kharak Singh of the Sikh kingdom the army became almost uncontrollable. Kharak Singh had left all the powers in the hands of his son Naunihal Singh.
Naunihal Singh thought upon a plan to invade Mandi and Kulu to provide an opportunity to the army for fight. Mandi and Kulu had given no cause for the invasion. General Ventura led a strong Sikh force to Mandi. He stopped within seven miles of the Mandi town and demanded some payment which was made. Raja Balbir Sen of Mandi was summoned to visit the General in his camp on the pretext of receiving a Khilat.
On his arrival the Raja was imprisoned and Mandi town was occupied. The army also captured the Kamlah fortress and the Raja was sent as a prisoner to Amritsar and confined in the fort of Gobindgarh. Kulu was next invaded. During that time a clever minister of Raja Balbir Sen left the State in the disguise of a domestic servant and went to Lahore. He managed to gain the confidence of the rulers and had himself sent to Gobindgarh fort to work for the prisoner. There he hatched a plot and spread the news that the Raja had great spiritual powers and was capable of curing incurable diseases. Some cases came to him and got cured by a touch of the Jhanda Sahib which was a flag post of the Gurudwara by the site of the fort. Maharaja Sher Singh who had become the ruler of Lahore heard of this. Once during heavy rain and floods, he summoned Raja Balbir Sen to arrest the rain through his powers. It is said that Raja Balbir Sen prayed to goddess Shyama Kali and took a vow that if the calamity was ended and he was released he would decorate the interior of the deity's temple with gold leaf.
It is said that the prayer of Raja Balbir Sen were answered and the rains had stopped. Blabir Sen was released with full honours and Mandi State with all that had been looted was restored to him. The Raja fulfilled his vow. Since then the Shyama Kali is held in very great veneration and the temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.
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