Nanda Devi Siddhpeeth Temple is one of the most important temples in the Garhwal Himalayas. It is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India, at an altitude of 2,927 meters (9,603 feet). The temple is dedicated to the goddess Nanda Devi, who is considered to be the protector of the Garhwal region.
The temple is believed to have been built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya. The temple is made of stone and has a shikhara (tower) that is 100 feet high. The temple is surrounded by a complex of smaller temples and shrines.
The Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a major festival that is held at the temple every 12 years. The festival attracts lakhs of pilgrims from all over India. The festival begins with a procession of the goddess Nanda Devi’s idol from the temple to her home in the village of Nauti. The procession is accompanied by music, dancing, and singing.
The Nanda Devi Siddhapeeth Temple is a popular pilgrimage destination. The temple is open to visitors from all faiths. The best time to visit the temple is during the Nanda Devi Raj Jat festival.
Architecture of Nanda Devi Siddhpeeth Temple
Spanning an impressive 900 square feet, the sprawling complex of Nanda Devi Siddhapeeth Temple is cloistered within a protective boundary wall. Renowned as one of India’s most magnificent shrines, its architecture showcases the exquisite skills of the Pahari style, leaving visitors in awe.
The heart of the temple is a breathtaking “choker” shaped structure, adorned with a sacred “Devi Kalash” at its peak. Crafted from sacred Ashtadhatu metal, it radiates an aura of divine power. This majestic edifice rests upon a colossal 214-foot (65-meter) stone platform, housing the inner sanctum where the revered deities reside.
A unique design feature unfolds here: the adjoining Gherdar temple and pavilions gradually elevate toward the main temple, resembling a series of hills leading to a majestic mountain peak. This symbolic “mountain range” is built with smaller structures arranged hierarchically, drawing the eye inwards towards the central sanctum.
Further emphasizing the sanctity of the main shrine, two protective walls encircle it. The inner wall stands 20 feet tall, while another grander wall safeguards the entire complex.
Deity of The Temple
The heart of the Nanda Devi Siddhapeeth Temple beats with the presence of Nanda Devi, the reigning goddess. Her ancient stone idol, Nanda Bhagwati, resides on a stone platform in the hallowed sanctum sanctorum. Whispers of history suggest that these idols were revered even before the temple’s rise, possibly receiving offerings from forgotten tribes.
This sacred space holds a unique treasure: Maa Bhagwati’s rock idol, sculpted in the form of a quadrangular linga. Each day, after the rituals conclude, a local tradition unfolds: Poove, a delectable dumpling crafted from flour and jaggery, is offered to both Maa Nanda and Maa Bhagwati. This cherished sweet treat becomes the divine prasad, embodying the blessings of Mother Nanda Devi herself.
Interesting Facts About Nanda Devi Siddhpeeth Temple Kurur
Here are some other interesting facts about the Nanda Devi Siddhapeeth Temple:
- The temple is located in the Nanda Devi National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India.
- The temple is said to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya defeated the Buddhist scholar Mandan Mishra in a debate.
- The temple is a popular destination for trekking and mountaineering.