Next on our way after Chintpurni and Jwalaji was Brajeshwari mandir, Kangra. It was already dark by the time we reached the temple and kids were really tired after two temple visits and travelling the mountain roads for over five hours. Also they were well aware of what awaited them if they got out of the car, so they decided to stay in the car while we went up to the temple.
Brajeshwari temple is also a shaktipeeth, which is the place where Mata Sati’s breasts fell. It is a very beautiful temple, white in color. This temple has withstood several adversities over centuries. It had been looted twice and was subject to an earthquake but still remains one of the wealthiest shrines in India.
We could hear the drums from the temple as we got out of the car and walked the narrow path up to the temple. The evening aarti was going on and the main temple door was closed for the public. And as we reached the compound I was not surprised to see the long queue to have the darshan. My hubby and I were in the understanding that if there is a long queue, we will not wait to have the darshan but fold our hands from outside, pray for the mata’s grace and leave.
It would seem mata had some other plans for us!
The ‘ aarti thali’ was being circulated at the time we entered the compound, so we had the blessing. Thankful that we could participate in the evening aarti, bowing to mata in our mind, we walked a bit around the temple. But mata had decided that we would not leave without a darshan! In her infinite grace, she allowed us to step into the sanctum santorum for darshan. It happened quite unexpectedly, as we stood by the small door on the side of the sanctum santorum (which I think is usually the exit) where a police person was on guard but some individuals were going in. Though I didn’t know whether I would be stopped, I ventured in and lo! I was in the sanctum santorum. I stood in front of mata with bowed hands, heart full of gratitude and eyes filled with tears. She, in abundant kindness, allowed me (and my hubby who went in after me) to be there as long as we desired.
Totally unexpected and spiritually elevating experience!
Similar was my experience in Chamunda Devi temple.
The diety is mata Chamunda, slayer of demons chand and mund. More interesting than the story of the mata being the slayer of chand and mund is the story how the temple was established. A king and a priest prayed to the Mother that they be allowed to move a temple to a more accessible place to which She consented. As per Her instructions, the king sent out men to dig out the idol but they were not able to lift it. The Mother again appeared in a dream and explained how the men considered the idol to be just an ordinary stone and hence were not able to lift it. She instructed him to get up in the morning, take bath, go to the place in a respectful manner which when he did, he was able to lift the idol which several men couldn’t do. A story of faith!
Since we had reached the place in the night, we were at the doors of mata early in the morning. We offered our obeisance to the mata and sat under the tree in the compound, eyes closed, listening to the river gushing by and lost in the adoration of the Divine!
The true feeling of being in a temple!