Chamunda Temple

Chamunda Temple

Chamunda also known as Chamundi, Chamundeshwari, Charchika and Rakta Kali is a fearsome aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother and one of the seven Matrikas (mother goddesses).

She is also one of the chief Yoginis, a group of sixty-four or eighty-one Tantric goddesses, who are attendants of the warrior goddess Durga. The name is a combination of Chanda and Munda, two monsters whom Chamunda killed. She is closely associated with Kali, another fierce aspect of Devi. She is sometimes identified with goddesses Parvati, Chandi or Durga as well.

The goddess is often portrayed as haunting cremation grounds or fig trees. The goddess is worshipped by ritual animal sacrifices along with offerings of wine and in the ancient times, human sacrifices were offered too. Originally a tribal goddess, Chamunda was assimilated in Hinduism and later entered the Jain pantheon too. Though in Jainism, the rites of her worship include vegetarian offerings, and not the meat and liquor offerings.

The famous temple of Ma Chamunda is in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is around 10 km west of Palampur, on the Baner river. Around 400 years ago the king and a Brahmin priest prayed to Devi for permission to move the temple to some easily accessible location. Devi appeared to the priest in a dream giving her consent. She directed him to dig in a certain spot and an ancient idol would be found and that idol should be installed in the temple and worshipped as Her form.

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