Naina Devi Temple in NainitalNaina Devi Temple is situated at the northern banks of Naini Lake. The beautiful hill station of Nainital actually derives its name from Goddess Naina Devi. It is considered as one of the sacred 64 ‘Shaktipeeths’ and is the most worshipped place in Nainital. The presiding deities of this temple are Mata Naina Devi which is represented as two broad eyes or ‘Naina’, surrounded by idols of Maa Kali and Sri Ganesha. The temple is placed at the top of a hill and attracts pilgrims throughout the year.
Legend related to Naina Devi Temple states that Devi Sati or Parvati, daughter of king Daksha Prajapati, became wife of Lord Shiva. Once when she went to her father’s place, King Daksha insulted her husband which she could not bear and ended her life. When Lord Shiva came to know about his wife’s death, he became very angry and was full of grief. Carrying his dead wife’s body over his shoulders, Lord Shiva started walking all three lokas (worlds). He was in such rage that all other gods started trembling with fear and no one dared to stop him. Finally, Lord Vishnu came infront to help. He targeted arrows on Sati’s body in such a way that the arrows pierced the body in several pieces. The places where these pieces fall came to be known as “Shaktipeethas’. It is said that the eyes of Sati fell on this place where this temple is built, thus acquiring the name of Naina Devi.
The temple of Naina Devi is one of the must-visit places for Hindus. It is believed that the temple was built during Kushan Period in 15th century, which was destroyed in a landslide. Later in 1842, Motiram Shah installed here the idols of Naina Devi and other gods and goddesses. However, in 1880, there was another major landslide and this temple too was destroyed. Again in 1883, it was reinstated with extra measures taken so that there were no further damages to this site. A ceremony for statue immersion is celebrated here since 1918-19 on Bhadrapad Ashtami. Situated along the beautiful 93 ft. deep, 167 yards wide and 1567 yards long Naini Lake, the temple can be reached by climbing on Naina Hill. On the hill there are various shops where you can purchase prasad and other offerings for Naini Mata. After entering the main door, one can see a Peepal tree on the left. Towards the right there are deities of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman. On the main entrance, there are two lions on both sides of the door.
Naina Devi Temple is open throughout the year but pilgrims generally flock on two main festivals. These are Navratri celebrated in the month of September or October and in March-April. Then there is Shravani Mela in July-August and Chaitra Mela which is organized in March-April.
Timings of Naina Devi Temple: Temple opens at 6:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm on all days including Sundays and public holidays. Pets are strictly not allowed here and so as anything made up of leather.