December, 2021July 15, 2022
Tripura Sundari Temple Naggar – A Three-Tiered Wooden Pagoda Style Temple
Naggar is a small hamlet some 20 KM away from the chaos of Manali. I avoid places with a commercial crowd and that’s why instead of staying in Manali, I chose to stay at Naggar. Neither this small town had any chaos nor was it heavily commercialized. Moreover, there are bus services from Naggar to Manali at regular intervals which is the easiest way to commute within these two places. I spent four days in Naggar and one night in Manali at an accommodation provided by a café. Naggar has some impressive architectural monuments which have been standing for centuries. Tripura Sundari Temple Naggar is one such monument that is both a religious and architectural wonder. Its unique architecture is the most striking feature.
The local Himachali architecture is largely based on woods and this temple highlights this fact to its best use. After visiting, spending nearly an hour at Naggar Castle, I took a short walk to this temple from the castle. Tripura Sundari Temple of Naggar is located on the road itself and thus is easily visible from a distance. However, its unique design and style make it more recognizable. I too was taken by surprise when I visited this temple and witnessed its remarkable architecture.
Tripura Sundari Temple Naggar resembles Hadimba Temple
Mata Tripura Sundari Temple of Naggar appears black. Now, I am not sure if it is the original color or it has turned dark over the years. At first glance, the temple looks similar to Hidimba Devi Temple which is located in Manali. Both the temples have almost similar architecture. While Tripura Sundari Temple of Naggar is a three-tiered temple, the Hidimba Temple of Manali is four-tiered. Moreover, Hidimba Temple looks more like a standalone building whereas Naggar’s Tripura Sundari Temple has more than one structure.
This Hindu temple of Naggar is a major attraction. If you are planning a trip to Naggar and are planning on places to visit in Naggar, then Tripura Sundari temple should be included in your trip. Also, a fair (Sharhi Jatra) is organized every year in May. So maybe you also want to check that out. But make sure that you follow all the pandemic protocols and keep yourself safe.
History and Architecture of Tripura Sundari Mata Temple Naggar
I’m not quite sure about the historical background of this temple. While researching for this blog, I found that the temple was built by Raja Yashodhapal. I couldn’t find much about this king to establish the facts and year of construction. I did find a fact which mentioned about Raja Urdhanpal who built a Sandhya Devi Temple in 1428 AD. I assume both the kings belong to the same lineage. One source mentioned that the temple was constructed in the 11th century. The temple is a three-tiered wooden temple constructed in pagoda style. As per the beliefs, the temple is dedicated to the goddess Tripura Mata. This temple has web-shaped designs and it is said that the goddess Tripura Mata herself made this design when she turned herself into a spider.
The temple has a 30 cm idol of Tripura Rakshisha made up of eight metals (asht-dhatu). The temple houses idols of Laxmi Narayan, Brahma, Ganesha, Shiva & Parvati, Vishnu, etc. Tripura Sundari Mata’s idol is enshrined with 21 masks. The temple is largely constructed with deodar wood. The top of the temple is crowned with a circular pinnacle Chhatra. Squat wooden pillars divide the rest of the two tiers. The goddess protects the people of the area from any type of harm, as per the beliefs. Tripura Mata is the Isht Devi or tutelary deity.
The first day of Baisakhi brings a strange tradition to the temple. On this day, the goddess is offered the shrouds of the dead bodies as clothes. While I was reading an article published on the Deccan Herald website, written by Shoma Abhyankar (Jan 27, 2019), I found that there is a hymn in Lalitha Sahasranamam which describes the goddess as a supreme Shakti which sits on Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Rudra’s corpses. And probably, that’s how this tradition came into existence.
Tripura Sundari Temple is located on the way to Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery close to Naggar bus stop. Thus, it is easy to visit here from the bus stop. There is no entry ticket to the temple and gates remain open all through the day. I spent almost an hour sitting in the hall of the temple. The place is very silent and peaceful.
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I am a food & travel enthusiast, a music aficionado, poet, artist, and someone who loves to explore unexplored/off-beat places. I started this blog to share my food and travel journey.