I sat talking with the priest by the temple’s gate, up at Dain Kund. Breathless after the trek up the hill from Dalhousie, I was surprised by the strange calm that filled the place. Other than the idol that sat inside the temple compound, I could see an idol of Kali, with one foot in the air, on a hilltop quite near.
Bemused and curious, I listened to the priest’s story.
Legends have it that the villagers, some 800 years ago, from Chamba had to cross over the very hill that we were at to get the essentials of daily life from the other village.
But, it wasn’t an easy task, for demons roamed scot-free on the hill, devouring every live soul that ventured uphill.
Goddess Kali descended on the hill to help the villagers. Furious, she slayed every single demon that roamed there. A shudder escaped me as I imagined that the very grounds, where I sat, are believed to have turned red in the bloodshed.
Yet, the calm that engulfed me couldn’t be explained in words. There was something divine; inviting, yet strong in the air there. No wonder, I proclaimed that I could stay there all alone, all night!
Villagers built this temple, named Pohlani Devi Temple, in reverence of the goddess. Even now, they come here to seek blessings. I was witness to a marriage procession that marched uphill, with the groom going inside the temple to pay respect.
Such is the faith in these hills of the mighty Himalayas.
Never had I encountered divinity so close. Couldn’t help but bow in surrender.