Mahamaya Balasundari Devi Shaktipeeth Temple, Trilokpur

Epitome of the female deity as Shakti – the source of all power, sick Trilokpur village near Nahan in the Shivalik hill ranges of Sirmaur holds a unique place among believers and pilgrims for housing Goddess Durga in three different manifestations.

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Across the country, there are various shrines dedicated to Maa Balasundari, however, the main archetypal temple happens to be the one at Trilokpur. In serene rural settings, the temple is located at a vantage point on a hill above the village and offers wide views of the countryside around.

The village of Trilokpur lies on a branching road as one takes the highway out from Nahan in the Kala Amb direction. Getting off the highway and after passing through dense forests of Sal and Khair, a stone cobbled path from the village rises to the hill to shrine.

The temple, dedicated to Bhagwati Tripur Balasundari, depicts an elegant childhood figure of Goddess Durga. Though the old temple is said to have been built by Raja Dip Parkash in the year 1573, but the legend about founding of the temple has one believe that Maa Balasundari’s Pindi (a holy stone considered as the symbol of Devi) had emerged out from a bag of salt that a local seller had bought.

The Legend

The story goes that small time local businessman Ram Dass bought a bag of salt in Devban, Uttar Pradesh, which he transported and started selling it at Trilokpur. Belief in the goddess incarnate is that Ram Dass, to his surprise, kept on selling the salt from that bag through a whole day, but the quantity remained what it was when he started the day’s trade break.

Tired after a hectic and a surprising day, when the trader fell asleep for the night, the Goddess appeared in his dream and narrated the event of her departure from Devban. The Devi asked the trader to have a temple built in Tirlokpur and to have the Pindi that was inside the salt bag set up there. The goddess also expressed that she be worshiped as Mahamaya Balasundari, a childhood state of Vaishno Devi.

The Temple

As Lala Ram Dass did not have enough money to build the temple, he approached the then king of Sirmaur, who showed interest and agree to construct it. On the Kings orders, in 1570 AD, artisans from Jaipur, Rajasthan were requisitioned and construction got started. By 1573 A.D. the marble domed temple was built and the divine Pindi was established and was christened as Maa Bala Sundari.

After having built the temple dedicated to the child form of Goddess Durga, it has been a tradition for the Royal family of Sirmaur to pay homage to the Devi incarnate each year. The temple was also renovated by Maharaja Fateh Prakash and Maharaja Raghubir Prakash in 1823 and 1851, respectively.

A model of excellent workmanship, Balasundari Temple is a fusion of Indian and Persian schools of architecture. More than 32 lacs of pilgrims visit the temple each year, making it one of the most visited temple shrines in Himachal Pradesh.

One of so many unique aspects of this temple is that its conventional Poojari (priest) has to be a Vaishya or someone from the business community, considering that the descendents of Ram Dass have been the main Poojaris since the temple was built.

Given the influence and the offering made at the temple, the government took over the management of the temple and created a temple trust, which operates under the direct supervision of the district magistrate. In the months of Chaitra and Ashvina navratras (from Ashtmi to Chaudas), a big fair is held twice a year at Trilokpur. People from across India gather in huge numbers on Ashtmi and the final days of the fair.

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Ashwani Sharma is a writing enthusiast from Shimla, India. Most of his work experience is related to communication skills in English, written and spoken. His articles and write-ups on various generic issues have been published before.

By: Ashwani Sharma on Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Author: Ashwani Sharma

Ashwani Sharma is a writing enthusiast from Shimla, India. Most of his work experience is related to communication skills in English, written and spoken. His articles and write-ups on various generic issues have been published before.