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Travel and Leisure

Story of Nanda Devi and History of Almora Nanda Devi Temple

Nanda Devi is the most recognized and revered goddess of Uttarakhand. In both the divisions (Kumaon and Garhwal) of Uttarakhand, the revered goddess is Nanda. The people of Uttarakhand have such a relationship with Mother Nanda, perhaps a devotee and her adoration in the country. Some consider her as their daughter, some as a sister. Binding in human relationships and tying the Mother Goddess in the bond of love and affection is a different form of devotion. This goddess is worshiped as the Kuldevi of the Katyur Panwar and Chand clans. In all the branches of the Katyuri dynasty, Jiya considers Rani as an incarnation of Nanda Devi. In the form of Goddess Parvati, the daughter of Parvatraj Himalaya, Nanda Devi has a special recognition in the Himavan i.e. hill state of Uttarakhand. 

According to the Puranic literature, the Varaha Purana, stating the meaning of the name of Nanda Devi, states that “Due to the joyful movement of this form of the goddess in the snow forest, it has been declared as Nanda. In the Manas Khand and Kedarkhand of the Skanda Purana, described Uttarakhand, Nanda has been called ‘Darumurtismasina’. It means Nanda Devi is represented on the wood itself. According to this tradition, the idol of Nanda is made on the Kadali tree in the Nanda Festival of Almora and Nainital.

History of Almora Nanda Devi Temple –

It is said about the installation of the idol in Almora, that this idol of Goddess Nanda was earlier in the Junagarh fort of Garhwal. Around 1617, Chand Raja Baj Bahadur Chand, after conquering this fort, brought this idol to Almora. There, a temple was built inside the Malla Mahal, and installed this idol. And here it was worshiped daily and its annual festival was celebrated on Nanda Ashtami. But in the year 1815, in the conflict between the British and the Gorkhas, the temple of Mother Nanda Devi along with the buildings of Malla Mahal was destroyed. Due to this, the annual festival of Nanda got reduced gradually. Later on, the worship remained a mere formality. The public urged the British a lot for the new temple of Maa Nanda, but regardless of this, in 1832, it was completely made the center of the civil officers.

It is said that Goddess Nanda was angry with this behavior of the British. The then British Commissioner Trail Saheb was on the Pindari-Milam Yatra when suddenly he lost his eyesight. The pundits, calling it the wrath of the goddess, suggested she establish a new temple. After this, the temple of Nanda was built along with the Shiva temple in the present premises of Nanda Devi, and the idol was brought here from Mallamahal. 

It is said that the present idol of the goddess is not the original idol, which was brought by Raja Baz Bahadur Chand from Junagadh. The idol made of Ashtadhatu was stolen. After that Chandvanshi Anand Singh got the new idol of Mother Nanda built. He was installed here. At present, this idol is worshipped. Udyog Deep Chandrashekhar Temple built by Raj Udyotchand in 1690-91 is presently called Nanda Devi Temple of Almora.

Story of Nanda Devi

There are many stories of Nanda Devi prevalent in Uttarakhand. Because Nanda is considered to be the family deity of the Parmar dynasty of Garhwal, the Katyur dynasty of Kumaon, and the Chand dynasty. Hence Nanda Devi is also called Rajarajeshwari. Different stories about Nanda Devi are prevalent in all the dynasties.

Nanda is said to be the daughter of a Chandvanshi king. It is said that this king was an exclusive devotee of Mother Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya. The king became sad because he did not have any children. One day, being pleased with his devotion, Mother Parvati came into her dream and said, “I am very happy with your devotion. I will be born in your house as a daughter once. When the king woke up, he was thrilled with happiness. He also told the matter to his queen.

Mother Parvati, as per her promise, took birth from the queen’s womb as a divine girl on the Ashtami of Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month. He was named by law on the eleventh day of his birth. The king named that divine girl Nanda after the highest peak of his kingdom, Nandakot. The Chand Empire celebrated this day with gaiety. After that this festival started being celebrated every year on Nandashtami. 

In Garhwal folk tales about Nanda Devi, she has been described as the daughter of King Bhanupratap of Chandpur and the wife of King Kanakpal of Dharanagari. It is said that due to her divine qualities, she was worshiped as a goddess. In the second folk saga of Garhwal about Nanda Devi, Nanda was worshiped as the daughter of Garhwal, due to her being the daughter of the Himalayas and the daughter of Chandpur Raja.

Accommodation when you will visit this place:

Nanda Devi is 38 km from Joshimath. you can find a good market to buy groceries and other supplies before starting your journey there are many clean homestays in Joshimath that are budget friendly where you can relax before and after finishing your trip to recharge your strength. 

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