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Naina Devi Festival
Naina Devi Festival- A renowned festival in Nainital
The Naina Devi festival is generally celebrated in the month of August or September, in the vicinity of the Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh. The festival which attracts thousands of visitors and devotees from the different parts on India and the globe is organized as a mark of respect for Goddess Naina Devi, believed to be a form of Lord Shiva’s escort, Mata Sati.
About Naina Devi Temple
The Naina Devi temple is located on the top of the Naina Hill of Nainital. The sanctum of the temple features an idol of Naina Devi having two large eyes while its entrance is flanked by the idols of two lions, one on each side. In addition, the temple complex also houses the statues of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman apart from which there is also a huge Banyan tree located to the main gate. There is also a beautiful lake situated near the temple, which is believed to symbolize the two blue eyes of Naina Mata.
The word Naina means eyes and it is said that the Naina Devi temple is located on the place where the eyes of Mata Sati fell. Mata Sati had willingly plunged into the havankund at a yajna organized by her father, to punish him for not inviting and insulting her husband, Lord Shiva. Later, when Shiva took her body and wandered across the mountains, Lord Vishnu disintegrated her half burned body, to save the world from the wrath of Lord Shiva’s anger. This temple is amongst the 51 shaktipeeths of India and is one of the most important pilgrimage centers of North India.
The Significance of Naina Devi Festival
The Naina Devi festival, which lasts for eight days, gets its name from the fact that it is celebrated to highlight the importance of goddess Naina. During the festival, the local people decorate their homes and shops beautifully and take part in various religious and other activities with great joy and fervor. The festival also features a fair in which several folk dances, songs and other performances are organized.
Devotees visiting Naina Devi during the Shrine, not only get to learn about the significance of the temple and its history but also gain a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle of the people. They generally present the goddess with offerings, which usually includes a coconut and a red silk stole of varying sizes, to seek her blessings for a happy and peaceful life.
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