Ancient ShaktiPeetha of Jim Corbett, Ramnagar: Girija Devi Temple, Uttarakhand

River Kosi flowing along the Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand

The red chunris fluttering in the air divert my gaze from the peacefully flowing River Kosi a few feet below. A soft yet bright January day; the sky is deep and delicate blue, like a magical carpet rolled on a vast clear empty space, till as far as my eyes can see. Amidst my awe, I take a deep breath and feel the sweet breeze soothe my senses.

A sacred stillness descends.

It is in those moments of stillness, that I find something about the landscape looking back right at me. There is something that dissolves, something that dawns… what remains is a fiery incandescent luminosity lighting up all corners of my heart.

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They say we don’t visit a place until we have a call from there – it’s true. Our visit to Garjiya Mata Mandir (Girija Devi temple), a sacred Shakti shrine located in Garjiya village on the outskirts of the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Ramnagar on NH 121, was one such experience that drilled this belief deeper.

We hadn’t even heard about this temple till the manager of the hotel we stayed at in Jim Corbett suggested about it as it is one of the most famous temples in the Nainital district.

On the way to Girija Devi Temple Uttarakhand
Walking to the Garjiya Mata Mandir in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand

We caught a local bus from right outside the Dhangadi Gate and Museum which hardly took around 20 minutes to drop us at Garjiya Mandir stop. From the stop, we walked for about 5 minutes past trees, huts and shops and lo! we had reached a gem of a place which left me awestruck from the very first moment I looked at it.

Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple entrance Uttarakhand
Garjiya Mata temple Gate
Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple compound Uttarakhand
The huge temple complex

The gate of the temple opened into a large complex which had a few smaller temples and a huge banyan tree. The complex leads to a connecting bridge and it is while walking here that one gets the first glimpse of the stunning Girija Devi temple of Ramnagar in Uttarakhand.

Bridge to the Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
The interconnecting bridge connecting the complex and the sacred hillock.

I stopped for a few moments on the interconnecting bridge to take the magnificence of the sight in – a dramatic overhang of rock, covered in thick roots and vegetation, tapered 300-400 feet above me. On the tip of the rock, overlooking the gleaming tributary of River Kosi, stood a small but religiously significant temple in white, dedicated to Goddess Garjiya. 

Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple on a hillock in Uttarakhand
Shakti Sthala Girija Devi Temple from the bridge

The temple construct itself is pretty simple, there is nothing ornate or lavish in its built. What is absolutely fascinating though is how Mother nature herself has chiseled everything – the rocks and the river - to immaculate precision.

Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple on a hill Uttarakhand
Nature - the Master architect at Garjiya Devi temple, Uttarakhand

Small colorful shacks dot the river bed, doubling up as shops selling flowers, garlands, suhaag pitari, chunris, incense sticks, prasad and many other different religious offerings for Maa.

Shops around the Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
Hutments and shacks selling different religious offerings for the Mother.

We carry faith and prayers in our heart.

A series of narrow steep steps cut in the rock, lead to the main temple which is a very small circular area. As one moves step by step, up the hill, the view of surrounding holy River water Kosi flowing on all the sides of the temple coupled with the breeze, lends a certain divinity to the entire ambiance making this age old temple other worldly. 

Steps leading to the Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
"Jai Mata Di"

Mother Garjiya sits in the center of the shrine, adorned in golden red chunris, ornaments and floral garlands, presiding over all the bhaktas who have come to meet her. The deity looks modern giving proof that the temple is well maintained and has been protected by the government authorities.

Garjiya Devi Shakti Deity Uttarakhand
Mata Garjiya presides over her followers in the sanctum sanctorum

Though the temple may be relatively modern but the sanctity of the region dates back around 3000 years ago when the likes of Kuru and Katyuri dynasties ruled Dhikuli, a forest ward located on the right bank of Kosi near Ramnagar. Many local stories and legends around the origin of the temple do the rounds making it a cultural as well as religious hotspot for the locals as well as tourists alike. 

Ancient Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
The temple dates back around 200 years but the history of the region is 3000 years old.

One of the stories dates back to 200 years back when a saint had a premonition that the area was going to be flooded with water. He heard a voice telling him that along with the water would come something that he had to stop. As suggested, the area was hit with flood and along with it came huge chunks of mud and clay that accumulated in a mountain. The saint meditated to stop the mountain in its place which is the same mountain seen today. Villagers bought various deities and installed them on the mountain, one of them being the Garjiya Devi worshipped till date.

Sacred Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple on a large rock Uttarakhand
Girjia Devi Temple attracts thousands of devotees everyday.

In yet another narrative, we come across a Shiva bhakt asking Garjiya (Lord Shiva’s sister) to marry Kosi and reside there itself to control the anger of the river. The rest as they say is history and is alive in the form of Garjiya Devi, a form of Goddess Parvati (daughter of the Himalayas) worshipped by hundreds of people today.

Red chunris Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
The circumambulation path around the sanctum sanctorum

I look down below and lock my gaze at the River Kosi. How peacefully it flowed! Not a hint of anger. Interestingly, after the temple came into existence, the river has never flooded the region again.

Peaceful river Kosi Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand
River Kosi flowing below the temple hillock

I roll my hands on the red chunris tied on the wired mesh and the railings and in that moment, I feel very fortunate to be there and witness something as bewitching, extraordinary, unique and powerful.

River Kosi flowing along the Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand

There was something about the landscape that was speaking to me…

As I take my last circumambulatory round offering my prayers to Ma Girija, I find myself thinking about life and living, about the flood of emotions from which we create all thoughts and upon which all our actions flow.

Top view Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand

At Garjiya Devi, was a reflection… of me, myself, a woman, the divine feminine, Shakti, an embodiment of the power of emotions giving way to the magical forces of creation.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE GIRIJA DEVI TEMPLE IN JIM CORBETT, RAMNAGAR UTTARAKHAND.

How to reach the Girija Devi temple?

Garjiya Devi Temple is located 13 kms. from Ramnagar railway station and 70 kms. from Nainital. Buses and taxis ply from Ramnagar to reach the temple. Nearest Railway station is Ramnagar and nearest airport is Pantnagar.

Pro Tip:  Must-visit the temple when in Jim Corbett forest area. There is a good frequency of local buses on the highway road to reach the temple. Alternatively, you can opt for an auto. Ask your hotel reception and trust the locals to guide you for the way.

Girija Devi Temple Timings:

The temple is open from morning 6 AM to 12 PM and afternoon 4 PM to 8 PM. The timings may differ due to seasons and during festival days.

Best time to visit the Girija Devi Mandir:

All round the year except the monsoons as the water level of the Kosi river rises during the rainy season.

Other temples in the premises:

One can take blessings of Lord Shiva and Lord Bhairon Nath in a cave below the hillock. Besides, there are deities of Lord Ganesha, Lakshminarayan and Goddess Saraswati in the complex.

Goddess Saraswati deity in the Girija Mata Temple Uttarakhand
Laxminarayan Temple Garjiya Devi Shakti Temple Uttarakhand


Major fairs and festivals of the Girija Mata Temple:

A major fair is held in the temple on Kartik Poornima, fifteenth lunar day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar (Nov-Dec). On this day, the temple sees a huge surge in the number of devotees who come to bathe in the holy river Kaushiki (Kosi) and take the blessings of Maa Girija.

Besides, other chief festivals observed in the temple are Navratri, Shivratri, Ganga Dusshera, Basant Panchmi, etc.

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Pinterest Girija Devi Mandir Jim Corbett Ramnagar Uttarakhand


Comments

  1. Beautiful temple, Great to read details post.
    Happy Durga Puja Greetings.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A beautiful narration to inspire to visit the place. I wonder how this hillock of sand, stones, and roots withstand the flowing river without eradication. Interesting stories are told behind the place, and your perspective through these images is awesome!
    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jai Ma Garjiya Devi I went there two times beautiful Sidhpeeth Temple of Ma Durga .Splendid photos

    ReplyDelete

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