SRINAGAR: Dhari Devi Mystic Temple is an ancient temple located near the Srinagar area in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and there is a mysterious story behind it.
There is a belief that the Goddess Dhari Devi's idol in this temple changes its form three times a day. The idol looks like a girl in the morning, a woman in the afternoon and an old woman by the end of the day.
The goddess, also known as Kalyaneshwari, is considered the guardian deity of Uttarakhand and is referred to as the "protector of the Char Dhams."
The temple priest, Manish Pandey told ANI about beliefs and misconceptions related to the temple.
He said, "This is the temple of Dakshin Kali Devi, who got the name of 'Dhari Devi' because of the village name. This temple is located on the banks of the Alaknanda River in Dhari Devi village of Srinagar, the oldest Shaktipath of Dwapara Yuga.
The priest said that Goddess is called the mother of Dwapar Yuga.
"The Devi is also known as the Mata of Dwapar Yug, as the idol was installed during the Dwapar Yug and was worshipped by the Pandavas. The Goddess is also believed to be worshipped by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, said the temple priest.
"In ancient times, the route to Badrinath-Kedarnath used to pass through this temple. It was believed that people used to go praying for 'Raksha Kawach' and their wishes were fulfilled. That's why she is also referred to as the 'Protector of Char Dham'.
Other than this, she is also referred to as Kalyaneshwari, who fulfils people's wishes," he further said. The priest also talked about the landslide incidents in Uttarkhand and the claims related to increasing the temple's height.
Actually, the flow of the Alaknanda river comes from the top of Kedarnath valley on this side. The priest said that people link floods with the temple of Dhari Devi whereas there is no substantial evidence to prove it. To keep the idols safe, these idols were installed here.
"Many connect the Kedarnath disaster to the Devi temple and call it her wrath. But it is a misconception. People believe that water rise in Alaknanda river is due to the displacement of the temple. But the fact is by the time we removed the idols from the temple after the flood accompanied by a landslide had already hit the village. The ancient temple was inundated," he said.
The temple of Dhari Devi was submerged during the construction of the Alaknanda Hydro Electric Power Plant (AHEPP) in 2013. Locals believe that it was Dhari Devi's wrath at the idol was removed from its original position that caused the destruction but the priest of the temple termed it a misconception.
"It temple not have been tampered with but it had to be removed because of the construction of a hydroelectric project here. The construction of this temple started in 2010-11.
But it's people's own beliefs. If they want to connect the flood incident with the Goddess but we don't think so. We do not want to spread superstition that the flood came because the goddess was shifted.
This is the temple of Devi who is worshipped in a calm form. She is the goddess who herself is the protector of the four dhams, so how can she take the lives of so many people?" he added.