A History of the Shri Chintpurni Devi Temple
and Bhakta Mai Das
Pandit Mai Das ( )
, a Kalia Saraswat Brahman, is generally believed to have
established this shrine to Mata Chintpurni Devi in Chhaproh
village twenty-six generations ago. Over time this village
became known as Chintpurni after the eponymous deity.
His descendants still live in Chintpurni and perform archana
and puja at the Chintpurni temple.
According to the Kalia family lore, Bhakta Mai Das's father
lived in Athoor village in the princely state of Patiala.
He was an ardent devotee of Goddess Durga. He had three
sons called Devi Das, Durga Das and Mai Das. The youngest
one was Mai Das. For various reasons, the family moved
to village Rapoh, near Amb (now in District Una, Himachal
Pradesh). Just like his father, Mai Das was an intense
devotee of goddess Durga and spent much of his time in
Durga puja, bhajan and kirtan. His brothers were not too
happy with him as Mai Das did not spend much time on affairs
of this world. However his father made sure that his worldly
needs were met.
Mai Das had got married when his father was still alive.
After his father died, his brothers refused to provide
any financial support to him. They told him to look after
himself and his immediate family. Mai Das had to face
many difficulties after he separated from his brothers.
However his faith and devotion to Mother Durga remained
undiminished as he sincerely believed that Durgaji removes
all difficulties for her devotees.
Once Bhakta Mai Das was travelling to his in-laws' place.
After a long and tiring walk, he sat down to rest under
a Vat tree (banyan tree, Ficus Bengalensis) in a densely
forested area. He dozed off and started dreaming. A luminous
and beautiful young girl appeared in his dream and said
to him, " Mai Das, stay in this place and serve me.
That will be best for you." Mai Das woke up with
a start and looked around. He could not see any other
person nearby and felt quite confused.
Bhakta Mai Das continued on to his in-laws' house. He
was still thinking about his dream. Was that really the
Devi? If so, how would he carry out the Devi's command?
He arrived at the in-laws' house but did not stay there
for long as his mind was quite unsettled.
On his way back, he sat down under the same Vat tree and
began to concentrate his thoughts on Durga Mata. He prayed,
"O Mother, I have but a small mind and cannot comprehend
your powers. If you consider me a true devotee, please
present yourself and remove all my doubts". Upon
hearing Mai Das's prayer, Durga Mata appeared in front
of Mai Das in her Chaturbhuj form sitting astride a lion.
Mai Das fell to the Devi's feet and prayed to her, "O
Bhagavati, do command me. How may I serve you that my
life be best spent at your lotus feet?"
Durga Mata said, "I have been living at this very
place for many, many years but in the Kali Yug people
had neglected this spot. I will now appear under this
tree in the form of a pindi (a round stone). Perform puja
for me every day."
Mai Das was still somewhat reluctant to live there as
panthers and other wild animals abounded in the dense
forest. Also as that spot was on a hill-top, there was
no known source of water nearby. Durga Mata pointed to
a place on the northern slope of the hill and told him
to dig out a stone under which he would find a spring
of fresh water.
||She gave him a mantra - Namaskar mantra :
"om eM kleeM hreeM shri bhayanaashini hooN
hooN phaT swaha "
so that he would have no fear. She also gave him the Mool
"om eM hreeM kleeM chamunDaay
She said, "In the past I have been known as Chhinnamastika.
From now on people will also call me Chintapurni as I
have removed all your doubts and worries. My devotees
will arrange to have a temple built here. Whatever offerings
are made should be sufficient for you and your descendants.
" The Goddess gave him a few other instructions and
Das went to the spot to which Devi had pointed to look
for water. His joy knew no bounds when he removed the
stone and a stream of crystal clear and sweet water gushed
forth. A water tank was built there subsequently. Water
from this tank is reserved for the use of the Temple.
Bhakta Mai Das built a small hut for himself near the
water tank and began regular worship of the Devi's pindi
at the hill-top. A few years after, devotees built a small
temple which has gradually been expanded.
Pandit Mai Das's samadhi is located a short distance away
on the eastern side of the water tank.
Twenty six generations later, his descendants continue
to offer worship to Shri Chintpurni Devi. The forest has
more or less disappeared and the area has become more
settled. Although the village is still called Chhaproh
in government land records, it is generally known as Chintpurni
after the Devi who resides there.
Tales about the miraculous powers of the Devi have spread
far and wide. Thousand of devotees visit the temple every
year and particularly so during the Navaratras in Shravan
(August), Kartik (October) and Chaitra (March-April).
Sankranti, Purnima and Ashtami are the other popular days.