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17th century Maa Tarna (Shyamakali) Temple, Mandi (Himachal)

I have visited many ancient and beautiful temples of the Himachal and found them all unique in their beauty and construction. With changing landscape, we can see changes in the designs of temples. From the ancient wood temple of Shakti Devi in Chamba to Masroor Rock temple in Kangra, all temples in Himachal offer something unique and special. Today, I will talk about the Tarna Mata temple situated in the Mandi city of Himachal Pradesh that is also known as Choti Kashi because of 80 plus temples. The actual name of the temple is Shyamakali Temple and it was built by king Shyam Sen in the 17th century on the hill called Tarna; therefore, this temple has got its name of Tarna Mata from the name of the hill on which it was built. 


Tarna,Shyamakali, Temple

This temple is also a sign of victory of the Mandi kingdom because Raja Shyam Sen built this temple after winning a battle against the rival king of  Suket Jeet Sen. Raja Shyam Sen of Mandi wished from Maa Kali to grant him a win over the Raja Jeet Sen and in return, he offered to construct a temple of Maa Kali. In 1650, he won the battle and constructed this temple. It is one of the famous temples for worship among the people of Mandi city and around. When this temple was built then it was situated on an isolated hill with no population around. In earlier days, this temple was surrounded by forest and it was quite easy to spot wild animals like leopards in this temple at night.

Shyamakali, Tarna Devi,

Today, due to the increase in the population of Mandi city many houses are built around the temple and this temple is connected with a paved road. Tarna Mata temple is constructed with red sandstone and we can see beautiful paintings on the temple walls of different Gods and Goddesses. Tarna Mata temple is dedicated to Shyma Kali Maa, a form of Maa Durga.

Shyamakali, Tarna, Temple,

Local diety Kamru Naag stays at the temple during the Shivratri festival. My maternal grandmother has a lot of faith in Tarna Maa, therefore, I visited this temple many times. Overall, it is a great temple with fine architecture. 

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