The Chintpurni fair, locally known as ‘Mata Da Mela’(fair of the mother Goddess) is held in village Chintpurni on a spur of the hill range of the same name, about 3 kms. to the west of Bharwain. The fair is held near the temple of Goddess Bhagwati Chhinmastaka, where, it is said, the mother Goddess appeared in astral form in ancient times. The site is approached by metalled road from Una, Hoshiarpur and Kangra which are situated at a distance of 56, 48 and 64 kms away respectively.
The fair being held from time immemorial is held thrice a year in the month of Chet (March-April), Sawan (July-August) and Asanj (September-October). In chet and Asanj, the fair is held in Navratras whereas in Sawan it taken place during the first ten days of shukla paksha i.e. the bright half of the lunar month. The fair which is residential fair by nature, lasts for nine days during the navratras and for ten days in Sawan. The fair continues day and night but the attendance is the largest on its 8th day.
LEGEND:- It is said that Mai Dass, a Brahmin priest of village RIPOH MUCHILIAN, Tehsil Amb, was on his way to village PIRTHIPUR in that very Tehsil to see his parents-in-law. Chintpurni fell in his way and when he reached here he heard devotional tunes from the peak of the hillock. Attracted by the tunes, he climbed up the hillock and witnessed a beautiful girl of about 12-13 years sitting with a lion by her side and surrounded by a number of gods humming devotional songs in her praise. He could not face the celestial light radiating from the girl and was horrified. The girl, however, came to his rescue and disclosing that she was Goddess Durga and that she was pleased with him, she asked him to shed his fear. Addressing him further she said that she would like to stay at the site of her appearance permanently in the form of a ‘pindi’(stone) and asked Mai Dass that he and after his death, his progeny should do ‘puja’(worship) of the ‘pindi’ twice a day, regarding it as her own image. She further blessed that anyone who visited this place and worshipped the ‘pindi’ with sincere devotion would be emancipated from all worldly anxieties and worries and that hence she (the Goddess there) would be known as ‘Chintan Purni Devi’ (Goddess relieving one of all worries).
Mai Dass who was aged 80, with folded hands told the Goddess that he was issueless and the place besides being without habitation, had no trace of water. The Goddess blessed Mai Dass that he would have a son, and further directed him to a place about two furlongs away where underneath a slab of stone ‘1&1/4 hath’ (hand unit) long, he would find water. Mai Dass to his astonishment discovered water under the slab indicated by the Goddess. He brought that slab and kept it near the ‘pindi’. He gave bath to the ‘pindi’ and did its ‘puja’ as was directed to do by the Goddess. However, next day he left the place and set out for the house of his in-laws. In the way he became blind. He met a passer-by to whom he narrated the whole story repenting as to how he had become blind after leaving the place and thereby breaking his pledge of continuing ‘puja’ of the ‘pindi’. The passer-by brought back Mai Dass to the spot, who after apologising to the Goddess regained his eye-sight. He then constructed a small ‘Chhappar’ (thatched straw-hut) there over the ‘pindi’ and became the first inhabitant of the place. The habitation grew as a larger and larger number of devotees were attracted to pay homage to the Goddess.
The village was shown in the Revenue rewards as ‘chhappro’ on account of its association with the chhappar of Mai Dass, but later on the place has come to be known as Chintpurni, after the name of Goddess. As per another legend popular in the area, an interesting debate/dispute, as to in whose principality the temple was situated took place long back in between the Rajas of Siba and Amb. Despite the tall claims made by both the claimants, the dispute was settled in a unique and novel way by the priests. Both the Rajas were asked by the priests to sprinkle the holy water, purified after chanting hymns/mantras from religious scriptures over the head of a ram (he-sheep) turn by turn. And were further told that whosoever will make the ram shiver/tremble first, will have the decision of having the holy abode of mother Goddess in the jurisdiction of his principality’s area. It is stated that as the decision went into the favour of Raja of Amb so the temple became a part of Amb state.
The Shrine:- The temple is a single storeyed building made of stones. Its base is square and a dome provides the center of its roof. The main entrance to the temple faces north. An old banyan tree, with a raised platform at its feet, stands in front of the entrance. On other side of the entrance gate, the idols of lord Ganesh and Hanuman are placed in the recesses of the façade. Big brass bells hang high along the entrance inwards. Devotees who come to pay homage to the Goddess toll these bells bothway while going to and coming back from the deity. The deity, a stone idol (pindi) of the Goddess stands placed in a palanquin of white marble in the room inside. The priests who are descendants of Mai Dass, sit beside the ‘pindi’ and do its ‘puja’. On the western part of the roof of the temple are placed engraved stone images of Bhairon and Hanuman. To the south and west of the temple, some verandahs and additional rooms have been constructed. They are meant for the temple trust officials, priests and devotees during the celebrations. There is another banyan tree in the campus of the temple where ‘mundan’ (first hair cutting) ceremony of children is performed.
The usual offering, by a devotee, consists of seven pieces of betelnut (supari), a piece of coconut (nariyal), a red flag (dhawaja), all bound together with home-spun multi-colored cotton-yarn (mauli). On the 8th day of the fair, the offerings of ‘Karah’ (halwa) and ‘chattar’ with 84 tiny bells hanging on its fringes, representing 84 lacs births in different forms of the devotee form which he or she seeks salvation from the Goddess.
Diwan Dina Nath, a noble man of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s court, got constructed the steps and the path leading to the temple. In the north of the temple about two furlongs down the hill, is situated a deep but terraced water tank, a holy dip in which is also a part of observance. In the east of the water tank, there is a magnificent temple of lord Shiva in the premises of which there is a ‘dhuna’ of Guru Gorakhnath’s sadhus.
Chintpurni is well connected by road from all sides. Till 1961, the fair used to be organized by the District Board, Hoshiarpur but by August, 1962 the Panchayat Samiti Amb took over the management of the fair. But eversince 12 June 1987, the Chintpurni Temple Trust with Deputy Commissioner, Una and SDM Amb as Commissioner and Asstt. Commissioner respectively. One Temple office of the rank of Tahsildar is handling all the affairs.
How to Reach:
The nearest Airport to Chintpurni Temple is Gaggal at Kangra near Dharamshala. It is about 70 Kms from Chintpuni.
The nearest Railway Station to Chintpurni Temple is Una Himachal at Una town. It is about 55 Kms from Chintpurni.
Mata Chintpurni Temple is well connected by roads to all the towns of Himachal Pradesh , Punjab and Chandigarh.