Dhari Devi (Char Dham)

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Dhari Devi idol, c. 1985


A backgrounder

Uttarakhand Tourism

The temple

The Dhari Devi Mandir, new, i.e. 2013/2023
The base of the new temple was ready in June 2013. The idol was re-established in January 20 23.

The revered temple dedicated to Dhari Devi is located between Srinagar and Rudraprayag on the banks of River Alaknanda and can be reached by a one-km cement pathway.

The deity

The Dhari Devi idol was installed again in Jan 2023
Graphic courtesy: [ The Times of India]

Dhari Devi is a form of Goddess Kali) and is considered to be the guardian deity of Uttarakhand and is worshipped as the protector of the Char Dhams.

According to mythology, a severe flood once washed away a temple and the idol of Dhari Devi was trapped against a rock near the Dharo village. The local residents claim to have heard wails and a divine voice directed them to install the idol there.

Local lore also has it that the idol of the deity changes appearance throughout the day – a girl child in the morning, a young woman in the afternoon and an old woman in the evening.

It is said that Goddess Dhari Devi has two parts. Her body’s upper half appeared at the Dhari Devi temple while her lower half appeared at the Kalimath temple, where she is worshipped as Maa Kali. According to the legend, Dhari Devi’s idol can’t be kept under a roof. So, that portion [of the temple] is always kept open towards the sky.

Best time to visit The temple can be visited all year round but decks up in all things festive during Durga Puja and Navratri.


2013: The wrath of the deity

SHIVANI AZAD/ In a first after 2013 deluge, idol of Dhari Devi to be reinstalled/ India Times- The Times of India, Mar 2022

Dehradun: The temple of , considered the guardian goddess of Uttarakhand and protector of all four shrines, was submerged during construction of Alaknanda Hydro Eletric Power Plant (AHEPP) in 2013.

Subsequently, workers of the hydel project hastily moved the idol to a makeshift temple nearby, say area residents. Later that day, the Kedarnath deluge happened, killing thousands. (See Kedarnath for details)

Locals believe that it was Dhari Devi’s wrath at the idol being removed from its original position that caused the destruction.

Ever since the tragedy, they have been trying to take the goddess back to the original temple that was submerged. A letter was also sent to Prime Minister in this regard but nothing much happened.

Jagdamba Prasad Pandey, secretary, Dhari Devi Temple Association, told TOI, “The idol was not shifted as per proper rituals earlier, which is probably what caused the tragedy. This time, we will start prayers from the onset of Navratri on April 2 and then on April 6, move the deity back with proper rituals." Residents of the area say that the re-installation of the Dhara Devi idol took so much time due to “dilly-dallying by the company executing the project.”

June 16, 2013: Superstition or co-incidence?

The old Dhari Devi temple
Photo by: Yatendra Rawat

Raju Gusain / Superstition or co-incidence? Locals believe Kali avtaar Dhari Devi unleashed the floods for revenge/ India Today / Jun 26, 2013

On the evening of June 16, [2013] the idol of the goddess was uprooted from its ancient temple, for a hydel-power project. Hours after the idol was moved a cloudburst hit the Kedarnath Valley, washing away the entire shrine town and killing hundreds of people.

Dhari Devi is a much-worshiped goddess of the region. Local people believe that the stone carved deity changes faces - from a girl to a woman to an old lady - as the day progresses.

[According to a local account] once a severe flood washed away a temple and Dhari Devi's idol was trapped against a rock near the village Dharo. Villagers heard the wail of the idol and a divine voice directed them to install the idol there. This is the apparent reason behind the stricture not to remove the idol from its designated spot.

The shrine is located 10 kms from Srinagar in district Pauri (Uttarakhand).

Downstream the Dhari Devi, construction of the 330 MW Alaknanda Hydro Power Project was underway. Due to opposition from locals, the hydro project - which should have been completed by 2011 - is still nowhere near finished. To top it, once talk of shifting Dhari Devi surfaced, objections to the project started anew. Trying to find a middle ground, the project decided to shift the temple by constructing a platform on vertical beams, away from the power project. The platform was ready but moving the deity was becoming increasingly difficult for the temple committee and the power project company.

Ironically, on 16 June, when the Mandakani started flooding sending waters surging up the steps of the Devi's temple, the temple committee decided to take quick action to save the idol of the goddess. Devi Prasad Pandey, ex-secretary of the Dhari Devi temple committee says, "By the evening the temple was under knee deep water. There were reports that heavy rainfall would take place in the night, so shifting the Dhari Devi statue was the only alternative left. We shifted the idol by 6.30 pm."

(About 43 minutes later, at 7.18 pm on June 16, the first of a series of cloudbursts took place in that region.

(The exact time was ascertained by DownToEarth.org.in)


Dhari Devi Mandir, c. 1985 Shivani.Azad/ Decade on, guardian deity of Char Dham reinstated/ Sunday The Times of India/ 29 Jan. 23

Dhari Devi Mandir, old

Dehradun : After seven days of continuous prayers commencing January 22, 2023 the idol of Dhari Devi, regarded as the protector deity of Uttarakhand and guardian of the Char Dham shrines of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, was reinstalled at its original location at a temple in the midst of the Alaknanda river near Rudraprayag in Pauri Garhwal on Saturday morning.

June 2013:
The outer frame of the new Dhari Devi temple had more or less been completed and reached this stage before the floods of that month
India Today / Jun 26, 2013

The original rock on which the temple existed had submerged during the construction of the Alaknanda Hydro Electric Power Plant in June 2013. Subsequently, the idol was moved to a nearby temple on June 16, 2013, and later that day, the Kedarnath deluge happened which killed thousands. This, locals attributed to the ‘wrath of the goddess for having been disturbed from her original place’.

However, it took almost a decade for the company executing the hydel project — GVK Power & InfrastructureLtd — to get ready the temple where the deity was finally reinstated in 2023 Jan.

See also

Char Dham yatra

Dhari Devi (Char Dham)



Uttarakhand: environment, ecology

Uttarakhand: Forest fires

Uttarakhand: Landslides, subsidence

Uttarakhand: Natural disasters

Personal tools