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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 Mantra -
"om eM hreeM kleeM chamunDaay vichchayah".

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 disappeared.
Mai 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.
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