Haryali Devi Mandir – The temple of the Green Goddess

The greatness of our Sanatana Dharma is that we not only worship the gods and goddesses for their divine powers, but also for the very reason that they teach us how to worship the nature around us , thus showing the importance of life and nature in each and every aspect of life. It is for this very reason that they take different forms from nature with which mankind gets inspired to protect and preserve nature and respect it for the sustenance it gives for life. One such form is the form of Haryaali Devi, an incarnation of Bhagwathi Parvathi as the Mahamaaya and the one who takes the name of our greenery denoting the importance of trees to mankind.


Haryaali Devi is an incarnation of Mahamaaya who in turn is a form of none other than Bhagwathi Parvathi. She played a vital role in the birth of Bhagwan Vishnu‘s as the eighth avatar of Shri Krishna to the noble couple Vasudev and Devaki. When Kamsa Devaki’s brother was predicted to die in the hands of the eighth son of the couple, he imprisons them and one after the other, kills the six sons born to them. Seshnaag who takes birth as Balram is transferred to the womb of Vasudev’s first wife Rohini with the help of Mahamaaya and is born in Gokul village in the safe home of Nanda and Yashoda.

The time for Bhagwan Vishnu to be born comes, and he orders Mahamaaya to enter Yashoda’s womb and be born as a girl child to her, while he is born to Devaki. After the birth of Shri Krishna, he is transported to Gokul by Vasudev and in turn Mahamaaya, and his place is replaced by Mahamaaya who is born to Yashoda. As soon as the girl child comes back to the prison she cries and Kamsa rushes to kill the child. Although Devaki and Vasudev plead with him that she was a girl and her life should be spared, the ill minded Kamsa doesn’t listen to them and grabs the infant. But to his surprise, the infant raises to the sky where she takes her original form of Mahamaaya and rebukes Kamsa as a fool and predicts that the child who would kill Kamsa was already born, leaving Kamsa in great fear.
It is believed that Mahamaaya vanished and re appeared near the village of Chamoli in Uttarakhand district and took form of Haryaali Devi, in the name of her brother Hari, who was Bhagwan Vishnu, born as Shri Krishna. The mountain people of Chamoli worship her as the Goddess of Nature and her surroundings are covered with lush pine trees, and woody plants which include many of important medicinal herbs too.

The temple of Haryaali Devi stands as a personification of nature and everything pure and pristine is only offered to her as offerings. It is indeed very astounding to note that no meal which includes onion, garlic or meat is taken in the village as a mark of respect to her. With great respect towards her, no tree is cut for the sake of firewood and every step to protect the trees is taken by the villagers as their prime duty. Indeed, the less known temple goddess teaches the way of life to mankind that when nature is preserved, then it, in turn protects mankind which is one of the prime teachings of our Sanatana Dharma.