The small ancient temple of Girija Devi, popularly believed to be about 1,000 years old, is situated on top of a small hill near Garjiya. This hill is almost like a cone covered with greenery forming a tiny island in the river Koshi; as one faces the wide spread of water on the other side of the river is the hill ranges of Kumaon; it is said that this little hill got separated from the range due to the flow of the river. This place is fairly close by Corbett Town, famed for the Corbett National Park.
After a steep climb we reach the small shrine of the Girija Devi. It seems that earlier there was only a stone for which the pujas were performed and the marble image was put there only in 1960.The visage of the goddess is very expressive indeed. Half way up the steps in two niches on either side can be seen the images of Kali and Saraswathi. A lot of pieces of red cloth with zari work given as offering to Devi is strewn all over the hill forming a nice contrast to the green cover. From the top of the hill the view of the landscape is very attractive, though the thatched row of shops on the river bank is an eye sore. This is obviously a picnic spot, besides being of religious significance.
Kichadi for the Goddess
According to the legend the idol of the Devi was floating in the Koshi, when a demon known as Doiya requested her to stop moving and stay there itself. The goddess agreed and stayed on top of the hill. In return the Goddess asked the demon to bring kichadi everyday for her worship before the devotees arrived for darshan. There is a belief also that no one would dare fish in the river for fear of the demon, who is supposed to protect them.
At the base of the hill is a small cave with the images of Lord Siva and Bhairava. This cave was supposed to have been hewn by Mahadev Baba, who came from Bindser and stayed near the temple itself. His colour photograph can be seen next to the idol of Girija Devi. This makes one wonder why they call this an ancient Siva temple! May be he only put the idols of the Gods in the cave.