Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There are 18 Shakti peethas which are in India and Sri Lanka. The details of them are given in my following blog.

Most of the Shakti peethas are not very famous and there are many Shakti / Devi temples in India which more famous than Shakti peethas. Some of them are covered in this blog and you requested visit and post your comments on the same.
Let us start this blog with Nava Durgas
Nava Durgas
Nine Forms of Maa Durga


Maa Durga is worshipped in nine forms. She is a form of "SHAKTI". The evolution of Shri Maha Saraswati, Shri Maha Laxmi and Shri Mahakali (the 3 main forms of "SHAKTI") took place from "Shri Brahma", "Shri Vishnu" and "Shri Mahesh" respectively. Each of these 3 deities gave rise to 3 more forms each and hence in all, these 9 forms together are known as "Nav-Durga".

1. Maa Shailputri - The Navratri commences with the 1st night devoted to the puja of Maa "Shailputri". "Shail" means mountains; "Parvati", the daughter of king of Mountains Himavan, is known as "Shailputri". HER 2 hands, display a trident and a lotus. She is mounted upon a bull.

2. Maa Bhramcharni - One hand holds a "Kumbha" or water port and the other rosary. She personifies love and loyalty. Maa Bhramcharni is store-house of knowledge and wisdom. Rudraksha is her most adorned ornament.

3. Maa Chandraghanta - Worshipped on the 3rd night this Maa Durga "SHAKTI" is astride a tiger, displays a golden hue to HER skin, possesses ten hands and 3 eyes. Eight of HER hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. Chandra + Ghanta, meaning supreme bliss and knowledge, showering peace and serenity, like cool breeze in a moonlit night.

4. Maa Kushmanda - The 4th night begins the worship of Maa "Kushmanda", possessed of eight arms, holding weapons and a mala or rosary. Her mount is a tiger and She emanates a solar like aura. "Kumbh Bhand" means to see cosmic vivacity in Pindi shape or knowledge of cosmic intricacies in human race. The abode of Maa "Kushmanda" is in Bhimaparvat.

5. Maa Skandmata - Using a lion as a vehicle She holds her son, "SKAND" in her lap while displaying 3 eyes and 4 hands; two hands hold lotuses while the other 2 hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. Its said, by the mercy of Maa "Skandmata", even the idiot becomes an ocean of knowledge such as "Kalidas".

6. Maa Kaatyayani - As mother, Maa "Kaatyayani" stayed in the Ashram of sage Katyayan for penance, hence She named as "Kaatyayani". This 6th Shakti is also astride a lion with 3 eyes and 4 arms. One left hand holds a weapon and the other a lotus. The other 2 hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. Her complexion is golden coloured.

7. Maa Kaalratri - Black skin with bountiful hair and 4 hands, 2 clutching a cleaver and a torch, while the remaining 2 are in the mudras of "giving" and "protecting". She is mounted upon a Donkey. The destroyer of darkness and ignorance, Maa "Kaalratri" is the seventh form of Nav-Durga meaning scourer of darkness; enemy of darkness. Maa Kaalratri's famous shrine is in Calcutta.

8. Maa Mahagauri - Four arms with the fairest complexion of all the Durga Shaktis. Peace and compassion radiate from Her being and She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident and is often depicted riding a bull. Maa "Mahagauri can be seen in a temple at Kankhal near pilgrim centre Haridwar.

9. Maa Siddhiratri- Ensconced upon a lotus, most commonly, with 4 arms, and is the possessor of 26 different wishes to grant Her bhakts. Maa Siddhiratri's famous pilgrim centre, is located in Nanda Parvat in the Himalayas.

1) Bezawada Kanaka Durga


Kanaka Durgamma

Sthala Puranam
In good olden days a Yaksha named 'KEELA' had been performing awful penance about holiest goddess Durga. Goddess Durga was pleased by his penance and appeared to him. She asked him to beg a boon. Keela was so happy by the words of goddess Durga and begged like this, "O holy Mother! you should always be in my heart. This is the one and only my desire". Listened goddess Durga and gave the boon with showering the lunar lights of smile and said, "My Son! You remain here at this holiest planes of river Krishna in the form of mountain. In Krithayuga, after the assassination of demons, I will remain in your heart".

As such, by the order of goddess Durga, Keela had been waiting in the form of mountain for goddess Durga. After sometime, in the Krithayuga goddess Durga killed Mahishasura who was a disaster for World. Then goddess Durga shined on the Keela mountain with eight arms in the form of MAHISHASURA MARDINI as she had given boon to keela. On this mountain, goddess Durga had been glowing with the lighting of crores of suns, with golden colour. Since that, Indra and all the deities praised her chanting "KANAKA DURGA" and they had been worshipping her daily. This mountain has attained the name "INDRAKEELADRI" from those times, since all the deities are visiting this mountain. Likewise, since goddess Durga shined on this mountain with golden colour glowing, the name 'KANAKACHALA' also attained by this mountain. Holy Indrakeeladri mountain became holiest after prevailing goddess Durga on this. Then Brahma Deva had a sacred intution that Lord Siva also should prevail on this mountain. For this holy purpose, he had performed 'Sata Aswamedha Yaga'. By this, lord Maheswara pleased with his devotion and rested in the form of 'Jyothirlinga' on this mountain. By the first time, Brama Deva worshipped lord Siva with Jasmin flowers (Mallika) with great devotion. Since Lord Siva was worshipped with Jasmin flowers by Brahma Deva, he has attained the name. 'MALLIKESA'. After this, in Dwaparayuga Arjuna, middle one of the Pandavas, awfully penanced about Parameswara, seeking 'Pasupatastra'. Parameswara wanted to test Arjuna and fau,ght with him. Finally Lord Siva pleased with the devotion and dauntlessness of Arjuna and offered him Pasupatastra. From that day 'MALLIKESA'had attained the name 'MALLIKESWARA' since he faught with Arjuna with greatest bravery. Days were passing on and on. In Kaliyuga, Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya observed that the Malleswara Jyothirlinga was in bad invisible condition and he re¬installed Malleswara Swamy at the Northern Part to the temple of Goddess Durga. From that day onwards, Malleswara Swamy also has been worshiping by all the devotees. Since goddess Durga has been prevailing at the Southern direction to Lord Malleswara, this Indrakeeladri renowned in the World as power prominent centre the "KANAKA DURGA KSHETRA"

The temple of Kanaka Durga the Goddess of power, riches and benevolence and the presiding deity of Vijayawada, is swarmed by lakhs of pilgrims for worship during the "Navarathri" festival which is celebrated with Religious fervour, pomp and festivity. The small but ancient temple of Kanaka Durga , a top the Indrakeeladri hill on the banks of the Sacred river Krishna in Vijayawada abounds with legends of historical interest.

Indrakeeladri is unique in that it has been the chosen abode of Kanaka Durga and Her consort Malleswara as Swayambhu (the self-existent one). Here Durga is one the right side of Malleswara as against the tradition of Goddesses taking their position on the left of their consorts. This shows that Shakthi is predominant on the Indrakeeladri.

Goddess Sri Kanaka Durga incornated herself [Swayambhu] on the hillock known as Indrakeeladri situated on the left banks of River Krishna at Vijayawada. The origin of this shrine is known from 8th Century. His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Sankara Bhagavatpadulu [Adi Sankaracharya] visited this temple during 8th century and worshipped the deity and installed "SRICHAKRAM" at the feet of Goddess. This temple is of Smartha Agama Sampradaya. Sub-temples of Lord Sri Malleswara swamyvaru, Sri Nataraja Swamy temple are located on North East corner of Goddess. Sri Subrahmanyeswara Swamy temple is located on North side of main temple. The temple was constructed during the Regime of Moghal rulers. According to Sthalapuranam, Moghal Ruler Thanisha with the assistance of his Ministers Akkanna and Madanna managed the temple with head quarters at Kondapalli.

This temple is 2nd largest temple in the Andhra Pradesh and one of the popular pilgrimage centre, and has been acquiring importance day by day.
Bezawada is now called as Vijayawada.

How to reach Vijayawada
It is second largest rail way junction after Mughal sarai and well connected with all cities by rail link. It is difficult to mention the trains that are touching Vijayawada.
Vijayawada is having air ling also.

2) Tulja Bhavani of Tuljapur

Tulja Bhavani
 It was the family deity of the Bhosale kings. Chatrapathi Shivaji always visited the temple to seek her blessings. It is believed that the Goddess gifted him a sword - 'the Bhawani sword' - for success in his expeditions. The history of the temple has been mentioned in the "skanda puran". There was a sage known as "Kardam" After his death his wife "Anubuti" had performed a penance at the banks of river "mandakini " for Bhavani mata to look after her infant child. While performing the penance the demon known "Kukur" tried to disturb her penance during which Mata Bhavani came to the aid of "Anubuti" and killed the demon "Kukur". From that day onwards the Goddess Bhavani came to be known as Tulja Bhavani. The temple is located on the hill of "Bala ghat". The same place is today known as Tuljapur. The Idol: The Idol of the Shree Tulja Bhavani mata is a "swayambu" idol. The goddess is having eight hands sitting on a thrown.
Bhavani Temple,Tuljapur

Shivaji maharaj receiving the sword from Maa Bhavani

There are various means and ways for coming to Tuljapur. But the main is by bus, by train or by air.


The pilgrims coming by bus:


The pilgrims coming from the southern part of the country, who are traveling by bus usually come to Naldurg ,a place located about 35 KM from Tuljapur. This place has two roads , one leading to Solapur , the other one to Tuljapur. The pilgrims coming from the northern part and the western part of the country usually come to Sholapur, a place about 44 KM from Tuljapur or Osmanabad place about 18 KM from Tuljapur. The pilgrims coming from eastern part of the country usually come to Nagpur about 560 KM from Tuljapur Or Latur a place about 75 KM from Tuljapur.The frequency of buses from Sholapur, Osmanabad and Naldurg to Tuljapur is about 10 minutes .

The pilgrims coming by train:


 Sholapur is the nearest railway station from Tuljapur. Sholapur is about 44 KM from Tuljapur.


The pilgrims coming by air:


The nearest air port is  Sholapur and from there one can go by bus to Tuljapur. Hyderabad and Pune are other air ports which are nearer to this place.


3) Kali ghat Kaali

Kaali Ghat Kaali

Kalighat is located in the city of Kolcutta on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi). The name Kolcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat.

Kaali is regarded as one of the principal deities of Bengal. There are other temples to Kaali - Sahasrabhuja Kaali, Sarvamangala, Tarasundari and Simhavaahini. Kaali is regarded as the destroyer or liberator and is depicted in a fearful form. Despite the terrifying form, she is considered to deliver bliss to worshippers. The Kalighat temple attracts numerous devotees throughout the year.

Kalighat is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethams of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell.

The Temple: The Kalighat temple in its present form iis only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan composed in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century.

Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Syayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshipping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle. This shrine grew to its present form over a period of time, thanks in particular to the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Bengal.

This family is also said to have built the Chitreswari Kaali temple at Chitpur. It is believed that there was a pathway through the jungle between Chitpur and Kalighat, and this pathway is said to have become the Chitpur road of Calcutta.

Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kaali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.

The Dakshineswar Kaali temple across from the river, near Belur Math, bears an image of Kaali worshipped by the spiritual leader Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, guru of Swami Vivekananda.


4) Vaishno Devi of Jammu and Kashmir


Vaishno Devi


Vaishno Devi Mandir  is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, located in the hills of Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Mother Goddess.


The temple is near the town of Katra, in the Reasi district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most revered places of worship in Northern India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 feet and a distance of approximately 13.5 kilometres (8.38851 miles) from Katra. Approximately 8 million pilgrims  visit the temple every year and it is the second most visited religious shrine in India, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Katra is being built to facilitate pilgrimage. The nearest airport is Jammu Airport which has very high flight frequency. All leading domestic airlines have their services to Jammu Airport.


5) Mahankali Mata of Chandrapur



Author in front of Mahankali Temple

Goddess Mahankali in the inner temple
Mahankali mandir at Chandrapur in Maharashtra is very famous and devotees from all the parts of the state visit this temple round the year. During Gudipavada/Ugadi the rush is so much that we have to wait at least 3 / 4 hours to have darshan of the mata.
Arati is given thrice a day. you are allowed in the temple to do pooja your self.
The inner temple which is in the minus level is locked most of the time and opened at particular hours. The Devi is in sleeping pose here and  photo is given above.
Chandrapur is 90 km from Nagpur by road.
Chandrapur  Railway station is in the trunk route of Chennai- N.Delhi. and all express trains stop here.
Places of interest: Bhadravati Jain temple and Bhadranag temple which are 20 km from here.
Nearest air port is Nagpur.
Tadoba tiger reserve is 15 km from here and one can find tiger in summer in this reserve forest easily.It is one of the reserves having highest tiger density in India.
The famous Chandrapur thermal power station is located here.
Baba Amteji's famous Anandvan is 45 km from here at a place called Warora.

6) Vindhya Vasini Devi of Vindhya chal

Mata Vindhyavasini devi

Vindhyavasini Devi Temple is situated in Vindhyachal, 8 km from Mirzapur, on the banks of the holy river Ganges. It is one of the most revered Shaktipeeths (in the list  of 51 ) of the presiding deity, Vindhyavasini Devi. The temple is visited by large number of people daily. Big congregations are held during Navratras in Chaitra (April) and Ashwin (October) months. Kajali competitions are held in the month of Jyestha (June). The temple is situated just 2 km from the Kali Khoh, an ancient cave temple dedicated to Goddess Kali.
70 km. (one and a half hour drive) from Varanasi, Vindhyachal is a renowned religious city dedicated to Goddess Vindhyavasini. Mythologically goddess Vindhyavasini is believed to be the instant bestower of bendiction. There are several temples of other deities in the vicinity, the most famous ones being Ashtabhuja Devi Temple and kalikhoh Temple, which constitute the Trikona Parikrama (circumambulation). The Vindhyavasini Devi Temple, the Ashtabhuja temple, dedicated to Goddess Mahasaraswati (on a hollock, 3 km from Vindhyavasini temple) and the Kali khoh temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali (2 km from Vindhyavasini temple) form the Trikon Parikrama.
Vindhyachal, a Shakti Peet ( not in the  list of 18 )  is a center of pilgrimage in Mirzapur District, Uttar Pradesh. The Vindhyavasini Devi temple located here is a major draw and is thronged by hundreds of devotees during the Navratris of Chaitra and Ashwin months to invoke the blessings of the Goddess.
Other sacred places in the town are Ashtbhuja temple, Sita Kund, Kali Khoh, Budeh Nath temple, Narad Ghat, Gerua talab, Motiya talab, Lal Bhairav and Kal Bhairav temples, Ekdant Ganesh, Sapta Sarovar, Sakshi Gopal temple, Goraksha-kund, Matsyendra kund, Tarkeshwar Nath temple and Bhairav kund.
Accommodations are available at Hotel Jahnavi (UPSTDC) and a number of dharamshalas and guest houses.
Mirzapur is the closest railhead. Vindhyachal has regular bus services to the nearby towns. The nearest railway station is at Mirzapur. Regular bus services connect Vindhyachal to the nearby towns.

Distance of Vindhyalchal Temple from various cities
Varanasi               70 Km
Allahabad             83 Km
Rewa                    151Km

7)Mata chintpurni Devi
Mata Chintpurni Devi

Chintpurni Temple is a revered shrine of the Hindus. Located in Chintpurni village of Una district in H.P. Chintpurni Devi Mandir is a famous temple of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is accessible from all the parts of Himachal. However, there are bus-services at regular intervals from Chandigarh, Kangra and Jwala Devi. Chintpurni Temple is dedicated to Shri Chhinnamastika Devi or Chintpurni Devi. Like other temples of the Hindus, this too has legends behind its establishment.

Chintpurni Devi is regarded as the Goddess who takes away all the worries of her devotees. The term 'Chhinnamastika' suggests 'without the head'. Here, the Goddess is depicted without her head in a pindi (phallic) form. Devotees come to this temple with a perpetual faith that the Goddess would bless them and fulfill all their wishes. It is said that nobody goes empty handed from the shrine of Goddess Chintpurni / Chhinnamastika.

The simple structure of the temple contains the main shrine, where the image of Mata Chintpurni is placed in the form a pindi (a round stone). During the time of Navratras, the temple observes grand
fairs and festivity. People from far and near come to visit this holy shrine to seek the blessings from the Goddess. In the past years, the temple has been repaired and modified to hold the huge crowd during festivals.
Legend
As per one legend, at the time of self-sacrifice, part of Sati's feet fell at this place and subsequently, a temple was built. Since, the temple is associated with the legend of self-sacrifice by Sati; it is regarded as the Shakti Peetha. Another legend says that Goddess appeared to slay two demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. After slaying the demons, the escorting friend of the goddess asked for more blood and the goddess cut her head to quench her thirst for blood.

Bhai Mai Das was an ardent devotee of Goddess Durga. Once, the Goddess came in his dream and asked him to build a temple at this place. Following the instruction, the temple was built in Chhaproh village. Till date, his descendants perform the worship of Shri Chintpurni. The present generation is the twenty-sixth generation of Bhai Mai Das. The village was named after the Goddess and it comprises maximum families from Bhai Mai Das' clan.

How to go to Chintpurni Devi temple
There are a number of ways to get to Chintpurni from Delhi.
1. Delhi - Chandigarh - Ropar - Nangal - Una - Mubarakpur - Bharwain - Chintpurni
A number of trains (including a Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express which departs Delhi at 730 am and arrives at Chandigarh at 11 am) run between Delhi and Chandigarh. There are also very frequent buses plying on the Delhi-Chandigarh route (about 5 hours). Chintpurni is another 5 hours away by bus from Chandigarh.
Delhi and Himachal State Transport run buses on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Chintpurni route. Buses running on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Dharamshala and Delhi-Chandigarh-Palampur route stop at either Bharwain or Chintpurni. Frequent State Transport bus services are also available from most important cities of Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.
Himachal State Road Transport Corporation runs a Volvo tourist coach service from Delhi to Dharamshala which stops at Bharwain by request. The coach leaves Delhi Inter State Bus Terminus, Kashmiri Gate at 8 pm and arrives at Bharwain just after 4 am. The fare is approx. Rs 600. This is a very comfortable and fast service. Please inform the driver of the coach that you would like to get down at Bharwain. The downside is that you arrive very early at Bharwain and have to wait for at least 1 hour before you can catch any kind of transport for the 3 km to Chintpurni. For the return journey to Delhi, you have to go to Kangra in person to make the necessary bookings.

2. Delhi - Jalandhar - Hoshiarpur - Gagret - Bharwain - Chintpurni
You could take the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express from Delhi (departing 7.20 am and which arrives at Jalandhar around 12.0 noon) or you could take an overnight train from Delhi to Jalandhar. Then take a bus or taxi to Chintpurni. Jalandhar - Chintpurni journey should take no more than 4 hours.
Rail: Closest railheads are at Hoshiarpur ( 42 km) and Una ( 55 km). Frequent bus and taxi services to Chintpurni are available from these towns.
Airport: Nearest airport is at Gaggal which is near Kangra. Distance to Chintpurni is about 60 km. Indian Airlines flies to Gaggal via Chandigarh. Other airports are at Amritsar (160 km) and Chandigarh (200 km).
Some distances -
1. Delhi - Chandigarh - Ropar - Nangal - Una - Mubarakpur - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 430 km
2. Chandigarh - Ropar - Nangal - Una - Mubarakpur - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 200 km
3. Jalandhar - Hoshiarpur - Gagret - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 90 km
4. Hoshiarpur - Gagret - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 42 km
5. Kangra - Jwalaji - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 70 km
6. Naina Devi - Nangal - Una - Mubarakpur - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 115 km
7. Vaishno Devi - Jammu - Pathankot - Kangra - Bharwain - Chintpurni : 250 km 

8) Annapoorneshwari Temple of Horanadu


Mandir enterance
Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple is an ancient and revered shrine located in the picturesque surroundings of Horanadu in the state of Karnataka. Horanadu is 100 kms south-west of Chikmagalur. On an average around 5000 devotees are said to visit the Devi temple every day located in the midst of thick forests and valleys.
Deity in the Annapoorneshwari Temple is said to have been installed by renowned Sage Agastya. The sanctum was renovated in recent years by a learned astrologer, Venkitasubba Jois. With the installation of the new image of Adi Shakti, now the temple is called Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari. Deity of the temple has been designed in unique manner. The single image depicts the Devi standing on a peeta with Devi Gayatri, Sri Chakra, Shanku and Chakra in Her four hands. The recently renovated sanctum of the temple is surrounded by Adi Sesha. While the Padma Peeta is formed by Ashtagaja, Koorma and others.

9) Bhadra kali Temple at Hanmakonda


Bhadrakali temple Hanma konda


Bhadrakali Temple at Hanamkonda is significant Devi temple located on the hilltop between the twin cities of Hanamkonda and Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is held in high esteem by devotees of the of Goddess Bhadrakali popularly called the ‘Grant Mother Goddess’. Remarkable feature of the temple is the square shaped stone image of the Goddess (2.7 X 2.7 meters). In the image goddess is seen in a sitting posture with fierce looking eyes and face. The Goddess can also be seen wearing a crown and having eight hands holding various weapons.
Major Attractions of Bhadrakali Temple
High point of Bhadrakali Temple is an artificial lake of 2 ½ kms radius in the vicinity of the temple. Number of natural rock formations in the surroundings add to the spiritual charm of the temple and are the most dominant feature of the temple. Some of the unique shaped rocks are said to carry immense spiritual powers. The structure of the temple is said to be 250 years old. Though the image of the deity is called the Bhadrakali, the goddess is said to have been transformed by the mantras into a very rare form called the Tripura Sundari, which includes the Kali form. Tripura Sundari is regarded as the supreme manifestation of Prakriti - the feminine power which is the vital energy of the universe. Literal meaning of Tripura Sundari is 'The Beauty of the Three Worlds' or more precisely the three Cites or 'Pura'.
Best Time to Visit Bhadrakali Temple
The best time to visit the famous Bhadrakali Temple in Warangal is the Telegu month of ‘Sravana’ which corresponds to the month of August - September according to Gregorian Calendar. At this time a festival is organised and the deity is aesthetically decorated in various forms. Housing about 8 major and 12 minor temples surrounding mountains of Bhadrakali Temple exude a sacred aura when a large number of devotees gather to offer prayers.
People who visit Bhadrakali Temple also visit Hanamkonda Fort which is just a kilometer away from the another well known thousand pillared Hanamkonda Temple. Inside the fort is the Siddeshwara Temple housing a small Linga shrine.


10)Shree Shantadurga Devi, Kavlem (Goa)

Shantadurga Mata


Shree Shantadurga devi temple is situated 33 kms from Panajim, Shree Shantadurga temple has an impressive idol of Goddess Shree Durga who mediated between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva and stopped the fiercefull war going on between the two. She is flanked by Vishnu and Shiva on both the sides.

The temples of Shree Shantadurga and Shree Mangesh, two of the most revered patron deities of the Hindus are located in Kavlem and Mangeshi respectively in the Ponda district of North Goa.
This avatar of Shree Jagdamba devi which had come to make peace [Shanti] between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva, came to be known as
Shree Shantadurga devi.

11) Madhur Meenakshi Temple, Madhurai

Meenakshi Temple, Madhurai

The Meenakshi Temple is nearly 2000 years old and is situated in the city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is a splendid example of Dravidian style of temple architecture. The Meenakshi Temple complex is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Parvati known here as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi. Kulasekara Pandya built the original temple but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The temple as it stands today, was designed in 1560 AD by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century AD. Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are regarded as the Royal Pandya rulers of Madurai. Meenakshi's father is said to be Malayadwaja Pandyan, who was preceded by Kulasekhara Pandyan, the legendary builder of the city of Madurai.
The Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple and Madurai city originated together. According to legends, Madurai is the actual site where the wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi took place. According to a mythical tradition, Indra once committed sin by killing a demon, who was performing penance. He could find no relief from remorse in his own kingdom so he came down to earth. While passing through a forest of Kadamba trees in Pandya land, he felt relieved of his burden. His attendants told him that there was a Shivalinga under a Kadamba tree beside a lake. Indra was certain that the linga had helped him and so he worshipped it and built a small temple around it. It is believed that it is this linga, which is still under worship in the Madurai temple. The shrine is called the "Indra Vimana".
The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure. There are two sanctums one for Meenakshi and the other for Sundareswarar, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and thousand pillared halls. The temple has 12 impressive gopuras. The soaring towers of granite rise from solid granite bases and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors. The soaring and exquisitely carved towers that enclose the temple are dedicated to Meenakshi. The south gateway contains the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi and is about nine storeys high. The four tallest gopuras stand on the massive outer walls of the temple, one on each side. The Southern gopuram is the tallest one and the only one that may be climbed. From atop this 60 ft high gopuram, one gets a complete view of the other gopuras as well as the two vimanas. Each of these gopuras is filled with countless stucco images portraying legends from the Puranas.
A visitor entering the temple through the eastern gateway first enters the Astha Shakti Mandapam (Hall). It was built by Thirumalai Nayakar's wives Rudrapathi Ammal and Tholimamai. The Meenakshi Nayak Mandapam is next to this hall. It is a spacious columned hall, which was once used for shops and stores. This hall has a votive lamp-holder with 1,008 lamps, which are lit on festive occasions. The sculptures on the pillars depict some of Lord Shiva's Thiruvilayadals (miracles) and the stories related to Meenakshi's birth and her life as the princess of Madurai. Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam is a big hall adjacent to Astha Shakthi Mandapam. It consists of 110 pillars carrying the figures of a peculiar animal with a lion's body and an elephant's head called Yalli.
Potramaraikula or the Golden Lotus Tank is an ancient temple tank where the devotees take bath in the holy water. The area around this tank was the meeting place of the Tamil Sangam, the ancient academy of poets. A pillared corridor surrounds the tank. Steps lead down to the tank, enabling worshippers to take bathe in it. The Oonjal (swing) Mandapam and Killikoontu (parrot cage) Mandapam are on the western side of the tank. On every Friday, the golden idols of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are seated on the swing in the Oonjal Mandapam and hymns are sung as the deities are swung. The parrots in the Kilikoontu Mandapam have been trained to repeat Meenakshi's name. But more interesting are the 28 pillars of the mandapam, which exhibit some excellent sculptures from Hindu mythology. The idol of Vinayak was unearthed by the king Thirumalai Nayaka when he excavated a temple tank 3 km from the temple and erected it here.
In the corridor outside the main shrine, there is stump of the kadamba tree. It is said to be a part of the same tree under which Indra worshipped as Shiva linga. The outer corridor also has the Kadambathadi Mandapam and the Velli Ambalam or the Silver Hall. An idol of Nataraja, Dancing Shiva, covered with silver leaves can be seen. This idol of Nataraja is covered with silver leaves. The Thousand Pillar Mandapam is the 'Wonder of the Palace'. The actual number of pillars is 985 only. They are beautifully decorated and sculpted columns. The Thousand Pillared Hall houses the Temple Art Museum where one can see icons, photographs, drawings, etc., exhibiting the 1200 years old history. Just outside the hall, towards the west, are the Musical Pillars. Each pillar when stuck produces a different musical note.
The Kalyana Mandapam is to the south of the Pillared Hall. It is here the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated every year during the Chitirai Festival in mid- April. Thirumalai Nayakkar built Vasantha Mandapam. Vasanthosavam, the Spring Festival is celebrated in this mandapam in Baisakhi (April/May). Its pillars contain elaborate sculptures of Shiva, Meenakshi, and scenes from their wedding as well as the figures of ten of the Nayak Kings and their consorts. This is also called Pudhu Mandapam. The most amazing characteristic of this temple is the fact that it is a living legend, continuously following traditions for over two millennia. In its finished form, it represents the miraculous resilience of the Indian cultural ethos. Legends such as Meenakshi Kalyanam, the coronation of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar as the Queen and King of Madurai still form part of the grand festival traditions of the temple. It is complimented with architectural and sculptural splendor due to the vision and patronage of the Madurai Nayak rulers.

12) Renuka Mata Temple , Mahur



Renuka Mata, Mahur
Renuka Devi  is the mother of Parashuram. Parshuram after getting the orders from his  father cut the head of his mother and then started crying and scrumbling on the ground. Since Renuka was agreat Sati she came in the nightmare and told Parshuram to carry out the postdeath rituals in the guidance of Shi Gurudev Datta. Hence Parshuram carried the deadbody of his mother to this place (Mahur, the birth place of Lord Dattatreya) here,and  in the Guidance of Shri Gurudev he carried out the rituals. In the same night he has a nightmare and Renuka mata told him that she would again appear from the ground at the top of the hill. As told Parshuram went to the hill and Aakashwani told him to not have alook untill Mata Renuka appears totally.For that time He turned his back to the place and Mata started appearing from the hill top as Mata's head started coming  up, Parshuram in the love of his mother turned the head to have a look at his mother again and the Renuka mata stopped coming then there. By that time only  head has come up  and said that she  would be residing there only.
This is how Mata Renuka appeared here.


Renuka Devi Mandir, Mahur

Besides the Mahur Garh there is Datta Tekdi (Datt shikar), a hill where Dattatreya used to live and carry out there Sandyas, Matrutirth is that holy place where Parshuram carried out rituals.

13) Ambaji Mata Temple, Gujarat



Ambaji
Mata Temple

Ambaji is a census town in Banaskantha district in the state of Gujarat, India. Ambaji is an important temple town with millions of devotees visiting the Ambaji temple every year. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.


Ambaji mata temple is a major Shakti Peeth of India. It is situated at a distance of approximately 65 kilometres from Palanpur, 45 kilometres from Mount Abu and 20 kilometres from Abu road near the Gujarat and Rajasthan border

In the holy temple of "Arasuri Ambaji", there is no image or statue of goddess the holy "Shree Visa Yantra" is worshiped as the main deity. No one can see the Yantra with naked eye. the photography of the Yantra is prohibited.

The Navratri celebrations are organized on a large scale in the Ambaji temple. During the festival, a huge fair is organized here every year. People celebrate the occasion with great pomp and show. They sing and dance in praise of the glory of the Goddess. The temple is located on the Arasur hill in the Aravalli Range. The most fascinating feature of the shrine is that it does not contain any idol. It only has a yantra, made of marble which is engraved at a spot.

A large number of devotees throng the Ambaji Temple during Purnima fairs held, on the full moon day, in the months of Kartik, Chaitra and Bhadrapad. A short distance from Ambaji, there is a hill named Gabbar Hill. People believe that the Goddess revealed herself on the hill and left the imprints of Her feet. She is even considered the prime Goddess of the region. This has made the place a pilgrim for the Hindus in the state and outside.

Temple timings :
Ambaji temple is open all days of the week, 7:15-11:30am, 12-4:15pm, 6:30-9pm.

How to reach Ambaji : 

By road: Direct buses are available from many places, including Mount Abu, 45 km away, Palanpur, 65 km away, Ahmedabad, and Idar.

By air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad
prints of Her feet. She is even considered the prime Goddess of the region. This has made the place a pilgrim for the Hindus in the state and outside.

14) Maa Thawewali of Bihar


Maa Thawewali





History of Thawewali Maa

This holy story pertains to about 14th century AD. King 'Manan Singh' from 'Chero' dynasty was ruler of 'Hathuwa'. Although Manan Singh was a devotee of Maa Durga but he was having a proud nature. He claimed to be the greatest devotee of Maa Durga and did not like other saints and religious persons. People were not happy with the King due to his unkind nature and behavior.

The fort in which the king resided was located at present 'Thawe'. One '
Rahashu' lived in the same village who was a true devotee of 'Maa Kamakhya'. People used to call him 'Rahashu Bhagat' to convey their respect to him.

Once there was a great famine in the state of Hathuwa. People started to die due to hunger. There was very bad condition everywhere, but the king continued to levy tax even in that miserable condition. Poor people became sadder due to the cruel attitude of the king. They did pray to 'Maa Kamakhya' for relief. To relieve her devotees from their grief and pain, Maa Kamakhya appeared in midnight while sitting on seven lions and told to Rahashu Bhagat to cut 'Katara' (grass) and to worship her in midnight. Rahashu Bhagat used to cut 'Katara' (grass) whole day and yielded it in midenight by seven lions of Maa Kamakhya. Thus he got 'Manasara' (a type of holy Rice). Every morning Rahashu Bhagat distributed the Manasara among poor people. Rahashu Bhagat became very famous because he had relieved the poor people from their hunger.

When the king came to know about all these developments, he became very angry and called Rahashu Bhagat and insulted him. The king ordered Rahashu Bhagat to call Maa Kamakhya to prove his true devotion.

Rahashu Bhagat requested the king not to do so and suggested the King to pray the Maa with an honest heart but the king insisted to call Maa and threatened Rahashu Bhagat to kill in case of disobedience. At last, helpless Rahashu  Bhagat started to pray Maa Kamakhya to call her. On the call from her true devotee, Maa Kamakhya started her journey sitting on seven lions from Kamrupa (Assam) where she is known as 'Kamakhya Devi' to Thawe.

Rahashu Bhagat again requested the King to drop his insistence but the king did not agree and forced Rahashu Bhagat to call Maa. Meanwhile Maa appeared in Vindhyachal for sometime and was called Maa 'Vindhyavasni Devi'. In her way to Thawe Maa reached Kalighat in Calcutta and was called Maa 'Kalka Devi'. Rahashu Bhagat again requested king to quit his wish and warned him for mass destruction but the king was not agreed.

In her way to Thawe Maa stayed at Patna for a while and was called 'PatanDevi'. Then Maa appeared in 'Aami' and 'Ghodaghat' was called 'AmbikaBhawanii' and 'Ghod Devi' respectively.

When Maa reached 'Thawe' the weather and appearance of the place began to change.  Due to hundreds of thunders King's palace fell and destroyed. Everyone was feared. The devotees of Maa started to pray her to save them as they had known that Maa had reached Thawe.

After sometime, Maa appeared through broken head of Rahashu Bhagat and showed her right hand wearing a 'Kanagan' (Bracelet).  The four handed Maa appeared sitting on the seven lions and blessed her devotees. On the pray from her true devotees, Maa made the things normal and disappeared.

Rahashu Bhagat got 'Moksha' (heaven). The king, his palace and all his empire came to end. The remnants of the palace may be seen even today around the temple of Maa at Thawe.

The devotee of Maa built a temple where Maa appeared. They also built a 'Rahashu-Temple' where Rahashu Bhagat used to pray Maa. It is said that after 'Darshan' (visit) of Maa Thawewali, Darshan of Rahashu-Temple is mandatory to please Maa.

Maa is also called 'Singhasini Bhawani'. Maa Thawewali is very kind and generous to her devotees and fulfills all their wishes.


Other blogs of the author

http://duttatreya-avatars.blogspot.com/

http://12jyothirlingas.blogspot.com/2011/11/dwadasa-jyothirlingas.html










3 comments:

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  2. You have given only 14 Shakti Peetas in this . Please can you mail remaining 4 Shakti Peetas to my email Id s_sujna@indiatimes.com or sms to my mobile no.09845822705

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