Friday, August 26, 2016

Maa Sureswari Temple - Sonepur - Subarnapur - Odisha

Maa Sureswari Temple:

The temple of Maa Sureswari is the most seasoned Shakti place of worship of Subarnapur. Maa Sureswari is the presiding deity of Subarnapur district. People of this district show their  high  devotional  feeling  towards  Maa Sureswari. Temple of Maa Sureswari is situated in south-west direction of the Sonepur town. Maa Sureswari temple is situated at the left bank of Tel River towards the south-west of the conjunction of Mahanadi and Tel River. 

A six-handed standing image of Maa Kali is worshhipped as Maa Sureswari. The main festival of Maa Sureswari is observed in the time of Dasahara. The "Balijatra" is one of the greatest fair of Maa which is celebrated from the Aswina Amabashya to Purnima for fifteen days. Entire Sonepur town becomes crowded and sounded by the traditional musical instruments. According to a popular legend  Parshuram  had  performed  a  vedic  sacrifice here  and  established  Maa  Sureswari  by  the direction of his mother Renuka. 

The temple side of Maa Sureswari is regarded as Renuka Pitha. The sacrificial altar of Parshuram is known as "Khaulagada". The main gate of the temple faces towards east but Maa Sureswari looks towards north. Seven Ponds are found by the temple side of Sureswari. According to many scholars these ponds were the  fort  moats  of  the  Kalachuri  rulers.  Maa Sureswari was the presiding deity of the fort of Chauhan ruler Achal Singh Deo who was the builder of that historic temple. But after that Maharaja  Biramitra  Singh  Deo  constructed  many images  of  parsvadevatas.  

Maa  Sureswari  is worshipped  in  Vana  Durga  mantra.  In  the parsvadevata niches, there are images of ten-handed  dancing  Durga,  four-handed  Maa  sitting in lalitasana and eight-handed Ganesa all on the Visvapadma  pedestals.  Standing  image  of  Bhairav and  tantric  Buddhist  goddess  named  Tara  are  kept here and there all around the temple. There is a Khaulgada in the temple premises. During the Balijatra, Barua (the priest) smears the soils of Khaulagada in his own body. Then the God enters in the body of the Barua. In a ceremony named "Khaula Phita" in which the soil is collected from the Khaulgada, the Barua collects the soil from the Khaulgada in the midnight of month of Aswina. If the white soils come out from the Khaulagada,it is considered as the good symbol. The red and black colour soil identify sorrow, suffering, illness. It is said by people that a large number of horrses had been sacrifised here in the past. So the soil is poisonous. The soil is  smeared in the body of Barua for entering of God in his body. There is a great faith among people that Maa Sureswari fulfills  the    the  desires  of  the  devotees.  Maa Sureswari  becomes  Dasavesa  from  the  fourth  day of full moon in the month of Aswina. These vesas are  Kali,  Tara,  Sodashi,  Bhubaneswari, Chinnamasta,  Bagala mukhi, Bhairavi, Matangi, Kamala and Dhumabati. Maa Sureswari is well decorated  with  above  vesas  in  the  time  of Dasahara. Maa is also offered prayer in sodasha upachara. The Dasavesa of Maa Sureswari are very attractive and heart touching. Devotees from far and wide come here to see the Dasavesa in the time of Dasahara. On the day of "Nuakhai" the mass festival of western, Arnna Bhoga is first offered to Maa Sureswari. Then the people of Subarnapur district take the Prasada. It is said by  the  people  that  in  every  midnight  Maa Sureswari moves around Sonepur town by horse. People say Maa protects the devotees in time of needs. The temple of Maa Sureswari occupy a great position is Sakti culture. It is one of the well known  ancient  Sakti  pitha  of  Orissa.  Maa Sureswari was the presiding deity of Sonepur royal family. People have great faith on the divine power, love and blessings of Maa Sureswari. So they have been showing devotional respect to Maa  Sureswari.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chausathi Yogini Temple - 64 Jogini Temple - Chausath - Hirapur - Bhubaneswar - Khordha - Odisha

Chausathi (64) Yogini Temple:

Chausathi Yogini Temple (64 Jogini Temple) or Mahamaya Mandir is situated in a village called Hirapur, 15 kms from Bhubaneswar. 

The temple is believed to be built during 9th century. There are only 9 Chausath Yogini Temple in India, it is one of them.

It's built in a circular shrine, completely put together with blocks of sand stone. 

The inside of the circular wall has cavities, each housing the statue of a Goddess. 

There are around 63 such idols, made of black granite, inscribed within the wall cavities, centring on the main idol which is the Goddess Kali, who stands on a human head representing the triumph of the heart over the mind. 

The temple houses a central altar (Chandi Mandapa) which has the remaining 8 Goddess idols on all 4 sides. 

64 Joginis Temple is a tantric temple, with hypaethral architecture as tantric prayer rituals involve worshiping the bhumandala (environment consisting all the 5 elements of nature - fire, water, earth, sky and ether). 

The legend behind the temple according to local priests is of the Goddess Durga taking the form of 64 demi-goddesses in order to defeat a demon. After the fight the 64 goddesses (Joginis) asked Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure. 

The Jogini idols are generally representing a female figurine standing on an animal, a demon or a human head depicting the victory of Shakti (Feminine power). 

The idols express everything from rage, sadness, pleasure, joy, desire and happiness. Such temples are also seen at Ranipur-Jharial site of the Balangir district in Odisha and seven other places in India. 

Maa Baliharachandi Temple - Baliharchandi - Brahmagiri - Puri - Odisha

Baliharchandi Temple:

Maa Baliharchandi Temple
Baliharchandi Temple is dedicated to goddess Harachandi. In Odia language 'Bali' means Sand & 'Harchandi' means angry form of Goddess Durga. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is mounted on a sandy hill near the ocean. This temple situated at 27km south west of Puri towards Brahmagiri and Satapada. On this road there is a place known as Kathuari chowk, from this chowk take a left diversion and after 5 kilometers you will reach village Palanka, this temple is located at a distance of 1 kilometer from the village Palanka. Beach is very near to the temple which is another major attraction of this place. The  temple  of  Bali-Harachandi  is  one  of  the important Sakta shrines of Orissa. It is situated on the sea-shore in Brahmagiri area of the Puri district.

The temple is facing towards the east and the presiding deity is Asta-Bhuja (Eight-Armed) Mahisamardini Durga worshipped as Baliharachandi. Baliharachandi is also regarded as goddess of water and navigation, who protects the boatsman and fisherman, when confronted with danger in the sea. This temple has relation with the Sri Jagannath temple in respect of a ritual on the Mahanavami day in the month of Ashwina. Festivals like Navaratri, Durga Puja, Chaitra Mangala Bara, Ramanavami etc. are observed in this temple with great devotion. An image of Goddess Kali is found at the base of the back Rahapaga of the Baliharachandi temple. Here Kali holds a serpent. She holds a skull and a severed head by her left hands. She stands in Alidha pose on the body of Lord Siva.

Baliharachandi temple located at the beginning of the river Bhargavi is not just a pilgrim site but also a scenic spot. This place is also famous for stretches of sandy beach and the meeting point of river Bhargavi with the Sea. It attracts lots of tourist to enjoy the natural site of beach and to seek divine blessings and eternal happiness. The sunrise and sunset scene of beach is amazing for touristis. The tourists can also enjoy sunbath on the calm and quite sea beach of Baliharachandi. The scenic beauty of this place is ideal for group picnic. Baliharachandi, the well known tourist destination of Orissa, is worth a visit.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chandrabhaga Beach - Chandrabhaga - Konark - Puri - Odisha

Chandrabhaga Beach:

Chandrabhaga Beach is situated 3 Kms east of the famous Sun temple of Konark and 30 Kms from Puri. Until recent years Chandrabhaga Beach was considered a place of natural cure for lepers. As per Mythological 'Shamba' (Krishna's Son) the cured laper worshipped the Sun God for cure on the river mouth of Chandrabhaga, the river dried. It is reduced to a drybed or a narrow trickle.

It has been an ideal place for religios activity. Naturally the place, away from human vegetation. Ever swept by sweet breeze and washed by untiding waves is best suited for offerings and also devine romance.

According to yet another mythological reference, Chandrabhag, the daughter of a sage, cought the attraction of the Sun God by her magical charm. The God came down to seek her hand in love. Chandrabhaga did not offer herself to the God. Maddened by romantic pangs, the God chased behind a frightened Chandrabhaga who jumped in to the river and killed herself, but succeeded in protecting her chastity. As a mark of tribute to her sacrifice, every year on the 7th day of the fullmoon fortnight of Magha month, lakhs of people from all over the state and outside gather to take a holy dip in the river that is reduced to a shallow pool, offer their prayers to the Sun God and enjoy the Sun rise.

Chandrabhaga's sacrifice might have been forgotten, but the place which bears her name is remembered as a holy shrine and the place of the Rising Sun. It continues to inspire religious and meditative activities. It has been a big hunting ground for peoets, artists and lovers. A moments pause at Chandrabhaga is a great fatigue healer. Numerous visitors to Konark make Chandrabhaga a positive stop. Several others stay at Konark overnight to enjoy the beauty of the following day.

A light house, close by Chandrabhaga is an added histronic to the splendour of the place. A climb to its top truely takes you to a world of utopia. A natural deer park is recent additions to the riches of Chandrabhaga.

 Due to high tide and current of tide, it is not advisable to bath in this beach. For fun you can play in Beach water for some times, but do not try to go deep inside.

Maa Ramchandi Temple - Ramchandi - Konark - Puri - Odisha

Ramchandi Temple:

Ramachandi Temple, is on a beautiful place on the banks of the Kusabhadra River where it flows into the Bay of Bengal. It is only 7 km away from Konark in the Puri District of Orissa. Goddess Ramachandi, is popularly believed the presiding deity of Konark, and the most benevolent Chandi known, while others thought it to be the temple of Mayadevi, wife of Surya (Sun God).

The temple of Goddess Ramachandi on the river mouth of Kushabhadra river is a splendid scenic picnic resort. It is situated 7 km before Konark on the Marine drive road from Puri to Konark. It is certainly more ancient than the Sun Temple at Konark. From the architectural point of view, the temple of Ramachandi is not important but from the religious point of view, it is one of the famous Shakti pithas of Orissa.

A graceful Chandi, seated on a Lotus flower in a small temple half hidden by sand mounds, on the river mouth of Kushabhadra and the endless Bay of Bengal stretched to eternity, and a thick growth of Casuarina plantations around is the scenic maginificence of the place. Regular crowd of pleasure seekers both from the state, neighbouring states and distant places come here.

This is having many courageous activates like floating, sunbathing and swimming. In this river you can boat with your family. The sea water of Ramachandi is bumpy & do not build high waves because of the combine point of river and sea. If you come from Puri, the Temple placed on the right side of Marine Drive road.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jhankad Sarala Temple-Jhankad-Jagatsinghpur-Odisha-Shakti-Shrine

Sarala Temple:

Jhankad Sarala Temple is one the Shakti Shrine temple in the district of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha. Goddess Sarala is also known as Vak Devi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom.

Goddess Sarala, regarded as one of the most spiritually elevated expressions of Shaktism from time immemorial. Believed as a synthesis of divine figure of Durga and Saraswati.

Maa Sarala patronizes the cultures of Vaishnav and Shakta. Rarely does one find the use of Vilva Patra and Tulasi patra in any temple, as they are symbols of two distinct divisions of Hindu culture.

It is one of the eight most famous Shakta shrines of Odisha. The main idol, carved out of stone is of eight-armed keeping her right feet on the lion in Mahinsha Mardini posture.

Constructed by the legendary Bhauma Kings in the 8th Century. It is also associated with the first epic poet of Odisha,Adikavi Sarala Das of 15th Century.

There are many festivals that are celebrated in the temple, the major ones are: Parbana, Sharadiya Utsav, Pana Sankranti, Dola Purnima, Chandan Jatra.

The people of Odisha are well attached to the goddess that they visit the temple every year, at least once.

How to Reach

By Road: The temple is very well connected with roads network, which is accessible by road from Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Paradeep.  It is 35kms from cuttack.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Cuttack, however there is a small Pessenger Halt at Sarala Road, near Tentulipada.

By Air: The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar, which is approximately 80 km, it is well connected by road.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Gupteswar Cave Temple - Gupteshwar-Koraput-Odisha

Gupteswar Cave Temple:

Gupteswar Cave Temple

Gupteswar Cave Temple is a Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a famous pilgrim place situated about 55 km away from Jeypore, Koraput District in the state of Odisha, India by road. It is a limestone cave discovered some time ago and has a number of scenic spots around. The main attraction of the temple is the gigantic Shiva Linga which is said to be increasing in size, right now it is 2m in width.

Gupteswar Shiva Linga

Pilgrims from all over the country come here during the Sravana period (August - September), because the yearly BolBom yarta is held at this place. Devotees walk to the Gupteshwar during BolBom yatra to bath in the maha kund, and then chant near the Shiva Linga. Gupteswar cave is special for the underground water. It is really worth seeing. It is a natural cave with Stalagmites. One has to reach the end to view the superb scene.

Entrance Gate of Gupteswar Temple

Surrounded by a dense forest of sal trees and flanked by the Saberi river, a 2m high lingam stands in the cave. The shrine is called "Gupteswar" which means the "Hidden God". It is so named because it was lying hidden in the cave for a very long period. One can reach it by climbing the 200 steps flanked with rows of champak trees.

Steps of Temple

The entrance of the cave is about 3 m wide and 2 m in height. There are also several other caves nearby, which is now closed due to safety issues. Inside the second cave there is a large stalactite. People worship it as the udder of God Kamadhenu (the divine cow) and wait under it with outstretched palms to collect drops of water which fall only at long intervals.

Steps towards Main Gate of Temple

Popularly known as "Gupta Kedar" in the vicinity, this sacred place, endowed with unusual natural beauty, is associated with Shri Rama of the epic Ramayana. The nearby hill has been named "Ramagiri".

Exit of Cave Temple

According to mythology, the lingam was first discovered by Lord Rama when he was roaming in the then Dandakaranya forest with wife Sita and brother Laxman, and later worshipped it calling it "Gupteswar". The poet Kalidas too, described the scenic beauty of Ramgiri forest where the cave temple is referred to in his famous Meghadutam.

Main Gate of Temple

However, with the passing of time, the temple was abandoned. Later, in the last part of the 19th century, a hunter of the Ramgiri area found the lingam. Since then the lingam has been worshipped by the tribes of Koraput region.

Inside Steps of Cave Temple

In Shivaratri Gupteswar Temple draws over 200,000 devotees from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. People suffering from incurable diseases come here to worship the God and remain here for months in the hope of getting cured.

Maa Dalkhai

At the entrance of Gupteswar/Ramagiri hills, about 4 km from the main cave, there situated Goddess Dalkhai (local tribe goddess). One has to offer branches of trees to the goddess before entering into Ramagiri hills. There is a saying that it was established by the King as protecting goddess. It is also saying from people of the locality and others who has already experienced the place that no body can enter into the Ramagiri hills without offering branches there.

Saberi River

Another attraction of the place is the River Saberi. The flowing river sound is always pleasant to listen. The water is so cold that it attracts many visitors to have a dip bath here. The muddish color always create a doubt regarding the water at first instance.

Entrance Gate of Saberi River Bank

But the flow of the river through mud hills and red stones makes the color muddish. The flow of the river through stones and forests is an unforgettable scene to watch from the watch-tower created at the top of the cave. Some temples are also built on the sands of the river.

Saberi River Bed

This is a also a famous picnic spots for localites.

Nandi Inside Cave Temple

How to Reach: From Jeypore or Koraput, you can reach to Gupteswar by bus. Or you can hire any taxi from Jeypore or from Koraput to reach Gupteswar. Arround 20kms road is in bad shape.