Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jivdani Mata

Name :  Jivdani Mata

Location :

The Goddess rests in a temple situated about 1375 steps above the ground on a hill that forms a part of the Satpura Range in Virar, a northern Mumbai suburb, about 60 km away from Mumbai.
Legend :

The name Virar comes from Eka-viraa. Just as Tunga Parvat becomes “Tunga-ar”, similarly “Vira” becomes “Vira-ar”.There is a huge temple of Eka-vira Devi on the banks of Vaitarna River at the foot hills of Tunga Parvat, (this is now totally broken by the continuous raids of Mohamedeans and Portuguese in last 400 years), where people used to conclude their “Shurpaaraka Yatra”, as described in the Puranas and local legends. There is a huge tank here dedicated to Eka veera Devi called “Viraar Tirtha”, i.e. “Eka- Viraa Tirtha”. Even today, on the west banks of Viraar Tirtha, one finds a carved stone about three feet long and nine inches broad. Below that is a group of female figures of the Yoginis of Ekaveera Devi. Nearby one can find a stone with a roughly cut cow and calf (Savatsa Dhenu), a symbol of Govardhana Math which symbolizes eternity or Moksha.

Moving ahead near the foot of a knoll of rock are two cow’s feet (Go-Paad) roughly cut in rock. The legendary story of Jivdani Devi is as follows: During their forest journey, Pandavas came to Shurparaka. They visited the holy temple of Vimaleshwar consecrated by Lord Parashuram and on their journey to Prabhas halted on the banks of Vaitarni river. There they worshipped the Bhagavati Ekaveera on the banks of Viraar Tirtha and seeing the serenity and lofty nature decided to carve caves in the nearby mountains. They did so on the hills nearby and installed and worshipped the Yoga Linga of Ekaveera devi in one of the caves. They called her Bhagavati Jeevadhani (That is Goddess, who is the real wealth of life). Doing so Pandavas also made a set of small caves now known as “Pandav Dongri” about a mile from Shirgaon for the hermits. Many yogis used to stay in Pandav Dongri and have darshan of Jeevdhani Devi.

After the onset of Kali Yuga, and after the advent of the Buddhist faith, the number of Vaidik Yogis lessened and slowly people forget the hillock and the devi. During times of Jagadguru Shankaracharya’s advent, a Mahar or Mirashi used to stay in Viraar who used to graze the village cattle. He came to Nirmal Mandir for the darshan of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Padmanabha Swami and requested His Holiness to bless him so that he could have darshan of his beloved Kuladevata. Jagadguru was pleased with the devotion of Mahar and advised him to serve Go-Mata on the foothills of Jivadhani, and at appropriate time he would have darshan of his Goddess and attain Go-Loka. He literally for the rest of life followed the advice of Jagadguru Shankaracharya and herded the village cattle. While grazing the village cattle, he used to see a cow grazing along with, whose owner never paid him for herding her. By his virtue, he determined to find the owner of the cow. He followed the cow on the top of Jeevdhan Hill. A beautiful woman with divine features appeared. The Mahar remembered the words of Jagadguru Shankaracharya and understood that she is none other than his Kuladevi Jeevdhani, he was overjoyed and asked “Oh Mother ! I have grazed your cow, will you not pay me for her herding ?”. The Devi just smiled in delight and was on the point of putting some money in the Mahar’s hand, when he said “Do not touch me, I am Mahar. Give me something which cannot be spoilt by touch, words, smell, figure, and ether.” Knowing this Devi asked “Lo my child, whence from you learned this unique knowledge of Varnashram Dharma and Moksha Dharma?”. To this Mahar replied, “From none other than by the Grace of Jagadguru Shankaracharya”. Bhagavati was pleased by this and said “By your virtue (Punya), see this cow which is none other than Kaamadhenu has taken your forefathers to higher abodes by her tail, crossing the Vaitarini”. Thus saying the Mahar saw the cow lept from the hill top putting her two feet prints on hill foor and other two across Vaitarini River in heavens. Now Devi told, “I confer upon you the thing which you demanded that is Moksha.”

Saying so the Mahar attained Moksha (The real Jeeva Dhana, the real wealth of Life)and the Devi was about to disappear in the cave, when a barren woman saw all this divine incident screamed “Devi Devi, Amba Amba, will you leave this barren daughter of yours without our jeevan dhan a child in my laps?”. Devi was pleased by her prayers and said “ Great indeed are you who saw all three of us. I henceforth bless you with a child.” The lady was not satisfied by this, she said “Oh Mother of the three worlds, do not just bless me, but let all barren daughters of you who pray you be conferred with the child”. Devi was pleased at this and said “See henceforth, due to the advent of Kali Yuga, in order to maintain purity of rituals, I will stay into a hole in the niche of the cave. The barren women who offer me the beetlenuts in this hole, as is offered in my original place in Mahurgad, will be rewarded with a progeny”. Thus saying the Devi disappeared.

Description :

The lady spread out the incident and thus once again the Jeevdhan hill started to be visited by the pilgrims. The presently installed image is a very recent one, the original sanctum sanctorum is the hole in the niche of the cave, which is the central place of worship.

The goddess is worshipped for providing relief to the suffering and new life to the dying hence the name of the goddess - Jivdani. Many people of Vasai especially - Mangayle, Koli and Bhandhari treat Jivdani as their family goddess.

The devotees return the "Navas" or blessing / favor by sacrificing goats and chickens. They also offer gold ornaments.Devotees believe that to return to have "Navas" granted they must climb the mountain and worship the goddess but not return the same way as they climbed the mountain. So all are blessed by maa as they return from mountain.
Offerings of beetle-nuts are dropped into a hole in the niche in which the deity is believed to reside. The goddess Jivdani Mata is an avatar of Adi Shakti Devi. Jivdani Mata’s temple is situated on a hill that has around 1375 steps.The 150-year-old Jivdani Temple at Virar, which attracts thousands of devotees on Sundays and during festivals, is getting a facelift. It is recognised as one of the 51 Shakthipeethas like Kanyakumari, Kamakshi and Kalimata temples.
Festivals :

During the nine days of the Navratri festival many followers visit the shrine, and devotees also tend to visit on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Websites :

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Renuka Mata Temple, Mahur

Name :  Renuka Mata Temple Mahur

Location :

Mahur is the abode of the goddess Renuka, mother of Parshuram, an incarnation of Vishnu. The place is in Kinwat about 130 km away from Nanded in Maharashtra.

Legend :

The legends of Renuka are contained in the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa and in the Bhagavata Purana.

Early life

Renuka raja (father of Renuka) performed an yajna — a ritual performed to maintain peace and good health. He was blessed with a daughter, who originated from the fire of this yajna. Renuka was a bright and active child and became the most beloved child of her parents.
When she was eight, Agastya, who was the guru of the Renuka Raja, advised him to have his daughter married to Jamadagni when she reached maturity. Jamadagni was the son of Ruchik Muni and Satyavathi and had obtained the blessings of the gods by performing severe penance. Renuka and Jamdagni Muni lived in the Ramshrung mountains, near the present day Savadatti area of Belgaum district. Renuka helped the Jamdagni Muni in all of his tasks of performing various rituals and puja. Gradually she became close and dear to Jamdagni.

Later life

Renuka would wake up early in the morning to bathe in the Malaprabha River with complete concentration and devotion. Her devotion was so powerful that she was able to create a pot to hold water made only of sand, one fresh pot every day. She would fill this pot, on the bank of the river and would use a snake which was nearby, turning it into a rope-like convolution and placing it on her head, so that it supported the pot. Thus, she brought the water to Jamdagni for his rituals of oblation. ("Renuka" is derived from the Sanskrit for "fine grain of sand".)
Renuka gave birth to five sons: Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, Brutwakanwa and Rambhadra. Rambhadra was the youngest and most beloved, gaining the favour of Lord Shiva and Parvati and hence called Parashurama (the sixth incarnation of Vishnu).

One day when Renuka went to the river, she saw Gandharva spirits playing. These were young couples carelessly frolicking in the water with abandon. For a moment, she lost her concentration and devotion and fantasized about playing in the river with her husband. She wished she and her husband had such fun sometimes too, living so close to such a beautiful place. After some time, Renuka came to her senses and cursed herself for her indiscretion. She hurriedly bathed, as she had lost precious time, and tried to create the pot, but was unable to as she had lost her concentration. She even tried to catch the snake but it disappeared. Disappointed by this, she returned to the ashram in shame. Seeing Renuka returning empty-handed, Jamadagni became furious and angrily ordered her to go away.

After being cursed by her husband, Renuka went east and sat in the forest to meditate. In her penance, she met with the saints Eknath and Joginath; she prayed to them and asked to gain the mercy of her husband. They first consoled her, then instructed her to follow their advice exactly as told. They told her to purify herself, first bathing in a nearby lake, and then to worship a Shivalinga, which they had given to her. Next, she should go to the nearby town and beg for rice from the houses (this ritual, called "Joga Bedodu", is still carried out by women during a particular month in Karnataka). After collecting the rice, she was to give half to the saints and cook the remaining half, adding jaggery, partaking of the cooked rice with full devotion. They said that if she performed this ritual for three days, she would be able to visit her husband on the fourth day.

Punishment and resurrection

Jamadagni was still furiously angry with Renuka and ordered his sons to punish their mother. One by one, four of them refused flatly. Jamadagni, who possessed the power to burn anyone to ashes with his one look, was so angry that he went berserk and turned four of his sons into four piles of ashes. Parashurama, who was not there when this happened, found his mother weeping by the piles of ashes when he arrived and his father was still raging mad. Jamadagni told him what happened and ordered him to behead his mother for her infidelity. Parushurama had to think quickly. Knowing his father's powers and the extent of his anger, Parashurama immediately obeyed his father, using his axe.
His father then offered a boon to Parushurama, who asked for his mother and brothers to be brought back to life. To everybody's astonishment, Renuka's spirit multiplied and moved to different regions. Renuka was back as a whole too. This miracle inspired her sons and others to become her followers, and worship her.

Renuka vs. Yellamma

In many traditions, Renuka and Yellamma are taken to be two names for the same goddess. However there is also an oral tradition that distinguishes between the two. According to these tales, Renuka fled to a low-caste community when her son Parushurama was coming to kill her. He found and beheaded her, along with a low-caste woman who had tried to protect her. When he later brought them back to life, he mistakenly attached the woman's head to Renuka's body, and vice versa. Jamadagni accepted the former as his wife Renuka, while the latter remained to be worshipped by the lower castes as Yellamma, the mother of all. Matangi, Renuka, and Yellamma are all names of the Goddess of the lower castes.

Legend 2 :

About the goddess Renuka the following anecdote is told.

Renuka was the daughter of the king Renu of Kubaj country and the wife of the sage Jamadagni. When the king Sahastrarjuna paid a visit to Jamadagni in his abode, he was taken by surprise by the hospitality of the sage. When asked about the same, the sage told him that it is all because of the Kamadhenu, i.e., cow that fulfils the desires of the owner given to him by Indra, the king of the Gods.

Thinking that if the Kamadhenu was in his possession he would be able to maintain his vast army easily, the king Sahastrarjuna tried to seize the Kamadhenu from the sage by farce when his request to hand over the Kamadhenu to him was turned down by the sage. In the scuffle that ensued the sage died and his wife Renuka was injured due to 21 wounds she had received at the hands of the king. At this juncture many soldiers appeared on the scene from the body of the Kamadhenu by divine magic and farced the king to retreat.

On coming to know of the above incident Parasuram, the son of Jamadagni who rushed there vowed to defeat and punish the king 21 times. His mother asked him to cremate his father. He carried his father and mother to Mahur and cremated his father there. His mother became a sati.

The religious rites were conducted on this occasion by the God Sri Dattatreya himself. However, after everything was over Parasuram was stricken by grief and at this time a voice from the heavens told him that his mother would came out from the earth but he should not look behind. Being eager to see his mother, Parasuram just saw behind far a fraction of a second to find the mother's face aver the earth. The upper facet is the present upper facet of the Renukadevi.

Renukadevi is adorned with various gold ornaments such as the golden flowers to be used as earrings, gold garlands (putal mal candrahar, jaymal, etc.), nose-ring (nath), etc.

Temple :
Mahur is amongst the four places of pilgrimage having the abodes of the three and a half goddesses that are of major significance in the state of Maharashtra. The other three are Kolhapur, Tuljapur, and Saptashrungi and Mahur is half, because it is only the head of the goddess that is visible (maybe because the body is of Yellamma).

The three important temples of Renuka mata, Dattatreya and Anasuya temple are built on three mountain ranges. Mahur is surrounded by Jungles which bear wild animals like peacocks , deers, black bears and panthers. In these forests Teak wood trees are more. 

Dattatreya Temple :

The importance of Datta temple here is that unlike other Datta kshetras where we find Padukas of Datta,the idol of Lord is been worshipped. Devotees believe that the Lord Dattatreya was born here.

Datta bhagavan is known as Chiranjeevi or the immortal avatar. So it is believed that he dwells in SOOKSHMA ROOPA or the minutest form in all his kshetras. So it is believed that Mahur is also a place where DattaGuru comes to sleep. As per the belief the saying goes that Datta Prabhu takes his NITYA SNAN (daily bath) In Meruwada Talao in Mahur, BHIKSHA(Meal served to a sadhu) at Kolhapur,BHOJAN(food) at Panchleswar and gets back to sleep in Mahur. Devadeveswar Temple is the nidra sthan of Lord Dattatreya.

Anasuya Mata Mandir :

Anasuya mata is wife of Atri Mahamuni. She is once tested by Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar to prove her loyalty towards her Husband. As per Indian mythology The trinity went to Atri’s home in his absence and asked Anasuya mata to give them Bhiksha(food). When she was ready to serve them, they insisted that she has to Serve them with a nude body. Then with her devotion and Bhakti she turned all the three into babies and fed them. Finally impressed by her devotion she was given a Boon of her choice and then she wanted all three to be her sons. That is how Lord Dattatreya took birth on Earth at Mahur and from then he had been existing on earth To bless his devotees. Anasuya mata mandir is famous at Mahur. We can get shared autos from Renukadevi temple to this place.

Renuka Mata Temple :
It is believed that the temple has been constructed by a Yadava king of Devgiri about eight or nine hundred years ago. The temple of Renukadevi is located on a hill top. There are carved caves in the hills around Mahur.

The main deity Head alone idol is Swayabhu. Doli facility is available for the convenience of the devotees who cannot reach the temples on the hill top.

The temple is coloured in RED colour and here BEETLE LEAVES are offered as Prasad. Here pan patta and supari are grinded as paste and offered as prasad. People believe that Mata blesses all those females who offer her beetle leaves.

Mahur is pilgrim Centre of great significance. It is considered to be one of the Shaktipith of Maharashtra. On the day of Dasara every year a very big fair is held in honour of Renukadevi.

Thousands of people come to get blessings of Renuka mata on Navaratri Festival.

Other places to visit :

1.Chinthamani Ganapathi Temple: 20 km from Yavatmal at Kalam ,Chinta mani Ganesh temple is there. It is one of the eight Ganesh temples in Vidarbha and it is the only temple where deity faces south. The temple is 20 feet below the ground level and it is said that every 12 years the temple is submersed in water comes out of the well.Chinthamnai Ganapathi ‘s anugraha is also mentioned in Shree Gurucharitra at Ganagapur temple by Sri Nrusimha saraswathy swamy to his disciples.

2. Unkeshwar: Pracheena Shiva temple. People who visit Mahur Also Visit “Unkeshwar” (50 km from Mahur; 15 km from Kinwat), which has natural sources of hot water. This sulphur rich water is supposed to have medicinal value.

Website :

Matsyodari devi Temple

Name : Matsyodari devi Temple

Location : The Matsyodari devi Temple of Ambad situated in south 21 k.m. away from Jalna city. 

Description :  Matsyodari, so called because the temple is on the hill which resembles the shape of a fish (matsya). It is believed to be one of the oldest temples in the region.

A largely attended annual fair is held at the temple in October, in Navratra.

Upper Bagh Devi Temple

Name : Upper Bagh Devi Temple

Location :

This is an ancient shrine at Kulada, Ganjam District in the state of Orissa in India. The temple is about 8 km from Bhanja Nagar, 102 km from Chhatrapur and 140 km from Bhubaneswar. The nearest railway station is at Berhampur, 88 km away.

Legend :

Its people's believe that there were three sisters (including Upper Bagh Devi). One is more upper of current Upper Bagh Devi Temple is also called as Bada Raula (may be means big sister) and there is another temple simply called as Bagh Devi (youngest sister) near to Jagannath Temple.

People say that these three sisters always fought each other for Coconut and then once decided that they can divide the region who will stay where. So they throw three Lotta (type of rounded drinking container widely used in Orissa for drinking water). One stuck in the same place where Bada Raula is staying currently, second one stuck in the place where today called as Upper Bagh Devi and the third one was fallen into a Pond which currently a temple which is below the ground level.

Then Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja got indication from devi (through dream) that he may need to build temple in these places. Gradually the temple were built and renovated but the Bada Raula's Temple was never built since it is very difficult to go there as there is no steps to go there till now.

Description :

Kulada is famous  for  Goddess Bagh Devi which is the  presiding deity, Kulad is said to be birth place of great Oriya Poet Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja.  It is situated to the north west of Ganjam District with a ruin fort, river Mahanadi flowing in the east and dense forest in the west side of the ruined fort. Legend speaks that during 12th century a Bhanja ruler had joined hands with a tribal leader’ KULA’ to be eradicating the foreign invasion. Seeing the danger from the tribe he stained the tribal leader KULA and on the same place, constructed a fort which was later known as Kulad / Kulargad.

The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Bagh Devi. The original temple is at the top of the hill known as Upper Bagh Devi with 210 steps. Upendra Bhanja spent his term in meditation at this place. As the steps are yet to be made and the route is very tough for climbing another temple of Goddess Bagh Devi has been constructed near the road where people in large number gather to worship. Kulad has many other temples also. The other important temples of Kulad are Temple of Lord Jagannath, Mausimaa temple, Ratneswar Mahadev temple etc. 

Festivals :

Sankranti day of every month. Thakurani Yatra every three years. Rathyatra and Dola Purnima, Dashahara (4 days) and Ashoka Ashtami.  

Website :


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