Name : Renuka Mata Temple Mahur
Early lifeRenuka 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 lifeRenuka 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 resurrectionJamadagni 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. YellammaIn 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 :
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.
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.
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.