Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Maa TaraTarini Temple




Ganjam district of Odisha State



One of the 51 Shakti Peeths



6 am to 7 pm

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Maa Tara Tarini temple, a shakti shrine in the Ganjam district of Odisha State is a major religious tourist destination. Situated on the banks of River Rushikulya near Berhampur city , the shrine is visited by thousands of people every year, particularly on all Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Chaitra. It is just 7km away from Purushottampur and 30km away from Berhampur.

The shrine is worshiped as the Breast Shrine (Sthana Peetha) and the Twin Goddesses Tara and Tarini are worshiped as manifestations of Adi Shakti . The Taratarini Shakti Peetha is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of the Mother Goddess and is one of four major ancient Tantra Peetha and Shakti Peethas in India. The other three Adi Shakti Peethas are Bimala, Kamakshi (Assam) and Dakhina Kalika (West Bengal).

There is a legend behind the existence of this temple. It is here where Goddesses Sati's (Lord Shiva's Consort) breasts fell after Lord Vishnu severed Sati's body into 51 pieces to stop Lord Shiva's dance of Destruction (Tandava Nritya), which he was doing out of anger after his beloved wife's death. The Shakti of the shrine is addressed as Maa Tara Devi. Here the twin goddess, Tara and Tarini are worshipped. Goddess Taratarini was also the presiding deity of the rulers of Kalinga kingdom.

There is a belief associated with this temple, that the god in this temple will definitely fulfill the wishes of his devotees.

The height of the Purnagiri hill which is a part of Kumarai hills is approximately 708ft. A flight of 999 steps on the eastern side of the hill leads to the top of the hill. This part of the hill is known as Dahihandi where, one can enjoy the picturesque scenery of surrounding landscape, the quitely flowing River Rushikulya and the long stretch of fertile plain encircled by mountains.

Both the dieties are about 10 feet high made up of stones, ornamented with gold and silver which looks like human faces represents goddess Tara and Tarini. Two brass heads enshrined in between them. The original structure was demolished in 2005 and the new temple replaced the old one. The temple has been built in the Rekha style of architecture.

The four Melas held on the four Tuesday of the month ofChaitra (March-April) every year attract a large number of devotees. Of which Chaitra arba/Chaitra Mela/Chaitra Yatra is the most important among the festivals.

Tuesdays of Chaitra masa is auspicious for the worship of the Devi. Grand congregations take place on the first, second, third and fourth Tuesdays. On Tuesday, the shrine remains open for the Darshan of the deities from 1.00 AM (mid-night on Monday) till 11 PM (of Tuesday). During that period, Pahada (daytime rest) of the deities is confined to night-time only. Special Khechedi Bhogh is offered to the devotees during Chaitra Parbha.

As per the age old practice, devotees offer the first bunch of hair of the newborn babies during the day through 'Mundan' with the believe that goddesses Tara Tarini will protect the newborns from all evils and ensure their well-being. The authorities charge Rs 20 for 'Mundan' on the temple premises and Rs. 1/- for 'darshan'. Special darshan costs Rs. 50/- per head. Apart from Hair offering, there are Vehicle Puja, Homa, Private Bhoga etc are performed at this temple.