> Pilgrimages by Deities
> Pilgrimages of Devi
Pilgrimages of Devi
- Shakti Peethas (The most revered seats of Devi)
- Vaishno Devi (A famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Jammu & Kashmir
- Kheer Bhawani (A famous temple of Devi) - Jammu & Kashmir
- Sharika Devi (Presiding deity of Srinagar) - Jammu & Kashmir
- Vajreshwari Devi (Famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Himachal Pradesh
- Chintpurni Devi (Famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Himachal Pradesh
- Naina Devi (Famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Himachal Pradesh
- Manikaran (Famous pilgrimage of Shiva-Parvati) - Himachal Pradesh
- Tuljapur (Famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Maharashtra
- Kollur (Famous pilgrimage of Devi and Mukti Sthala of Karnataka) - Karnataka
- Chengannur Bhagawati (Famous temple of Devi) - Kerala
- Chottanikkara Devi (Famous temple of Devi) - Kerala
- Madurai (Famous pilgrimage of Devi) - Tamil Nadu
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The Shakti Peethas are the sacred Seats (Peethas) of Shakti. According to the legand of the 51 Shakti Peethas recorded in the Pitha Nirnaya texts, each of these Seat is a sacred spot where a body part or ornament of Devi Sati fell, cut by the Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu. This is related to the well-known puranic event of the destruction of Daksha Yagya mentioned in Mahabharata and other puranas. The Shakti Peethas are spread throughout India and many are now located in places outside the present India. The sacred seats of Devi are on the natural landscape like Amarnath cave, lake Mansarovar, confluence of rivers at Prayaga, river banks at Varanasi, ancient forests of Vrindavana, ancient forest of Kalighat, on the top of Nilachala mountain at Kamrup etc. Many of the Shakti Peethas are located at the same place as the Jyotirlingas like Srisailam mountain, Vaidyanath Dham etc. The numerous Shakti Peethas had defined the sacred geography of Bharatavarsha to a great extent. Read Shakti Peetha slokas in sanskrit.
Vaishno Devi in Trikuta Parvata of Kashmir Himalayas (1500 m):
- A famous pilgrimage of Devi Vaishnavi in Trikuta Parvata of Kashmir Himalayas: Vaishno Devi (1500 m) is a famous pilgrimage of Devi Vaishnavi in Trikuta Parvata of Kashmir Himalayas. The shrine is inside a cave where there are Three Pindies (Natural Rock formations). According to legend Vaishno Devi originated from the combined powers of the Tridevis - Devi Mahakali, Devi Mahalakshmi and Devi Mahasaraswati. She incarnated as the daughter of Ratnakar for the welfare of the world. She revealed Her Holy Cave to an ardent devotee of Devi named Sridhar Pandit. Vaishno Devi Cave is reached by a trekking route from the base camp at Katra.
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- Three Pindies: Devi Vaishnavi manifested as three Pindies (Natural Rock formations) in the cave of the Trikuta Hill. She is worshipped in those three Pindies which represents the three Maha Shaktis.
- Manifestation of Tridevis: According to legend Vaishno Devi is the manifestation of the powers of Devi Mahakali, Devi Mahalakshmi and Devi Mahasaraswati to eradicate the demons and for the welfare of the world.
- Daughter of Ratnakar: She incarnated as the daughter of Ratnakar and later performed penance in the mountains. She met Lord Rama and requested Him to merge Her within Him. But Lord Rama told Her to stay in the world till Kaliyuga for the welfare of the people during which time He will accept Her as Kalki Avatara.
- Devotee Sridhar Pandit: The story of Vaishno Devi is associated with Her ardent devotee named Sridhar Pandit who held a bhandara (feast) in which the Mother supplied all the food. Later Sridhar ardently prayed Mother to give darshan. He left food and water till Mother gave him Her darshan. Devi Vaishnavi revealed Her cave to Sridhar in the Trikuta Hill.
- The Trek: Vaishno Devi Cave is reached by a trekking route from the base camp at Katra. Pilgrims undertake a trek of 12 km to reach the Holy Cave (Bhawan). The trekking route passes through:
- The Vaishno Devi cave shrine is located in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Darshini Darwaaza (850 m): This is the entry gate to the trek. According to legend Mata Vaishno Devi met Pandit Sridhar at this spot in the form of a small girl during the Bhandara (community feast). Mata eluded Bhairon Nath and started ascending the hill towards the Holy Cave.
- Ban Ganga (820 m): This is a stream which is believed to have been created by Mata Herself using a Ban (Arrow) on Her way to the Holy Cave. Hence this is called Ban Ganga. After creating this stream, She took a dip in it and washed Her hair.
- Charan Paduka (1030 m): This is a rock slab with the imprints of feet believed to be that of Mata Herself. According to legend, Mata stopped here for sometime to check whether Bhairon Nath is still chasing Her and left Her footprints here.
- Adhkuwari (1460 m): Adhkuwari is a small womb-shaped cave halfway between Katra and the main cave. Adhkuwari means "Eternal Virgin". It is believed that Mata performed tapasya in this cave for nine months worshipping Lord Shiva. Hence the cave is also called Garbh Joon or Garbh Yoni. When Bhairon Nath approached this cave while searching for Her, She created an exit at the other end with Her trident and proceeded towards the main cave.
- Himkoti: This is one of the most beautiful spots on the new track with breathtaking scenic beauty of the entire valley. It is around 2.5 km from Adhkuwari.
- Sanjhichat (1890 m): This is the highest point on the trekking path with a panoramic view of the valley.
- The Holy Cave (Bhawan) (1500 m): After leaving Adhkuwari, Mata ascended the hills and reached the Holy Cave. Bhairon Nath also reached there and challenged Her. Vaishno Devi assumed Her Divine Form in this place and beheaded Bhairon Nath with a sword. By the power of the blow of Her sword, the head of Bhairon Nath fell one and a half km away from this cave in the place now known as Bhairon Ghati. When Bhairon Nath finally surrendered to Her before his death, Mata gave a boon to him that the journey to Her shrine will remain incomplete without visiting the temple of Bhairon Nath on the return. The Devi then immersed Herself in meditation and manifested in the form of three Pindies (Natural Rock formations). The Devi revealed the location of this cave to Her ardent devotee Pandit Sridhar for the welfare of all Her devotees. It is believed that Mata personally calls Her devotees in this place (Bulawa) when She wishes them to visit Her.
- Bhairon Ghati: This is the place where the head of Bhairon Nath fell after Mata Vaishno Devo beheaded him. There is a small temple of Bhairon Nath here which the devotees visit after visiting the shrine of Mata.
Kheer Bhawani in Tula Mula village of Kashmir Himalayas:
- A sacred spring in Tula Mula village of Kashmir Himalayas which is worshipped as goddess Ragnya Devi: Kheer Bhawani is a sacred spring (within a temple shrine) in Tula Mula village of Kashmir Himalayas which is worshipped as goddess Ragnya Devi. It is 27 km from Srinagar. Swami Vivekananda had a spiritual experience in this place where he heard the voice of the goddess.
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- Sacred Spring: The temple complex has the sacred spring which is considered as the form of goddess Ragnya Devi. Thousands of devotees offer milk and kheer to this sacred spring, hence it is called Kheer Bhawani.
- Spiritual experience of Swami Vivekananda: Swami Vivekananda had a divine experiences in Kheer Bhawani temple. One day he was distressed thinking about the desecration of this temple by muslim invaders. He thought - "If I had been here then, I would never have allowed such a thing. I would have laid down my life to protect the Mother". Thereupon he heard the voice of the Mother, "What if unbelievers should enter my temple and defile my image? What is that to you? Do you protect me, or do I protect you?". Another day when Swamiji was thinking about rebuilding the dilapidated temple, He heard the Mother saying - "My child, If I so wish I can have innumerable temples and monastic centres. I can even this moment raise a seven-storied golden temple on this very spot".
- Kheer Bhawani temple is located in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sharika Devi temple in Hari Parbat of Kashmir Himalayas:
- The temple of Sharika Devi in Hari Parbat of Kashmir Himalayas: Sharika Devi Temple is located on Hari Parbat in Srinagar.
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- Presiding deity of Srinagar: Sharika Devi is regarded as the presiding deity of Srinagar. The goddess has 18 arms. Sharika Devi is represented by a shayambhu Sri Chakra self-engraved on a rock on the western face of Hari Parbat.
- Harinavami: Harinavami is the birthday of Sharika Devi which is celebrated at Chakreshwar shrine with night long singing of hymns and bhajans.
- Hari Parbat Parikrama: Pilgrims perform the parikrama of Hari Parbat. Some key places in the route are:
- The Sharika Devi temple is located in the Srinagar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Lord Ganesha shrine on the south-western corner of Hari Parbat
- Saptarshi shrine
- Shrine of Goddess Kali Devi with Astha Bhairavas
- Devi Angan which is a vast stretch of open space
- Shrine of Hari represented by a rock on the north-eastern face of the hill
- Shrine of Amber Koul
- Shrine of Goddess Mahalakshmi
- Shrine of Vamdev, the consort of Goddess Raghnya
- Pokhribal, the shrine of Goddess Raghnya
- Shrine of Hanuman
- Kathi Darwaza
Vajreshwari Devi Temple in Nagarkot town of Himachal Himalayas:
- A famous temple of Devi in Nagarkot town of Himachal Himalayas: Vajreshwari Devi Temple is located in Nagarkot town, 20 km from Dharamshala. The Devi is also known as Kangra Devi by the locals. The temple dates back to 11th century.
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- Legend of Devi Vajreshwari: According to a legend, a demon named Kalikala or Kalikut was tormenting the sages and human beings in the region of Vadavali. The demon also waged war against the gods. The gods invoked Devi Parvati and requested her to slay the demon. The Devi told the gods to wage war against the demon in which She will come to assist them at the right time. Accordingly the gods waged a war against the demons. The demons destroyed all the weapons of the gods. Finally when Indra threw his Vajra at Kalikala, and Kalikala destroyed that also into pieces, the Devi appeared from the pieces of Vajra as Vajra Devi. She killed the demon and came to be known as Vajreshwari.
- According to another legend, the Vajreshwari Devi is a Shakti Peetha where the left breast of Devi Sati fell.
- The Vajreshwari Devi temple is located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
Chintpurni Devi Temple in Chhaproh village of Himachal Himalayas:
- A famous temple of Devi in the Chhaproh village of Himachal Himalayas: Chintpurni Devi Temple is located in the Chhaproh village of Himachal Himalayas. The shrine is said to be built by Bhakta Mai Das several generations ago.
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- Legend of Bhakta Mai Das: Chintpurni Devi Temple is associated with the legend of Bhakta Mai Das. According to this legend, Bhakta Mai Das built the shrine of Mata Chintpurni Devi in Chhaproh village several generations ago. Mai Das was an ardent devotee of Goddess Durga. He had two brothers. They did not like him very much due to his neglect of worldly affairs and spending time in bhajans and kirtans. But his father being a great devotee of Devi Durga supplied his worldly necessities. However, after the death of his father, the brothers refused to support him. Mai Das had to face great difficulties. But his devotion and belief on Mother Durga was steadfast. He believed that Mother Durga removes the difficulties of Her sincere devotees.
Once Mai Das was travelling to his in-laws place. He was tired and sat down to rest under a banyan tree inside a dense forest. He slept and in dream saw a luminous, beautiful young girl. She told Mai Das to stay in that place and serve Her. Mai Das woke up with a start and looked around, but could not see anyone. He thought whether it was the command of Devi Herself but could not find further clue at that time. He hurriedly visited the in-laws's place, all the time thinking of the dream.
On his way back, he again sat down under that banyan tree. He intensely prayed to Mother Durga to remove his doubts (chinta). Mother Durga appeared before him in Chaturbhuj form sitting on a lion. Mai Das fell at Her feet and asked for Her command. The Devi said that She has been living in that place for many years and now She will appear as a pindi under a tree. Mai Das should spend his life performing Her worship. Devi Durga pointed a source of fresh water on the northern slope of the hill to subsist in that place.
The Devi said that in the past, She has been known as Chhinnamastika. But from now people will call Her as Chintpurni because She has removed all his doubts and worries. The devotees will arrange to build a temple here and their offerings will be sufficient for him and his descendants. The Goddess gave him Her mantras, a few instructions and disappeared.
Bhakta Mai Das built a small hut for himself near the water tank and began regular worship of Devi's pindi at the hill-top. Later on, the devotees built a temple there. The samadhi of Mai Das is located near the eastern side of the water tank. Twenty six generations have passed, but his descendants have uninterruptedly continued to worship the Devi in this place.
- The Chintpurni Devi temple is located in the Una district of Himachal Pradesh.
Naina Devi Temple in Naina Dhar Hill of Himachal Himalayas:
- A famous temple of Devi in the Naina Dhar Hill of Himachal Himalayas: Naina Devi Temple is situated on Naina Dhar Hill in Himachal Himachal at an altitude of 3535 ft above the sea level. The cave of Naina Devi is 70 ft long and located near the main shrine.
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- Legend of gujjar boy Naina: Naina Devi Temple is associated with the legend of a gujjar boy by name Naina. According to the legend, once when Naina was grazing his cattle he saw a white cow showering her milk on a stone. He saw the same thing for the next several days. One night, the Goddess appeared in the dream of Naina and told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina reported the story to Raja Bir Chand. The Raja himself verified the reality and built the temple of the Goddess at the same spot. The temple was named after Naina's name.
- According to another legend, the Naina Devi temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha where the eyes of Devi Sati fell.
- According to another legend, the Goddess defeated demon Mahishasura here and took out both his eyes. There is a Brahm Kripali kund downwards the temple which is said to have been created by Brahma where the head of Mahishasura fell. Similarly there is a Chikshu Kund where the head of Chiksura fell.
- The Naina Devi temple is located in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Manikaran in Parvati Valley of Himachal Himalayas:
- A famous pilgrimage of Shiva-Parvati in Parvati Valley of Himachal Himalayas: Manikaran is a famous pilgrimage located in the Parvati Valley of Himachal Himalayas between the rivers Beas and Parvati northeast of Bhuntur at an altitude of 1760 m. It is 45 km from Kullu.
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- Legend of Shiva and Parvati: According to legend, once Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati were wandering in the forests of the Himalayas. They came to a beautiful place where the high mountains locked lush green forests within them. They were charmed by that place and lived there for eleven hundred years. Once when Shiva-Parvati were resting beside the beautiful waters of a stream, a jewel (mani) from the ear-ring of Devi Parvati dropped somewhere and got lost. She was highly distressed. The jewel could not be found even after a thorough search by the attendants of the Lord. Lord Shiva was enraged and his third eye opened. Due to this ominous event, there was commotion in the universe. The serpent god Shesh Nag was deputed to subside the anger of the Lord. Shesh Nag went there and hissed repeatedly. The streams became hot and water started boiling. From inside the boiling water came out a number of precious stones of the type of the mani of Devi Parvati. Shiva was pacified.
- Hot springs and temples: Manikaran is famous for its many hot springs which are considered very auspicious. The place has a very old Shiva temple which got tilted during the earthquake of 1905. There is also a famous temple of Lord Raghunath in Manikaran village, the idol of which is said to be brought from Ayodhya.
- Manikaran is located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
- Famous pilgrimage of Devi Bhavani: Tuljapur is associated with the legend of Anubhuti. According to this legend during Krita Yuga there was a brahmin named Kardam who was well-versed in the Vedas. He had a devoted wife named Anubhuti. However as fate had it, Kardam passed away plunging Anubhuti in a sea of grief. She decided to perform Sati and immolate herself but an ethereal voice prevented her and asked her to take care of her small son. Anubhuti discharged her duties and brought up the son as a self-dependent young man. Then she severed the ties of the world and as a sanyasa went to perform penance in Mount Meru. One day the demon king Kukoor saw her and became charmed by her beauty. He told her to marry him but when rebuffed by Anubhuti started using his force to take her away. Anubhuti prayed to the Goddess in that distress. The Goddess appeared before her and a terrific battle ensued with the demon king. Finally Devi Bhavani killed the demon. She then told Anubhuti to ask for a boon. Anubhuti asked the boon that she should be able to see and worship Her whenever she desired. Granting the boon the Devi made Her abode at Yamunachala (in the Sahyadri mountains). When Sri Rama was searching for Devi Sita, Goddess Bhavani also blessed Him.
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The Devi at Tuljapur is popularly called Tulja Bhavani.
- Tuljapur is located in the Osmanabad district of Maharashtra.
- Mukti Sthala of Karnataka: Kollur is one of the 7 Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka.
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(Mukti Sthalas of Karnataka are: Kollur, Udupi, Gokarna, Subramanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana)
- Famous pilgrimage of Devi Mookambika: According to legend, Devi made demon Kamhasura dumb (mooka) when after a severe penance, the demon was about to ask for the boon of immortality from Lord Shiva. Thereafter the demon came to be known as Mookasura (or the dumb asura). Kamhasura was enraged and started harassing the devas and the rishis. When he troubled Kola Rishi who was performing penance, the rishi prayed to the Devi for deliverance. The Devi appeared before the rishi in response to his ardent prayers and fought a terrible battle with Kamhasura, and finally slayed him. Kola Rishi requested Devi to stay there permanently. Thus Devi made Kollur Her abode and came to be known as Mookambika.
The main idol of the temple is in the form of a Linga which is divided into two halves by a swarna rekha (golden line). One half represents the Tri-Devis and the other half the Tri-Devas. The idol of Mookambika is in the center behind the Linga. On either sides are idols of Durga and Saraswati.
The river Souparnika emanating from the Kutaja hill flows near the temple.
- Kollur is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka.
- Famous temple of Bhagawati: According to legend, during the marriage of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati at Kailasha, crores of devas and asuras assembled there. Concerned that the earth would tilt towards the north, Lord Shiva requested sage Agastya to proceed to the south to maintain the balance. Sage Agastya was disappointed that he would miss the celestial wedding. Knowing this, Lord Shiva granted him divine sight to see the marriage ceremony from south. Further, Shiva promised that He and Devi Parvati would come and grant him darshan in the south after the marriage. Sage Agastya went to the south and meditated at Sonadri. After the marriage ceremony, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati came to that place and gave him darshan. At that place the Devi had her menses. After the purificatory bath, the divine couple stayed there for twenty-eight days. Even today the idol made up of Panchaloha (five metals) gets her periods and the ritual of purificatory bath is undertaken.
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- Chengannur Bhagawati temple is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.
- Famous temple of Chottanikkara Devi: According to legend there lived a man called Kannappan with his young daughter Thevi. His wife had passed away and Kannappan loved his daughter dearly. However Kannappan was of cruel nature and believed in attaining prowess by performing animal sacrifice everyday. For this he used to procure cows by hook or crook which he used to sacrifice daily. People were afraid of Kannappan due to his cruel nature and the fear of losing their cows. One day he brought two cows along with a tender calf. He kept the calf in reserve to sacrifice it when required. In the meantime his daughter began to love the calf dearly. When the need came to sacrifice the calf, the daughter vehemently oppossed and told her father to sacrifice her also along with the calf. Kannappan was torn between his love for his daughter and the fear of not performing the sacrifice. His daughter further asked his father to examine whether he had earned any merit due to all his sacrifices. Kannappan was transformed from this day and he started living a sober life showering his affection on both his daughter and his calf. However as fate would have it, the daughter of Kannappan passed away one day. Kannappan was disconsolate. From that day his center of affection was the calf. The calf gradually grew up into a cow. One day he had a dream that there was a divine being by the side of the calf (which is now a cow). Next morning when he went to the cowshed he saw the cow turned into a perforated stone and there was another stone lying by its side. A saint suddenly appeared in the scene and told Kannappan that he has now become free from all his sins, because the calf on whom he bestowed his affection and nurtured was none other than Lord Vishnu and His consort Goddess Mahalakshmi who had taken abode in his shed. The saint told Kannappan to dedicate his life to the worship of Lakshmi Narayana and then disappeared. (It is believed that Kannappan was born as Vilwamangalam Swamiyar)
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Many years and generations passed and the place got covered with dense forest. One day, a Pulayi girl came there to cut grass. When she sharpened the sickle on a raised stone, she found blood oozing out of it. She shrieked and appeared to be possessed by some spirits. Finally Edattu Namboodir, a pious man revealed that the stone had the presence of the Mother Goddess, and so finally the shrine of Chottanikkar Devi was built.
It is believed that the sanctum sanctorium of Chottanikkara Devi is the place of Kannappan's cottage and the moolasthanam was the place of th original cowshed.
- Chottanikkara Devi temple is located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala.
- Famous pilgrimage of Devi Meenakshi: The Meenakshi Temple of Madurai is the place where the divine marriage of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswara was held. According to legend, Vidyavati was an ardent devotee of Devi Parvati. Moved by her devotion, Goddess Parvati appeared before her in the form of a young girl and told her to ask for a boon. Vidyavati asked the boon that the Goddess be born as her daughter in the same form as she has appeared before her. Goddess Parvati told her that in her next birth when she (Vidyavati) will be the wife of Malayathuvasa Pandyan, She will be born as her daughter. Vidyavati was born as Kanchanamalai in her next birth and was married to king Malayathuvasan. They had no sons. In order to get a son, they performed a yagya. From the sacrificial fire, a three year old girl came out. Malayathuvasan was disappointed that he did not get a son. Also the girl has three breasts. A divine voice said that the girl be named as Thadathagai, and She should be brought up like a son. Her third breast would disappear when She will meet her husband. So the girl was brought up like a prince. When She came of age, the king performed her coronation as his successor. Thadathagai embarked on a march of conquests and everywhere She was victorious. Finally She marched to Mount Kailash, an abode of Lord Shiva. She defeated the Bhootaganas. Finally Shiva appeared in the scene of the battle. When Thadathagai saw Lord Shiva, her face lighted up, her third breast disappeared and She stood still. Lord Shiva told Her to return to the capital where He promised to come to marry Her on the eighth day. The divine marriage was celebrated in Madurai, which was attended by the devas and the sages.
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- Madurai is located in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.
Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:
1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha -
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) -
Others: Murugan -
Final: Vedas -
2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Parvati - Shakambari)
3. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints
4. Sadhana: Sadhana - Penances - Others
5. Sacred Geography:
7. Religious Life:
8. Other Aspects:
Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy