The prominence of the worship of Durga dates back to a time in history that can best be described as the hoary past often considered to be similar in nature to the gradual development of mother and nature worship across the globe. The ornamentation is evolving through the ages. There were mainly two kinds of embellishments or saaj that used to be made then – sholar saaj and daker saaj. But nothing remains forever. Now, Durga idols are decorated with colourful sarees and ornaments.
Maa Tara Chandi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Maa Shakti or Maa Durga. Maa Tara Chandi Shakti Peetha, also called Maa Tarachandi, is the oldest and one of the most sacred temples of Sasaram. It is regarded as one of the 51 Siddha Shakti Pithas in India. The temple is very ancient. The mention of this temple can be found in ancient manuscripts.
The Nalateshwari Temple is situated in the Nalhati town of Birbhum district in West Bengal. The town Nalhati is named after Nalateshwari temple, one of the 51 Sakti Peethas. It is around 25 km from Tarapith. The Shakti Pitha (Sanskrit: शक्ति पीठ) are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism, the goddess-focused Hindu tradition. This temple is believed to be erected at the spot where the ‘Nala’, (Vocal chord with part of the tracheae), the throat of Goddess Sati (Sakti) had fallen. In Bengali, the larynx is known as ‘Nala’. This is the source from which the deity is known as Maa Nalateswari and the place is also named Nalhati, for the shrine.
Tarapith is a small temple located on the banks of the Dwarka River that flows in the Birbhum district. The temple is ancient and is considered to be extremely auspicious by the Hindu community. The regal temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peeths in India, is one of the most important places where tantric rituals are followed even today.
There is a very ancient and wondrous temple of Lord Shankar in Ramgarh, Jharkhand. It is believed that Goddess Ganga herself pour water on the Shivalinga. And the most interesting thing is the water, runs down the Shivalinga, for twenty-four hours, seven days a week, and three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The special thing is that this stream falls directly on Shiva. This is the reason why people say that here Goddess Ganga performs the jalabhishek of Lord Shiva. Where is the original source of the water stream? No one has been able to find the source till today.
The most striking feature of the Angrabari temple; near Khunti, Jharkhand; is the shivling, which is believed to have originated on its own under a mango tree. The temple site also houses several other Hindu deities including Ganesh, Ram, Sita, and Hanuman. Shankaracharya Swami Swarupanand Saraswati, having been captivated by serene, placid and celestial beauty of Angrabadi rechristened it as Amreshwar Dham. Har Har Mahadev!
We visited the Baidyanath Temple in Deoghar, Jharkhand after a long gap of 20 years. It was a plaseant experience this time. We felt blessed after completing thr rituals and praying at the temples of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati.
Goddess Rankini is believed to be a manifestation of Goddess Kali. It is widely believed that during ancient times, people travelling through the dense forest used to worship Goddess Rankini at this temple, located near the Jadugora town in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, for their protection and well being. Although the stone deity was originally worshiped by the local tribes, but later, through the passage of time transformed into Hindu Goddess Durga, probably when the Kings of Dhalbhumgarh took over.
The Mundeshwari Temple is located at Ramgarh village of Bhagwanpur block in Kaimur district in the Indian state of Bihar on the Mundeshwari Hills. It is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti. It is believed that rituals and worship have been performed here without a break, hence the Mundeshwari temple is considered as the oldest functional Hindu temple of India. The temple is an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monument since 1915.
Nabapatrika was a popular ancient ritual performed by the peasants/farmers worshipping Mother Nature for rich and bountiful harvest. With the popularity of the Durga Puja, this ritual was assimilated in the festivities. This important ritual of Durga Puja is an example of inclusiveness — harmonious synthesis of Vedic and ancient non-Vedic rituals. As we cry for climate change and environment, here is the highest form of regard for the environment where goddess Durga is symbolized by the Banana Plant and the important plants and trees are worshiped for the preservation instead of devastation.