Top Durga Temples in India
Durga or Shakti is the mother of the universe. Therefore she is referred to as 'maa
' by her devotees. Maa Durga was created when demon king Mahisasura was causing havoc on heaven and on the Earth. When the Gods approached the Trinity - Brahma, Vishu and Mahesh for their help, the Trinity or Tridev combined their powers and created Durga - the powerful female goddess. Maa Durga killed Mahisasura by stabbing him on the ninth day of her fight with her trident. This is also the reason why she is known as Mahisasura-mardini - one who annihilated the demon.
Every year Durga puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion. The festival also marks the triumph of good over evil.
Famous Durga Temples in India
There are many Durga temples in India. Vaishno Devi temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year. It is believed that you cannot make a plan to visit this temple. Instead, you will be able to visit the temple only when Goddess Durga wishes you to. Devotees chant 'Jaikara Sheran wali da
' and 'Bol Sache Darbar Ki Jai'
during their journey to Durga temples.
Most of these temples are located on hill tops and it is an arduous journey to visit the temple. however, it is faith that make devotees overcome all hurdles and difficulties and enjoy the satisfaction of having visited the Durga temple.
Durga temples in India include temples such as Vaishno Devi, Naina Devi Temple, Karni Mata Temple, Baliharachandi, Maa Chintpurni Devi, Kalika ji, Kateel Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Bijasan mata, Vijaya Durga Devi Temple in Hyderabad etc.
Vaishno Devi, Jammu and Kashmir
Vaishno devi temple
is situated 60 kms. North of Jammu and at an altitude of 5,000 feet! The Vaishno devi shrine is situated inside the cave which comprises of idols of Goddess Kali, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. The shrine is located on trikuta hills and devotees brave a difficult terrain and weather conditions to reach the temple chanting 'Jai Mata di
' all along the way.
According to a legend, Vaishno devi who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, ran inside the cave on being chased by tantric Bhairon Nath. Here, she assumed the form of Goddess Kali and cut of the head of Bhairon Nath. The place where the tantric's head fell off is the spot where Bhairon temple or Bhairon Mandir is located. Katra is the place where the journey to the temple commences and you have to take a 13 kms. journey to reach the shrine. Banganga is the place where Durga maa quenched her thirst.
Naina Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh
Naina Devi temple is situated in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. Naina devi is a form of Maa Shakti and is also one of the fifty one Shaktipeeths. The temple has been built at the spot where mata Sati's eyes fell.
This temple is connected with National Highway NH-21. You can reach the temple either by climbing the steps, cable car or via road. Just near the temple is Gobind Sagar lake which was created by Bhakra-Nangal dam. The temple is also known as Mahishapeeth as the Goddess had defeated demon Mahishasur. Address
Temple Trust Shri Naina Devi Ji
Shri Naina Devi Ji
Distt. Bilaspur, Himachal PradeshPhone
: +91-1978-288048, 288621
There are many legends associated with the temple. According to one
legend, when Goddess Sati burnt herself in the yagna, the much aggrieved
Shiva commenced tandava dance which could start a holocaust. So, Lord
Vishnu cut Sati's body into 51 pieces with his chakra and the eyes of
Sati fell at the spot where Shri Naina Devi temple stands today.
Another story is about a Gujjar boy named Naina who while grazing the cattle saw a white cow showring milk on a stone. This went on for many days. In his dream he saw Goddess who told him that the stone was her pindi. The boy reported this incident to Raja Bir Chand who got a temple built on this spot and named it after Naina's name.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
The Kamakhya temple
is situated on Nilachal hills in
Assam. The temple is dedicated to Kamakhya devi who is believed to be another form of Maa Durga. A famous festival celebrated in this temple during monsoon season is the Ambubachi Mela
. Navratri is also the time when devotees visit the temple in large numbers. It is believed that a devotee visits this temple thrice during his lifetime.Address
Kamakhya, Guwahati, Assam 781010Phone
: 0361 273 4624
The temple has been renovated quite a number of times which has given rise to hybrid indigenous style referred to as Nilachal style --- it is a temple with hemispherical dome on cruciform base.The temple comprises of four chambers --- garbhagriha and three mandapas which are locally known as calanta, pancharatna and natamandira. These are aligned from East to West.Devotees bring goats and sacrifice them for offering to Shakti, also known as Kamakhya.
Kalika Purana depicts the Kamakhya temple as denoting the spot where Sati retired in secret for satisfying her amour with Shiva. Sati's yoni fell at this place when Shiva danced with her corpse. The temple is also a centre of tantra worship. Ambubachi mela is celebrated every year here. Manasha Puja and Durga puja (Navrathri celebrations) are other annual celebrations here.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple, West Bengal
This is a temple situated in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is located on the banks of river Hoogly in Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Kolkata
. It is dedicated to Maa Bhavatarini, one of the forms of Goddess Kali, another name of Maa Durga. Both during Durga puja and Kali puja (Diwali) that devotees offer prayers.Address
Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700076Phone
: 033 2564 5222
The famous temple has been built by Rani Rashmoni in 1855. She was a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali. When she thought of going for a pilgrimage to Benaras, she saw the Divine Mother in her dream who guided her to build a temple. This profoundly affected Rani Rashmoni and she purchased a 20-acred plot in the village of Dakshineswar. The plot of land was bought from John Hastie, an Englishman. The land was famous as '2) plot was bought from an Englishman, John Hastie and was then popularly known as ' during that time. The temple complex was built between year 1847 and 1855.
This temple has close association with Ramakrishna who was a mystic of 19th Century in Bengal. Inside the temple complex, there are 12 shrines which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ramakrishna spent most of his time in 'Nahavat-Khana'.
The temple is built in the traditional 'Nava-ratna' or nine spires style of Bengal architecture. Idol of goddess Kali, known as Bhavataraini, is kept in the garbha griha
(sanctum sanctorum). The idol can be seen standing on the chest of a lying Shiva. Both idols have been placed on thousand-petaled lotus made of silver.
Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan
The famous 600 years old Karni Mata Temple is situated in Deshnoke, Rajasthan. Karni Mata is also believed to be an incarnation of Durga maa. This temple is also popular for its holy rats which are protected by priests and devotees! Another temple in Rajasthan dedicated to the Goddess Durga is Adhar Devi Temple.
This temple is also known as the 'temple of rats' as there are about 20,000 black rats which are revered by devotees. It is an honour to eat food nibbled by rats. Devotees especially look out for white rats in order to feed them and be blessed as they are believed to be Karni mata and her sons. The rats are considered holy and are called 'kabbas
According to a legend, Laxman who was Karni mata's step son, drowned in Kapil sarovar. Karni mata prayed to Yama (God of death) to revive him. Yama relented after much pestering but reincarnated Karni Mata's children as rats. There is yet another story behind the presence and reverence of rats in this temple. When a 20,000 strong army deserted a battle and came to Deshnoke, they learnt that desertion was actually a sin which was punishable by death. However, Karni mata forgave them but turned them into rats who could stay in the temple. The army promised to serve the mother. Today, if even one rat is killed, it will have to be replaced by another one made of solid gold. Address
Karni Mata Temple Road, Deshnoke,
NH 89, 10kms from Palana Village,
Bikaner, Rajasthan 334801
The temple has been built in Mughal style of architecture and the
construction was completed in the 20th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh
of Bikaner. The image of Karni mata is placed in inner sanctum.
Kundanlal Verma of Hyderabad (Karni jewellers) further enhanced the
temple building with silver gates and marble carvings. Karni Mata Fair is held twice a year at Deshnok --- in March-April during the Navratras and again in September-October, also during the Navratras,
Danteshwari Temple, Chhattisgarh
This temple is located in Dantewada town, in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. Danteshwari Devi is also a form of Maa Durga. The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of Durga. The temple has been built on the place where the tooth of Sati fell. During Dussehra festival, every year, the idol of Danteshwari Devi is taken out of the temple premises and thousands of devotees offer prayers to Goddess Danteshwari.
Actually, Dantewada town has been named after Goddess Danteshwari who was the presiding deity of the earlier Kakatiya rulers. She is the Kuldevi (family goddess) of Bastar state. Devotees gather in the temple for prayers during Dussehra every year and the idol is also taken out of the temple followed by huge procession. This is known as 'Bastar Dussehra festival
'. During navrathras, Jyoti Kalash is also lighted.
The temple is situated at the confluence of Shankini river and Dhankini river which have diverse colours! Danteshwari Temple is a 600 years old temple. The idol of Danteshwari mata is carved out of black stone. The temple was built in the 14th Century by the Chalukya kings in South Indian style of architecture. Garudha pillar stands at the entrance of the temple.Address
Civil Line, Jagdalpur,
According to a legend, when Sati committed self immolation in yagna kund due to insult of Shiva by her father Daksha, Lord Shiva destroyed the yaga. He lifted Sati's body and started doing 'tandav
' which could result in holocaust. So, Lord Vishnu cut Sati's body into pieces to free Shiva of his grief. Parts of Sati's body fell at 52 places which were consecrated as the Shakti Pithas.
Mahalaxmi Temple, Maharashtra
too is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is situated in Kolhapur city in Maharashtra. The idol is created of black stone and is 3 feet in height and weighs 40 kgs. One of the most famous festivals celebrated here is 'Kirnotsav festival
' which marks the touching of the feet of the temple deity by the sun during sun set on 31st January and 9th November.
The temple is situated on Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mahalaxmi area in Mumbai. The temple was built by Dhakji Dadaji (1760–1846) who was a Hindu merchant. It was constructed in the year in 1831. Address
Shiv Prabhu Nagar, Survey Nagar,
Kolhapur, Maharashtra 416007
The temple is connected with building of the Hornby Vellard! Portions of sea wall of Vellard collapsed twice. The Chief Engineer Pathare prabhu saw statue of devi in a sea near Worli in Mumbai in his dream. So, he recovered it from the site and built a temple for it. Only after he built the temple could Vellard be completed. There are images of the goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati in the temple. This temple is 1 km from Mahalakshmi railway station in Mumbai.
Ambaji Temple, Gujarat
is located in Banaskantha district of Gujarat. Mount Abu
is nearby and devotees also make a trip to Mount Abu after having 'darshan
' in the temple. The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is dedicated to Goddess Amba mata.
In the holy temple of "Arasuri Ambaji", there is no image or statue of goddess! The devotees worship 'Shree Visa Yantra' as the main deity which is placed in the simple cave like Gokh in the inner wall. However, the yantra cannot be seen by naked eye! Also, you can worship this Visa Shree Yantra only after tying a bandage on your eyes.
On Purnima days, devotees visit this temple and the seat of Ambaji mata is considered to be on Gabbar hilltop. On Bhadarvi poornima or Full Moon day, a fair is held here. Temple Timings:
The temple is open from 7.00 am to 11.30 am, 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm.
According to a legend, the heart of Sati devi had fallen at the spot where this temple stands. Shaivist (Shaivism) sect in Hinduism especially hold this temple in great reverence. Even tantra practitioners worship here. Actually the Shakti pithas are worshiped by most of the tantriks
. Every Shakti Peetha has Kalabhairava shrine associated with it. The Kalabhairava shrine associated with Amba Mata Temple is Batuk Bhairav.Distance from Other Cities
Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devsthan Trust has constructed a parikrama way circulating the Gabbar hill. You can have darshan of all 51 Shaktipeeth by doing Parikrama of Gabbar hill! Just behind the temple is Mansarovar.
Sirsangi Kalika Temple, Karnataka
The Sirsangi Kalika temple is situated in Belgaum district in Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is situated 20 kms. from Saundatti. During Ugadi festival, the Palanquin festival is also held here at the Bannimantapa. On Amavasya too, cultural programmes are organized here. Ugadi
is a major festival celebrated enthusiastically by all devotees. Earlier this place was known as Pirising which gradually changed to Hirisongi and much later to Sirsangi.
According to a legend, saint Vrushya Shrunga was doing penance in the forest here when demons disturbed his meditation. As a result, Goddess Chikkumbasura and Hirekumbasura killed these demons and later settled down here where the temple has been built in Sirsangi. Devotees put jaggery, wheat, coconuts, rice and edible oil which are equivalent to their own weight in Tulaa Bhara Seva
. The famous "Butti
" ritual is also performed in the temple. Halegodi Amavasya and Vishwakarma Mahotsava are also celebrated every year.
Other Famous Durga Temples in India
- Bhagavathi Amman Temple, Tamil Nadu: This temple is dedicated to devi Kanyakumari who is believed to be the
virgin goddess and the aspect of Devi. The temple has been constructed
on the confluence of oceans - Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian
Ocean. In Tamil Nadu, there is yet another very famous Durga temple
named as Patteeswaram Durga Temple located in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu.
- Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy Temple, Kerala: Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy temple is another famous Durga temple of India located in Alappuzha District, Kerala. It is believed to be one of the 108 Durga temples built by Lord Parasurama.
- Jwalaji Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh: The temple is located in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India and a famous Durga temple. The name 'Jwalaji' comes from the fact that there is a place in the temple where a set of flames burns continuously.
- Sharda Mata Temple, Madhya Pradesh: Maihar wali Mata Temple is located on Trikuta hill in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth of goddess Parvati. This temple is built on the spot where the necklace of Sati fell. You have to climb up about 1063 steps to reach the temple. Ratangarh Wali Mata, Tulja Bhavani Devas and Salkanpur are other Durga Temples in Madhya Pradesh.
- Tara Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh: Tara Devi temple is located on a hill top known as Tara Devi Mountain in Shimla,
Himachal Pradesh. The entire temple premises is surrounded by green
forests and beautiful devdar trees. The temple is about 250 years old!
Other famous Durga temples in Himachal Pradesh are Chamunda Devi Temple
and Jawalaji temple.
- Kanaka Durga Temple, Andhra Pradesh: Kanak Durga Temple is located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The idol in this temple is of Goddess Kanak Durgeshwari. The temple is located on hill top on the Indrakiladri mountain on the banks of river Krishna. This temple is also the second largest temple in India.
- The Chamundeshwari Temple, Karnataka: Chamundeshwari Temple is located on Chamundi Hills at Mysore, Karnataka. The gates of the temple are made of silver while the idols are composed of gold!
- Mansa Devi Temple, Uttarakhand: The temple is located at top of Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik Hills. It is one of the famous Shakti Peethas. People throng this temple during Navratri festival and offer prayers here.
- Bamleshwari Devi Temple, Chhattisgarh: This temple is situated on hilltop which is 1,600 ft high. It is situated in Dongargarh, Chhattisgarh. Dongargarh is both - a pilgrimage centre as well as tourism centre in Chhattisgarh. Maa Bamleshwari temple is also famous as Badi Bamleshwari. There is another section of this temple which is about half-a-kilometre away from the main shrine and is known as Chhoti Bamleshwar. Another famous temple in Chhattisgarh is the Danteshwari tenple.
- Saptashrungi Devi Temple, Maharashtra: This Durga temple is situated in Vani near Nashik in Maharashtra state. Saptashrungi Devi Temple is one of the 51 Shakti peethas. The idol of the goddess has 18 hands with a weapon on each hand. Other temples of Maa Durga in Maharashtra are Renuka/Anusuya Devi Temple, Ekvira Devi and Tulja Bhavani Temple.
- Tara Tarini Temple, Odisha: This temple is a Shakti peeth and is situated on Taratarini hill in Odisha. Actually, the temple is dedicated to two Goddesses Tara and Tarini! Both are manifestations of Adi Shakti or Durga Maa.
India has numerous ancient Durga Temples. People worship Goddess Durga and pray for health, wealth and prosperity. Durga signifies the power and compassion in every woman. It symbolizes that good always partakes evil and evil is ultimately punished. So, have faith and do visit these shrines during your vacations and during Navratri festival!