Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Tara Tarini temple, Brahmapur, Odisha -one of the four Shakti Peethas

Tara Tarini temple Odisha. taratarini.nic.in
Tara Tarini temple Odisha. tripadvisor.in
The Tara Tarini Shakti Peetha, besides being one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of  Mother Goddess is also one of four major ancient Tantra Peetha and Shakti Peethas in India. Located on the Kumari hills on the banks of the River Rushikulya near Brahmapur city (on the eastern coast)  in Ganjam District, Odisha, it is Shakti's breast shrine (Sthana Peetha). According to the Hindu mythology, the four  major Shakti Peethas are: Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda), near Brahmapur; Bimala (Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri; Kamakhya (Yoni Khanda), near Guwahati; and Dakshina Kalika (Mukha Khanda) in Kolkata. Besides, there are  51 other sacred Shakti Peethas, that  were formed from the  limbs of Mata Sati's corpse when God Shiva was  carrying the corpse in the Satya Yuga. The 51 peethas across the country represent the 51 letters in Sanskrit alphabet. At this sthala  - Tara Tarini Sati Devi's breasts are believed to have fallen. In addition, there are 29 Upa Peethas across India.  These Shakti Peethas  owe their origin to the period of  Daksha yagna and Sati's self-immolation. 
Shiva carrying the corpse of Sati Devi,en.wikipedia.org
The four Adi Shakti Peethas  mentioned above are also part of 51 Shakti pithas and  are most revered because they represent four major parts of Devi Sati's body. Hence, they are very holy, powerful and believed as adi shakti pithas.  Adi Shakti goddesses Tara Tarini are the presiding deities (Ista-Devi) in many parts of India and in most of the Hindu families  in Odisha. Adyashakti worship has been here in this part of Odisha for centuries. The goddesses Tara and Tarini are represented by  two ancient stone images decorated with  with gold and silver ornaments; two brass heads, known as their Chalanti Pratima, or Living Image, are placed between them.
Brahmapur, Odisha location map. sites.google.com
Mother Tara Tarini is directly attributed to Daksha Prajapati’s Jagna in Satya Yuga is  is corroborated by Sacred texts like the Shiva Purana, the Kalika Purana, the Devi Bhagabat (a contemporary text of the Mahabharata written by Shri Vyasa Dev around 6000 years ago) attest this fact. The famous Shakta Peethas of Bimala, Tara-Tarini, Dakshina Kalika and Kamakshi  owe their origin to the falling of  limbs of the divine corpse of Devi Sati. Lord Sri Krishna before the Kurushetra war had advised Arjuna to offer prayer for victory at Shridevi Kupa or Bhadrakali. It implies that the Shakti peethas have been in existence for more than 6000 years. 
Tara tarini temple Odisha. gosahin.com
Kalinga Empire 2300 ago worshipped Tara  Tarani as principal deity.  When Mauryan Emperor Ashoka defeated the Kalinga Empire, Buddhism became the popular religion. The name Tara (Buddhism), an important deity of Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon, is suggestive of Buddhist influence in this region and it is confirmed by the presence of  an image of Buddha in meditation, inside the sanctum of the temple. So it was  an ancient centre of the Buddhist Shakta cult.  After the fall of Kalinga, for the first time the Mahayana Buddhists accepted the worship of Mother Goddess ‘Tara’. So the Buddhists have learned the ‘Tara’ Puja concept from this shrine. An interesting fact is the maritime history of Kalinga  points out  worship of Tara by the Sadhavas, merchants and seamen before embarking on their sea voyage from  sea ports like Dantapura (Gopalpur), Pallur near Chilika Lake, Kalingapatna and river Rushikulya.
Tara Tarini templetripadvisor.com.
According to the legend once Maa Tara Tarini  went as sisters  to the house of a  learned Brahmin by the name of Shri Basu Praharaj of Kharida Vira Jagannathpur village in Ganjam District. He was a true devotee of  Mother Goddess but  was child less. The sisters, after staying in his house for some years, disappeared  suddenly, causing severe pain and mental agony to the Brahmin family. Some villagers told him  the sisters travelled up to the Tarini Parvat/Ratnagiri and disappeared there. Grief-stricken, one night Shri Basu Praharaj had a dream in which he  saw Tara and Tarini. They told him that they were not his daughters and were the Adi Shakti. They urged him to renovate the temple on the hilltop of Tarini Parvat and install  the deities according to the Vedic tradition.  Accordingly he found the traces of an ancient temple onthe hill and  with support from the locals rebuilt the temple. Since then this  Sthana Peetha (Breast Shrine) of Mata Sati,  has become a sanctified Shakti shrine. People come here in large number to get blessed by the mata and to have peace, tranquillity and welfare.  

The important festival is Chaitra Parba/Chaitra Mela/Chaitra Yatra.  It is held on each Tuesday of the month of Chaitra, i.e., during mid-March to mid-April. Devotees in thousands  have darshan of the Tara Tarini and perform their Manasika after fulfilment of their desires.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taratarini_Temple