Shaktipeethas – powerful goddess temples
The Shaktipeethas (holy places of cosmic power) are places of worship consecrated to the goddess ‘Shakti’, the female principal of Hinduism and the main deity of the Shakti sect. Shaktipeeth are sprinkled throughout the Indian subcontinent. This goddess is often associated both with Gorri / Parvati, the benevolent goddess of harmony, marital felicity and longevity, with Durga, goddess of strength and valour, and with Mahakali (the black one) , goddess of destruction of the evil. All the Shakti-Peeths have secondary deity as Bhairav, besides the primary deity- Shakti. While having a darshan of Shakti-Peeth, a devotee should also have a darshan of Bhairav also, keeping in mind shiva’s Shakti. These names of Bhairavs are not mentioned in other books except Tantra-Chudamani.
According to legend, at some time in Satya Yuga, Daksha (who was the son of Lord Brahma) performed a yagna in a place called Kankan (near Haridwar) This Yagya was named Vrihaspati Yagna. He performed this Yagna with a desire of taking revenge on Lord Shiva. Daksha was angry because his daughter Sati (one of his 27 daughters) had married the ‘yogi’ God Shiva against his wishes. Daksha invited all the deities to the yagna except for Shiva and Sati. The fact that she was not invited did not deter Sati from attending the yagna. She had expressed her desire to attend to Shiva, who had tried his best to dissuade her from going. Shiva eventually allowed her to go escorted by his ganas.
But Sati, being an uninvited guest, was not given any respect by his father. Further more, Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati was unable to bear her father’s insults toward her husband, so she committed suicide by jumping into the yagna fire (sacrificial fire). When Lord Shiva heard about her death he became furious. He along with his ganas (followers) went to the place where Daksha was performing his oblation. The oblation site was completely destroyed by Shiva and his ganas (mainly by the great Veerbhadra) and killed Daksha.
Lord Shiva then carried the corpse of Sati and started dancing furiously all over the place like a lunatic. The other gods intervened to stop this dance. To bring down his anger, Lord Vishnu severed the dead body with his Sudarshan chakra. Various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed the sites of which are known as Shaktipeeth or Shaktipeethas.
At all Shakti Peethas, the Goddess Shakti is accompanied by Lord Bhairava (a manifestation of Lord Shiva).
“Sati” refers to the Goddess worshipped at each location, all being manifestations of Dakshayani, Parvati or Durga).
“Bhairava” refers to the corresponding consort, each a manifestation of Shiva.
“Body Part or Ornament” refers to the body part or piece of jewellery that fell to earth, at the location on which the respective temple is built.
List and Location of Shaktipeethas
Hingula (Hinglaj) –
Devi’s mind or brain fell here and the idols are Devi as Kotari (Durga) and Bhairava as Bhimlochan (Terrible eyed or the third eye). The location is towards 125 km from Karachi, Pakistan.
Sharkarare or Karavipur –
Devi’s three eyes fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahishmardini (Durga the destroyer of Mahishashur) and Bhairava as Krodhish (the one who can be angry). It is near Karachi in Pakistan, by rail the nearest station is Parkai.
Jwalamukhi, Kangra –
Devi’s tongue fell here and the idols are Devi as Ambika (Mother) and Bhairava as Unmatta (Furious). This is located near Pathankot, H.P., Jwalamukhi Road.
Devi’s nose fell here and idols are Devi as Sunanada (Pleasing) and Bhairava as Tryambak (Rudra). In the state of Bengal near Barishal in Shivahri Karpur village Devi’s temple is located and Shiva’s temple is in a village called Ponabalia, nearest railway station is Jhalkati.
Bhairab Parbat –
On Bhairaba mountain near Avanti Devi’s upper lips fell here and idols are Devi as Avanti (Modest) and Bhairava as Lambakarna (Long eared one). It is located near Ujjain.
Attahas (laughter) –
Devi’s lower lips fell here and the idols are Devi as Fullara (Blooming) and Bhairava as Bhairabhvishesya (Lord of the universe). The place is in Bengal near Birbhum. Image of Devi and the Shiva temple is next to the Devi temple. It is a major pilgrimage and tourist attraction.
In Prabhas Devi’s stomach fell here and the idols are Devi as Chandrabhaga (Throne of the moon) and Bhairava as Bakratunda (the one with the bent staff). This is near Mumbai where a launch goes to Bharoal which is near Prabhas.
In Yanasthana Devi’s chin fell here and the idols are Devi as Bhramari (female Bumble bee or attendant of Durga) and Bhairava as Vikrakatakkha (one with the crooked eyes or look). Other names of this Shaktipeeth are Devi as Chibuka (the one with the chin) and Shiva as Sarvasiddhish (the one who can provide all desires).
Godavari (river) Devi’s left cheek fell here and the idols are Viswamatuka (mother of the world) and Bhairava as Dandapani (the one who holds a staff).
Inside Gandaki (river) Devi’s right cheek fell here and the idols are Devi as Gandakichandi (the one who overcomes obstacles or Gandi) and Bhairava asChakrapani (Holder of the discus). Famous pilgrimage.
Devi’s upper teeth fell here and the idols are Devi as Narayani (the wife of Narayan) and Shiva as Sanghar. Panchasagar – Devi’s lower teeth fell here and the idols are Devi as Barahi and Bhairava as Maharudra (the angry one).
In Bhavanipur or Karota (river) Devi’s left seat or her clothing fell here and idols are Devi as Aparna (the one who ate nothing, not even leaves) and Bhairav as Bhairabha (Destroyer of fear). The King of Nator and his grandson the Maharajah Ramakrishna used to meditate here. The seat, the yognakunda and five skulls are still here. In the month of Baisakha according to the Bengali calendar, there is a large fete or Mela here to celebrate Ramanavami or Deepanbita.
In Shriparvata or Shri mountain Devi’s right seat fell here and the idols are Devi as Shri Sunadari (beautiful) and Bhairava as Sundaranand (the handsome one).
Devi’s two ears fell here and the idols are Devi as Jai Durga (the victoriuos Durga) and Bhairava as Avirooka.
Devi’s hair fell here and idols are Devi as Uma (Devi) and Bhairava asBhootesh (or provider of all desires). Playground of Lord Krishna and the gopis.
Devi’s crown or headdress fell here and idols are Devi as Vimala (Pure) and Bhairava as Sangbarta. Take the train to Ajimganj. The temples are on the shore of the ganges near Batnagar. (in Bangladesh )
Devi’s nape of the neck fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahalakshmi (the goddess of prosperity and wife of Mahavishnu) and Bhairava as Sarvananda(the one who makes everyone happy). Devi’s temple is Near Shrihatta town and Shiva’s temple is near Jainpur. Shivaratri and Ashokashtami are celebrated with a Mela (carnival). Take train from Calcutta to Goalanda and steamer to Kechuaganj. Then either take a boat or walk about five miles (6 koshas).
Devi’s vocal pipe fell here and the idols are Devi as Kalika (Durga) and Bhairava as Yogesh. One can reach here by train from Howrah station.
Devi’s neck fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahamaya (the great Illusion) and Bhairava as Trisandhyasvar. The famous pilgrimage is Amarnath. There is a Shiva linga of glacial ice which expands and contracts with the seasons.
Devi’s right shoulder fell here and the idols are Devi as Kumari (Durga) and Bhairava as Bhairabha (Remover of fear).
Devi’s left shoulder fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahadevi (Devi) and Bhairava as Mahodara (the big belied one). This is near Janakpur station.
In Chattagram (also called Chattal) Devi’s right arm fell here and the idols are Devi as Bhavani (Devi) and Bhairava as Chandrashekhar (the one who has the moon as the crown). It is said that Mahadeva has himself pronounced that he will visit Chandrashekhar mountain regularly during Kali yuga. This is near Sitakunda station. This is in Bangladesh.
Manav Kschetra –
In Manav Kschetra (Field) Devi’s right hand or palm fell her and the idols are Devi as Dakhchayani (Durga) and Bhairava as Amar (Immortal). Take train from Howrah station to Guskar station and then a few miles to Kogram. Mahadeva is considered Siddhidayaka or provider of all wishes.
In Ujjaini Devi’s elbows fell here and the idols are Devi as Mangalchandi (Durga) and Bhairava as Kapilambar (one who wears the brown clothes). Shiva is siddhidayaka.
Devi’s middle of the palms fell here and the idols are Devi as Gayatri (Saraswati) and Bhairava as Sarvananda (the one who makes everyone happy).
(three rivers meet here) Devi’s ten fingers fell here and the idols are Devi as Lalita (beautiful). Another name is Alopi and Bhairava as Bhava. Near Tribeni ghat there is Banitirtha ghat (Quay for boats). Allahabad is the train station.
Devi’s left arm fell here and the idols are Devi as Bahula (Abundant) andBhairava as Bhiruk (who is also Sarvasiddhadayaka). Arrive at Katoa rail station and then go to Ketugram which is a pilgrimage.
Devi’s right breast fell here and the idols are Devi as Tripurmalini (Durga) and Bhairava as Bhisan (Gruesome). Jwalamukhi is the nearby Tirtha and train goes from Delhi to Jalandhar.
Ramgiri (or Chitrakoot mountain) –
Devi’s left breast fell here (another opinion is that her Nala or Jaghanasti fell here) and the idols are Devi as Shibani (the wife of Shiva) and Bhairava as Chanda. Near Bilaspur station and a walk of 2 miles.
Devi’s heart fell here and the idols are Devi as Jaidurga (Victorious Durga) and Bhairava as Vaidyanath. It is in Bihar. Joshidi is the nearest Railway station.
Utkal (Orissa) –
Devi’s navel fell here and the idols are Devi as Vimala (the pure one) and Bhairava as Jagannath (the ruler of the world). This is near the Jagannath temple of Puri in the state of Orissa.
Devi’s skeleton fell here and the idols are Devi as Devagarbha and Bhairava as Ruru. Bolpur station to Kopar river banks. There is a well for worship.
Devi’s right hips fell here and the idols are Devi as Kali (another form of Durga) and Bhairava as Asitananda. By praying to the Devi profusely pilgirms can obtain their desired objective.
Sone (near Sone river) –
Devi’s left hips fell here and the idols are Devi as Narmada and Bhairava as Vadrasen.
Kamakhya (or Kamroop)-
Devi’s yoni (vagina) fell here and the idols are Devi as Kamakhya (personification of love) and Bhairava as Umananda. This is near Gauhati in the state of Assam on the banks of the Brahmaputra (the son of Brahma) river. The temple is on top of the Nilachal Hill. This is a famous pilgrimage for women seeking fertility or love. The temple is supposedly built by Kamdev, the god of love. The Umananda temple is nearby in an islet on the river. It has many pet monkeys.
Devi’s two knees fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahashira and Bhairava as Kapali.
Jayanti – Devi’s left thigh fell here and the idols are Devi as Jayanti and Bhairava asKramadiswar. In Bengal near Sri Hatta.
Devi’s right thigh fell here and the idols are Devi as Sarvanandari and bhairava as Bomkesha. Inside Shrihatta at Jayantipargana near the base of the Kahshia mountain Devi’s legs are placed here. Srihatta to Kanairghat by boat and then walk 2 miles. In West Bengal.
Devi’s right foot fell here and the idols are Devi as Tripurasundari and Bhairava as Tripuresh. Devi is grantor of all wishes or Sarvavishta pradyani.
Devi’s right toe fell here and the idols are Devi as Yogadaya and Bhairava as Khirakantha. Take Eastern Indian Railway to Bardwhan station. Take Bardhwan Katoa Rail to Nigam station. Nigam station to Khirgram (village) is 2 miles. A mela (fete) is held during Baisakha Sankranti.
Kalighat (Kolkotta) –
Devi’s four small toes from her right foot fell here and the idols are Devi as Kali and Bhairava as Nakulish or Nakuleswar. Famous pilgrimage located in Kolkotta in the state of West Bengal. Kali is a dark complexioned form of Shakti who has taste for blood and death. She rules over the cremation sites and is worshipped by devotees on a dark and moon less night. She is a popular deity of Bengal. kali is the female version of Kala or end of time.
Kurukchetra (or fields belonging to the Kuru family where the battle of the Mahbharata was fought between the Kurus and Pandus)- Devi’s right ankle fell here and the idols are Devi as Savitri or Sthanu and Bhairava as Aswanath.
Devi’s mind or the centre of the brows fell here and the idols are Devi as Mahishamardini (the slayer of Mahishasur or Durga) and Bhairava as Bakranath. Near Ahmedpur station. There are seven hot springs and also the Paphara (remover of sins) river. The Mahamuni Ashtabakra found enlightenment here. On Shivaratri (night) there is a grand Mela (fete) here.
Devi’s centre of the hands fell here and the idols are Jashoreswari and Bhairava as Chanda (Moon or the one who holds the moon).
Devi’s necklace fell here and the idols are Devi as Nandini and Bhairava as Nandikishore.
Devi’s earrings (Kundal) fell here and the idols are Devi as Vishwa Lakshmi (The provider of wealth to all) and Bhairava as Kala (Time or the end of time). Famous pilgrimage in UP and one of the oldest cities in the world. The Puranas say that this city exists even after the Pralaya.
Kanashram (Kalikashram) –
Devi’s back fell here and the idols are Devi as Sharvani and Bhairava as Nimisha.
Her feet bells (Nupur) fell here and the idols are Devi as Indrakshi and Bhairava as Rakchaseswara. Indrakshi was created and worshipped by Indra in h2>Virat –
Devi’s small toes of the feet fell here and idols are Devi as Ambika and Bhairava as Amrita (nectar of immortality).
Devi’s left ankle fell here and the idols are Devi as Bhimarupa and Bhairava as Sarvananda.
Devi’s left feet fell here and the idols are Devi as Vramari (Bumblebee) and Bhairava as Iswar (God). On the banks of Tista river in Shalbari village in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal.
The Danteshwari ( Kuldevi Of Baster State ), Dantewada is around 80 kms from Jagdalpur Chhattisgarh. The temple is as according legends, the spot where the Daanth (Tooth) of Sati fell. The Bhairava of this shaktipeeth is calledKapalbhairav.