As the festival of Navratri begins, many people visit the temples of Goddess Durga to get a glimpse of the Goddess. This time Navratri festival is starting from 26th September, do you know which Durga Devi temple we can visit in India during this time..? These are the 20 most important and powerful temples of Goddess Durga in India..!
Goddess Durga is the root cause of creation, preservation and destruction. The purest form of Shakti is ‘Shakti Devi’, she manifests as the protector of the universe. An important and integral part of the Hindu faith, Goddess Durga is worshipped in various forms across the country. Recognized as a part of the Supreme Being, the Goddess is prayed to for strength and fulfilment of wishes. Her power extended from north to south. Several temples of the goddess can be found across the country and some of them are more valuable than others. The temples mentioned here are in the form of Shakti Peetha and contain a legend. This time on Navratri you can experience the glory of these 20 temples of Goddess Durga.
Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu and Kashmir
It is considered very auspicious to reach the temple of Vaishno Devi during Navratri. It is said that only a person who has Mother’s blessings will be able to see Mother on Navratri. There are three self-styled idols of Vaishno Devi, located in a cave in the hills of Trikuta Parvata. First Goddess Kali sits on the right, then Mother Saraswati on the left and then Goddess Lakshmi sits in the middle. The combined form of these three Pindis is known as Vaishno Devi. On the pedestal in the cave, three pindis appear. On this podium, there is a seat where Trikoota Devi is seated with her mothers. This place of Vaishno Devi is known as Mother Temple.
Manasa Devi Temple, Uttarakhand
The Manasa Devi temple is located in Badi Lambor (Lambor Dham) village on the Sadulpur-Malsisar-Junjunu road near Haridwar. It is called Manasa Devi Temple because the goddess here fulfils all the wishes of the devotees. The legend behind the temple is that a goddess appeared in the dream of Seth Surajmalji, head of the Hamirvasia family, and asked him to build the temple. The temple was completed by 1975.
The speciality of the Temple: The temple has 41 rooms, Yajnasala, Sri Lamboria Mahadevi Temple, Sri Lamboria Balaji Temple and a vast complex. The temple hosts various religious ceremonies throughout the year.
Chamunda Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh
Located on the banks of river Banner, Chamunda Devi Temple is another important Durga temple in India. This holy temple is a few kilometres away from Palampur and here one can see the ughra form of the goddess. Devotees who have faith in the Goddess offer prayers for their ancestors here. A beautiful pond can also be found inside the temple, which is believed to contain holy water.
The speciality of the Temple: The highlight of the temple is that the deity is covered with a red cloth as it is considered very sacred. On either side of the Creator are idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Bhairava. Here Shiva is seen in the form of death and destruction. Paintings of other gods and goddesses can also be found in the temple complex.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya, one of Guwahati’s most famous temples, is located on Neelachal Hill, about 8 km west of the city. The temple houses Kamakhya Devi who is believed to be the essence of female power. Kamakhya Temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Durga. According to legend, Kamakhya came into existence when Lord Shiva was carrying the dead body of his wife Sati and part of her vagina is said to have fallen on this ground. Here it is believed that the yoni or part of the sati is draped in a silk saree and covered with flowers. Kamakhya is known as an important temple of the Tantric sect, the temple looks beautiful during Ambubachi Jatra and Durga Puja.
Amba Mata Temple, Gujarat
A highly revered pilgrimage site that attracts pilgrims from across the country, Amba Mata Temple is located in Junagadh, Gujarat. It is one of the most beautiful towns in India and is full of monuments and religious places. The town is located at the base of the holy Girnar mountain, making it an interesting place to visit in Gujarat.
The speciality of the Temple: The Amba Mata Temple on the mountain is dedicated to an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. Women who wish for a long life for their husbands visit this temple frequently. Amba Mata Temple dates back to the 12th century and a visit to this temple is believed to bring a happy married life.
Dakshineshwar Kali Mandir, Kolkata
Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, situated along the Vivekananda Bridge in the north of Kolkata, is spiritually famous here. The temple is said to have been built by Rani Rashmoni in 1847. Ramakrishna once served as the chief priest of the temple here. It is believed that while worshipping before the statue of Kali, Ramakrishna fell to the ground and fell into a spiritual trance, losing all consciousness of the external world. The 12-towered temple has an enormous courtyard and is surrounded by 12 other temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Jwala Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh
Jwala Devi Temple is one of the most popular Durga temples in India. Located 30 km south of Kangra Valley, it is dedicated to Jwalamukhi Devi, a form of the Mother Goddess. The Jwala Devi temple has natural flames which are worshipped as manifestations of nine deities – Mahakali, Annapurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Mahalakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi.
These flames burn continuously naturally, needing no fuel or help of wood as they emanate from the side of the rock. According to a legend, when demons ruled the Himalayan mountains and harassed the gods, Lord Vishnu decided to destroy them. As Vishnu focused his energy great flames rose from the ground and from that fire a little girl was born she is considered Adi Shakti – that Adi Shakti is the flame goddess.
Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan
The 600-year-old Karni Mata Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga in the form of Karni Mata. A special feature of the Karni Mata temple is the thousands of rats that inhabit the temple. Rats are offered prasadam and killing even one of them (even by accident) is said to be a cause of penance. Another highlight of the temple is its large silver doors and marble carvings given by Maharaja Ganga Singh.
Chamundeshwari Temple, Karnataka
Mysore’s most famous Sri Chamundeshwari Temple is situated atop the scenic Chamundi Hill. This temple is dedicated to Chamundi Devi, another incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple is believed to have been built in the 12th century but its tower is relatively new and is about 300 years old.
A special feature of the temple: The temple has seven storeys and a 40-metre high ‘gopura’ decorated with carvings in the complex. The main attraction of the temple is the idol of Goddess Chamundi, which is said to be made of pure gold. The temple doors are made of silver and the temple has a jewelled nakshatra-malik on which 30 Sanskrit verses are engraved.
Naina Devi Temple, Uttarakhand
The Naina Devi Temple of Nainital is located on the banks of the lake. Naina Devi on the lake is a popular destination in Nainital. According to legend, when Shiva was carrying Sati’s cremated body, her eyes fell on the site of this temple. Hence, this temple got its name Naina (Eye) Devi.
A unique feature of the temple: The temple has a spacious courtyard with a large alari tree on the left side. On the right side of the temple are idols of Hanuman and Ganesha. Outside the main entrance of the temple, there are statues of two lions. Devotees can have a darshan of three deities inside the temple. On the left is the idol of Goddess Kali and on the right is the idol of Ganesha.
Devi Patan Temple, Uttar Pradesh
Devi Patan Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Located 70 km from Gonda, this holy place is nestled amidst the beauty of the Himalayan Terai. According to legend, it is believed that Lord Shiva’s right shoulder fell here while carrying the dead body of his wife Sati. There is a reference that the existing temple here was built by King Vikramaditya. King Suheldio of Sravasti renovated the temple in the 11th century. A big fair is held here during Navratri.
Kanaka Durga, Andhra Pradesh
Kanaka Durga is believed to be the goddess of power, wealth and benevolence. Kanaka, one of the forms of Goddess Durga, is the presiding deity of Vijayawada city. The temple is established on the Indrakiladri hill and the deity is considered to be Swayambhu or Self-created, hence it is said to be very powerful and holy. It is believed that Adi Shankara visited this temple and installed Sri Chakra here.
Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Katilu, Karnataka
Located 29 km from Mangalore city, Kateelu is a holy place for Hindu devotees of South Karnataka. Sri Durga Parameshwari is the main temple here and is surrounded by beautiful nature. On every transition, devotees offer coconut service to the Goddess. Free meals are also served to devotees and visitors every afternoon and night. A theatre troupe is dedicated here for Yakshagana Yakshagana (folk drama) cultural activity from time to time in the belief that Goddess Sri Durga Parameshwari enjoys dance and music.
A special feature of the temple: A symbolic rock in the form of Rakteshwari Devi is placed before the main entrance of the temple. Goddess Rakteshwari is worshipped here every day. This is a sacred temple dedicated to Chamundi Devi, another form of Goddess Durga.
Durga Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
2 km from Varanasi is the 18th-century Durga temple. It is believed that this temple was built by the Queen of Bengal. The temple has Nagara-style architecture. Being one of the most popular Durga shrines in India, it is visited by a large number of devotees throughout the year. Goddess Durga is believed to be the protector of Varanasi city.
A special feature of the temple: The Durga temple is built with a strong structure and a multi-tiered spire. It is formed by many small towers built on top of each other.
Banashankari Temple, Karnataka
Banashankari Temple is a famous Durga Kshetra in Karnataka. It is located at Cholachagudda, about 5 km from Badami. Here Banashankari or Shakambari is considered as a form of Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. As the temple is situated in a dense forest, the goddess got the name Banashankari or Vanashankari, where ‘Vana’ or ‘Bana’ means forest. The Banashankari temple is old and its original structure is said to have been built by the Chalukyas of Kalyana Banashankari, who worshipped the goddess as their Kula Devi. However, the existing temple is believed to have been built in the 17th century with a typical Dravidian style of architecture. There is a legend behind this temple as well, according to the Skanda Purana, this is where the goddess killed the demon Durgamasura.
Highlights of the temple: The idol of the goddess here is carved in black stone. Here the goddess is seen sitting on a lion and trampling the demon underfoot. The goddess has eight arms holding trisula-damaru, kapala Patra, ghanta, Vedic scripts and a sword. In front of the temple is a pond called ‘Haridra Tirtha’ surrounded by stone pavilions on three sides. January and February are the best time to visit the Banashankari temple.
Harsiddhi Durga Temple, Ujjain
Harsiddhi Durga Devi Temple in Ujjain is one of the most popular temples of Goddess Durga in India. It is one of the 51 sacred Shakti Peethas of Devi Sati. According to Shiva Purana, when Goddess Sati immolated herself in the sacrificial fire, her elbow is said to have fallen on this spot. Since then it has become a Shakti Peetha. Devotees from all over the world come to seek the divine grace of Devi Harasiddhi. The Shri Yantra representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga is the symbol of power enshrined in this temple. Two tall pillars adorned with lamps, which have been burning day and night for ages, are the finest examples of exquisite Maratha art.
Bhramaramba Devi Temple, Andhra Pradesh
The splendour of the Bhramaramba Temple in Srishaila has been attracting devotees for ages. It is one of the most popular temples of Goddess Durga in India. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhramaramba, a form of Goddess Parvati (Durga). Sri Yantra representing all the nine forms of Goddess Durga is enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Along with the idol of Goddess Bhramaramba, the idol of Lopamudra, wife of Saint Agastya, is also worshipped here. It is one of the most important Shakti Peethas in India as the neck of Goddess Sati fell at this place.
An interesting legend:
According to legend, the demon Arunasura was a great devotee of Lord Brahma. He worshipped Lord Brahma with unwavering devotion. Lord Brahma, pleased with his devotion, gave him the boon that death should not come from two or four-legged creatures. After receiving the boon, Arunasura started harassing the deities and sages and the deities could not defeat him due to his great powers. He went to Goddess Durga and asked her for protection. At his request, Goddess Durga assumed the illusion form and transformed into a thousand-legged bee to kill Arunasura. In this way, Goddess Durga killed Arunasura and saved the gods and sages.
Danteshwari Temple, Bastar (Chhattisgarh)
Danteshwari Temple is one of the important Durga temples in Bastar. It is one of the major Shakti Peethas in India where Sati’s tooth fell when Vishnu cut Sati’s body into 51 pieces to stop Shiva’s Tandava dance. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Danteshwari, a form of Goddess Shakti. Danteshwari Temple was built by the Kakatiya rulers in the 14th century. The idol of Goddess Danteswari is made of black stone. The temple is a centre of attraction during the Dussehra festival. Tribals from villages and forests come here to seek God’s blessings.
Biraja Temple, Orissa
Also known as Viraja Kshetra, Biraja Temple is one of the most important Shakti Peethas and the most popular Durga Devi temple in India. It is considered to be a Shaktipeeth as Goddess Sati’s navel fell here. Biraja Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga where Durga is worshipped in the form of Girija Devi. The temple looks magnificent during Sharadiya Durga Puja which is celebrated with great pomp and show every year. The sculptures carved on the walls of the temple from different eras will delight your heart.
Ratangarh Mata Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Ratangarh Mata Temple located in Seondha forest in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh is one of the most famous Durga Devi temples in India. It was built in the late 11th and early 12th century by a Rajput king of the Pavaya kingdom. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Every year thousands of devotees visit this temple to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga.