One of the most revered goddesses in Hinduism, Mata Durga is cherished as all over India as protector of devotees and the destroyer of evils. India is dispersed with thousands of temples dedicated to Goddess Durga, having unique histories and each dedicated to some age-old tradition. In this blog we present some of the most famous Durga Devi Temples in India where you must go at least once in your lifetime. Read on and plan a trip to any temple of Goddess Durga. May the Goddess fulfill all your wishes!
Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi is well-known and most esteemed Durga temples in the world, being located at an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the legend associated with the temple, when Devi Vaishnavi, a combined form of Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Kali, went into a cave in the Trikuta Parvat (mountain) she was harassed by a tantrik named Bhairon Nath, who was chasing her. But after attaining the enraged form of Kali, the Goddess beheaded him. The cave is said to be the same spot where Goddess is believed to be present in rock form where she is considered to be meditating.
The shrine is venerated and visited by thousands of devotees every year in search of true spiritual bliss and fulfillment of their wishes. In fact great historical figures like Guru Gobind Singh and Emperor Akbar also visited the shrine. The sacred Vaishno Devi Temple is open for devotees throughout the year.
Chamunda Devi Temple
Situated on the banks of the River Baner and located a few kilometers away from Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh, The Chamunda Devi Temple is one of the most popular Durga Mata Temples in Himachal Pradesh. The name of the temple is derived from Chanda and Munda, the two demons whom the Goddess slayed. In fact Chamunda is the wrathful form of Goddess Durga. There is also an ancient story Associated with the temple.
It is said that when a king and a Brahman decided to shift Goddess’s temple, she appeared in his dream and gave her consent. She also gave the location of the idol which should be dug out and then worshiped. But when the King sent his men, they could not lift the idol. The Goddess instructed him to approach the idol reverentially. The idol was subsequently installed by the King, who declared that this all has happened due to the divine power of the Goddess.
The idol of Devi Chamunda is flanked by the idols of Hanuman Ji and Bhairon, who are said to be her protectors.
Jwala Ji Temple
Situated 30 kilometers away from the Kangra Valley, the Temple of Jwala Ji is dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi. The Goddess is worshiped in the form of a natural flame that burns here. In fact, Devi Jwalamukhi is one of the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. There are eight other such flames that burns from rocks without any fuel. The legend behind Jwala Ji temple is that when the demons were creating a havoc in the mountainous area, Lord Vishnu created huge flames out of which a girl named Adi Shakti was born, who then destroyed these demons.
The temple receives thousands of devotees every year, who come here chanting “Jai Mata Di” with great devotion and reverence in their hearts. The temple is set amidst beautiful mountains and scenic sights.
Kamakhya Temple is a cave temple and one of the old 51 Shakti Pithas of Goddess Durga. The temple is situated within the Nilachal Hills, towards the western part of Guwahati, flanking the banks of Brahmaputra River. Constructed by King Chilarai, who was the descendant of the Koch family in 1565, the temple is believed to be the place where the yoni (vulva) of the burning Mother Sati had fallen. The main temple is surrounded by 10 smaller temples dedicated to different incarnations of Goddess Kali.
The temple has a beautiful beehive structure and surprisingly has no image of the Goddess. The temple is associated with the legend of demon Naraka too. There is a natural spring that flows through the yoni shaped cleft that is situated in the bedrock.
Mansa Devi Temple
The temple of Mansa Devi, the fulfiller of wishes is located on the Bilwa Parvat in Haridwar. It is for this reason that the temple is also called Bilwa Teerth. According to the legends, Goddess Mansa Devi was emerged from the mind of the Lord Shiva. She is also believed to be the sister of Naga serpent Vasuki. The temple of Mansa Devi, a form of Shakti is an ancient shrine that attracts devotees from far off places. The Goddess is said to grant the prayers of all the devotees who bow to her sincerely and reverentially.
In contemplation of their wishes getting fulfilled, devotees tie threads to the branches of trees and when their wishes are realized, they come again to untie them. For the convenience of the pilgrims, there is a ropeway which carries pilgrims from the lower station, directly to the Mansa Devi Temple.
Constructed devotedly by a Bengali Queen, the Durga Temple in Varanasi is a famous 18th century shrine and one of the most famous Mata Durga temple in the city. The temple is situated on the bank of a large tank called Durga Kund. The temple, built in the beautiful Nagara style of architecture is associated with the legend of a Kashi Naresh, who got his daughter married secretly to a prince, in violation of the swayamvar organized. To prevent the imminent war, the king prayed to Goddess Durga, who fought with the princes attending, thus saving his life.
The King also prayed to the Goddess to protect Kashi (Varanasi) from any outside influence. The temple is also called the monkey temple due to preeminence of this animal at this site.
Devi Patan Temple
Located at the same spot where the shoulder of Devi Sati, who immolated herself, had fallen, the temple of Devi Patan holds a significant place as a prominent Shakti Temples in India. The temple is located 70 kilometers away from Gonda. It was constructed by King Vikramaditya and subsequently renovated by King Sulheldeo. During the Navratri festival, the idol of Pir Ratan Nath is brought here from Nepal and then the two deities are worshipped together.
The grace of the temple changes completely during the Navratri, when it is beautifully decorated. The temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of Goddess Durga, according to Hindu mythology. It was established by Sri Gorakshnath.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Bedecking the crowded region of Kolkata, the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple is one of the most auspicious Durga Mata temple in India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali in the form of Bhavatarini, who is said to be a mighty aspect of Goddess Durga. The beautiful temple, with its wonderful architecture was built by Rani Rashmoni, who was a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali, in 1855.
The temple is also famous for its link with Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a great Kali devotee and the spiritual preceptor of Swami Vivekananda, who spent a considerable part of his life here. The temple is built in the Nava-ratna style of Bengal architecture. The temple is located on the Bally Bridge, on the banks of the River Ganges and offer a stunning view in the front.
Bamleshwari Devi Temple
Revered and adored by lakhs of people, the Bamleshwari Devi Temple is one of the important Durga Shrines in the country. The temple is believed to have been established by Raja Vikramaditya and is based on an ancient legend involving a big battle between Raja Kamsen and Raja Vikramaditya due to a love story between their respective kingdoms.
There are two Bamleshwari Devi temples in the vicinity. Another temple, located half a kilometer away and situated on the ground is called Chhotti Bambleshwari. The temples are decorated beautifully during the Navratri and Ram Navmi. Also the tradition of lighting Jyoti Kalash during Navratri is also popular here.
Kalka Devi Temple
Located within the environs of South Delhi, the Kalka Devi Temple is most famous Durga Devi temple, dating as far back as 1764 AD. The temple is deeply revered by the locals and legend says even Pandavas worshiped here. One of the best attractions here is the evening tantric Aarti that is attended by numerous devotees. The temple remains full of devotees throughout the year, but it has a special attraction during Navaratras, which happen twice a year. The idol of Goddess Kali installed in the temple is said to be self-manifested.
The temple has a unique aura and the environment is open with bright lights that stay on for the whole night. People come from far off in anticipation of fulfillment of their wishes.
Karni Mata Temple
Dedicated to the Karni Mata, one of the forms of Goddess Durga, the Karni Mata Temple in Bikaner is a wonderful 600 year old structure. According to legends, when the youngest son of Mata Karni died, she asked Yamaraja to return her dead son, which the latter refused. Mata Karni, then, assumed the form of Goddess Durga and brought her son back, along with proclaiming that no member of her family would die, but rather they would live on here in the form of rats. Thus, the main attraction here are the 20,000 rats who are fed in steel containers and are greatly revered.
Constructed by Maharaja Ganga Singh, the temple is embellished with beautiful architecture. Navratri is the best time to visit Mata Karni temple when the attraction of the temple is different and unique.
Amba Ji Temple
Ambaji Temple is dedicated to a Goddess who is worshipped since the pre-Vedic period and is referred to as Arasuri Amba. The name of the Goddess is derived from the location of the temple, which is located in the Arasur Hills, near the source of the Saraswati River. The temple, however has no idol. In fact, a Vishwa Yantra, with words and figures of “Shree” in the middle is the representation of the deity.
The temple is recognized as one of the 51 Shakti Peeth’s and it is believed that the heart of Goddess Sati had fallen here. The temple sees maximum devotees during the full moon nights.
Durga Parameshwari Temple
The temple is one of unique such structures in India, in a way that it is situated in the middle of a river, Nandini. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Parameshwari. Just after the entrance, there is huge rock which is worshipped as Goddess Rakteshwari, every day. Different music and dance performances are held within the temple premises as it is believed that Goddess likes music and dance.
The temple also has a shrine which is dedicated to Goddess Chamundi. Durga Parameshwari Temple is located around 30 kilometers from Mangalore in Kateel which is one of the holiest temple towns of Hinduism. The temple is set amidst wonderful greenery and picturesque sights. It is a source of spiritual solace for thousands of devotees who visit Kateel every day.
Kanaka Durga Temple
Situated on the banks of the Krishna River, the presiding deity at the temple is Goddess Kanaka Durga, who is the goddess of power and benevolence. Located in Vijaywada, the temple is perched on the Indrakeeladri Hill, which has much significance religiously. The Goddess is said to be swayambhu or self-manifested on the hill. According to the legend, when Goddess Durga appeared here after killing the Demon Mahishasura, She shone with a radiance of a thousand suns due to which all the gods referred to her as Kanaka (Gold) Durga and have been since worshipping her daily.
The majesty of Kanaka Durga Temple is truly admirable. It is one of largest temples in India and second largest in Andhra Pradesh. It is definitely a must visit place.
Bhagavathi Amman Temple
Bhagavathi Amman Temple is situated in one of the most picturesque locations of India, i.e. on the confluence of three seas, in the region of Kanyakumari. The temple is said to be about two-thousand years old. According to the legends, Lord Shiva created Goddess Bhagavathi, in order to kill demon Banasura, who had been creating a havoc in the world of gods. After a long battle, the demon was finally destroyed.
The worship of Goddess Kanyakumari has been mentioned even in Hindu sacred texts, thus the temple has a lot of religious significance, making it an important spiritual site to visit.
One of the important Shakti Peeths which is mentioned in various Puranas and other Hindu religious text, The Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur is a temple of special significance where devotees believe to get all their wishes fulfilled. The temple has beautiful Chalukyan architecture and was constructed during the 7th century. It is named after Mahalaxmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu and it is believed that two deities reside here. The image of the Goddess is about 3 feet high and is made of gemstone weighing 40 kilograms.
It is said that both Shri Vishnu and Shri Mahalaxmi will reside here till eternity and will not leave this place even during the Mahaprahlay (Cosmic Destruction). The temple hosts the famous Kirnotsav (festival of Sun Rays) Celebrations at a time when the rays of the setting sun fall directly on the idol of Mahalakshmi.