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    Dear all,
    Tulja Bhavaani Temple at Tuljapur in Maharashtra is one of the famous Shakti Peets in the country. Goddess Bhavaani there is revered by almost everyone in India and Chatrapathi Shivaji was one of her ardent followers and is said to have been blessed by her.
    Let us read about this Goddess Bhavaani.

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    Click image for larger version

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    The town has derived its name from the ancient TuljaBhavani temple located on a hill known as Yamunachal. It is a small town with roads paved with concrete and lighting provided by electricity. Tuljapur is considered as one of the three and half Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra, where the mother Goddess, Shakti is worshipped. Each day thousands of pilgrims and devotees from all over Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other parts of India come to Tuljapur to have Darshnam of and seek blessings from goddess TuljaBhavani.

    The Great Maratha king, Shivaji, was an ardent devotee of Bhavani, who used to take her blessings before embarking upon any expedition. He built this temple in 1661 but it is said that he could not visit the temple due torrential rains. According to legend it was here that the Goddess gifted him a sword-the Bhawani sword for success in his expeditions. Goddess Bhavani is considered to be an embodiment of the ugra or ferocity, as well as a Karunaswaroopini - filled with mercy and compassion.

    Temple Architecture

    Situated in the hilly country in Maharashtra known as the Balaghat, Tulja Bhavani temple is situated on one of the deep slopes on the ranges of the hill, in the midst of a small side valley of a stream flowing down the plateau to the west of the town The temple is enclosed with a fortress and faces the East and consists of special attributes of Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) The chief shrine is cross-planned construction, the southern one opening in the courtyard, the eastern one leading to the outer Mandapam and the western to the Garbhagriha. On the northern side is a room known as the Shejaghar or bedroom of the goddess.

    As one enters the temple complex through the Mahadwar, on the way there is the Kallol tirth to the left and after a descent of nearly 30 steps the Gomukh tirth on the right with a small shrine dedicated to Vitthal Rakhumai nearby. Both these tirths receive perennial water flow from gomukhs. To the left near the main entrance gate leading into the courtyard is a shrine dedicated to Siddhi Vinayak. The imposing gateway is ornamented with flower and creeper patterns carved in relief. To the right of the gate is a shrine dedicated to Dattatraya and to the left residential houses of the temple priests. Occupying a central position in the courtyard, the temple mandap has two side entrances right opposite each other flanked by small columns. Supported on quite a few rows of pillars the mandap hall is 7.62 x 4.57 metres (25' x 15') beyond which is the middle part wherein is installed a marble statue of a lion in a standing posture. Herein to the right there is a small chamber housing the silver palang or bedstead of the goddess. Inside the Garbhagriha is a silver, four-arched canopy holding the delicately carved stone image of the goddess Bhavani. It is very attractive and in point of finish and execution would rival any of the best idols . The entrances leading from the mandap to the middle part of the chamber containing the palang (bed) and that of the Garbhagriha are all plated with silver bearing beautiful carvings and are fine pieces of sculptural ingenuity. The Garbhagriha is crowned with a beautiful tapering sikhar having figure-filled niches. Figures set-in in the niches are mostly those of sages and deities and are very shapely. Its four corners are fixed with temple replicas also set-in with deity figures each temple replica in turn being flanked by two lion statues. The space in between is filled with elephant statues. In the front and right opposite the main entrance gate there is the homakund also crowned with a similar sikhar. Installed here and there at convenient places there are quite a few small Deepmalas or lamp-pillars. On either side of the temple, cloisters have been provided in some of which are installed idols of different deities.

    Shri Tuljabhavani - Historical Background

    Tuljapur, the one amongst three and half Shakti Peethas (abodes of cosmic powers) of the state, is situated in Maharashtra, wherein resides the Mother Goddess Tulja Bhavani. She is also fondly revered as Aai (mother) Ambabai, Jagdamba, Tukai by her devotees who throng in millions to Tuljapur for her Darshan and for seeking her blessings. As a divine Mother, she protects her children from the sins of evil desires, selfishness, jealousy, hatred, anger and ego. At the same time, TuljaBhavani symbolizes the power of the Supreme Being that maintains moral order and righteousness in the universe.
    TuljaBhavani is also described as the impressive and formidable goddess in Hindu Puranas. She is known for combating demons who threaten the stability of the universe. She killed the Demon (asur) called Kukur, who, endowed with supernatural powers, had become arrogant and a great menace to the social and moral order of the day. When the Goddess appeared to kill him, the demon assumed the form of a ferocious buffalo (mahisha) and challenged her for a combat. She vanquished him in the battle and killed him and from then onwards, she became popularly known as “Mahishasur Mardini”, the one who killed the demon called Mahishasur.
    In Maharashtra, TuljaBhavani worship is of great antiquity and innumerable royal houses and their nobles have been devotees. She is the Family Deity ( Kuldaivat) of most of the Maharashtiran families, including the great Bhonsla dynasty , whose most celebrated progeny was Great Shivaji, the founder of Hindavi Swarajya. Legend has it that it was Tuljabhavani who gifted the Bhavani sword to Shivaji to vanquish his opponents in the battlefield.

    According to Hindu Puranas, She manifested her divine presence through all Yugas (ages). She guided Lord Rama in the Treta Yuga; blessed Yudhishtir in Dwapar Yuga in the epic war of Mahabharata, and in the Kali Yuga, she was an eternal source of great inspiration to King Shivaji and according to legend, she gifted the most celebrated Bhavani Sword to him.
    Mythological References

    Highly venerated mythological references about The Goddess Tuljabhavani are found in the great epics of all times, the Puranas. In Markendeya Purana, there are thirteen chapters (Adhyays) in Sanskrit, under the title “Durga Saptshathi”, containing seven hundred Shlokas or rhymes, describing the supreme powers of the deity.
    The story of how the Goddess vanquished Mahishasura and put him to death was first effectively narrated in the Devimahatmya or Saptashati, which is contained within the Markandeya Purana. Thorough out the ages, the divinity of TuljaBhavani has been described and narrated in contemporary legends, folklores, bards and poems that have become the source of motivation for an entire nation – spiritually, socially and politically. From Dnyaneshwar to Aurobindo, the divine heroics of TuljaBhavani provided untold inspiration. While Saint Dnyaneshwar and other contemporary philosophers revered TuljaBhavani as ‘destroyer of human weaknesses, Shri Aurobidno regarded the Goddess as the prime mover for nationalistic rejuvenation.
    Holy Idol of Tuljabhavani

    In the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is the Holy Idol (Murti) of the goddess Tuljabhavani, which is believed by the devotees to be the self manifested idol (Swayambhu Murti). This is a stone image about three feet in height, made of granite. The Idol of Devi has eight arms which carry various ayudhas (weapons) in the following order. The lowermost right hand holds a trident, the next one a dagger, the one above this an arrow and the uppermost right hand wields the chakra. In the uppermost left hand is a shankh, next is a bow, the third one carries a bowl and the lower most left hand holds the knot of hair on the head of the slain Asur (Demon). The right leg is planted firmly on the body of Mahishasur, the Demon she killed, and the left leg on the ground. Ornaments like earrings, kundalas, necklaces etc. are, carved on the image. The Goddess rides a lion who is her vahan (carrier)

    It is said that the installation (Pratishtapana) of the Holy Idol of the Goddess was done by Adi Shankaracharya and the idol is rested on the ShriYantra. The most unique feature about TuljaBhavni idol is that, unlike in other temples, the idol is non-static. This is a Chala murti, which means it can be moved from its position. Thrice in a year the Holy Idol is ceremoniously removed from her place on the auspicious days and taken out for the Parikrama or the ritualistic encircling of the Temple.

    सर्वमंगल मांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके | शरण्ये त्रयम्बके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते ॥

    To reach at Tuljapur

    To reach by Road

    Tuljapur to Osmanabad (Every 30 Min.)
    Tuljapur to Solapur(Every 30 Min.)
    Tuljapur to Barshi(Every 30 Min.)
    Tuljapur to Latur(Every 30 Min.)

    To reach Tuljapur by TrainNearest Railway stations(Distance from Tuljapur)

    1. Osmanabad - 30 km (Enquiry no.02472- 240299)
    2. Solapur - 47 km (0217 - 2318792)
    3. Latur - 72 km (02382 - 224640)

    To reach Tuljapur by Air

    Nearest Airport(Distance from Tuljapur)
    1. Solapur Airport - 52 km
    2. Latur Airport - 80 km
    3. Nanded Airport - 212 km
    4. Aurangabad Airport - 269 km
    Last edited by R.Varadarajan; 09-12-13, 22:46.