Tarapith – A Shakti Peeth

Shakti Peethas as I explained before in blogposts, are places where body parts of Goddess Sati are believed to have fallen after Lord Shiva refused to give up her dead body. Goddess Sati is believed to have immolated herself after her father Daksha humiliates her husband Lord Shiva. So deep is His love for His wife that He is angry and goes into a trance with Her dead body on his shoulders. Lord Vishnu cuts down the corpse little by little till nothing is left and Lord Shiva calms down. Tara in Bengali language means, eye ball; it is believed Goddess Sati’s eyeballs have fallen here, hence the name ‘Tarapith’.

 This is the third Shakti Peeth in my blog, you can see the others here.

The old form of the temple was damaged and in the year 1225, the temple was renovated and provided aatchala (8 roofs) form. We got to see a freshly painted façade. The panel depicts the statue of Goddess Durga and her full family, the left panel depicts the war of Kurukshetra (Mahabharata) and on the right there are stories from Ramayana.

The temple gets huge number of visitors everyday. The stories associated with this temple are many and hence people visit this sacred place with different sankalp (resolutions).

One of them is: During manthan (churning of cosmic ocean) for nectar Shiva had drunk the poison that had emerged to save the universe. To relive him of the intense burning in his throat, Sati – in the form of Tara – breast fed Shiva to relieve him of the effect of poison in his throat.

Therefore there are two Tara images in the sanctum. The stone image of Tara depicted as a mother suckling Shiva – the “primordial image”. This image is camouflaged by a three feet metal image. We get to see this metal image. It represents Tara in her fiery form with four arms, wearing a garland of skulls and a protruding tongue. Crowned with a silver crown and with flowing hair, the outer image is wrapped in a sari and decked in marigold and red hibiscus garlands. The forehead of the metal image is adorned with red kumkum (vermilion). Priests take a speck of this kumkum and apply it on the foreheads of the devotees as a mark of Tara’s blessings.

We reached tarapith from Siuri, which is 50kms approx to its north-east. The roads were good in April 2013. There are plenty of hotels there. Accommodation there shouldn’t be a problem. Gete more details here.

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