Visit to Danteshwari Temple Dantewada, Chhattisgarh
Danteshwari Temple Dantewada is one of the 42 Shakti Peeths in India. Hindus believe Shakti Peeths to be seats of cosmic power and there are 52 of them. Of these 42 Shakti Peeths in India; 10 in other countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka which makes the count 52. The story behind the origin of Shakti Peeths is an interesting one.
Story of Shakti Peeth
These 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 humiliated her husband Lord Shiva. So deep is Lord Shiva’s love for His wife that He gets very angry and goes into a trance with Her dead body on His shoulders. To stop Him from the mad trance Lord Vishnu cuts down the corpse of Goddess Sati little by little 52 times till nothing is left and Lord Shiva calms down. The various body parts are believed to be scattered all over Indian subcontinent.
It is believed that Her teeth fell in Dantewada and the temple that came up over it is Danteswari Temple. Last weekend I was lucky to visit the temple and seek blessings from Divine Mother.
History of Danteshwari Temple Dantewada
Danteshwari Temple is 6 hundred years old. Kings of Chalukya Dynasty built this temple in 14th century in South Indian architectural style. Idol of Divine Mother ‘Danteshwari’ is chiselled out of black stone. Considering its age this temple is a wonderfully maintained heritage site and in good condition.
The main entrance is a huge gate, looks more like a fort wall and there is a spacious courtyard lined by several flower sellers.
Must Do at Danteshwari Temple
The one must do here is wrap a skirt (for women) or dhoti(for men) around you before you step into the interiors of the temple.
Interiors of Danteshwari Temple
Just like the other south Indian temples, this too has a series of mandap (halls) leading to main idol. I walked in past the pillars of mandap, through the rectangular openings made of plain granite. The ceilings are low, and walls lined with sculpted images. The little bright red pouches contained the thanks of several innumerable devotees. After the garbha griha I entered the Maha mantap, a large hall. The walls were lined with several idols. I saw some locals bow with reverence at every idol’s feet.
The deity at Mukhya (main) mantap was wrapped with bright orange cloth, and the day being an auspicious one, it was evident special efforts were made to deck it up well. At the right of exit of maha mantap is a huge black idol of Lord Ganesha. The silver crown and bright white eyes of the idol did hold my attention for long. The sabha mandap houses the main deity. There was a huge line to have the glimpse of the idol; locals seemed to have deep faith in the religious practices here. Through the crowding heads I managed to click a pic of the Goddess before the priests there shooed me away.
Other Sights Around the Temple
Besides the main temple this complex also houses another smaller temple dedicated to Bhuvaneshwari Devi. The interior of this temple too is dotted with several small idols. The main deity is made of black stone.
Also don’t forget to pause by the river side. Just beside this temple flow the rivers Shankini and Dankini. The location is scenic and makes a great postcard perfect picture. The rivers are named after 2 female demons in the mythological story of Ramayan. Shankhini River originates from Bailadila mountain range rich with iron ore deposits. The river turns chocolaty brown due to wastes from mines and mixes with clean water of Dankini near this Danteshwari Temple we were told.
Also don’t miss trying to embrace the Garuda Stambha in front of the temple. It is believed if you can touch the fingers from both sides by embracing from behind your wishes will be fulfilled.
How to reach Danteshwari Temple Dantewada
Dantewada has no railway station. Nearest city with railway station is Jagdalpur at a distance of 84kms. Nearest airport is Raipur at a distance of 280kms. You can reach the temple by bus or private cars.
Thanks to Dantewada District Administration I could visit this Shakti Peeth. Read my visit to 3 more Shakti Peeth in West Bengal.