Dantewada is one of the ancient towns of India which is located in Bhastar, Chattisgarh which also had been the capital city of a glorious Kingdom in its golden past. This town was known as Tarlapal and Dantawali in pre-historical days, mention of which can be found on the stone carvings found in the district.
The town is named after the goddess Danteshwari, the presiding deity of the Danteshwari Temple located in the town, 80 km from the Jagdalpur tehsil. The goddess is worshipped as an incarnation of Shakti and the temple is held to be one of the fifty-two sacred Shakti Peethas. It is said that the teeth of Goddess Sati fell here.
Apart from being the Shaktipeeth of the Goddess, this place has another specialty. There is a pillar in this temple complex, which is said to fulfill the wishes of the devotees.
The Danteshwari Temple is a 600-year-old temple and has been a witness to the rich history of India. According to the legends, Goddess Sati committed self-immolation in the fire pit of yagna kund as a result of being insulted by her father, Daksha. Lord Shiva, raged by her death, destroyed the Yaga of Daksha, after which Lord Vishnu had to cut the body of Sati and scatter it across fifty-two different places in India. It is considered as one of the fifty-two Shakti Peethas of Sati, the divine feminine, spread by Lord Vishnu. It is believed that the tooth of Sati fell during the episode when all these Shakti shrines were created. The temple has been a spiritual centre since the 14th century, and people visit the temple every year to get peace, enlightenment and satisfaction.
Another legend says that, King Annam Dev of the Kakatiya dynasty built the temple. It is said that when the king named Annam Dev came here to see the goddess, then Goddess Danteshwari gave him a boon that as far as he goes, the goddess will go with him and will be his kingdom. At the same time, the goddess placed a condition not to look back from the king.
The king continued in Bastar region for several days and the goddess followed him. When crossing the river Shankni-Dankni, the king did not hear the voice of the goddess’s anklet while crossing the river. Then the king looked back and the goddess stopped there. After this, the king built a temple there and started worshiping regularly.
But, the most common story of its origin is that, The Danteshwari Temple was constructed during the 14th century by the Chalukyas.
The Danteshwari temple has great architecture and cultural wealth. The temple stands in a spacious courtyard and is surrounded by huge walls. It is divided into four parts which include, the Garbh Griha, Maha Mandap, Mukhya Mandap and Sabha Mandap. The Garbha Griha and Maha Mandap are made of stone pieces. There is a Garuda pillar which is located at the entrance of the temple. The idol of Goddess Danteshwari is chiselled out of black stone. The beauty of the Shikhara is marked by the sculptural finery. Hence the architecture of the temple has greatly contributed to attract visitors and resemble the spirituality and history of the temple.
Every year during Dusshera thousands of tribals from surrounding villages and jungles gather here to pay homage to the goddess, when her idol was taken out of that ancient Danteshwari temple and then taken around the city in an elaborate procession.