India is referred to as the holy land, it is referred to as the Punya Bhoomi which is marked by many historic events of God himself being in the place. Every place in India and every state has its own relevance which dates back to thousands of years.
But it is unfortunate that many of our own people do not know the real history of India. The main reason for this is most of our history has been twisted and modified hiding the real facts which have made people ignore the importance of Hinduism.
Shakti Peeth’s is one such mysterious story which has remained almost hidden and most people have no idea what are these Shakti Peeths and what exactly do they represent.
The story goes back to the early days where Lord Shiva married Goddess Sati who was none other than Adi Shakti herself. The event of Lord Shiva and Adi Shakti marriage is considered one of the most significant event in Hinduism. Adi Shakti is regarded as the mother of Lord Vishnu, Lord Mahadeva and Lord Brahma. During the creation of the world, Lord Brahma performed Maha Yagna to please Shakti who was embedded in Lord Shiva. The Shakti got separated from Lord Shiva and assisted him in stabilizing the universe. In order to unite Shakti and Lord Shiva back, Brahma orders his son Prajapati Daksha to obtain Shakti as his daughter. After many years of prayers, Shakti was born in the form of a human with an intention to be married to Lord Shiva and unite them back. Daksha decides to name her Sati which means A pure one.
But along the process, Prajapati Daksha develops sheer enmity towards Lord Shiva after he chops off his father Brahma’s head during an argument. Therefore Prajapati Daksha decides that he will never get Sati married to Shiva in spite of his trusted God, Lord Vishnu advising him. But as Shakti is nothing but another part of Lord Shiva, she naturally got attracted to him and decides to get married to him.
However, Lord Shiva who is known to be Trikala Gnani (One who knows Past, present and future) stays away from Sati realizing the catastrophic effect that would happen to her if he gets married. But Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu felt that without the union of Lord Shiva and Adi Shakti the entire cosmic would lead to imbalance pushed Lord Shiva into marriage. The other matter which worried Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were the Demon Tarakasuru who had obtained boon that he should only be killed by the son of Lord Shiva and no one else made it impossible for anyone else to rein in the demon.
This made Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma compel Lord Shiva to marry Sati. Despite knowing the future consequences, Shiva finally agrees to marry Sati. After facing many hurdles and humiliations from Daksha, Lord Shiva finally marries Sati and takes her to Mount Kailash where he resides.
But Daksha’s hatred for Lord Shiva kept growing and finally turned against his own daughter Sati for going against his will. Sati though was Adi Shakti herself possessed human qualities which made her difficult to adjust to the lifestyle of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva who is eternal himself expected Sati also to realise her divine avatar. But Sati somehow failed to realise her real identity and retained the qualities of Humans.
In order to take revenge against Lord Shiva, Daksha organises a maha Yagna in Munimandala, the present Muramalla Andhra Pradesh. Daksha deliberately invites all the deities from Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and every devatas except Lord Shiva and Sati. But Sati who was very disturbed from her father’s action decides to attend the event despite not being invited. Sati who had great faith in her father assumes that her father would welcome her with open arms and forget all bitter moments. Lord Shiva who knew the repercussion, advises her not to attend the event. But Tarakasuru who did not want Lord Shiva and Sati to get together disguises himself as Narada Muni and provokes her to attend the event. Sati gets influenced by Takasura’s words, refuses to listen to Lord Shiva and proceeds to attend the event of her father.
When she arrived at her father’s place, what she witnessed was a great humiliation that she ever faced in her life. Her father Daksha speaks to her in most harsh words insulting her and Lord Shiva in every possible way which makes Sati fume with anger. Sati who realises the reason why Lord Shiva prevented her from coming here decides to self-immolate herself in the same Agni Kunda where the Yagna was taking place. Within minutes her body gets charred and falls on the ground.
This incident angers Shiva to an extent that he decides to kill Daksha who was solely responsible for the death of his beloved wife. He creates Veerabhadra who is known for his anger and destructive capabilities and orders him to destroy the entire city and kill Prajapati Daksha. Within minutes, Veerabhadra destroys the Yagna Kunda and chops off Daksha’s head in anger as a revenge for abetting Sati to kill herself.
Mahadeva who was engulfed in deep sorrow picks the dead body of Sati and walks away from everyone. He forgets the entire Universe, his responsibilities and mourns for days holding the body of Sati. Lord Vishnu understands that until the body of Sati is with Mahadev, he will not be able to come out of grief and hence decides to relieve Lord Shiva from Sati and orders his Sudarshana Charka to burn the body of Sati which will free her soul. As soon as the Sudarshan Chakra touches the body of Sati, it gets cut into 52 pieces and falls on various places on earth. Lord Mahadeva plunges into more grief and comes to earth searching for Sati.
In order for Sati to be reborn and fulfil her wish to unite with Shiva, the scattered pieces would require Lord Shiva himself to perform pooja at all places which would give ultimate freedom to the soul. Lord Mahadeva goes searching for all the pieces of Sati on earth and establishes a Shakti Peeth in each of the places where he found the body parts to be lying. Mahadev appoints Lord Bhairav as a protector at each and every Shakti Peeth to protect Sati.
As a result, 52 Shakti Peeth was established by Lord Shiva himself where Adi Shakti herself lies in the form of Sati and Bhairava standing as a protector for Sati. As a mark of love that he had towards Sati he himself stands beside her in the form of Shiva Linga in Shakti Peeth symbolizing that he can never be separated from his wife.
And this is the real meaning of Shakti Peeths where Goddess Adi Shakti herself rests. It is said there are 52 Shakti Peeths where body parts of Adi Shakti was found. However, there have been arguments on the number of Shakti Peeths saying there were 108 Shakti Peeths and not just 52.
Some of the Shakti Peeths and the body parts found are as follows:
|A. Amarnath, from Srinagar through Pahalgam 94 km by Bus, Chandanwari 16 km by walk
B. Shri Parvat in Ladakh
|Jammu and Kashmir||A. Throat
|At a village also named as Attahas or Ashtahas around 2 km east of Labhpur village road in the district of Birbhum||West Bengal||Lips||Phullara|
|Bahula, on the banks of Ajay river at Ketugram, 8 km from Katwa, Burdwan||West Bengal||Left arm||Goddess Bahula|
|Bakreshwar, on the banks of Paaphara river, 24 km distance from Siuri Town [a district headquarter], district Birbhum, 7 km from Dubrajpur Rly. Station||West Bengal||Portion between the eyebrows||Mahishmardini|
|Bhairavparvat, at Bhairav hills on the banks of Shipra river in the city of Ujjaini. These Shaktpeeth known as Harsiddi temple.||Madhya Pradesh||Elbow||Avanti|
|Bhabanipur, located in the Upazilla of Sherpur, Bogra, Rajshahi Division. Also located at Karatoyatat, it is about 28 km distance from the town of Sherpur.||Bangladesh||Left anklet (ornament)||Aparna|
|Chhinnamastika Shaktipeeth at Chintpurni, in Una District of Himachal Pradesh||Himachal Pradesh||Feet||Chhinnamastika|
|Gandaki, Pokhara about 125 km on the banks of Gandaki river. Locals call as Bindyabasini Temple or Bhadrakali Temple.||Nepal||Temple||Gandaki Chandi|
|Goddess Bhadrakali on banks of Godavari in Nashik city (Saptashrungi)||Maharashtra||Chin (2 parts)||Bhramari|
|Hinglaj (Or Hingula), southern Baluchistan a few hours North-east of Gawadar and about 125 km towards North-west from Karachi||Pakistan||Bramharandhra (Part of the head)||Kottari|
|Jayanti at Nartiang village in the Jaintia Hills district. This Shakthi Peetha is locally known as the Nartiang Durga Temple.||Meghalaya||Left thigh||Jayanti|
|Jessoreswari, situated at Ishwaripur, Shyamnagar Upazila, Khulna Division. The temple complex was built by Maharaja Pratapaditya, whose capital was Ishwaripur.||Bangladesh||Palms of hands and soles of the feet||Jashoreshwari|
|Jwalaji, Kangra from Pathankot alight at Jwalamukhi Road Station from there 20 km||Himachal Pradesh||Tongue||Siddhida (Ambika)|
|Kalipeeth, (Kalighat, Kolkata)||West Bengal||Right Toes||Kalika|
|Kalmadhav on the banks of Son River in a cave over hills near to Amarkantak||Madhya Pradesh||Left buttock||Kali|
|Kamgiri, Kamakhya, in the Neelachal hills in Guwahati||Assam||Genitals||Kamakhya|
|Kankalitala, on the banks of Kopai River 10 km north-east of Bolpur station in Birbhum district, Devi locally known as Kankaleshwari||West Bengal||Pelvis||Devgarbha|
|Kanyashram of Balaambika – The Bhagavathy temple in Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of mainland India, Tamil Nadu (also thought to be situated in Yunnan province, China)||Tamil Nadu||Back||Sarvani|
|Karnat, Brajeshwari Devi, Kangra||Himachal Pradesh||Left Breast||Jayadurga|
|Kireet at Kireetkona village, 3 km from Lalbag Court Road station under district Murshidabad||West Bengal||Crown||Vimla|
|Locally known as Anandamayee Temple. Ratnavali, on the banks of Ratnakar river at Khanakul-Krishnanagar, district Hooghly||West Bengal||Right Shoulder||Kumari|
|‘A.Locally known as Bhramari Devi in Jalpaiguri near a small village Boda on the bank of river Teesta or Tri-shrota (combination of three flows) mentioned in Puranas
B.Ma Malai Chandi Temple at Amta, Howrah
|West Bengal||A. Left leg
B. Part of Left Knee
|Manas, under Tibet at the foot of Mount Kailash in Lake Manasarovar, a piece of Stone||China||Right hand||Dakshayani|
|Manibandh, at Gayatri hills near Pushkar 11 km north-west of Ajmer. People know this temple as Chamunda Mata Temple.||Rajasthan||Wrists||Gayatri|
|Mithila, near Janakpur railway station on the border of India and Nepal||Nepal||Left shoulder||Uma|
|Nainativu (Manipallavam), Northern Province, Sri Lanka. Located 36 km from the ancient capital of the Jaffna kingdom, Nallur. The murti of the Goddess is believed to have been consecrated and worshipped by Lord Indra. The protagonist, Lord Rama and antagonist, Ravana of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana have offered obeisances to the Goddess. Nāga and Garuda of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata; resolved their longstanding feuds after worshipping this Goddess.||Sri Lanka||Silambu (Anklets)||Indrakshi (Nagapooshani / Bhuvaneswari)|
|Nepal, near Pashupatinath Temple at Guhyeshwari Temple||Nepal||Both Knees||Mahashira|
|On Chandranath hill near Sitakunda station of Chittagong Division. The famous Chandranath Temple on the top of the hill is the Bhairav temple of this Shakthi Peetha, not the Shakthi Peeth itself.||Bangladesh||Right arm||Bhawani|
|Panchsagar Near Lohaghat (in Champawat District of Uttarakhand) nearly 100 km from nearest railway station Tanakpur.||Uttarakhand||Lower teeth||Varahi|
|Prabhas, 4 km from Veraval station near Somnath temple in Junagadh district. Local People call this temple as Kali Mandir, It is nearby Triveni Sangam.||Gujarat||Stomach||Chandrabhaga|
|Prayaga Madhaveswari known as Alopi Mata near Sangam at Allahabad||Uttar Pradesh||Finger||Lalita|
|Present day Kurukshetra town or Thanesar ancient Sthaneshwar||Haryana||Ankle bone||Savitri/BhadraKali|
|Sharda Peeth on top Trikoot Hill, at Maihar||Madhya Pradesh||Right breast||Shivani|
|Nandikeshwari Temple, locally known as Nandikeshwari Tala, is situated in Sainthia (Nandipur) town of Birbhum District.||West Bengal||Necklace||Nandini|
|Kotilingeswar Ghat temple on the banks of Godavari river near Rajamundry||Andhra Pradesh||Cheeks||Rakini or Vishweshwari|
|Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh||Himachal Pradesh||Right Eye||Mahishmardini|
|Shondesh, at the source point of Narmada River in Amarkantak||Madhya Pradesh||Right buttock||Narmada|
|Srisailam in Shriparvat hills under Kurnool district||Andhra Pradesh||Right anklet (ornament)||Shrisundari|
|Shri Shail, at Joinpur village, Dakshin Surma, near Gotatikar, 3 km north-east of Sylhet town||Bangladesh||Neck||Mahalaxmi|
|Shuchi, in a Shiva temple at Suchindrum 11 km on Kanyakumari Trivandrum road||Tamil Nadu||Upper teeth||Narayani|
|Sugandha, situated in Shikarpur, Gournadi, about 20 km from Barisal town, on the banks of Sonda river.||Bangladesh||Nose||Sugandha|
|Udaipur, Tripura, at the top of the hills known as Tripura Sundari temple near Radhakishorepur village, a little distance away from Udaipur town||Tripura||Right leg||Tripura Sundari|
|Ujaani, at Mangalkot 16 km from Guskara station under Burdwan district||West Bengal||Right wrist||Mangal Chandika|
|Varanasi at Manikarnika Ghat on banks of the Ganges at Kashi||Uttar Pradesh||Earring||Vishalakshi & Manikarni|
|Vibhash, at Tamluk under district Purba Medinipur||West Bengal||Left ankle||Kapalini (Bhimarupa)|
|virat nagar district alwar, near Bharatpur||Rajasthan||Left toes||Ambika|
|Vrindavan, near new bus stand on Bhuteshwar road within Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple, Katyayanipeeth. Vrindavan www.katyayanipeeth.org.in||Uttar Pradesh||Ringlets of hair||Uma|
|Jalandhar, from Jalandhar Cantonment Station to Devi Talab.||Punjab||Left Breast||Tripurmalini|
|Baidyanath Dham||Jharkhand||Heart||Jaya Durga|
|Jogadya (যোগাদ্যা), at Kshirgram (ক্ষীরগ্রাম) near Kaichar under Burdwan district||West Bengal||Great Toe||Jogadya (যোগাদ্যা)|
|Pithapuram under Kakinada Port Town||Andhra Pradesh||Hip Part||Purohotika|
|Jwaladevi Temple, Shaktinagar, Sonbhadra||Uttar Pradesh||Tongue||Jwala Devi|
|Chandika Sthan , near Munger town||Bihar||Left Eye||Chandika Devi|
|Danteshwari Temple, Dantewada||Chhattisgarh||Tooth or daant||Danteshwari devi|
|Juranpur, Nadia||West Bengal|
|Nalhateswari, Nalhati||West Bengal||Stomach/Nauli||Kalika|
Few among these Shakti Peeths were destroyed by Mughals rulers and Muslim kings who occupied the place and converted them into Mosque. They looted, destroyed and ultimately the whole sanctity of the place was lost. One such example is Pandua temple in West Bengal which suffered in the hands of Mughals and foreign invaders. It is said that today the place is converted into a Muslim Minar and no pooja takes place either to Lord Shiva or Shakti. Even Jogulamba Temple in Andhra Pradesh is said to have been attacked by Muslim rulers, but the Hindu warriors were successful in saving the temple and reinstalled the Goddess.