The Maa Tarini Temple(Odia: ମା ତାରିଣୀ ମନ୍ଦିର, ଘଟଗାଁ) in Ghatgaon is a famous Hindu Goddess temple dedicated to Maa Tarini. The temple attracts millions of devotees every year who come to seek her blessings and experience her divine presence.
Local Legend about the Maa Tarini Temple
According to local legend, the King of Kendujhar embarked on a journey to bring Tarinini Maa from Puri to Kendujhar in an unusual condition. He agreed that if he turned back during the journey, the goddess would come to a halt.
The King led the way on his horse, with Goddess Tarinini close behind. The King judged her presence based on the sound of her ornaments.
The tinkling of her ornaments stopped as they approached Ghatagaon, deep within the dense forest. The King looked back, mistaking this for a sign that she had stopped following.
Maa Tarini continued her journey, unbeknownst to him, but the mud in the forest muffled the sound of her ornaments. As a result, Maa Tarini halted her progress at that precise point and was subsequently revered as the Queen of the Forest.
Brief Overview of Maa Tarini Temple
Maa Tarini is the primary deity in charge of all Shakti and Tantra shrines in Odisha. Shakti, who represents the Earth as a female symbol of immense power, is revered by people all over the world.
The adoration of natural elements, such as rocks, tree trunks, and rivers, is deeply rooted among tribal communities in Odisha, a region characterised by a significant tribal population whose religious traditions have seamlessly integrated into mainstream Hinduism.
Maa Tarini is typically depicted with a red countenance, two prominent eyes, and a central feature that serves as both a nose and a tilak. This crude representation represents the profound simplicity inherent in tribal beliefs and rituals. The vivid red hue is frequently associated with dyes derived from the region's abundant iron ores and ocher, which were most likely used by these tribes to anoint and adorn their sacred idols.
In the background, intricate characters spell out 'Maa,' which means 'Mother' in Odia. Although these ornate letters are a more recent addition, they provide insight into the subtle evolution of the Odia script over millennia.
She resembles the depiction of the Goddess Kali at Kalighat in this form. While both represent the same divine essence, Kali represents the Goddess of death and destruction, whereas Maa Tarini represents the Goddess of life.
Two of Kali's names are intriguing: Maa Tara and Maa Tarini. The renowned Hill Shrine of Maa Tara Tarini, located in Odisha's Ganjam district, represents the combined forces of Kali and Tarini, earning Maa Tara Tarini the title of Adi Shakti's breast shrine.
History of The Shrine at Ghatagaon
The precise sequence of events leading up to the Goddess's installation at her primary shrine in Ghatagaon is still a matter of historical debate.
This is primarily because poets documented these events in devotional works dedicated to her, which also contain elements of mythology. Nonetheless, the basic story is as follows:
King Purusottam Dev ruled over Kalinga around 1475 A.D. During one of his journeys to South India, he met Princess Padmavati of Kanchi and proposed marriage to her. His proposal was accepted, and the King of Kanchi's minister travelled to Puri to finalise the wedding arrangements. During this visit, however, the minister witnessed King Purusottam Dev personally sweeping the deities' chariots while witnessing the grand Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) in full swing.
This sight caused consternation because marrying a sweeper was considered socially unacceptable, resulting in the proposed marriage being cancelled. Infuriated and deeply offended, the King of Puri declared war on Kanchi. King Purusottam Dev was defeated in the first conflict. In his hour of need, he prayed to Lord Jagannath for guidance and divine intervention. It is believed that he received a divine message instructing him to appoint Govinda Bhanja as his army's Senapati (General).
Govinda Bhanja was the son of the King of Keonjhar but had been living in Puri due to a feud with his father. The Puri army set out for Kanchi under the capable leadership of Govinda Bhanja. During their journey, however, in the dense forests near Vijayanagar, an unexpected event occurred: Govinda Bhanja's horse refused to continue. The precise reason for this halt remains unknown.
Nonetheless, it was at this point that Govinda Bhanja, and indeed Hindu society as a whole, became acquainted with Maa Tarini. She made her presence known, and this encounter cemented her place in the sacred Pantheon of deities, forever intertwined with the region's history and spirituality.
Location and Setting
Maa Tarini Temple is located in Ghatgaon, a small town in the Kendujhar district of Odisha. The temple is situated on a hilltop surrounded by lush green hills and forests. The temple offers a panoramic view of the scenic beauty of nature. The temple is also close to several rivers, streams, waterfalls, and springs that add to the charm and tranquility of the place.
Geographical Location of Ghatgaon
Ghatgaon is located at an altitude of about 500 meters above sea level. It lies between 21°23′N latitude and 85°53′E longitude. It covers an area of about 10 square kilometers. It has a population of about 15,000 people. It is about 45 km from Kendujhar, the district headquarters, and about 200 km from Bhubaneswar, the state capital. It is well connected by road to other major towns and cities in Odisha.
The Serene Temple Surroundings
The temple surroundings are serene and peaceful, creating an ideal atmosphere for meditation and worship. The temple complex is spread over an area of about 5 acres. It has several gardens, ponds, fountains, statues, and sculptures that enhance the beauty and elegance of the place. The temple also has several trees, plants, flowers, and herbs that provide shade, fragrance, and medicinal value to the pilgrims. The temple also has several animals such as cows, horses, monkeys, peacocks, pigeons, parrots, squirrels, etc., that live in harmony with nature.
Maa Tarini Temple is a masterpiece of Odia temple architecture. It reflects the artistic and cultural heritage of Odisha. The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower (deul) over the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha), a porch (jagamohana), and a hall (natamandapa). The temple also has some unique features and sculptures that make it stand out from other temples.
Architectural Style and Design
The temple is built with laterite stones and lime mortar. It has a square plan and faces east. The temple has three main parts: the deul, the jagamohana, and the natamandapa. The deul is about 15 meters high and has a circular ribbed roof that resembles a lotus bud. The deul has nine tiers of moldings that are decorated with floral, geometric, and animal motifs. The deul also has four niches on each side that house images of various deities such as Ganesha, Kartikeya, Durga, and Shiva.
The jagamohana is about 10 meters high and has a pyramidal roof with 13 tiers of moldings. The jagamohana has four doors on each side that allow entry to the devotees. The jagamohana also has four pillars that support the roof and create a spacious hall for the pilgrims. The jagamohana has several windows that allow natural light and ventilation to the temple.
The natamandapa is about 8 meters high and has a flat roof with four corners. The natamandapa is connected to the jagamohana by a vestibule (antarala). The natamandapa has eight pillars that create a square platform for the devotees to sit and perform rituals. The natamandapa also has several sculptures of musicians, dancers, and celestial beings that adorn the walls and ceilings.
The Sanctum Sanctorum
The sanctum sanctorum is the most sacred part of the temple where Maa Tarini’s idol is installed. The idol is made of black stone and is about 2 feet high. The idol has two large eyes and a mark in the middle that serves as a nose and a tilak. The idol wears a crown of flowers and jewels and a garland of skulls. The idol holds a sword and a shield in her hands and rides on a horse. The idol is placed on a pedestal (pitha) that has four lions at its corners.
The sanctum sanctorum is accessible only to the priests who perform daily rituals and offerings to Maa Tarini. The devotees can have a glimpse of Maa Tarini through a small window (chaukathi) that is located on the eastern wall of the deul. The window is covered with a silver screen (chandrika) that has an opening in the shape of Maa Tarini’s face. The devotees can see Maa Tarini’s eyes through this opening and feel her divine gaze.
Maa Tarini Temple, Ghatgaon, is a divine pilgrimage destination that offers a unique and enriching experience to the devotees. The temple is a symbol of Maa Tarini’s power, grace, and mercy. The temple is also a reflection of Odisha’s rich culture, history, and heritage. The temple is a place where one can feel the presence of Maa Tarini and receive her blessings.
We invite you to visit Maa Tarini Temple, Ghatgaon, and experience the divine energy for yourself. You will be amazed by the beauty and elegance of the temple and its surroundings. You will be touched by the devotion and faith of the pilgrims. You will be inspired by the legends and stories of Maa Tarini and her devotees.
We hope that this article has given you a glimpse of Maa Tarini’s significance and glory. We hope that this article has motivated you to explore more about Maa Tarini and her temple. We hope that this article has encouraged you to embark on a spiritual journey to Maa Tarini Temple, Ghatgaon.
Thank you for reading this article. We wish you a happy and blessed pilgrimage to Maa Tarini Temple, Ghatgaon. Jai Maa Tarini!