Durga Puja is a prime festivity celebrated with glitz and glamour. There may be a misconception that Durga Puja is a local festival of West Bengal. However, it is observed with equal importance and fervour throughout the country. Celebrated annually, during the inception of winter i.e., in October, Durga Puja is celebrated with many distinctions depending on the region.
Across the nation, you will come across many temples devoted to Goddess Durga but only with a tad bit of difference in beliefs and customs. Consequently, many Durga temples can be visited in India to pay respect to the Goddess during Navratri.
We bring you some of the famous and must-visit Durga Temples in India to celebrate Durga Puja 2021.
Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Karnataka
Sri Chamundeshwari Temple is one of the most visited Durga temples in India. Located in the much greener part of Karnataka, Mysore, Sri Chamundeshwari Temple is set atop scenic Chamundi Hills. The temple is devoted to Goddess Chamundi, who is another embodiment of Goddess Durga. The Temple is deemed to be built in the 12th century while its minaret is comparatively new and dates around 300 years old. Tourists and travellers come with a strong conviction that the Goddess can help them to satisfy their needs.
Durga Temple, Varanasi
Located 2 Km away from Varanasi, this highly famed temple is the 18th century Durga Temple. Considered to have been built by a queen of Bengal, this temple has a Nagara Style of architecture. Being one of the most popular Durga shrines in India, it is visited by a large number of devotees all through the years.
It sits on the large rectangular tank called Durga Kund in the southern part of the city. According to few who serve this temple, the image of Durga is a self-manifest image, which had appeared here of its own accord. Goddess Durga is also believed to be the protector of the city of Varanasi and is one of the fierce goddess guardians of the zone.
Bijara Temple, Uttarakhand
Also known as Viraja Kshetra, Bijara Temple is one of the major Shakti Peethas and a very popular Durga Devi Temple in India. The navel of Goddess Sati fell here. Biraja Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga who is worshipped here in the form of Goddess Girija.
The idol has two hands. On one hand, she is holding the chest of Mahishasura (Buffalo) and on the other hand, she is pulling his tail. According to the Skanda Purana, Biraja Temple has the power to cleanse the pilgrims.
Ratangarh Mata Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Deep in the forests of Seondha in the Datia District of Madhya Pradesh, the temple of Ratangarh Mata is one of the most famous Durga Devi Temples in India. It was built by a Rajput King of erstwhile Pawaya Kingdom, Ratan Sen in the late 11th and early 12th centuries.
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Every year thousands of devotees come to this temple to get the blessings of Goddess Durga who is worshipped in the form of Devi Ratangarh. Devotees also seek divine blessings from Kunwar Maharaj.
Mansa Devi Temple, Uttarakhand
Mansa Devi Temple is situated in Badi Lambore (Lambore Dham) village on Sadulpur-Malsisar-Jhunjhunu Road near Haridwar. The Mansa Devi temple got its name from the belief that the Goddess fulfils all the wishes of her devotees. The legend behind the temple is that the Goddess appeared in the dream of Seth Surajmalji, the head of Hamirwasiya family and asked him to build a temple. Surajmalji did as he was directed and gave the responsibility of the construction of the temple to his son. The temple was completed by 1975.
Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu and Kashmir
Vaishno Devi Temple is the most popular Durga temple in India. It is nestled amidst the Trikuta Mountain, which is 61 kilometres north of Jammu at an altitude of 1584m above sea level. As far as the legend goes Vaishno Devi was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, thus she practised celibacy. However, Bhairo Nath- who was tantric, chased the Goddess and to the Trikuta Mountain.
To save herself from Bhairo Nath, the Goddess took refuge in the cave and the Demon God could not find her for nearly 9 months. Vaishno Devi then taking the form of Kali cut off the head of Bhairo Nath. The cave where the Goddess hid is now a popular pilgrimage and is called Garbh Joon. Vaishno Devi is accessible all through the year; however, winter months are comparatively difficult for the visit.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
One of the best-known temples of Guwahati is Kamakhya, situated on Nilachal Hill at a distance of about 8kms west of the city. This temple honours Goddess Kamakhya, who is believed to be the essence of female energy. Kamakhya Temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Durga. As far as the legend goes, Kamakhya came into existence when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of his wife Sati, and her Yoni (female genitalia) fell to the ground at the spot where the temple now stands.