Thursday, April 16, 2015

The temple built by a Mughal Emperor

Where is the Temple
Goddess Durga has many names, and just like her names, there are many temples dedicated to her as well. Among her many Shakti Peeths, one temple is situated in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district. It is an age-old Shakti Peeth and Ma is known by the name of Bhadrakali here.
Significant Saturday
Every Saturday, one can witness a never-ending queue of her disciples waiting at the temple to get the goddess’ darshan.
A temple and a Mughal
However, not many know that this temple has a very old and strong connection to India’s Mughal emperor Akbar. Emperor Akbar’s association with Hindu rulers is well-known. He was even married to a Hindu princess. So, apparently, Akbar once expressed a desire to build a Hindu temple.
A Durga devotee
The Mughal emperor, over time, developed faith in goddess Durga. Therefore, he shared his wish to build a temple dedicated to her, with Hindu king Ramsingh.
How Akbar got the inspiration
One day, Akbar was crossing a place where the temple stands today. There, he got a magical glimpse of Goddess Durga. Akbar immediately went to meet the then King of Bikaner, Ramsingh. He not only shared his experience with Ramsingh but also expressed his desire to build Goddess Durga’s temple at that very place.
King of Bikaner obliges
Indeed, the Hindu king Ramsingh was only too happy to oblige the Mughal emperor and without any hesitation, built Bhadrakali’s temple in that place.
Visitors from far and near
Though pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year, during the Mela days of Chaitra and also in the month of Ashwin, the pilgrims number thousands and come from outside Rajasthan - from Punjab and Haryana.
Ma Bhadrakali
The devotees believe that their wishes would be fulfilled by the goddess, who is kind and benign, despite her ferocious form…Bhadrakali is diffrent from Kali in the sense that she accepts bhadra (good) to give it to her devotees.
Temple on a river bed
This temple of Bhadrakali is built in the flow area of Ghaggar river, which has been described as Saraswati in the Vedas and Puranas.
What awaits visitors
The idol of Bhadra Kali is built of red stone and is 2’6 high. Around the statue are ornamented brackets. The temple architecture is also special. It has a high shikhar of rounded shape. While the temple has no circumambulatory path, it does have a Sabha Mandapa, the prayer hall. The temple also has a verandah, a sanctum sanctorum and a kitchen.
600-year-old temple
This being an ancient temple, it has undergone repairs. Major renovation was done by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji of Bikaner.
Ecological threat
Since the temple stands in the bed of the Gagghar river, the threat of it being washed away always looms large.
How to reach
The temple can be reached by road from Jaipur, which is 450 kms away. The nearest airport is Jaipur. The nearest railway station is eight kms away.

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