You might have heard of the term 'Shakti Peethas' often discussed in Hinduism. These Shakti Peethas are special temples that are dedicated to Adi Shakti, the single female deity who was created with the power from all other male gods. She is all powerful and looked upon as the divine mother who is both a nurturer and protector of her children.
Most shakti peethas are temples of Kali, Durga or Gowri, the three main forms of the goddess. Mahakali is the destroyer of all evil. Durga is the divine mother who stands for protection of the world and Gowri shows Shakti in a loving demeanour. Shakti Peethas are not just Goddess Durga or Kali temples but there is a story that makes these Shakti Peethas special.
Story Of The Shakti Peethas
When Sati Wanted To Marry Lord Shiva
Shiva was the only God among the Hindu trinity who did not marry and lived like an ascetic. To be the ideal mate for Shiva, Adi Shakti took a human avatar and was born as the daughter of King Daksha. She was named princess Sati. From a young age, Sati was devoted to the ascetic God Shiva and did severe penance to have him as her husband. But Daksha who was the son of Lord Brahma disliked Shiva's strange lifestyle.
Lord Shiva's Insult In Sati's Presence
Sati married Shiva against Daksha's will but still craved for her father's acceptance of their marriage. Around this, Daksha organised a massive yagna to please the Gods. He purposely did not invite Shiva and Sati. But Sati insisted on going to the yagna against Shiva's consent. She believed that no formal invitation was needed for her to go to her father's house. When Sati arrived at her father's palace, she was treated as an uninvited guest. Moreover, Daksha even committed the sin of insulting Lord Shiva in Sati's presence.
Sati Sacrificed Herself In The Yagna Fire
Pained by her father's ignorance and arrogance, Sati threw herself in the fire set up for the yagna. At this time, Adi Shakti left her mortal body. When the news reached Shiva, he went wild with rage. He picked up Sati's body on his shoulders and started performing tandava, the dance of destruction. The stability of the Universe was threatened by Shiva's dance, and to protect the human world, Lord Vishnu cut up Sati's body with his sudarshan chakra.
Lord Shiva's Tandava Cooled
Shiva's anger was eventually cooled but Sati's body was never whole again. The body was cut up into 51 pieces and all the pieces fell at different places in India. These places of holy land are called the Shakti peethas.
Forming Of The Shakti Peethas – Four Adi Shakti Peethas
There are 4 famous temples that are called the Adi Shakti peethas. They are considered the most sacred of all the other peethas. The Kamakhya temple in Assam (vagina), Dashineshwar temple in Kolkata (face), Tara Tarini temple in Behrampur (chest) and the Bimala temple in Puri (feet) are the most auspicious Shakti peethas. These are known as the four Adi Shakti Peethas.
How Many Shakti Peethas Are There?
There are different numbers of Shakti Peethas according to various accounts. According to Shiva Charita, the number of Shakti Peethas is 51. Devi Bhagavat Puran says that the number of Shakti Peethas is 108. This number is 26 according to Kalika Puran. This number is 52 according to Durga Saptashati and Tantra Chudamani. 18 of these are known as Maha Shakti Peethas.
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