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Durga Puja 2022: Kichakeshwari Durga Temple Of Odisha

The village of Khiching is synonymous with exquisite granite stone constructions and sculptures by adept craftsmen. Built completely from black stones, the temple of Kichakeshwari is located in the heart of Kinchung city, near Baripada of the Mayubhanja district in Odisha.

Kichakeshwari is originally the avatar of Chamundeshwari, or Durga Devi whose temple is known for some very historically significant reasons and the mystery that is interwoven with its existence. Under the early Bhanja rulers, Khiching was flourishing and Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism were extensively followed side by side.

History says that Kinching earlier was ruled by the kings of the Bhanja dynasty whose reign was known for spiritual activities, and for patronising the architectural ventures of that time. The 8th-century old temple Goddess Kichakeswari Temple, being the deity of the Bhanja dynasty finds an indelible place in the history of Odisha. The present temple was constructed at the cost of 85000 rupees in the year 1934 by Maharaja Shree Prataap Chandra Bhanj Deo, the king of Mayurbhanja. Is this temple is connected with Kichaka, the character from Mahabharata? Let us find out.

Kichakeshwari Temple: Architecture

The temple, which represents the finest architectural creations, that Odisha has ever produced is around 100 ft tall bult around 1777 sq. ft. The temple is beautifully carved out from that the outer surfaces. The current structure was raised in the 20th century although the construction of the original temple dates back to the 8th century AD. Wear and tear and some natural disasters It was renovated and reconstructed due to some wear and tear, and some natural disasters. The structures are all made from blue fine-grained chlorite, which endures the fine ornamentation process. On the adjacent side of the temple, the Khiching Museum, which is the second oldest museum in the state of Odisha, can be found here.

Chamunda Devi idol in the temple, looks fearsome with 10 arms, striking veins, ribs and a sunken belly, seated on the body of a dead Daitya or demon, and decorated with a garland of skulls and ribs. Even the walls and plinth of the temple are well preserved especially the shikara inside the temple that shows no signs of collapse except for the mastaka part that looks slightly broken. Lintel is well embellished with the Dwar palaks by name Prachanda and Chanda seen at the doorjambs. The temple architecture is replete with deft touches of architectural finesse lent by the skilled craftsmen of Odisha.

This temple faces eastwards and has a Rekha vimana ( Deula style Sanctum Sanctorum) that is placed over an elevated podium. Sanctum for the Goddess is a single room that is used strictly for worship and the outer part has well-crafted strucutres of Lord Ganesha, nayakas, Kirtimukha, naga-nagin, Khakharamundi and several others. Huge pillars with Nagas and Nagins are a part of its architectural heritage.

Kichakeshwari Temple: Legend

Kichaka was the commander of the Matsya Kingdom that originally belonged to King Virata. He also was the brother of Sudeshna, the queen of Virata. Kichaka was very powerful and had saved the kingdom of Virata from peril many a times. Pandavas, when in exile, had stayed in the Matsya kingdom in disguise. Draupadi, disguised as Malini, had joined Viratas court as a female servant for one year.

Kichaka, having seen Malini, approached her with amorous intentions but she refused. Bhima, her husband, who was in the disguise of a palace cook, arranged a meeting for Malini and Kichaka in the dance hall. When Kichaka approached Malini who was lying down in the hall, thinking that it was Malini, he was shocked to see Bhima in her place, getting up and ready to have a duel with him. Bhima killed him with a few blows making him unrecognisable as a corpse.

Kichakeshwari Temple: Festivals

Naupana, Salabana, Sukruli, Kichakagada and the village of Viratagada are the festivals that are celebrated with grandeur in this village. Most important of them all, with a spiritual significance is the Maha Shivaratri which is celebrated for 7 long days. Lord Shiva who resides here as the consort of Goddess Shakti whose form is the Goddess Kichakeswari always confers the entire population of the Kinching village, his special blessings. The Goddess Kichakeswari Temple opens for its devotees between 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. During noon it is closed between 12 pm to 3:00 pm.

Kichakeshwari Temple: Significance

Legends and lore say that whoever take refuge by visiting this temple in the goddess, will never be go back disappointed and empty handed. The goddess of this temple, Durga came to be called Kichakeshwari because she was the worshipped and adored deity of Kichaka, the commander in Chief of the Matsya kingdom during Mahabharata times. Earlier there was a cluster of 8 Lord Shiva shrines here. and seven lingams of Lord Shiva can even today be found in these premises.

Regularly visited by the royals of the Mayurbhank dynasty in the yesteryears, the deity, the Kinching has three temples built for Goddess Kichakeswari, God Chandrasekhar and Goddess Kutaitundi. These forts situated at Kichakagarh and Viratgarh, now a part of the Mayurbhanja district, are the only remnants that exist still now, refusing to be forgotten. There's an interesting legend with a connection to Mahabharata. There is an iron bar placed in the temple premise. There is an iron gada (a weapon) or a mace that belonged to the Pandava prince Bhima which is placed here. People believe that carrying this gada around the monument a prescribed number of times removes and forgives all the sins of the devotees.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

Story first published: Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 11:45 [IST]
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