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Temples Dedicated To Draupadi, The Pandava Queen: Know About History, Legend, Architechture And Significance

The major feature of India, apart from its agricultural economy, is its cultural wealth, and infrastructure of temples, found in and around every city or village. Predominantly a temple for women, the Draupadi temple is where the women pay visits to materialize their ambitions and wishes.

Draupadi was a princess of the Panchal kingdom,( now the modern Bareilly), born to King Drupada and also the wife of the Pancha pandavas. She emerged as a by-product of a yagnya and went on to marry the Pandava princess. She is worshipped as a village deity, and as a family deity in several households. She is the pivot of the cultural existence of the villagers and has enriched the lives of villagers across North and South India.

In every Draupadi temple, which is adjacent to the idol of Draupadi, you will find an idol of Lord Krishna without worshipping whom one can not avail of the benefits of Goddess Draupadi's blessings in its entirety. It was Lord Krishna who had saved her honour during the Vastrapaharan scenario in the times of Mahabharata. Draupadi Ghat Temple, where goddess Draupadi used to frequent for bathing regularly, has now become a pilgrimage centre.

As per custom, women, bathe in the Draupadi pond, sit under the Peepal tree, for some time, and then worship Lord Krishna in the temple, after which they proceed to pray to Goddess Draupadi. People not only from this area but also from adjoining areas, visit this temple to fulfilment of their desires. Draupadi Jayanti is celebrated during the Shravana Month. We have curated a list of temples dedicated to Draupadi in India and interesting details about their history, significance, architecture and more.

Who Is Draupdadi?

King Drupada desired to have a son, who was capable of killing Guru Dronacharya. To achieve this purpose, he arranged a homa with the assistance of Yaz and Upayaz, the wise man and the hermit. As a result of the havan, dhrushtadhymna and draupadi emerged out of the homa fire. So, Draupadi was not a human that was born out of womb, but she was the essence of fire, that was born for a bigger cause. Time gradually passed by, and her marriage was arranged with the five pandavas in a swayamvar which was when the trials of her life really started to plague her. Forced to go through unbearable trials in her life, Draupadi went through it all in a composed manner, with a will to survive the onslaught of her self-respect, no matter what. The game of dice between Kauravas and Pandavas, was an acid test for her character, where in Yudhisthira loses and submits Draupadi to the Kauravas. She was thrown into the most appalling of situations, where her modesty was about to be outraged and by god's grace, she emerged unscathed from the experience. In the Kurukshetra war she avenges her defeat and injustice when Pandavas win over Kauravas in the war, with Lord Krishna helping them at every step.

Legend Associated With Draupadi

As per the locals, Draupadi is treated as a goddess who protects the villages. The rituals are closely interconnected with their cultural identity. She is regarded as an avatar of the Hindu Goddess Mariamman or Mahakali, who was born to assist Lord Krishna in the destruction of all wicked rulers spread across the continent. Draupadi shared a sibling relationship with Lord Krishna.

The characteristic feature of the Draupadi Amman cult is its rituals and traditions. The rituals connect us to nature in a wholesome way, in its essence. The Vanniyar, Mudaliar, Konar, and Gounder communities of Tamil Nadu are essentially Draupadi worshippers whose village and family deity happens to be Goddess Draupadi. Many in the Athreya Gothra regard her as a family deity.

There are about 800 temples set up for Goddess Draupadi across the villages of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. During the reign of the Pallavas, this cult gained prominence and even now, there are about 32 communities that celebrate this festival. The Draupadi Amman temples are small and compact, but they have powerful enough to satisfy the desires of the devotees. Invitations are sent to all neighbouring villages and people gather in hordes to participate in this event.

History of Velachery Draupadi Amman Temple

A Draupadi devotee belonging to Athreya gothram was behind the construction of Draupadi Amman temple located in the Draupadi Amman Koil Street in Velachery in Dhandheeswaram Colony. Built 300 years ago, from bricks, the temple was in a dilapidated condition, in shambles with a mere thatched roof. Devotees in late 1990s undertook renovation for this temple.

Architecture of Draupadi Amman Temple

The Draupadi Amman Temple is North facing with a Mukha Mandapam. Razing the temple down, they performed Kumbhabhishekam in 2010. She is seen standing, with a parrot on her shoulder, in the sanctum. Lord Krishna and Pandavas are positioned behind her. The Utsava murthis (the idol to be taken out in procession) face the eastern side of the sanctum. Sri Chakram is found installed in front of the Amman Mahameru.

While the flag, Jwala, Samaram, and Suryan, are found in the Tiruvasi, a 1.5-foot high Dwajasthambam and Pothuraja are placed in the Antarala Palipeedam. The Koshtha idols of Brahma, Vaishnavi, Gowri, Varahi, and Vishnu Durga are seen around the walls of sanctum. Sculptures of pancha pandavas, Krishna radha and Anjaneya are carved on the Mandapam pillars.

Other Significant Draupadi Temples

There are other temples for Draupadi Amman like the one in Alandur which is 2 kilometers from the Kathipara junction. The Draupadi Amman Temple in Guduvanchery is a half a kilometer away from the Guduvanchery Bus Terminus which also has sanctums for Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganesha.

Importance Of Karaga Festival

There is a Sri Dharmaraja-Draupadi temple in Bengaluru, Karnataka which is at Nagartapete near to Sadarpatrappa road, built approximately 800 years ago by Vahnikula kshtriya kings of Bangalore. Karaga is a famous festival that is celebrated to commemorate the importance of Mother Draupadi. It chiefly propounds that the good always triumphs over evil and a woman can win over her obstacles, however indomitable they may seem.

Well known for the Karaga festival and a ritual wherein a man dressed in a feminine attire holds a flower bedecked pot which should be well balanced even if he is running and walking. The Karaga priest has to follow strict austerities six months before he even begins the Karaga. During this period, he is supposed to wear the mangal sutra of his wife which is returned to her during a symbolic marriage event on the tenth day of Karaga. From the day of Vijayadashami up to the day of Karaga, he has to stay in the temple. During the Karaga procession, the wife does not come out to take darshan and blessings.

Gowdas, Ganacharyas, Chakridaararu are the ordained sects among the Vahnikula Kshatriyas to carry the tradition of conducting the Karaga.

Festivals And Celebrations

The people celebrate the annual festival in and around Senji in Thiruvannamalai, as well as in Durgasamudram village, Tirupati, of Chittoor district. The festivals begin annually in the Chithirai month on 01 May which actually go on for about 10 days and end with a fire walking ritual. People with due permission from Draupadi Amman, begin the festival. To ensure her consent, they place a sword in a pot of water, which would stand straight if Amman has consented.

After sending out invitations formally, the neighbourhoods gather and offer Sashtang namaskar (the kind of namaskar where they lie down facing the ground, with forehead touching the ground) to Mother earth. Visitors bring gifts to exchange with others. They are provided rice dishes fully covering the whole leaf. Otherwise, it is mistaken as an insulting act. Goddess Draupadi is thanked for the rains and crops and prayers are done. As the next step, the villagers take a ritual bath in the pond close by. Once they receive the rewards for the event, they take leave of each other.

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.

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons

Story first published: Sunday, September 4, 2022, 10:00 [IST]
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