Saptashrungi is a hill range consisting of seven hills locally called Ghads and form part of the Sahyadri Range of hills in Western Ghats. The Dhodap, in the center of this mountain range, is the highest peak with an elevation of 4,600 feet and Saptashrungi is towards its west. There is located a temple of Saptashrungi Nivasini, the complete manifestation of Aadishakti. Let us know some interesting facts about this glorious and self-manifested form (Swayamboo).
- Saptashrungi temple is referred to as “three and half Shakti Peethas” of Maharashtra. Sapatashrungi is the manifestation of Aadishakti. It is said that it is half shaktipeeth among three and half shaktipeeth of Maharashtra.
- The other four Goddess temples are Mahalakshmi Temple at Kolhapur, Tulja Bhavani Temple at Tuljapur, Renuka Temple at Mahur and the Sapatashrungi Temple of Vani, making it a complete three and a half Shakti peetha.
- Name ‘Saptashrungi Devi’ is derived from its locality which is surrounded by seven peaks of the mountains. Sapta means seven and Shrung means peaks, so Saptashrungi Devi means ‘Mother of Seven Peaks’. The temple is one of the significant religious places in Maharashtra.
- The temple is located at an altitude of 1230 meters above the sea level on the top of a series of seven hills called Saptshrung Gad near Vani (Nashik).It is said that Sati’s (first wife of Lord Shiva) limbs, her right arm is reported to have fallen here. She is also called Queen of Seven hills.
- The idol of goddess is 10 feet tall and has 18 arms holding various weapons. The Devi idol is wearing a beautiful nath (nose ring) which denotes that though Devi is shown in her fierce form but she is mother of universe and does all the sringaar which all the women do.
- The Shringaar of Devi is done on daily basis by the priests in the temple. She is given holy bath by Panchamrut and then sindoor (saffron color) is offered on the whole body of Devi. She is then offered Sari and shringaar is offered to her.
- Her eyes are white in color which symbolizes the compassion and love (Vatsalya) of mother for her children.
- Saptashrungi Devi is the Mahishasur Mardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasur, who came in the form of a buffalo. The head of a buffalo, made in stone, is there at the foot of the hill, from where one starts climbing the steps and believed to be that of the demon.
- There is a hill in front of temple that is called Markandeya Hill. It is this place where sage Markandeya did penance and wrote sacred book ‘Durga Saptshati’ or ‘Devi Mahatmya’.The book praises about the formation of Goddess, her powers and is presented, through a language of praise, as the one who dwells in all creatures, as the soul, as the power to know, the power to will and the power to act. She is consciousness of all living beings, she is intelligence, she is matter, and she is all that is form or emotion. The text contains 700 verses arranged into 13 chapters.
Ancient manuscript of Devi Mahatmya
- It is said that sage Markandeya , recited the verses from Durga Saptsahti from the hill and Aadishakti came there to listen the verses. The goddess while listening to the verses placed her hand on her left ear and went in resting mode. That is why the idol is slightly tilted and bent and has her hand on her ears.
- As the Goddess took form here and resided at Saptashrungi, it is considered the original location of the Aadishakti and her forms.
- It is believed that a tiger resides in the garbhagruha (sanctum sanctorum) every night and a keeps a watch on the temple but goes away before sunrise.
- The holy place has 108 water reservoirs, holy kundas, although now only 4 or 5 can be seen.
So plan this year your trip to Saptashrungi Temple and tell us more about it.