Bahuchara Mata (Hindi: बहुचर माता, romanized: Bahucharā Mātā; Gujarati: બહુચર માતા, romanized: Bahuchara Mātā) is a Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility in her Maiden aspect, of the incarnation of the Hinglaj. Like other divinities in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Bahuchara is of Charan origin. Devi Bahuchara was the daughter of Bapaldanji Detha. She is also considered the patroness of the hijra community. Her primary temple is located in Becharaji town in Mehsana district of Gujarat, India.
|Other names||Bahuchar, Deval Suta Shasthi, Shaktiputri, Parashakti kanya|
|Weapons||Devi mahatmya, trident, sword and rosary|
|Temples||Maximum number of temples of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Pakistan are covered by her temples.|
Depiction and symbolsEdit
Bahuchara was born in the Charan (Gadhvi) society. Devi Bahuchara was the daughter of Bapaldaan Detha. Bahuchara Mata is shown as a woman who carries a sword on her bottom left, a text of scriptures on her top left, the abhay hasta mudra ("showering of blessings") on her bottom right, and a trident on her top right. She is seated on a rooster, which symbolises innocence.
One of the theories says that she is one of the goddesses in Sri Chakra. The real symbol of her vehicle is kurkut which means the serpent which has two mouths. Bahucharaji is seated on the low end and the other end goes to Sahasrara, which means that Bahucharaji is the goddess starting the awakening of kundalini which eventually leads the liberation or moksha.
According to ancient tradition, an asura named Dandhasur was the descendant of Dhumralochan, another asura who was defeated and killed by goddess Parvati in the form of Durga. Dandhasur wanted to take revenge of the death of his ancestor, so he performed austerities in praise of the god Shiva. Lord Shiva was happy by Dhandasur's practice and he asked him for a wish , so Dhandasur said that the goddess who killed his ancestor, Dhumralochan, should come in front of him. Lord Shiva granted him the varadan (wish) that the goddess who killed Dhumralochan will come in front of him in the form of a small girl. After getting the Vardan, Dandhasur won all the battles on earth as well as Pataal and Mrutyulok. Then he went for battle on heaven (devaloka); hence all the devas went to lord Shiva and goddess Parvati for protection against Dandhasur.
After listening to their prayers, the goddess Parvati promised them that in accordance with the Vardan of Lord Shiva, she would take the form of a small girl and defeat the devil Dandhasur. She promised them that she would transform into a small girl, and her place of emergence will be the place where a part of the goddess Sati's hand was dropped on the earth, and she would be named Bahuchara.
Goddess Parvati fulfilled her promise and emerged as Bahuchara. Dandhasur saw this small girl sitting under a tree called Varakhdi. Dandhasur came closer to the girl and asked who she was. The girl replied that she came here from the devaloka, as all the devas from the devaloka had lost the battle and moved to another place so she was left alone; hence she was sitting under the tree. Dandhasur was impressed by the courage of the small girl and asked her to go with him as he would treat her like his daughter, to which she agreed. Upon reaching a place called Chuvad, Dandhasur felt thirsty, but there was no water all around.
Adi parashakti hit her trishul on the ground near a tree of Varakhdi, and fountains of water came out of the ground. Dandhasur, after drinking water, was pleased and asked Bahuchara to marry him when she grew up. This made Bahuchara angry and she transformed into her ugra swaroop (fierce form), telling him that she is the one whom he wanted to see and she was the only one who killed his ancestor Dhumralochan. Now the time had come for him to be punished for his evil and dreadful deeds. She killed him with her trishul. She also killed many other devils who were causing trouble for many innocent people and devas and fulfilled her promise, thus making them fearless. She came to Shankalpur, where she again transformed herself from ugra swaroop to a small girl. Bahuchara is worshiped as goddess Bahuchara Maa.
Bahucharaji Temple is located in Bahucharaji town in Mehsana district of Gujarat, India. It is 82 km from Ahmedabad and 35 km west of Mahesana. The original shrine was built by a king called Sankhal Raj in 1152 CE and the first surviving mention of the shrine was found in an inscription dating 1280 CE. According to the inscription no changes were made in the temple architecture until the eighteenth century.
There are three shrines of the Goddess within the temple complex. The oldest part of the shrine complex termed 'Adyasthan' (the original site) is a small temple enclosing a sprawling, small-leafed varakhadi tree, believed to be the site where the goddess first appeared. Adjoining this is another small temple, the madhya sthan (second or intermediate place), which houses an incised plaque representing the goddess and has a locked silver door at its entrance. This part of the temple is believed to have been built by a Maratha named Fadnavis (or an official with that title) in the eighteenth century. In 1779 CE, Manajirao Gaekwad, the younger brother of the Maratha ruler of Baroda, built a third structure close to the original shrine after the goddess cured him of a tumor. The third is the main temple today and contains the Bala Yantra of quartz crystal representing the Goddess. Saint Kapildev and Kalari king Tejpal have also contributed to the construction and renovation of the temple. The temple complex is beautifully decorated with stone carvings and wall paintings. Though less well known outside of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the temple is considered a minor Shakti Peetha and every year about 1.5 million pilgrims visit this temple.
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