Maa Tara Tarini Temple is a famous Hindu temple located 30 kilometres away from Berhampur. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddesses Tara and Tarini, who are believed to be two forms of the same deity. In this article we will look at Maa Tara Tarini Temple’s Location, How to reach, Timings, Photos, History and Festivals celebrated at the temple.
The Maa Tara Tarini Temple is situated on a hilltop, which provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. The architecture of the temple is stunning, with intricate carvings and sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings. The main deity of the temple is a pair of granite statues of Tara and Tarini, with the former depicted as black and the latter as white.
The temple attracts a large number of devotees every year, especially during the annual Chaitra Mela festival, which takes place in the months of March-April. During this festival, devotees from all over the country gather at the temple to seek the blessings of the goddesses.
Apart from its religious significance, the Maa Tara Tarini Temple is also known for its natural beauty. The hill on which the temple is situated is covered with lush green trees, and there are several small streams and waterfalls in the vicinity.
Visiting the Maa Tara Tarini Temple is not just a religious experience but also a cultural and natural one. The temple complex is well-maintained, and the atmosphere is peaceful and serene. If you ever get a chance to visit Odisha, make sure to add this temple to your itinerary.
Maa Tara Tarini Temple Puja Timings
|Nature of Puja
|Conducted twice daily, Sevayats clean and decorate the deities with clothes, ornaments, and flowers
|Mangala Alati & Pahili Bhog
|The main item in Pahili Bhog is Khechodi with fruits and dry sweets
|Offerings of Khechodi, Dal, Curry, Khata, and Sweets are made to the Goddess
|Rest time for the deities
|Reopening after Pahada
|Similar to morning Majana
|Bhog & Pahada
|Offerings made before the deities rest for the night
Maa Tara Tarini Temple Photos
History of Maa Tara Tarini Temple
There are some really fascinating stories and legends surrounding the Tara-Tarini Shrine located at the top of a hill. One of the tales that’s been passed down through generations is related to the Daksha Yagyan, from which the famous Shakta Pitha of Tara-Tarini originated.
As the story goes, Daksha Prajapati, the father of Goddess Devi or Sati, didn’t invite his daughter and her husband, Lord Siva, to the Yagyan on purpose. When Sati found out about this from Narada, she sought permission from her husband to attend the Yagyan and ask her father why he didn’t invite her husband.
Unfortunately, Daksha insulted Lord Siva, which angered Sati, and she sacrificed her life by jumping into the Yagyan Kunda. Lord Siva was devastated and started performing tandaba nrutya, which could have caused Mahapralaya.
Eventually, Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Sani disposed of Sati’s corpse, and Shakta Pithas formed wherever her organs fell. According to legend, Sati’s breasts fell at the Kumari Hills on the bank of River Rushikulya, which is where the famous Tara Tarini Shakta Pitha is located.
There are also other fascinating legends about Tara Tarini. Some people believe that the sisters were two beautiful girls who used to live with their devotees and perform miracles to make their presence felt.
One such legend tells the story of Vasu Praharaja, a learned Brahmin who had the honor of being the foster father of the two sisters Tara-Tarini. Eventually, the sisters instructed him to perform a Yagyan and establish the Shrine at the hilltop in a temple for daily worship.
With so much historical evidence and fragments of various legends, it’s pretty clear that Maa Tara Tarini Temple is one of the oldest Shakta Pithas in Orissa. The stories may have evolved over time, but they still continue to inspire and intrigue people to this day.
Significance of Maa Tara Tarini Temple
The tradition of worshipping Shakti, the mother of the Universe, can be traced back to ancient times in India. Shakti is a powerful goddess who represents the creative force and is also known as Matrika, Prakriti, Sati, Devi, Durga, and Parvati.
The worship of Shakti is widespread across India and predates Sanskrit influences. Orissa is home to some of the most important Shakti centres, including the ancient Shakti pitha of Tara-Tarini at Kumari hills on the bank of River Rushikulya near Purushottampur in Ganjam District.
Goddesses Tara and Tarini are revered as the presiding deity in almost every house in South Orissa. The Tara-Tarini Shakta Pitha is situated on a hilltop and offers a stunning view of the picturesque scenery of the temple, down to the bank of River Rushikulya.
The hill, known as Tara Tarini Hill, is approximately 708ft high and covers an area of 180 acres. Visitors can climb the 999 steps on the front side of the hill or take the pucca road on the backside to reach the temple. The site offers electricity, drinking water, and a small market complex with articles of puja and Archana.
The famous Shrine of Tara-Tarini appears in a small but beautiful Maa Tara Tarini Temple at the hilltop. Worship at this important centre of the Shakta cult has been continuing since ancient times. The main shrine of the temple represents the Goddesses Tara and Tarini, anthropomorphized stones with gold and silver ornaments shaped to look like human faces.
The two fully celebrated and beautiful brass heads placed between them serve as their Chalanti Pratima. Tara, the Primordial deity of the Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon, indicates Buddhist influence in the Tara-Tarini worship, which seems to suggest the incorporation of a tribal cult and Buddhist influence before its Hinduization.
Historical records do not show exactly when Tantrika practices entered the Buddhist faith before the 1st century B.C. However, some correct inferences can be made with available literature found in China, Tibet, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Nepal, and India.
The Mahavastu, composed during the period, shows how Mahayanism emerged in the scene during the 1st century B.C. and accepted into its fold all the prevalent religious doctrines, practices, and beliefs of Buddhism and Hinduism as well. Thus, Buddhism accepted and incorporated Hindu Tantra relating to Shakti worship, further blending two ancient traditions.
Festivals celebrated at Maa Tara Tarini Temple
At the Maa Tara Tarini Temple, the following festivals are observed according to the calendar mentioned below:
- Sankranti Mela: This festival takes place on every Sankranti day of the Hindu month and is considered highly auspicious for Tantra Sadhakas.
- During this festival, the temple opens for the Darshan of the deities from 5.30 AM till 10.00 PM without Pahada during the day. The Bije Pratima of the deities is put on the special Bije Pithastal located near the temple gate.
- Puja and offerings to the deities are offered to the Bije Pratima as no offerings are allowed inside the Garbha Griha during this occasion. Special activities such as Magha Snana, Chandipatha, and Homa are conducted in the Grabha Griha and the side pedestal of the Garbha Griha by the temple Purohit.
- The Temple Trust prepares and sells special Khechudi Bhoga to the devotees on receipt of Rs. 7/- per packet.
- Dola Purnima (Phalguna Purnima) takes place during February/March.
- Chaitra Parba: The Tara Tarini Pitha celebrates its most important festival on every Tuesday of the Chaitra month, and it is considered highly significant for devotees.
- The temple welcomes visitors for Darshan of the deities from 5 AM till 11 PM, with Pahada restricted to night-time only. The festival draws large crowds, and arrangements are made for hair offerings.
- The most auspicious days are the 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays of Chaitra when Puja and offerings are made to the Chalanti Pratima of the deities placed at the Bije Pitha.
- The temple engages 250 barbers at the top hill and 500 barbers at the downhill barber shed to assist with the hair offering.
- The temple also serves special Khechudi Bhoga to devotees for Rs. 7/- per packet, which is available non-stop from Monday midnight until 6 PM on Tuesday evening.
- Basantika Parba takes place during the month of Chaitra i.e., March/April.
- Chitalagi Amabasya i.e. Srabana Amabasya takes place during July/August.
- Gamha Purnima (Shrabana Purnima) takes place during July/August.
- Saptapuri Amabasya takes place during the month of Bhadraba in August.
- Saradiya Parba takes place during the month of Ashwina Mulastami to Dushara in September/October.
- Dipabali or Shyamakali Puja takes place on Kartika Amabasya during Oct/Nov.
How to reach Maa Tara Tarini Temple
To reach the Maa Tara Tarini temple, there are several options available:
- By road: The temple is well-connected by road. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from nearby cities like Berhampur, Purushottampur, Polsara, Kavisuryanagar, Aska, Kodala, etc. Regular bus services are available from Berhampur to Taratarini Junction.
- By train: The nearest railway station to the temple is Berhampur Railway Station, which is about 32 km away. Berhampur Railway Station is connected to major cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, etc. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from the station to reach the temple.
- By air: The nearest airport to the temple is Bhubaneswar Airport, which is about 174 km away. Bhubaneswar Airport is connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from the airport to reach the temple.
Once you reach the temple, there are three options to reach the hilltop:
- You can take the ghat road by temple bus, which costs Rs. 30 for a round trip.
- You can climb around 1000 steps.
- You can take the ropeway (4 cable cars). Please note that private vehicles are currently not allowed on the ghat road due to construction work.
Places to visit near Maa Tara Tarini temple
There are several places to visit near Maa Tara Tarini temple. Here are some suggestions:
- Rushikulya Beach: This beautiful beach is located just a few kilometres from the temple and is known for its scenic beauty.
- Gopalpur Beach: Another popular beach in the area, Gopalpur Beach is located about 30 km from the temple and is famous for its soft sand and picturesque views.
- Tampara Lake: This serene lake is located about 12 km from the temple and is a popular spot for boating and fishing.
- Berhampur City: Located about 30 km from the temple, Berhampur is a bustling city known for its vibrant culture and delicious street food.
- Mahendragiri Hills: These hills are located about 50 km from the temple and are known for their scenic beauty and trekking opportunities.
- Chilika lake: The biggest saltwater lake is just 40 kilometres away from Maa Tara Tarini Temple.
Facilities at Maa Tara Tarini temple
Here are the facilities available at Maa Tara Tarini temple:
- Hair Offerings: Devotees offer the first bunch of hair of newborns at the Tara Tarini Temple with the hope that the goddess will protect the babies from all evils. On normal days, the temple barber conducts tonsuring of the children. Tickets for hair offerings can be purchased at the Trust Board Office of the Temple for Rs. 10 per head. During Chaitra Mela, 750 licensed barbers are engaged at the hilltop and downhill for large-scale hair offerings. Devotees can offer the hair of newborns at either a hilltop or downhill barber sheds.
- Thread Ceremony & Marriage Ceremony: The downhill temple complex allows thread and marriage ceremonies. The place is surrounded by tree growths and has wide cemented floors, providing a beautiful place for sacred ceremonies. Facilities for accommodation and feast are also available.
- Vehicle Puja: The temple provides facilities for the Puja of vehicles at both the top hill and downhill temple complex. Sevayats of the temple conduct such Pujas. Vehicle owners can get such Puja done by making prior payment of nominal charges to the Temple Trust Board for different types of vehicles.
- Homa: Devotees can organize Homa on the temple premises by making a prior deposit of Rs. 25. They can bring a Purohita with them for the purpose. There are five rooms at the hilltop for devotees for Puja & Homa on the Temple premises.
- Private Bhoga: Devotees can have Bhoga from the temple beyond the fixed quantity Bhoga made in the temple. This facility can be availed by contacting the temple at least two days before the date of the Bhoga and making the payment for the cost of the Bhoga.
FAQs on Maa Tara Tarini Temple
How to reach Maa Tara Tarini Temple?
Maa Tara Tarini Temple is well-connected by road and rail. The nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar, and the nearest railway station is in Berhampur. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
What are the timings of the temple?
The temple is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm every day.
What is the significance of the hair offerings at the temple?
Devotees come to the temple to offer the first bunch of hair of newborns with the hope that the goddess will protect the infants from all evils. On normal days, the temple barber conducts the tonsuring of the children. During Chaitra Mela, when large-scale hair offerings are made, 750 barbers with licenses are engaged at the hilltop and downhill.
Are there facilities for sacred ceremonies like Thread and Marriage Ceremonies?
Yes, thread and marriage ceremonies are allowed at the downhill temple complex. Wide cemented floors surrounded by tree growths provide a beautiful place for sacred ceremonies. Facilities for accommodation and feast are also available.
Can devotees get their vehicles puja at the temple?
Yes, facilities for Puja of Vehicles are provided both at top hill and downhill temple complex. Sevayats of the temple conduct such Pujas. Vehicle owners can get such Puja done on prior payment of nominal charges to the Temple Trust Board for different types of vehicles.
Can devotees organize Homa on the temple premises?
Yes, devotees on a prior deposit of Rs. 25/- can organize Homa on the temple premises. Devotees can bring Purohita with them for the purpose. Five rooms are there hilltop for devotees for Puja & Homa in the Temple premises.
Can devotees have Bhoga from the temple?
Yes, devotees can have Bhoga from the temple beyond the fixed quantity Bhoga made in the temple on prior payment of the cost of the Bhoga. This facility can be availed on contact at least two days before the date of the Bhoga.