What are Shaktipeethas?

I am sure many of you have heard of this and some are unaware of this term.

Well that is why I am writing this blog. Our coming post are going to be about Shaktipeetha and I want that whoever read my blog, they do not need to search about this.

The Shakti peeth which means seat of shakti , are significant shrines and destinations in Shakitsm. There are 51 Shaktipeethas of which four Shaktipeethas are known as major Adi- Shaktipeethas.

Most of the Shaktipeethas are in India but some of them are in Nepal, Bangladesh and one each in Tibet (Mansarovar), Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Adi ShaktiSource: traveltomysteries

Adi Shakti

The legend 

The legend which tells how Shaktipeethas came into existence is very famous.

It is said that Prajapati Daksh who was the son of Lord Brahma ( the creator), hated Lord Shiva because of the curse on Lord Brahma given by Lord Shiva. But before that, during the creation of universe, Lord Brahma performs yajna (Vedic ritual of fire sacrifice) to please Shakti and Shiva. Goddess Shakti emerged by separating from Shiva to help Lord Brahma in creation of universe.

After completing this, Lord Brahma decided to give Shakti back to Shiva. For this, his son Daksha performed several yajnas to obtain Shakti as his daughter. His wish fulfilled by Goddess Shakti and born as Sati. It was then decided that the motive of Sati in the world is to marry the Shiva for the reunion of Shakti and Shiva. But later in time, because of the hatred of Daksha towards Shiva, he decided not to marry Sati to Shiva.

However, universe played his role and Sati somehow got attracted to Shiva. They finally got married against Daksh wils. This marriage increased Daksha’s hatred towards Shiva.

One day, Daksh performed a big yajna in which he invited every god and goddess. But he didn’t invited Sati and Shiva. When Sati came to know that her father is performing such a big Yajna, she decided to go there without invitation. Shiva tried his best to stop her from going there without invitation as it will cause harm but she didn’t stopped.

As sati was an uninvited guest, she was not given any respect there. Other then this, Daksh insulted Shiva in front of Sati which was unbearable for her. When the limit of Sati to bear the insult exceeded she immolated herself in the Yajna Kund.

The place where Sati immolated herself is known as Daksh Prajapati Mandir  which is in Kankhal, Haridwar.

Daksh Prajapati Temple, KankhalSource: Wikimedia

Daksh Prajapati Temple, Kankhal

When Lord Shiva came to know about Sati’s demise, he filled with anger and destroyed Daksha’s yajna. He also cut off Daksha’s head but later after calming himself down he replaced Daksha’s head with a male goat head and restored his life.

But still immersed in grief and pain he picked up the body of Sati and took it with him. He performed the Tandva which is the celestial dance of destruction. He wandered throughout Aryavartha in sorrow. On seeing the imbalance in universe, the other gods requested Lord Vishnu to stop this destruction and imbalance.

Shiva carrying sati's corpseSource: traveltomysteries

Shiva carrying sati’s corpse

As Lord Shiva was in grief, Lord Vishnu ordered his Sudarshana Chakra, which cut through the Sati’s corpse. The Sudarshana Chakra cut Sati’s corpse in 51 parts which fell down at several spots of Indian Subcontinent and formed sites which are known as Shaktipeethas today.

After this when Shiva calmed down, he visits to all Shaktipeethas and established Shaktipeethas. For their protection, Shiva kept his form of Kal Bhairva at each Shaktipeetha. So, Goddess Shakti is accompanied by her consort.

These Shaktipeethas are known to be enshrined with the presence of shakti due to falling of the body parts of the corpse of Devi Sati. Each Shaktipeetha and their Bhairva has different names.

Four Major Adi Shaktipeethas

Some of the great Hindu Scriptures like Shiva Purana, the Devi Bhagavata, the Kalika Purana and the AstaShakti recognize four major Shakti Peethas.

  • Bimala Temple inside the Jagannath Puri Temple, Odisha. Which part of devi Sati fell here is not sure. Some people says that feet of devi fell here and some says that her navel fell here. 
  • Tara Tarini in Berhampur, Odisha. Here the breast of devi Sati fell and hence this place is also known as breast shrine.
  • Kamakhya Temple near Guwahati,Assam. Yoni (Vagina) of devi sati fell here and this place has a great mystery which we will talk about in future posts. 
  • Dakhina (Dakshin) Kalika in  Kolkata. West Bengal. Here the toes of right foot of devi Sati fell

Brahamnanda Purana, one of the major eighteen Purana mentions that there are 64 Shaktipeethas. It is believed by some that these Shaktipeethas preserves the remains of some female ancient sage from which the legend of Kaali could have emerged and then merged with the Purusha (Purusha – Prakriti means Shiva – Shakti). 

So, this was a brief introduction to Shaktipeethas because there is so much to learn if we want to go deeper. Each Shaktipeetha has it’s own significance which attracts lakhs of deities around the world.

If you have any experience about these shaktipeetha to share then feel free to share here in the comment box.