A Short Note on Temples of Godess Sri ChinnaMasta Devi

The legend of Daksha yagna continues further. After forcibly extracting Shiva's consent by threatening him by the Mahavidyas, Sati arrives uninvited to Daksha's yagna, along with a retinue of Shiva's followers. Daksha ignored Sati and vilified Shiva. Unable to withstand this insult, Sati sacrificed herself in the fire. The wild, grief-stricken Shiva wandered the universe with her half-burnt corpse. Finally, Vishnu dismembered her body into 51 parts, each of which fell on different places on the earth, each creating a Shakti Peetha shrine.

A Short Note on Temples of Godess Sri ChinnaMasta Devi

The Chintpurni ("She who fulfills one's wishes"), Himachal Pradesh temple of Chhinnamastika, is one of the Shakti Peethas (considered the holiest goddess temples) and is where the goddess Sati's forehead (mastaka) fell.

The legend of Daksha yagna continues further. After forcibly extracting Shiva's consent by threatening him by the Mahavidyas, Sati arrives uninvited to Daksha's yagna, along with a retinue of Shiva's followers. Daksha ignored Sati and vilified Shiva.

Unable to withstand this insult, Sati sacrificed herself in the fire. The wild, grief-stricken Shiva wandered the universe with her half-burnt corpse. Finally, Vishnu dismembered her body into 51 parts, each of which fell on different places on the earth, each creating a Shakti Peetha shrine.

Here, Chhinnamasta is interpreted as the severed-headed one as well as the foreheaded-one. The central icon is a pindi, an abstract form of Devi. While householders worship the goddess as a form of the goddess Durga, ascetic sadhus view her as the Tantric severed-headed goddess.

Another important shrine is the Chhinnamasta Temple near Rajrappa in Jharkhand, where a natural rock covered with an ashtadhatu (eight-metal alloy) kavacha (cover) is worshipped as the goddess. Though well-established as a centre of Chhinnamasta by the 18th century, the site is a popular place of worship among tribals since ancient times. Kheer and animal sacrifice are offered to the goddess.

A shrine dedicated to Chhinnamasta was built by a Tantric sadhu in the Durga Temple complex, Ramnagar, near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where tantrikas worship her using corpses. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has a shrine of the goddess that is open only three days a year, around Chaitra Navaratri.

Her shrines are also situated in the Kamakhya Temple complex, Assam and Basukinath temple complex, Jharkhand along with other Mahavidyas. There is a Chhinnamasta temple at Bishnupur, West Bengal.

The goddess Manikeswari, a popular goddess in Odisha, is often identified with Chhinnamasta. Chhinnamasta's shrines are also found in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. A shrine in the Changu Narayan Temple holds a 13th-century icon of Chhinnamasta.

A chariot festival in the Nepali month of Baishakh is held in honour of the goddess. In the fields near the temple sits a small shrine to Chhinnamasta. A temple of the goddess in Patan built in 1732 contains her images in different postures and enjoys active worship.

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