(Last Updated on : 08/09/2010)
Danteshwari Temple is located 80 km (50 miles) from Jagdalpur city, a famous temple of Maa (Hindi for Mother) Danteshwari, a local goddess worshipped as an incarnation of Shakti. The temple is believed to possess divine powers. Every year during Dusshera, thousands of tribal from surrounding villages and jungles gather here to pay homage to the goddess.
Situated in Dantewada, southwest of Jagdalpur, at the confluence of the sacred rivers Shankini and Dhankini, this 600 year-old temple is one of the ancient heritage sites of India and is a representation of the religio-socio-cultural history of the Bastar region. However, people of India know very little about this shrine today. The vast temple complex today is a standing monument to centuries of history and tradition. With its rich architectural, sculptural and festival traditions, Danteshewari Mai Temple serves as the most important devout center for the people of this region.
It is believed that a tooth of Sati had fallen here, and that was how the Danteshwari Temple came into vogue. According to legends, Goddess Sati self-immolated Herself in the fire pit of the 'yajna kund', as she could not bear the insult done to her consort, Lord Shiva, by her father Daksha, during the yajna. Enraged by the death of his wife, Lord Shiva destroyed the yajna of Daksha and with the body of Sati balanced on his shoulders he created a 'taandav' (complete pandemonium). Lord Vishnu witnessing such work along with other gods cut Sati's body with his 'Sudharshan Chakra' to pieces, and in this process freed Shiva from the grief caused by his wife's death. Parts of the dead body of the Goddess lay scattered onto earth in 52 different places, which were consecrated as Shakti Pithas.
The Danteshwari Temple was built in the 14th century by the Chalukya Kings, in South Indian style of temple architecture. The idol of the Mother is chiseled in shiny black stone. The temple has four parts- Garbha Griha, Maha Mandap, Mukhya Mandap and Sabha Mandap. The Garbha Griha and Maha Mandap were constructed completely out of stone. There is a Garud Pillar in front of the entrance of the temple. The temple is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls, with the shikhara (spine) adorned with meticulous finery.