(Last Updated on : 23/01/2013)
Charchika Temple, reconstructed in the 19th century, is located atop a small hillock Ruchika hills on the bed of the Renuka River in the Indian state
. Situated in the heart of the small town of Banki in Cuttack district
, the temple enshrines the eight armed goddess Chamunda
, revered as Maa Charchika Devi by the local residents of the region.
Legend of Charchika Temple
A legendry fable of the holy shrine states that once a devotee religiously worshipped Goddess Charchika and upon pleasing her, took away all her belongings and ornaments. With those valuables he built a house. The goddess with a purpose of punishing him and making him homeless, created River Renuka in the same place where he built his home.
Architecture of Charchika Temple
The intensity and vividness of the religious sentiment and creative magnitude of the artisans of the bygone eras are minutely reflected in the architectural brilliance of the Charchika Temple. On iconographical standpoint the presiding deity of the temple, Goddess Charchika can be dated back to the 9th-10th centuries A.D. during the rule of Bhauma Kara Dynasty
in Orissa. Parashurama
, the sixth human avatar of Lord Vishnu
is believed to have constructed the idol of the deity. The architect, keeping in mind the basic proportions derived exclusively from religious contemplations, adorned the temple with a jagamohan, pidha vimana, and a wooden mandapa named as 'sunyavahini mandapa.' The architectural particularization and the decorative details state the usage of stone for the construction of this religious abode. In addition to this the whole surface has been plastered with thick lime and beautifully white washed. Wood has been predominantly employed for the construction of the ceiling of the mandapa while stone has been majorly utilised for erecting the pillars. The overwhelming asset of architectural facets and decorative exuberance of the ancient period is clearly evident from the copiously painted and carved ceilings of the mandapa that illustrate episodes from Bhagavata Purana
. It has been gracefully embellished with images of birds and animals such as duck, peacock
, parrot, etc; lotus
medallions, floral motifs, fine jali works, scroll, horse riding, animal hunting, gaja-vidalas, mithuna, makaramukha and maithuna images.
Deity of Charchika Temple
Goddess Chamunda, the chief deity of the temple is seen seated on a prostrate human body and is decked with a garland of human skulls. The deity possesses eight hands. With her four right hands she holds khadga, shula, katari and varada mudra
while with her other four left hands she holds a severed head, blood cup, damru and a hand completely soaked in blood. Besides the central deity, the parsvadevata niches in the temple houses images of a four armed Goddess Chamunda, an eight armed Chamunda and a four armed Mahisasuramardini Durga installed on the western and southern side respectively.
Charchika Temple observes several festivals in a colourful with great enthusiasm and gusto. Durga Puja
, the most important festival of the Hindus is celebrated with great passion attracting hordes of pilgrims from different parts of the country. Dussehra
, the final day of the Durga Puja is celebrated elaborately. Kumar Purnima
, another Hindu festival celebrated 5 days after Dussehra is famous here.