Mythological History of Goddess Sarala Temple
According to the mythological history of Sarala Temple, that goes back to thousands of years, to the age of Parashurama. It is said that it was God Parashurama who had carved the goddess with the tip of his arrow. Even this temple survived the ravages of Kala Chand (legendary Kala Pahada).
History of Goddess Sarala Temple
The new temple of Goddess Sarala was about 500 years old. It was built by the Raja of Manijanga. The remnants of the old temple is not visible, but folklore goes that it was at Badasarol, a place where the Ganesha Temple, (generally adorns the south gate of all Oriya temples) (Nanda Deula, now renovated) stands as witness, where the old temple once stood.
Dedication to Sarala Temple
Maa Saarala is a Hindu goddess who patronizes the cultures of Vaishnava and Shakta. Rarely does one find the use of Vilva Patra and Tulasi patra in any temple, as they are symbols of two distinct divisions of Hindu culture.
Hindu and Buddha Gods in Sarala Temple
There is also a conglomeration of Hindu and Buddha gods and goddesses in Sarala Temple. The Buddhist tantric figure is there, as she holds a book, Veena and hand bell – known Mahayana symbols. It is said that Huen Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, visited Odisha and he had taken a ship from Chilitolo Port to Sri lanka, which historians attribute to modern day Tirtol. This may be a possibility as geography shows that Paradip was an island and the land in and around Kujanga was under water. There is geographic evidence to support this. To be at a safer side, we may conclude that Sarala represents the Shiva-Shakti worship which evolved from an amalgamation of Shaivism (worship of Shiva), Shaktism (worship of the Mother Goddess) and/or Tantric form.
Goddess Sarala in Sarala Temple
Goddess Sarala is known as Vak Devi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom. It is well documented that Sidheshwar Parida - a small time farmer and part-time Oriya Paika - was an ardent follower of the Goddess and it was after her blessings that Sidheshwar Parida became Sarala Das, the author of the Oriya Mahabharata.
Festivals in Goddess Sarala Temple
Although there are many festivals that are celebrated in the temple, the major ones are: Parbana, Sharadiya Utsav, Pana Sankranti, Dola Purnima, Chandan Jatra. The people of the Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack districts are so attached to the goddess that they make it a point to visit the temple every year - at least once.
The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar, which is approximately 80 km, and is well connected by road. The nearest railway station is Cuttack; however, there is a small Passenger Halt at Sarala Road, near Tentulipada. The temple can be reached via Jagatsinghpur, or Tarapur by road, from Cuttack.
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