Saptashrungi Temple

Devi & Jupiter



Saptashrungi Saptashrungi) is a site of Hindu pilgrimage situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Nashik in west Indian state of Maharashtra in India. According to Hindu traditions, the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells within the seven mountain peaks. (Sapta means seven and shrung means peaks.) It is located in Nanduri, Kalwan taluka, a small village near Nashik in India.The Marathas and some Bhil tribes worship the goddess from a long time and some worship as their kuldaivat.There are 510 steps to climb the gad.Devotees visit this place in large numbers every day. The temple is also known popularly as one of the “three and half Shakti Peethas” of Maharashtra. The temple is also one among the 51 Shakti Peethas located on the Indian subcontinent and is a location where one of Sati’s (first wife of Lord Shiva) limbs, her right arm is reported to have fallen.its half shaktipeeth among three and half shaktipeeth of Maharashtra.
Saptashrungi is a hill range consisting of seven hills locally called Ghads and form part of the Sahyadri Range of hills in Western Ghats. Sahyadri Range is also known as Ajanta Satmala Range and the average height of the peaks is 4,500 feet (1,400 m). The Dhodap, in the center of this mountain range, is the highest peak with an elevation of 4,600 feet (1,400 m), and Saptasrungi is towards its west. There are 108 water bodies (ponds) located in the watershed of these hills, which are called Kundas. Nanduri, Kalwan and Vani are the villages nearest to the temple, which are situated at the foot of the hills. There are many approaches to reach the top of the temple location. The route from Nashik and Vani via Dindori is 39 kilometres (24 mi) and via Pimpalgaon Baswant is 51 kilometres (32 mi). The route via Nadurgaon village is the easiest and is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Vani. It is at a distance of 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Nashik, the district headquarters. The State Highway 17 (Maharashtra) (SH-17) connected with the National Highway 3 (NH 3) links Nashik with the temple site near the villages of Vani and Nanduri. Bus facilities by state transportation are available to reach the temple precincts. The forests in the hills are reported to have medicinal herbs. There is a circumlocutory path used by pilgrims to do parikrama around the temple. This path is in an elevation range between 1,230 metres (4,040 ft) and 1,350 metres (4,430 ft), and is stated to be in steep rock topography. The hills are covered with verdant forests.
Three and a half Shakti Peethas (prominent seats of the Hindu Goddess) are reported in Maharashtra. These four Goddess temples are Mahalakshmi Temple at Kolhapur, Tulja Bhavani Temple at Tuljapur, Renuka Temple at Mahur (Matripur) and the Sapatashrungi Temple of Vani. These four temples are also interpreted to represent the four parts of holy AUM, A kara, U kara, Ma kara and Mmm kara (Ardha matra). Though which of these is a ardha-peetha (a half Shakti Peetha, considered lower in importance to a complete Shakti Peetha) is disputed, Saptashrungi is generally regarded to be a half Shakti Peetha. However, the official site of the temple declares it as a complete Shakti Peetha. The three presiding deities of the Goddess-oriented scripture Devi Mahatmya in the Saptashrungi are considered a combined manifestation of the three goddesses which are equated with Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur, Mahasaraswati of Tuljapur and Mahakali of Mahur.

The Devi Bhagavata Purana mentions Saptashringa hills as a Shakti Peetha. However, no other major religious scriptures accord the Saptashrungi temple this status.

The presiding goddess of the temple is also known by other names as: Sapatashrungi (“(goddess) of seven hills”), Saptashrunga-nivasini (“one who resides on Saptashrunga – the seven hills”), Saptashrunga-mata (“the mother-(goddess) of Saptashrunga”). The suffix Devi (goddess) may be added to the first two names. She is also known as Brahmasvarupini (“one who has form of Brahman”). The goddess is reported to have appeared from the kamandalu (water-pot) of the creator-god Brahma.

The Goddess had taken the form of Durga (the Mahalakshmi of Devi Mahatmaya) and slew the buffalo-demon Mahishasura, who troubled the universe. After that the Goddess is believed to be settled here. As the Goddess took form here and resided at Saptashrungi, it is considered the original location of the Goddess.
This temple is one among the 51 Shakti peethas located on the Indian subcontinent and is a location where one of Sati’s limbs, her right arm is considered to have fallen when grief-stricken and agitated Shiva was carrying her dead body round the world on his shoulders, and Vishnu had cut her body into pieces with his Sudarshana Chakra. The story behind this event is that King Prajapati Daksha, father of Sati (the first wife of Lord Shiva), was performing a yagna (yagna is defined as a Hindu fire ritual sacrifice when deities of the Vedic times like Agni, the fire god, and others were invoked by offering oblations such as ghee (clarified butter), milk, grains and so forth) called as Brihaspatirao. Sati (also called Shakti) who was Lord Shiva’s wife, attended the function without invitation. Daksha who was not fond of his son-in-law, as he considered him a mendicant, purposely did not invite him for the yagna, while he invited all other gods. Sati felt deeply insulted by the slight shown by her father towards her husband whom she had married out of deep love. Even then she decided to attend the yagna uninvited by her own father. When she went there, her father compounded the insult by totally ignoring her presence and vilifying Shiva. Sati felt deeply humiliated and hurt, and then in frustration she jumped into the yagna fire and committed suicide. When this news was conveyed to Shiva, first he sent his assistant to the site to enquire and take revenge. Shiva also came to the yagna site and created a furor. In a state of grief and anger he put Sati’s dead body on his shoulders and started wandering round the universe. Looking at this grave situation, Brahma and Vishnu decided to intervene and bring back Shiva to his normal self. It was then decided that Vishnu will follow behind Shiva, and with his Sudarsha Chakra cut Sati’s dead body into pieces. Thus Vishnu cut her into 51 pieces (108 pieces are also mentioned in many Puranic texts) as Shiva traveled around the world and these fifty one body parts of Sati fell at different locations in the subcontinent, and all these places came to be known as Shakthi Peethas (abode of goddess Shakthi or Durga). Her right arm fell on the Saptashrungi hills and the place became holy, and a Shakthi Peeth came to be established here.

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