Some of the great religious texts like the Shiva Purana, the Devi Bhagavata, the Kalika Purana and the AstaShakti recognize four major Shakti Pithas (centers), like Bimala (Pada Khanda) (inside the Jagannath temple of Puri, Orissa), Tara Tarini (Sthana Khanda,Purnagiri ,Breasts) (Near Berhampur, Orissa), Kamakhya (Yoni khanda) (Near Guwahati, Assam) and Dakhina Kalika (Mukha khanda) (Kolkata, West Bengal) originated from the limbs of the Corpse of Mata Sati in the Satya Yuga.
The Astashakti and Kalika Purana says (in Sanskrit):
“Bimala Pada khandancha,
Sthana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),
Kamakshya Yoni khandancha,
Mukha khandancha Kalika (Dakshina Kalika)
Anga pratyanga sanghena
Vishnu Chakra Kshyta nacha”
Further explaining the importance of these four Pithas, the “Brihat Samhita” also gives the location of these Pithas as
Rushikulya* Tatae Devi,
Tashya Srunga Stitha Tara
*(Rushikulya is a holy river flowing on the foot hill of the Tara Tarini Hill Shrine).
List of 4 Adi Shakti Pithas
In the listings below:
. “Shakti” refers to the Goddess worshipped at each location, all being manifestations of Dakshayani, Parvati or Durga;
. “Body Part or Ornament” refers to the body part or piece of jewellery that fell to earth, at the location on which the respective temple is built.
||Body Part or Ornament
||In Puri, Orissa (inside Jagannath Temple complex)
||Kolkata- West Bengal
Bimala Shaktipeeth is one of the four Adi Shakti Peethas located in Puri, India. The temple dedicated to the goddess Bimala is located to the right of the main temple of Jagannath within the Jagannath Temple, Puri complex beside the Rohini Kund. It is believed that the feet [Pada Khanda] of Goddess Sati fell here. The temple is considered foremost among all Shaktipeeths. Lord Jagannath worshipped as the Bhairav form shows syncretism of Vaishnav amd Shaivite beliefs. Goddess Bimala is worshipped as a peaceful form of Shakti.
Kalighat Kali Temple:
Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.
Kalighat was a Ghat (landing stage) sacred to Kali on the old course of the Hooghly river (Bhagirathi) in the city of Calcutta. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. The river over a period of time has moved away from the temple. The temple is now on the banks of a small canal called Adi Ganga which connects to the Hoogly. The Adi Ganga was the original course of the river Hoogly (the Ganges). Hence the name Adi (original) Ganges.
History of Kalighat Kali Temple
The Kalighat temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan composed in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century. Only two types of coins of Chandragupta II, who incorporated Vanga in the Gupta Empire, are known from Bengal. His Archer type coins, which became the most popular type of coinage with the Gupta rulers after Kumaragupta I, have been found in Kalighat. This is evidence of the antiquity of the place.
The original temple was a small hut. A small temple was constructed by King Manasingha in the early 16th century. The resent temple was erected under the patronage of the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Barisha. It was completed in 1809. The Haldar family claims to be the original owners of the temple property. But this was disputed by the Chowdhrys of Barisha. In the 1960s a committee was formed for the administrative management of the temple with representation from the Government and the Haldar family. The responsibility of conducting the worship rests with the Haldars and their heirs, generally known as shebaits.
The image of Kali
The image of Kali in this temple is unique. It does not follow the pattern of other Kali images in Bengal. The present idol of touchstone was created by two saints – Brahmananda Giri and Atmaram Giri. Three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold and four hands, which all are made of gold too. Two of these hands holding a scimitar and a severed head of the asura king ‘Shumbha’. The scimitar signifies Divine Knowledge and the asura (or, human) head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands are in the abhaya and varada mudras or blessings, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshiping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and hereafter.
The Kamakhya Temple is a Shakti Peeth temple situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya, including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric worshipers.
The temple was built in first millennium during the time of Kamarupa. Allahabad rock inscriptions of Samudragupta mentioned about it. Temple was destroyed during the middle of second millennium and revised temple structure was constructed in 1565 by Chilarai of the Koch dynasty in the style of medieval temples. The current structure has a beehive-like shikhara with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside . The temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods.Â The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock. During the Ambuvaci festival each summer, the menstruation of the Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated. During this time, the water in the main shrine runs red with iron oxide resembling menstrual fluid.
It is likely that this is an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, and worshiping here still includes sacrifices. Devotees come every morning with goats to offer to Shakti. The Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation.Shakti is known as Kamakhya.
Kamakhya Temple in Himachal Pradesh:
The Kamakhya temple in the forest region of Polian Purohitan in Una District of Himachal State is situated at about 600 mt above sea level. The Pindi,was brought over by the Rajpurohits of Brahaminical – Aryan descent of the sage Vatsayan some 800 years ago after the invasion of the Shans in 1200C, with the destruction of the first tantric ritual site. The worshippers escaped in mass migration from the Garo-Khasi hill region of Assam, via the Tibet Himalaya silk route to Kashmir .While some left for the north west frontiers, a few families of the Brahamin Vatsayan Rajpurohits sanctified the tantric Kamakhyakuldevi in the wilderness of an isolated forest hill in Polian Purohitan.
Tara Tarini Sthana Peeth is situated on the holy Taratarini hill (Purnagiri) at a distance of 30 km from Berhampur in the state of Orissa, India. The Twin Goddesses Tara and Tarini are worshiped as manifestations of Adi Shakti. The Taratarini Hill Shrine is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of Mother Goddess and is one amongst four major ancient Shakti Peethas in India.
The mythological texts recognize four major Shakti Peethas, i.e. Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda) near Berhampur, Bimala (Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple (Puri), Kamakhya (Yoni khanda) near Guwahati and Dakshina Kalika (Mukha khanda) in Kolkata are the four Adi Shakti Peeths. Apart from these, there are 52 other sacred Shakti Peethas, which originated from the limbs of the corpse of Mata Sati in the Satya Yuga.
The History of Tara Tarini Hill Shrine:
According to mythological texts and folklore this Shrine has seen all the greatest icons of the human civilization like Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Lord Parasuram, the Pandavas and great saints like Jagadguru Sankaracharya, Shri Chaitanya and Balayogi Neelakanthi. It has also been the confluence ground of plethora of ancient religions like the Vedic religion, the Brahminical religion, the Hinduism, the Buddhism, the Tantricism etc. Unquestionably, these facts from the mythology demonstrate the historicity and importance of the Hill Shrine it occupied in the past. Further, the presence of the mythological pious river Rushikulya or Rushikalyani (known as the elder sister of the Ganges in the Vedas) on the foothill of the Shrine has further enhanced the significance of the Tara Tarini Shakti Dham which is also known as Kalyani Dham.
Highlights of the 6000 years history
According to the mythological Puranas the origin of Maa Tara Tarini is directly attributed to Daksha Prajapati’s Jagna in Satya Yuga. The famous Shakta Peethas of Bimala, Tara-Tarini, Dakshina Kalika, and Kamakshi originated from the limbs of the divine Corpse of Devi Sati. Mythological sacred texts like the Shiva Purana, the Kalika Purana, the Devi Bhagabat (a contemporary text of the Mahabharata written by Shri Vyasa Dev around 6000 years ago) attested this fact. It is known from the Mahabharata that before the commencement of the Mahabharata war Lord Srikrishna had advised Arjuna to offer prayer for victory at Shridevi Kupa or Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali originated from the limbs of Mata Sati like the other four major Shakti Peethas, existed during the time of the Mahabharata or around 6000 years ago. This is the oldest data/ information we get till date, regarding the existence of the Shrines originating from the limbs of Mata Sati.