Navratri Special: ‘Nav-goddesses’ of forts in Maharashtra
This festive season, Hindustan Times brings to you goddess idols from various forts in Maharashtra.pune Updated: Sep 25, 2017 16:00 IST
This festive season, HT brings to you goddess idols from various forts in Maharashtra. These idols were installed on the forts as the soldiers believed that it would protect them from evil and protect the fort from the enemy. Not just protection but these deities were worshipped on a regular basis and important decisions were made after taking their blessing. Even today, thousands of devotees trek to the top of these forts to pay tribute to these goddesses during Navratri.
1) Saptashrungi of Vani
It is one most famous pilgrimage sites situated 60 kilometres from Nashik. The temple is situated on Saptashrungi fort at a height of 4,600 feet. The devotees climb over 450 steps to reach the temple. The temple is also known popularly as one of the ‘three and a half shakti peeths’ of Maharashtra. The Goddess is also called as ‘Mahishasur Mardini’.
2) Shirkai Devi of Raigad
Before Shivaji Maharaj, Shirke family had a strong foothold in the Konkan area and since Raigad was a central point, they installed a form of war goddess on the fort. The goddess was worshipped during the Maratha empire on a large scale and all members of the royal family would be present on the fort during the festive season.
3) Bhavani devi of Pratapgad
During the initial period of Swarajya, Shivaji Maharaj was unable to visit his family deity - the goddess Bhavani at Tuljapur. So, he decided to dedicate a temple to the goddess at Pratapgad. The idol was carved from a special rock imported from Gandaki river in Nepal. The temple also has the sword of Maratha General Hambirao Mohite adorned with six diamond stones signifying that he had killed 600 soldiers in the battle.
4) Shivai Devi of Shivneri
When Jijabai, mother of Shivaji Maharaj was pregnant, she was sent to the Shivneri fort by Shahaji Maharaj for protection. Being a devotee of goddess Durga, Jijabai named her son after the famous ‘Shivai Devi’ on the fort. Shivaji Maharaj spent his childhood on the fort and later on conquered several other forts, however, he never managed to conquer Shivneri in his lifetime and hence, he couldn’t visit the temple again.
5) Korai Devi of Koraigad
The name of the fort is derived from the goddess Korai. A tiny temple of the goddess is still in good condition and has been renovated recently. The idol is four feet tall. It is said that the goddess was laden with beautiful jewellery before the British era. After winning the fort, the British soldiers looted the jewellery and it is believed that some of the ornaments were given to the six-century-old Mumbadevi temple in Mumbai.
6) Padmavati of Rajgad
The fort was the first capital of Swarajya. Initially, it was known as Murumbdev and was renamed as Rajgad. Shivaji Maharaj took special interest in construction of the fort. As per his wish, a temple of Padmavati was constructed and a part of the fort was named as ‘Padmavati machi’. There are three idols inside the temple and one idol was established by Shivaji Maharaj himself.
7) Rangnai Devi of Rangana
The fort is famous in the Kolhapur range. Surrounded by thick woods and away from human settlement, the temple looks like a mysterious place. The idol of the goddess is carved in black stone and dates back to the 12th century. The fort was built by King Bhoj during his era and probably the temple was built by the soldiers as it’s just a small construction.
8) Mangala Devi on Ajinkyatara
The fort is historically famous for its several battles and political movements. Mangala Devi is the protective deity of the fort and a bastion on the fort is named after the goddess. The idol of the goddess is unique and during Navratri several devotees from Satara visit the fort to pay their tributes.
9) Bhorai Devi on Sudhagad
Sudhagad is a fort located near Pali. The fort was originally referred to as Bhorapgad, after the goddess Bhoraidevi who was the family deity of the Pant Sachiv family who ruled over the Bhor district. However, the origin of this fort is said to date back to the 2nd century BC.