Tuljabhavani is important and most revered godess in Maharashtra. It is located at Tuljapur District Osmanabad in Maharashra. It is family godess (kuldaivata) of many families in Maharashtra and other states also. Tuljabhavani also known as 'Turja' is amongst three and half (sade teen) godess centres (shaktipeethas) of Maharashtra and fifty one shakipeethas of India. The pilgrims come to Tuljapur from entire Maharshtra and other states also.
In ancient India there was a king named Dushyanta. His son's name was Bharat. India is named after this Bharat. In the ancient India there were two forests named Naimishya Aranya and Dandakaryna. Marathawada which is part of Maharashtra is situated in this ancient Dandakaryna. This was known as Yamunachala Parvat (mountain) alias Balaghat. Tuljapur is situated in the hilly area of Yamunachala. In this area the self immerged idol (Swaymbhu Murti) which is made of Shaligram (non perishable stone) is situated. The installation (Sthapana) of the godess is not static but dynamic as compared to other temples. In other temples idol is fixed or static. But here the idol is not static but it is 'chala' i.e. it can be moved. The installation ceremony of this idol was done by Adya Shankaracharya on Sriyantra in ancient times. By nonstatic or 'Chala' it means that this idol is taken out from SriYantra thrice a year for pradakhina and once the pradaskina or pratikrama is done by the idol along with SriYantra, Mahadeo and Khanderao.
Idol of Tuljabhavani
The idol of the deity is the original idol (Swaymbhu Murti) which is made of Shaligram (black non perishable stone). The installation of the idol of deity is of 'Devipanchayatana' type. The idol is having eight hands. One hand is holding the hairs of a monster or Daitya and other hand contains Trishula or trident which is piercing the chest of the monster or Daitya. Below the leg of the idol lies Daitya or monster Mahishasura in whose chest the Trishula or trident appears to be inserted. This shows that the deity is killing the monster Mahishasura. On the right hand of the idol a lion is there which is 'Wahana' (vehicle of the deity on which the deity usually rides). Near the idol one can see the sage or Rishi Markendeya who is reciting Puranas or Hindu mythology. There is image of moon near the idol. One can see the image of sun on the right hand of the idol. In each hand of the idol one can see weapons or Ayudhas like Chakra, Gada, Trishula, Ankush, Dhanu, Pash. On the right side of the idol one can observe lady Anubhuti worshiping the deity. The lady Anubhati was the wife of Brahmin Kardama. Above the head of the idol there is small idol or 'Pindi' of lord Mahadeva. Also there is Swayanbhu Muguta or self immerged crown on the head of the deity.
Nidra of Tuljabhavani (Sleeping of Deity)
The deity is believed to be going for sleep thrice in a year.
Following are the periods during which the deity goes for sleep.
1. Bhadrapada Krishna Ashtamee to Amavasya
2. Ashwin Shuddha Dashmee to Amavasya
3. Pousha Pratipada to Saptmee
During the year the deity sleeps for 20 days. In case of Vridhi of Tithee the period of sleep is 21 days. In case of Kshaya of Tithee the sleep period is reduced to 19 days.
Story of Tuljabhavani
There lived in "Krityuga" simple Brahmin sage by name Kardama. The name of his wife was Anubhuti. She was endowed with beauty like Rati & many good qualities. When her died, she begain preparation for " Sutee". At that juncture Divine Broadcast advised " that woman with young child need not go " Sutee". Thereafter she changed her mind & decided to practice penance in the beautiful surroundings of the river MANDAKANI. Anubhuti was Yogi. KUKAR the king of Deman saw her while she was in state of SAMADHI.Gaging at her charming beauty, sinful desire of lust sprang in the mind of KUKAR. At first he tried to win her with sweet word & having failed in attempt, with his brute force tried to commit breach of her chastity & also of her penance. Then Anubhuti prayed the GODDESS for mercy & begain to cry for help. Tulja Bhavani reponded to call & appeared immediately at the place of penance to kill the Demon KUKAR. When Tuljabhavani determined to kill the demon Kukar & began to with him, the KUAKR changed the form & assumed form of a buffalo ( MAHIASH ) & began to dance on the battlefield. On Ashwin Shudha 10, the goddess killed KUAKR & hence the day is celeberated as " VIJAYA DASHAMI. As goddess responded & rushed in haste for the protection of her devotees ,so she is called " TWARITA". Tulja is Marathi form of Twarita & goddess is known as Tulja Bhavani.
Nine Rupa's of Tuljabhavani
In mythology nine Rupa's or forms of the deity are refered.
Important Events and festivals
This is the main festival of Tuljabhavni. This festival runs for 9 days. It starts on Ashvin Pratipada and ends on Dushmee or Dussera. During this festival various religious ceremonies are performed throuh priests or brahmins. Importants ceremonies are Durgasapatashati Path (Enchanting of religious rhymes), Navgraha Jap, Abhisheks, various fire ceremonies like Homas. These religious ceremonies start on Ashtmee or eight day of month Ashwina and end on Dashmee. Poornahooti is offered to deity and also some sacrifice is offered to deity.
There are three types of 'Nidras' or slumber of deity
This event takes place on Ashivana Shuddha Dashami.
At the time of this Nidra the idol of deity with full worn sari is taken out of the the inner room or Garbhgriha of the temple. Procession of the idol takes place wherein the idol rests in Palkhi . After completion of Pradakshina or full round of the temple the deity rests on the Palanga or special cot meant for sleeping of deity.
This event takes place on Bhadrapada Krishna Ashtami. Here the idol of the deity is applied with turmeric and kept on special silever cot or Palanga which is there for sleeping of deity.
This event takes place on Pousha Shuddha Pratipada. Here the idol of the deity is applied with turmeric and kept on special silver cot or Palanga which is there for sleeping of deity.