Kiriteswari Temple, one of the Murshidabad region’s oldest and aloof temples, is a major Shakti Peeth. The Kiriteswari Shakti Peeth is situated in Kiritkona village near Lalbagh.
One among the 52 Shakti Peeth, the crown of Maa Sati is said to have fallen here at Kiriteswari Shakti Peeth. The goddess is worshipped at Kiriteswari Temple as Vimala, while Lord Shiva is known as Sambart. The Shakti Peeth at Maa Kiriteswari temple is considered a Upapeeta, implying that no limb or body feels here, but her ornament did. It is one of the few temples in Bengal where there is no deity, but an auspicious black stone is worshipped.
What is Shakti Peeth? How many Shakti Peeth are there in India?
The Shakti Peeth are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations of Shaktism. There are 51 Shakti Peethas; 18 are named Maha Shakti Peeth, while others are Adi Shakti Peeth. These places where the scriptures speak of the body parts of Devi Sati fell, which then became Shakti sites post consecration by Lord Shiva himself. All shakti paths have Shakti Peeth ka Bhairava, a form of Lord Shiva destined to protect each Shakti Peeth. The list of Shakti Peeth in India does vary as I am yet to get an undisputed source.
What is my blog about ?
The ruins of Hampi ( read here ), the Cave temples of Badami ( read here ) and the Panch Kedar in Uttarakhand (read here ) are few examples of diverse Historical grandeur and legends. I have been fortunate to have got the opportunity to see these gems of India.
My blog focuses quite a bit on the ancient history and art of India, among other places of travel that I keep doing. The history posts come up because there is in ancient Indian History, so many monumental architectures created.
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About Kiriteswari Shakti Peeth
The stone is covered with a veil always, and the same is changed on the Ashtami of each Durga Puja and given a sacred bath. The crown has been worshipped through the ages till the present. The crown is preserved at Rani Bhabani’s Guptamath, located opposite the temple. There is a high altar on which a small altar is seen. Here is the face of Maa Kiriteswari is indexed.
History of Kiriteswari Temple
The Kiriteswari temple Shakti Peeth Murshidabad is more than 1000 years old, and this place is also considered the sleeping place of “Mahamaya”. It is also said to be the oldest temple in Bengal though I have my reservations on this, considering that we have Kalighat.
The local legends indicate this place to be the most senior mark of architecture in this region. King Darpanarayana built the temple during the 19th century. The original temple, built-in 1405, was destroyed due to a significant fire. Maa Kiriteswari was the presiding deity of the ruling house of Murshidabad in the golden days of yore.
There used to be 16 temples of different deities in the temple complex at one point in time. Bhairava, the eternal guardian of any Shakti Peeth, is also situated here. The temple finds reference in the Vabisyapuran and the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya.
Vibes of Kiriteswari Shakti Peeth
Kiritkona village is quite remote, and hence the obscurity of the location results in significantly less footfall by people from outside the region visiting this place. This has its advantages, for I found the serenity and peacefulness incredibly impactful. There is no din and clamour of local priests or hawkers selling their merchandise associated with any holy temple across the subcontinent. Instead, one is drawn to the vibe of the Goddess, which permeates the moment one sets foot in the vicinity of the main temple.
How to Reach: The nearest railhead is Lalbagh Court railway station which can be reached from Howrah using the local train network. However, I travelled by road from Kolkata, 243 km away.
Where to stay: The nearest town where some decent accommodation can be sought is Berhampore, which is over 1 hour away or at Murshidabad.
How to plan a visit. I suggest clubbing this visit with a trip to see History at Murshidabad, around 1.5 hrs away.
Shakti Peeth in West Bengal.
West Bengal and Odisha Shaki Peeth comprise the central portion of the list of 51 Shakti Peeth in India. There are some conflicting data regarding the Shakti peeth list of West Bengal. However, taking the more extensive list, I would like to bring out that there are 15 Shakti Peethas. These Sati piths of West Bengal are listed here. Out of these, the Satipith in Birbhum region are the most numerous: –
|01||Attohas||Dakshindihi ( read )|
|02||Bahula||Ketugram ( read )|
|04||Kalighat||Kolkata ( read )|
|11||Vibash||Tamluk ( read )|
|12||Jogadya||Kshirgram ( read)|
Among the most potent Shakti Peeth are Maa Kamakhya Shakti Peeth in Guwahati and Maa Kali at Kalighat, Kolkata.
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The Shakti Peeths in India have an aura on themselves, and irrespective of the beliefs that are associated with them, I feel that one should take the opportunity as a traveller to visit these unique mystical, legendary places to know about the history and myths that are an integral part of their existence in the social fabric of India.