Shri Tuljabhavani Temple
Tuljapur, the one from three and half Shakti Peethas (abodes of cosmic powers) of the state, is situated in Tuljapur , Osmanabad Dist . of Maharashtra State , wherein resides the Mother Goddess Tulja Bhavani. She is also lovingly admired as Aai (mother) Ambabai, Jagdamba, Tukai by her devotees who multitude in millions to Tuljapur for her Darshan and for seeking her blessings. As a divine Mother, she protects her children from the sins of evil desires, selfishness, jealousy, hatred, anger and ego. TuljaBhavani symbolizes the power of the Supreme Being that maintains moral order and honesty in the universe.
Tulja Bhavani is also described as the impressive and frightening goddess in Hindu Puranas. She is known for combating demons who threaten the stability of the universe. She killed the Demon (asur) called Kukur, who, endowed with supernatural powers, had become arrogant and a great menace to the social and moral order of the day. When the Goddess appeared to kill him, the demon implicit in the form of a violent buffalo (mahisha) and challenged her for a fight. She defeated him in the battle and killed him and from there onwards, she popularly known as “Mahishasur Mardini”, the one who killed the demon called mahishasur.
In Maharashtra, TuljaBhavani worship is great since ancient times and immeasurable royal houses and their nobles have been devotees. She is the Family Deity ( Kuldaivat) of most of the Maharashtiran families, including the great Bhonsla dynasty , whose most celebrated offspring was Great Shivaji, the founder of Hindavi Swarajya. Accordance with Hindu Puranas, Tulja Bhavani manifested her divine existence through all Yugas (ages). She guided Lord Rama in the Treta Yuga; blessed Yudhishtir in Dwapar Yuga in the war of Mahabharata, and in the Kali Yuga, Devi was never-ending source of great inspiration to King Shivaji and according to legend, she gifted the most celebrated Bhavani Sword to him.
Highly respected mythological references about The Goddess Tuljabhavani are found in the epics of all times, the Puranas. In Markendeya Purana, there are thirteen chapters (Adhyays) in Sanskrit, under the title “Durga Saptshathi”, containing seven hundred Shlokas or rhymes, describing the supreme powers of the deity.
Thorough ancient, the divinity of TuljaBhavani has been described and narrated in existing legends, folklores, bards and poems that have become the source of motivation for an entire nation – spiritually, socially and politically. From Dnyaneshwar to Aurobindo, the divine heroics of TuljaBhavani provided untold inspiration. While Saint Dnyaneshwar and other contemporary philosophers revered TuljaBhavani as ‘destroyer of human weaknesses, Shri Aurobidno regarded the Goddess as the prime mover for nationalistic reconstruction.
Holy Idol of Tuljabhavani
In temple Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is the Holy Idol (Murti) of the goddess Tuljabhavani, which is supposed to be the self manifested idol (Swayambhu Murti). This is a stone image about three feet in height, made of granite. The Idol of Devi has eight arms which carry various ayudhas (weapons) in the following order. The lowermost right hand holds a trident, the next one a dagger, the one above this an arrow and the uppermost right hand wields the chakra. In the uppermost left hand is a shankh, next is a bow, the third one carries a bowl and the lower most left hand holds the knot of hair on the head of the slain Asur (Demon). The right leg is planted firmly on the body of Mahishasur, the Demon, Devi killed, and the left leg on the ground. Ornaments like earrings, kundalas, necklaces etc. are, carved on the image. The Goddess rides a lion which is goddess’s vahan (carrier).