Monday, 19 May 2014

Seek solace at Taratarini Shrine

BY: BIBHUTI BARIK
Bhubaneswar, May 18: When chief minister Naveen Patnaik started his electoral journey after paying an obeisance to the famous deity at Taratarini three weeks ago, people of Ganjam and the entire south Odisha were extremely happy.
Before beginning anything auspicious, an average person from undivided Ganjam district and the entire south Odisha would always seek blessings of Goddess Taratarini. It is believed that if you go to the temple with a wish in your heart, then it would definitely be fulfilled.
Situated in Raipura village under Purushottampur block in Ganjam district, lakhs of tourists from nearby areas in Odisha and also from Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bengal visit the famous shrine.
The temple on the summit of a hillock is on the right bank of the beautiful and meandering Rushikulya river. The shrine is just 7km away from Purushottampur and 30km away from Berhampur.
Travel writer from Chhatrapur, district headquarters town of Ganjam, Sujata Patnaik, said: “Taratarini shrine has now achieved tremendous popularity for the twin goddesses Tara and Tarini. Both are ancient deities and were worshiped on the hilltop at a small temple for decades in the past. The original structure was demolished in 2005 and the new temple replaced the old one with the Kalingan temple architecture. With beautiful Khandolite stone the temple looks beautiful from the road near the foothill.’’
Nityanand Mondal, a visitor from Bhubaneswar, who came to the shrine with family said: “The ropeway has added a new dimension to the tourism scene. Unlike the ropeway at Nandankanan Zoological Park, which is abandoned now, the cars here give you a feeling of a safe ride. A person can also come to the hilltop without hiring a vehicle and go back by the ropeway.’’
The state government has also taken up widening of the road to the shrine that was earlier narrow. “The road widening work is a good step taken by the authorities. The endowment department should go for facilitating basic amenities near the shrine outside the temple compound,’’ said Nigam Nayak, a tourist, who came from Berhampur with friends.
The twin deities, crudely fashioned in stone, have beautiful silver eyes attached to them. Legends connect the deities to Sakta cult in the past.
Historians say that the Bhanja dynasty rulers of the former Ghumsar state in the undivided Ganjam district installed the enshrining deity. At present the endowment department looks after the temple, but Taratarini Development Board administers the day-to-day affairs.
Interestingly, monkeys in groups often create problems for visitors. “You must not flash a banana or coconuts openly while returning from the temple before getting into the vehicles. You should hide them with a dupatta or a bag,’’ said Nayak.
While the kalpa bata or the banyan tree which fulfils wishes is outside the temple and gets offerings of red scarves, bangles and clothes, a point near the gate also attracts visitors to put their offerings on a platform.
Offerings such as laddu and khichdi are available at a counter near a gate with a nominal price.
Getting there is easy as taxis and auto-rickshaws available at Berhampur and Chhatrapur. There are several places to stay. Moreover, there is a beautiful Panth Nivas run by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation near the hill. Rail and road links to Berhampur and Chhatrapur are available in plenty.

Source: The Telegraph 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Polythene, liquor to be banned at Tara Tarini during Chaitra fest

Last year over seven lakh devotees visited the hill top shrine during the Chaitra festival

Use of polythene and consumption of liquor would be completely banned during Chaitra festival at Tara Tarini hill shrine this year.
It was decided at a preparatory meting for the festival, which was chaired by Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division, Bikash Mohapatra, who also happens to be the president of Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB), new Ganjam Collector Prem Chandra Choudhury as well as officials of different departments. The Chaitra festival at Tara Tarini hill shrine would be held on five consecutive Tuesdays starting from March 18.
A large number of devotees visit the hill shrine during this time. Last year over seven lakh devotees had visited the hill shrine during the Chaitra festival. The TTDB authorities feel their number may increase this year. The Tara Tarini hills shrine had faced severe impact of Cyclone Phailin. So, basic restoration work is on to provide required amenities to the devotees visiting the shrine.
As all rest sheds at this hill shrine have been destroyed by the cyclone, both at the hill top and downhill, the TTDB has decided to make alternative arrangements. According to secretary of the TTDB, Pramod Patnaik, around thirty tents would be put at different places at this hill shrine to provide shelter to the visitors.
It was also decided to protect the environment of this hill shrine through complete ban of polythene at the shrine and its adjoining areas during the Chaitra festivities.
Apart from it sale of liquor would also be stopped in this area from Monday evening to Tuesday evening during the Chaitra festival. Sulabh International and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) departments would be in charge of maintenance of sanitation.
To provide adequate quantity of water to the visiting devotees, ten tankers would be used. They would be procured from Army Air Defence College, Gopalpur as well as different urban local bodies in Ganjam district.
The ropeway to the top of the hill shrine which had been devastated by the cyclone last year has been restored. “But the operator of the ropeway has been advised to procure new fitness certificate before the Chaitra festival,” said an official. The stairs to the hill top as well as the roads to it have also been renovated for the festival.
The bank of Rushikulya river that flows along the Tara Tarini hill has been eroded for a stretch of over 100 meters near the hill shrine. So, it has been decided to deploy Odisha Disaster rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel at this stretch to avoid any mishaps.
Water tankers to be used to provide adequate quantity of water to devotees
The ropeway to the top of the hill shrine has been restored: official

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Saturday, 23 November 2013

TOURISTS BACK IN CYCLONE-HIT GANJAM

Tourism in the Phailin-hit Ganjam district has resumed with a gradual inflow of visitors to the famous tourist destinations like Gopalpur-on-Sea, Rambha-on-Chilka and the Tara Tarini Shakti Peeth. As the peak tourist season spans from October to March, all the 20 major hotels — including the State-owned Panthanivas — have been getting visitors soon after the authorities cleaned up Gopalpur, according to hoteliers.
Visitors from the USA, Canada, Italy, Korea, Britain, Germany and Belgium have been visiting the town after normalcy was restored after the Phailin battered the sea resort on October 12. The lighting system has been restored in the beach on a priority basis for the convenience of the tourists, said Gopalpur Notified Area Council Executive Officer R Mishra.
Tourists from West Bengal and some other places have come to Rambha. They had been lodged at Rambha and Barkul before visiting the Chilika lake. The restoration work is almost complete at Chilika. Boating has also resumed in the lake, Rambha Panthanivas Manager Rabi Das said. Another tourist spot, the Tampara lake, located near Chhatrapur, has suffered a serious setback as its boating club, jetty, decorative electric poles and other facilities were destroyed. It would take some more time to restore normalcy at the lake area, official sources said. Source: The Pioneer 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Phailin changes face of ‘green’ Maa Tara Tarini hill Shrine


Nature’s fury in the form of the Phailin cyclone has devastated everything at the famous Tara Tarini hill shrine except the main temple on the hill top.
The 965 feet high hill, which was proud of its lush green vegetation cover, has become totally naked with the brown rocky base showing up. Most of the large trees on this hill have got uprooted or massively damaged by the cyclonic storm. According to secretary of the Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB) Pramod Panda, they included several decade old banyan and peepul trees. “Due to its lush green nature, this hill was being called Purnagiri or Kumari parvat. But the cyclone seems to have snatched away that identity from the hill,” he said. A cashew plantation of the hill shrine at Sholaghara near the hill has also been completely devastated.
The ropeway station at the foothills of the famous Tara Tarini
mangled with uprooted trees in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin 

According to the priests and authorities of the TTDB, this hill shrine had not faced such devastation during the two cyclones that hit Ganjam district in 1999.
Major attraction
A major attraction of this hill shrine was the rope way to the hill top. It is an irony that it was to be restarted recently after renovation. But the cyclone has caused much damage to the ropeway which would surely delay its inception.
Although the towers and cables of the ropeway are in place, they have to be checked up to ascertain whether they are strong enough after the cyclone. The carriages of the ropeway have been damaged.
All buildings at the hill top and most buildings at the foot of the hill were damaged by the cyclone. No structure has remained at the hill top except the newly-renovated temple which was completed in 2010.
This temple had been built as per traditional Rekha style of Odia temple architecture. It again proved that Rekha style of temple architecture as per which famous Jagannath temple of Puri and Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar have been built can with stand major cyclones.
The stairway and the road to the hill top have been cleared up but drinking water supply and power connectivity to the hill top remains snapped.
For providing drinking water to devotees, water is being taken by tanker to the hill top.
Nature’s fury also had its impact on the flow of devotees to the hill shrine. Very few visitors are visiting the hill shrine and their number was not expected to rise even during the Kali Puja, the priests of the temple said.
Pre cyclone image
Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division, Bikash Mohapatra, who also happens to be president of the TTDB, said all the developmental projects proposed for this hill shrine were also stalled due to the devastation caused by the cyclone.
The TTDB had planned to move around a ‘rath’ in Ganjam district to collect donations for the development of the hill shrine, which cannot be taken up now as the whole district is devastated by the cyclone and the rains and flood that followed.
“We are now planning to start online donation facility for the restoration and reconstruction works at the hill shrine so that devotees living outside could come over to help in rebuilding the hill shrine to its past glory.
Priority

“Our first priority now would be to regenerate the devastated vegetation of the hill shrine in consultation with the forest department,” said the RDC. The aim would be to plant those species of trees on the hill which would sustain cyclonic storms in future and would not get uprooted. But it is for sure for next few years the hill shrine would continue to have a barren look as a memory of wrath of nature which did not spare the hill which was a major centre of faith. Source: The Hindu

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Navaratri begins at Adi Shakti Peeth Tara Tarini


Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Maa Durga/ Shakti. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. Like in First Navratri – Shailputri, Second Navratri – Bhramcharini, Third Navratri – Chandraghanta, Fourth Navratri – Kushmanda, Fifth Navratri – Skandmata, Sixth Navratri – Kaatyayani, Seventh Navratri – Kaalratri, Eighth Navratri – Mahagauri and Ninth Navratri – Siddhiratri are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly celebrated as Vijayadashami or "Dussehra".

Vijayadashami or Durga Puja is a festival, which is celebrated in different ways in India. In major Shakti Peethas like Kamakshya, Daksinakali, Bimala, Vaishnodevi, Chamundeswari and particularly in Adi Shakti Peeth of Maa Tara Tarini the Durga Puja is observed for 16 days, starting from Krushna Paksha Ashtami to Shukla Paksha Navami of the Hindu Calendar, also known as Shodasa Dinatmaka Upachara. Navaratri is the last nine days of Shodasa Puja.

SHODASA PUJA BEGINS AT TARA TARINI SHRINE
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 | PNS | BRAHMAPUR | in Bhubaneswar: The Sodasha Puja or Shodasa Dinatmaka Upachara of Maa Tara Tarini in the run-up to the Dussehra festival started from Mulastami on September 27 at the hill shrine near here.
The Sodasha Puja began with Chandi Path and Yajna, also known as Devi Utthapana.  With the chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambiance of the hill shrine and the ritualistic worship by the devotees, the festive atmosphere looked surcharged with an exhilarating blend of spirituality. Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB) secretary, office bearers, temple authorities and thousands of devotees were present on the day…Link- http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/bhubaneswar/shodasa-puja-begins-at-tara-tarini-shrine.html
Odisha: Shodasa puja begins at Tara Tarini
Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Berhampur: The Sodasha Puja or Shodasa Dinatmaka Upachara of Maa Tara Tarini in the run up to the Dussehra festival started from Mulastami on 27 September at the hill shrine near Berhampur city in Odisha. The Sodasha Puja began with Chandi Path and Yagna, also known as DEVI- UTTHAPANA……Link http://www.orissadiary.com/ShowDistrictNews.asp?id=44500
SHODASA PUJA BEGINS AT TARA TARINI SHRINE
Ganjam: The Sodasha Puja or Shodasa Dinatmaka Upachara of Maa Tara Tarini in the run-up to the Dussehra festival started from Mulastami on September 27 at the hill shrine near here.
The Sodasha Puja began with Chandi Path and Yajna, also known as Devi Utthapana.  With the chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambiance of the hill shrine and the ritualistic worship by the devotees, the festive atmosphere looked surcharged with an exhilarating blend of spirituality-Like -http://www.odishabarta.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14399:-shodasa-puja-begins-at-tara-tarini&catid=35:top-stories

Shodasa Puja begins at Maa Tara Tarini Adi Shakti Peeth

The Sodasha Puja or Shodasa dinatmaka Upachara of Maa Tara Tarini in the run up to the Dussehra festival started from Mulastami on 27 September at the hill shrine near Berhampur city in Odisha.
FACEBOOK.COM/TARATARINIHILLSHRINE 
The Sodasha Puja began with Chandi Path and Yagna, also known as DEVI- UTTHAPANA. With the chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambiance of the Hill Shrine and the ritualistic worship by the devotees surcharged the festiv...See More Like - https://www.facebook.com/Taratarinihillshrine

Monday, 30 September 2013

Shodasa Puja begins at Maa Tara Tarini Hill Shrine

The Sodasha Puja or Shodasa dinatmaka Upachara of Maa Tara Tarini in the run up to the Dussehra festival started from Mulastami on 27 September at the hill shrine near Berhampur city in Odisha. The Sodasha Puja began with Chandi Path and Yagna, also known as DEVI- UTTHAPANA.  With the chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambiance of the Hill Shrine and the ritualistic worship by the devotees surcharged the festive atmosphere with an exhilarating blend of spirituality. The Secretary TTDB, other officials of TTDB, temple authorities and thousands of devotees were present on that day at the hill top shrine.
With the commencement of the puja after 3.00 pm on Mulastami and amidst chanting of hymns the Sevakas of Maa Tara Tarini temple brought 108 pots of water from the holy River Rushikulya flowing at the foot hill of this ancient Shrine. After the rituals of Snana, Majana, Maha Arati and commencement of Yagna in the established tradition the goddess gave darshan to her devotees in the Rajarajeswari Besha and the entire process continued till 7.30 pm. As per the information from the Shrine the Chandi Patha and Yagna will continue till last day of Vijayadashami / Dussehra.
Durga Puja is a festival, which is celebrated in different ways in India. In major Shakti Peethas like Kamakshya, Daksinakali, Bimala, Vaishnodevi, Chamundeswari and particularly in Adi Shakti Peeth of Maa Tara Tarini the Durga Puja is observed for 16 days, starting from Krushna Paksha Ashtami to Shukla Paksha Navami of the Hindu Calendar, also known as Shodasa Dinatmaka Upachara. The Goddess Durga is also worshiped by devotees in different Pendals for a period of either nine days or less across the states of eastern India.
Out of the 16 days the Navratri Puja at the Tara Tarini shrine will start from October 05 and will culminate till october13. The Sodasha Puja and particularly Navratri are very important and major festival in the religious calendar of the Shrine. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped i.e., on theFirst day of Navratri – Shailputri, Second day of Navratri – Bhramcharini, Third Navratri – Chandraghanta, Fourth Navratri – Kushmanda, Fifth Navratri – Skandmata, Sixth Navratri – Kaatyayani, Seventh Navratri – Kaalratri, Eighth Navratri – Mahagauri/Mahakali and Ninth Navratri – Siddhiratri are worshipped. The tenth day is known as Vijayadashami and the Sharad Sodasha Puja culminates in Durga Puja or "Dussehra".  During this entire 16 days period the Sanctum of Maa Tara Tarini Shakti Peeth remains open round the clock for Darshan of the devotees.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Were Ganjem in Goa and Ganjam in Odisha linked in ancient times?

Was the Devi of Ganjem in Goa inspired by Tara-Tarini of Ganjam, Odisha?
A professor in Goa University's history department, Pratima Kamat has posed this question after her ethnoarchaeological research into the 'Boat Deities' of the Mhadei River Valley of the Satari and Sanguem talukas of Goa (Tarini and Tar-Vir: The Unique Boat Deities of Goa, 2008) revealed what she terms as exciting new linkages between Goa and Odisha.

Kamat points out that scholars have written about Goa's cultural links with Bengal, especially about the migration of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins to Goa, but not much about the maritime traditions and heritage with the state's links to Odisha. "Certain cultural similarities are visible in the ethnographical heritage of the two maritime societies, Goan and Odia, located on opposite coasts of the Indian peninsula etched in the early medieval times that are worthy of more intensive research," Kamat states in her study.
Ganjem was a last port of call along the River Mandovi for centuries, but its past is fading with time.
"Unique votive as well as abandoned sculptures of the Devi-in-a-boat are located in the Satari and Sanguem talukas of Goa. These may be compared with a similar Devi-in-a-boat found in some parts of coastal Odisha," says Kamat.
In addition to iconographical evidence, she points to ethnographical comparisons between the worship of Tara-Tarini/Tara in places like Ganjam, Ghatgaon and Ratnagiri in Odisha, and the votive traditions associated with the Devi-in-a-boat as 'Tarini' in the Satari and Sanguem talukas of Goa.
Kamat draws similarities between the boat festival of Sanquelim, another riverine port like Ganjem, with the Boita Bandana and Bali Yatra of Cuttack, Odisha.
The Goan river, Mhadei and its tributaries are hosts to the Devi-in-a-boat and shaped the region's cultural history as much as River Mahanadi influenced Odisha.
Both states also witnessed the influence of Buddhism and Jainism; have a votive tradition of supplicating the Saptamatrika; enjoy a Shaktipitha status; possess similar maritime traditions, Kamat states in her study.
Referring to the culinary aspect, the Goan patoli and its Oriya country cousin, the endura pitha, Kamat says they suggest another reason to support her research. Source: ToI 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Tara Tarini hill shrine to get new ropeway

Tara Tarini hill shrine near Berhampur in Ganjam district is all set to get a new ropeway to the hill top shrine. According to authorities of the Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB), a test run of this new modernized ropeway had started from May 14. After completion of one month of test run, there would be a proper security check and date of its inauguration would be fixed.

It may be noted that a Kolkata-based company had started a ropeway to the hill top in 2007. In August 2012 this company withdrew from the project. 
Notable, now Usha Breco Pvt. Ltd, Ghaziabad has established this ropeway at the Tara Tarini hill shrine near Berhampur on the lines of the modern Ropeways at Mansa Devi in Haridwar.
According to the secretary of the TTDB, Pramod Panda, the ropeway had remained defunct since August 2012. Source: The Hindu

Friday, 10 May 2013

RDC reviews developmental works and law and order situation at Tara Tarini Hill Shrine

A meeting of Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB) was held on 8 May in Berhampur under the Chairmanship of Revenue Divisional Commissioner Southern Division and Chairman TTDB Shri Bikash Mohapatra to review the ongoing developmental works and law and order condition at Tara Tarini Hill Shrine.

After reviewing the current law and order situation at the Shrine area the Chairman directed the Ganjam Collector (In-charge) Shri Lingaraj Rath to expedite the establishment of a police station at the Hill Shrine.
Evaluating the on going developmental works the Chairman clarified that the R&D department Govt. of Odisha would soon start the construction work of a Reception Centre, Bus Stand, Prasad Mandap and lavatory complex at the Shrine. The Tourism Department, Govt. of Odisha has already sanction Rs. 86 lakhs for this purpose.
It was also decided that the ambitious parking project on the hill top area connecting the Ghat road to the Path Way will commence soon at a cost of Rs. 4 crores. This project will create more space for parking of vehicles near the shrine on the Tara Tarini Hill top.
As per the decision the ropeway modernization work undertaken by Usha Breco Pvt. Ltd will be completed soon and opened for public use. The RDC directed the Sub-Collector, Chhatrapur, to check the safety standards and other details according to govt. rules before giving clearance.  Notable, Usha Breco Pvt. Ltd has established this ropeway at the Tara Tarini hill shrine on the lines of the modern Ropeways at Mansa Devi in Haridwar.
In this meeting the Chairman also said that the Solar Light project which was pending nearly for a year will be expedited. Rs. 50 lakh has been sanctioned by the Govt. of India for this project, he informed.
In this meeting the Chairman closely monitored the law and order situation at Tara Tarini shrine area and security of the pilgrims coming to this Shakti Pith. He said that an unfortunate incident of sexual assault has happened in the recent past at a distance of around 5 kms from the holy Shrine.
He directed the District Collector and SP to keep strict vigil in the entire holy Shrine area and ensure the security of the devotees coming to the Shakti Pith.
He said the upcoming police station near the shrine will further strength the law and order situation in the Shrine area.
Along with the RDC, the OMFED CMD Shri Sanjeev Kumar Mishra, Ganjam Collector In-charge Shri Lingaraj Rath, officials of Ganjam District, Tahsildar Purushottampur, Secretary and other officials of TTDB were also present in the meeting.
Ram Prasad Tripathy, PRO, Tara Tarini Development Board, Berhampur, Odisha

Monday, 29 April 2013

Chaitra Yatra 2013: Month long Yatra concludes at Maa Tara Tarini Shrine, over 15 lakh pay obeisance



Marked by devotional celebrations and with the presence of lakhs of devotees the month long Chaitra Yatra at Tara Tarini Shakti Pith came to an end. The chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambiance of the Hill Shrine and the ritualistic worship of the devotees throughout the month charged the atmosphere with an exhilarating blend of spirituality.
So far as the Chaitra month is concerned, in India's national civil calendar it is the first month of the Hindu year. This month is also associated with the coming of spring season and therefore Holi, the spring festival of colours, is celebrated on the eve of Chaitra throughout the country. The first day of Chaitra is widely celebrated as Hindu New Year's Day in India (Varsha Pratipada), known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Chaitrai Vishu or Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The Chaitra Yatra in the holy Chaitra month is celebrated at the ancient Tara Tarini hill shrine every year during the early spring season that falls in the month of March/April.

Chaitra Yatra 2013 commenced on the 27 March and concluded on April 27. Thousands of Sadhus, Sanyasins, Devi Sadhkas and devotees thronged the shrine for divine blessings of Maa Tara Tarini during this period.
Like the other Tuesdays of the month there was also heavy rush on the last and fourth Tuesday at the hill shrine. Darshan for the devotees started in the sanctum sanctorum after midnight Maha Arati at around 3.00 a.m and continued up to late evening. During the Maha Arati festival thousands of devotees were present at the shrine.

It is notable, that all the Tuesdays of the month of Chaitra are days of celebration at this shrine and devotees gather in lakhs to take a glimpse of Adi Shakti Maa Tara Tarini to get rid of their difficulties and to accomplish their worldly desires. On the fourth Tuesday devotees waited in long queues to take a glance of Maa throughout the day and offered prayers. On this occasion more than ten thousand kids tonsured their heads at the Shrine for a delightful life.
Tara Tarini Development Board arranged; Khichdi Prasad for lakhs of the pilgrims, special bus to reach the hill top shrine and made arrangements for special darshan, barbers for Mundan ceremony of the babies besides safe drinking water for the devotees.
As per the tradition like other Tuesdays thousands of families and groups cooked food as an offering to the goddesses in around 2 square k.m orchards of the foothill area after fulfillment of their desires and had a day of picnic at the Shrine.
Heavy police deployment was made by the district administration. Two IPS officers were in charge to control the law and order situation in and around the shrine. The administration also made wide arrangements to control traffic at the foot hill area during the month.
As per primary assessment over 10 lakh of devotees paid obeisance on Four Tuesdays of the Chaitra month and another 5 lakh pilgrims visited the Shrine during other days of the month.
This year the month long Chaitra Yatra at this Shakti Pith has passed off peacefully but it remained in news due to the death of 3 pilgrims.
The district administration, volunteers, social organizations, media (both electronic and print), Panchayat and local people extended their full support to Tara Tarini Development Board for peacefully arranging the Yatra during the whole month.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

More than five lakh devotees throng Tara Tarini Hill shrine on Third Tuesday of Chaitra month


The Third Tuesday (April 16, 2013) of the Hindu month of Chaitra passed off peacefully at Maa Tara Tarini Hill Shrine near Berhampur in Odisha. More than five lakh devotees thronged this ancient Shakti shrine which is believed to have originated from the limbs of Mata Sati. Located on the banks of River Rushikulya, the Tara Tarini Hill Shrine draws people across the year, but the month of Chaitra and the Third Tuesday in particular witnesses the largest congregation of devotees. As per the age old practice, more than twenty thousand babies tonsured their heads during the day through ‘mundan’ and offer hairs seeking the blessings of the mother Goddesses for a blissful life.

The third Tuesday, considered the holiest in the annual calendar of events of the Hill Shrine, began with the chanting of traditional Mantras on the midnight of Monday.  The priests performed the rituals of Snana, Majana and Maha Arati of the Goddesses before the sanctum sanctorum of the Shrine was thrown open for the devotees. Thousands of devotees were seen standing in queues on the hilltop to have an early darshan of the goddesses. Many senior officials of the State government were present on the occasion including Shri V. Karthikeya Pandian, I.A.S and Secretary to Chief Minister of Odisha, the District Collector of Ganjam Shri Krishan Kumar and the Superintendent of Police of the District, officials of the local administration, office bearers of TTDB and Tara Tarini temple administration were also present on the occasion. 
The Third Tuesday of Chaitra which saw a footfall of more than 5 lakh people passed off peacefully. The entire Hill Shrine and its surrounding areas including the Rushikulya riverbank was chockablock from the wee hours till late evening. Devotees waited in long queues and dared late-afternoon drizzle to offer prayers at the temple on the hill-top and participate in the Chaitra Mela, one of the biggest religious fairs in the country. On this occasion, more than 10,000 groups were seen cooking in the surrounding locations and had a day of picnic at the Shrine. TTDB also arranged Khichdi Prasad of Maa Tara Tarini besides safe drinking water was distributed to the devotees.
Like the earlier occasions, heavy police deployment was made by the local administration to avert any untoward incident and control the large number of people gathered for the fair. The district administration also made arrangements to control traffic in and around the shrine. Police beat houses and temporary health centers were set up near the foot hill bus stop and at the Lions’ Gate of the shrine. Six special buses were pressed into service to help the devotees reach the hill top. Arrangements were also made for special Darshan of Maa on the hill shrine and more than 8,000 devotees queued up for special darshan on the hilltop.  

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Second Tuesday of Chaitra passes off peacefully at Tara Tarini Sthana Pitha (Breast Shrine)


The Second Tuesday (April 09, 2013) of the Hindu month of Chaitra passed off peacefully at Maa Tara Tarini Hill Shrine near Berhampur in Odisha.

With the chanting of traditional Mantras on the midnight of Monday the festivals of the holy Tuesday started.  The priests performed the Snana, Majana and Maha Arati of the Goddesses at the midnight. After these traditional ceremonies the sanctum sanctorum of the Shrine, considered as the Sthana Pitha (Breast Shrine) of Adi Shakti, was thrown open for Darshan of devotees at 2 am in the morning.
During the Maha Arati festival at the midnight around 30 thousand devotees were present in the hill shrine.  Mr. Satyabrata Sahu, IAS Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Fisheries & ARD Department Government of Odisha including many other senior officials of the State Government, district administration, office bearers of TTDB and Tara Tarini temple administration were present during this occasion.
The Second Tuesday of this holy Chaitra month saw footfall of around 2 to 3 lakh devotees in the hill Shrine starting from the wee hours till late evening. Devotees waited in long queues to take a glimpse of Adi Shakti Tara Tarini and offer prayers at the temple on the hill-top.
People from every nook and corner of Odisha and far off places of the country and outside were present on the occasion. 
On this occasion more than ten thousand kids tonsured their heads as per the age-old tradition of offering hair of newborns after the first birthday at the Shrine for a blissful life.
TTDB arranged Khichdi Prasad of Maa Tara Tarini besides safe drinking water was distributed to the devotees.
As per the tradition around 3000 groups from different parts of the State cooked their food as an offering to the goddesses in the orchards at the foothill and had a day of picnic at the Shrine.
Heavy police deployment was made by the local administration to avert any untoward incident and control the large number of people gathered for the fair. The district administration made arrangements to control traffic in and around the shrine.
Police beat houses and temporary health centers were set up near the foot hill bus stop and at the Lions’ Gate of the shrine.
Six special buses were pressed into service to help the devotees reach the hill top. Arrangements were also made for special Darshan of Maa on the hill shrine.
However, in an unfortunate incident two devotees died during the Chaitra Yatra. Siddhant Behera (16) of Keshapur drowned in river Rushikulya during taking bath and K Rina Patra of Balarampur under Hinjilikatu police station died as a branch of a mango tree fell on her near Panthashala on the foothill of the shrine.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Tara Tarini chock-a-block with devotees on first Tuesday of Chaitra



Thousands of devotees from far off places in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh thronged Tara Tarini temple, about 35 km from Berhampur city, on the occasion of first Tuesday of Chaitra Mela on April 02, 2013.
Braving the scorching heat, they climbed the 999 steps of the 17th century temple, on the banks of river Rushikulya, to tonsure the head of their children. Devotees offer hair to the deity, as a part of age-old tradition, on every Tuesday during the month of Chaitra. "I work in Delhi and have come all the way to get my child's head tonsured here," said Deepak Sahu, a software engineer. Even though a road has been laid till the temple, most devotees prefer climbing the steps for 'darshan'.
"The district administration and the temple administration have made elaborate arrangements for the convenience of visitors," said secretary of Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB) Pramod Kumar Panda. Water is being provided on the way to the temple along with healthcare facilities. At least 500 police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order. "No untoward incident has been reported till now," said SDPO (Chhatrapur) A Ch Pahi.
The authorities charge Rs 20 for 'Mundan' (close shaving) on the temple premises and only Re 1 for 'darshan', though special darshan costs Rs 50 per head, sources said.
Volunteers have been engaged to make the drive against polythene on the temple premises successful. They have been asked to convince the devotees not to throw polythene on the premises. RDC (southern division) Bikash Mohapatra had stressed making the shrine a polythene-free zone at the preparatory meeting for the festival. Source: Times of India