Danteshwari Mandir

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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U see entrance to Danteshwari Mandir. Dantewada derives its name from Devi Danteshwari, the Goddess worshipped as an incarnation of Shakti. It is one of the sacred 52 Shakti Peeths (seat of shakti, female power) since a tooth of Sati''s had fallen here. The temple has a wooden exterior that was built in 1932. Opp entrance is a Garud pillar. Garuds exist in Thailand, Indonesia and numerous Indian temples.

Entrance to Danteshwari Mandir complex. Very impressive esp. when fully lit at night. Was told that till recently there was a small road with houses all around temple. The local administration have beautified the place beyond recognition. Beautification was funded by National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd whose iron-ore mines are situated about 45 kms away.

Board outside temple. It is situated at the confluence of the Dankini and Shankini rivers. Originally had stone pillars and was open to air. During the last renovation that took places in early 20th century the ruling family of Bastar covered it with planks supported by 32 wooden pillars. The sanctum sanctorum is believed to be more than 800 years old.

A close up of Garud pillar. According to local tradition if your hands touch each other on placing them round the Garud pillar (i.e. what lady is trying to do) then whatever wish you ask for is granted by Devi Danteshwari. Temple is venerated by tribals as well. Temple was built by the Chalukyas kings of Bastar in honor of their family deity.

View as you enter temple. In centre of pic golden light is image of Ma Danteshwari. Over the years stone carvings were collected and placed. U see a small temple. Note Ganeshas on either side of its entrance. Danteshwari is believed to the new name of Manikeshwari, the family Goddess of the Naga Dynasty which preceded the Chalukyas.

The temple is divided into 4 parts - Garbh Griha, Maha Mandap, Mukhya Mandap and Sabha Mandap. At the entrance to the Maha Mandap are these stone images.

On left of earlier images are these two stone images one of which is Ganesha. Like I said earlier period stone images are placed all over the temple.

This is the Maha Mandap. Men have to wear a lungi to enter the temple. The temple authorities provide lungis (clean). U change there itself. Dantewada is otherwise a small town but growing now. Dantewada''s forests are home to several species of wildlife esp. two Pahadi Maina and Wild Buffalo.

This is the Mukhya Mandap image of Ma Danteshwari in the centre. I was told that Ma protects all its devotees so visited the temple hours after reaching Dantewada. Note the stone pillars which belong to earlier times.

A road goes to the right of the temple to a very beautiful garden. U have to cross a bridge where am standing. Behind you see the confluence of the Dankini and Shankini rivers. Dantewada is about 1.5 to 2 hours drive from Jagdalpur. Road is very good. Stopped at Geetham for breakfast.

Walked thru the beautiful garden at the end of which is a Bhairav Mandir. Outside the temple saw this interesting board which shows the places in Chhattisgarh where Lord Ram came.

Pic of Adivasi school children who were visiting temple. Standing in the beautiful garden i.e. just behind the temple. Garden has a fountain, lots of trees and well landscaped. In centre of pic white structure that you see is the Mandir. Someone has given serious thought on how to beautify the temple and its surroundings. Good work needs to be appreciated.

Adjoining the Ma Danteswhwari Mandir is another structure where havans seem to be held. Also has number of stone images as you see in the picture. 2 female and one male images. Can someone help with a description. Danteshwari Mandir celebrations during Dussehra are worth watching. Try to plan a visit then.

This image is of the temple complex at night. It is flood lit with colorful lights as you can see in the left of the pic. Could not think that I am in Dantewada, a district i.e. urban Indians usually associate with Naxal violence. I realized that violence could take place anywhere in this huge district but the media dateline would always be Dantewada so most living in metros believe that violence took place in Dantewada. The authorities have recently made a super cricket stadium as well. Saw efforts being made to make the town look good.

End December Dantewada was pretty cold since it is in forest area. All along my trip found excellent roads. This road is from Dantewada to Bailaila mines. These mines have one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. There are two peaks Aakash and Kailas Nagar. Drive to them is WOW.

Enroute to Bailaila mines is Gamavada, a protected monument. It is a huge garden. Locals told me that Adivasis of earlier earlier times buried their dead here. Every stone in the ground that you see represent the mortals of a person. Not clear if they burnt the body and buried only the remains in the ground. Standing stone indicates male. Horizontal stone indicates female. Was told this is over 2,000 years old. Can someone enlighten further.