Shakti Peethas (Tantra Peethas) of India

Four Adi Shakti Peethas
The  great religious texts like the Shiva Purana, the Kalika Purana and the Asta  Shakti recognize four major Shakti Peethas (centers), like Bimala (Pada Khanda,  Inside Puri Jagannatha Temple), Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda, Breasts, Near  Berhampur, Orissa), Kamakshi (Yoni Khanda, Near Guwahati, Assam) and Dakhina  Kalika (Mukha Khanda, Kalighat, West Bengal) originated from the limbs of the  Corpse of Mata Sati. The Asta Shakti and Kalika Purana clearly say (in  SANSKRIT):

Bimala Pada khandancha,
  Stana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),

  Kamakhya Yoni khandancha,
    Mukha khandancha Kalika (Dakhina Kalika)
    Anga pratyanga sanghena
    Vishnu Chakra Kshyta nacha……..

1. Puri  Jagannatha, Puri at Orissa: For Sakta Tantric Jagannatha is Bhairava and Bimala is Bhairavi. In the  month of Asvina, during the Durga Puja, animal sacrifice is made before goddess  Bimala which is the only of its kind in the otherwise bloodless rituals  performed in the temple. The  holy food offered to Shri Jagannatha is sanctified only after it is presented  to Bimala and then acquires the character of Mahaprasad. The Goddess Bimala, a  manifestation of the Mother Goddess and considered as Shakti of Lord  Jagannatha.  

Puri  is a prime Hindu pilgrimage centre located in Orissa. It is famous for Rath  Yatra held in the month of Sravana. The place is well connected by rail.  Pilgrims may get down either at Bhubaneswar or at Khurda road Jn. on Main  Howrah Chennai railway line and go to Puri by road or by train.

2. Tara Tarini,  Raipura, Ganjam; Orissa: It is said that  the breasts of Sati fell at the Kumari Hills where the famous Tara Tarini Shakti  Pitha stands. It is on the bank of River Rushikulya near Purushottampur in Ganjam District. It  is one of the most Prominent ancient Shakti peetha or Tantra Pitha of Orissa. According  to historians and researchers, it was originally a Buddhist Tantric temple.  Historically Tara and Tarini both are Buddhist Goddesses.

The Goddesses Tara-Tarini has been  regarded as the presiding deity (Ista-Devi) in almost every house in South  Orissa. This important and famous Temple is situated on the top of the Kumari  hill or popularly known as Tara-Tarini Pahad (Hill). The height of the hill is  about 708 ft. and it has spread over 180 Acres of land. The picturesque  panorama of the temple and the river Rushikulya gives enormous pleasure and  experience of nature and divinity to each pilgrim. You have to climb 999 steps  on the front side of the hill leading to the temple or can reach at the top  through a pucca road for vehicle on the backside of the hill. Provisions of electricity,  drinking water and a small market complex at the site with articles for worship  exist.

The Temple is small but beautiful one and famous  Shrine of Tara-Tarini. Worship at this important Shakti Pitha has been  continuing since time of immemorial. Two stones has been anthropomorphized by  the addition of gold and silver ornaments and shaped as human faces are the  main Shrine of this temple which represents the Goddesses Tara and Tarini. One  can find two fully celebrated and beautiful brass heads as their Living Idols  (Chalanti Protima) have been placed in between two Main shrines. It has been  said that from a tribal cult Tara-Tarini have been transformed into Shakti  cult, as the name Tara was the Primordial deity of the Mahayana Buddhist  Pantheon , indicates Buddhist influence at the Tara - Tarini Peetha.

How to Reach: The Tara-Tarini Pitha is situated at a  distance of 32 Kms towards north of Berhampur on the south bank of river  Rushikulya near Purushottampur. The Distance of Tara-Tarini Hill is from  Jagannathapur is about 22 kms on NH5. The National High way is connecting  Kolkota to Chennai. From Humma on Chilika it will be about 35 Kms.  and from Berhampur it is 32 KMs.

3. Kamakhya  Kamroop, at present Assam
Devi's  yoni fell here and the idols are Devi as Kamakhya (personification of love) and  Shiva as Umananda.

The Kamakhya  Temple is a Shakti temple situated on top of the Nilachal Hill in western part  of Guwahati city in Assam on the northern banks of the river Brahmaputra (the  son of Brahma), India. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples  dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya,  including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara. It  is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric  worshipers.

This  is a famous pilgrimage for women seeking fertility or love. The temple is  supposedly built by Kamdev, the god of love. The Umananda temple is nearby in  an islet on the river. It has many pet monkeys.

Historically,  it was a famous Buddhist Tantra Peetha.   At a later stage, it became the place of Sadhana of Lord Matsyendranath  Nath and a temple was made. He was the great Guru of Lord Gorokhsha Nath, and  the founder of “Kula System” of Tantra in Bengal. The temple was renovated by  Cooch Bihar Kings.

The current  temple structure was constructed in 1565 by Chila Rai of the Koch dynasty in  the style of medieval temples. The form of the earlier structure, destroyed by  the Kala Pahar, is unknown. The current structure has a beehive-like shikhara  with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other gods and  goddesses outside.

The temple  consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular  and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a  square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this  chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other  gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the  form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring  that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock. During the Ambuvaci  festival each summer, the menstruation of the Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated.  During this time, the water in the main shrine runs red with iron oxide  resembling menstrual fluid.

It is likely  that this is an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, and worshiping here still  includes sacrifices. Devotees come every morning with goats to offer to Shakti.

The Kalika  Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all  desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation. Shakti is known  as Kamakhya.

The Kamakhya  Temple in Assam symbolizes the "fusion of faiths and practices" of various  traditions in Assam. The Yogini Tantra mentions that the religion of the Yogini  Pitha is of Kirata origin. According to Assamese literature, there existed a  tradition among the priests established by Naranarayana that the Garos, a  matrilineal people, offered worship at the Kamakhya site by sacrificing pigs.

The goddess is  worshiped according to both the Vamachara (Left-Hand Path) as well as the Dakshinachara  (Right-Hand Path) modes of worship. 

According to the  Kalika Purana, Kamakhya Temple denotes the spot where Sati used to retire in  secret to satisfy her amour with Shiva, and it was also the place where her  yoni fell after Shiva danced with the corpse of Sati. However, this is not  corroborated in the Devi Bhagavata, which lists 108 places associated with  Sati's body, though Kamakhya finds a mention in a supplementary list. The  Yogini Tantra, a latter work, ignores the origin of Kamakhya given in Kalika  Purana and associates Kamakhya with the goddess Kali and emphasizes the  creative symbolism of the yoni.

4.  Kalighat (Calcutta) at West Bengal
Devi's  four small toes from her right foot fell here and the idols are Devi as Kali  and Shiva as Nakulish or Nakuleswar. Famous pilgrimage located in Calcutta in  the state of West Bengal. Kali is described as dark complexioned form of Shakti  who has taste for blood and death. She rules over the cremation sites and is  worshipped by devotees on a dark and moon less night. She is most popular deity  of Bengal. Kali is the female version of Kala or end of time. As per historical  records Lord Gorokhsha Nath, a great religious and social reformer, who  converted left hand Tantra to right hand Tantra, by transforming the Tantric  Kula Bhairavi in to mother Goddess.  His  Guru Lord Matsendra Nath was the founder of Kula System in Bengal. One of his disciples  Chourangi Nath used to look after this temple and his seat was named as  Chourangi and the road from ashram to temple was named as Chourangi road.

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