Shri Mahamaya Devi Mandir is located at the historic city of Ratanpur. Ratnapur has been alluring archeologists of our country for many decades now. The place is surrounded by lush green hills and houses more than 150 ponds. The town is flocked by thousands of devotees every year, who visit the place to witness the Navratari festival and to get darshan of the divine goddess Mahamaya Devi. Ratanpur is located at a distance 25 km from the city of Annpur in Chhattisgarh, on the Bilaspur-Ambikapur state highway. This city boast of numerous historical monuments such as temples, domes, palaces and forts which are almost just ruins now.
About The Temple
The main temple has two statues of Devi Mahamaya facing the famous Kanthi Dewal temple and main temple pond. The deity in the front is Mahishasur Mardini and the one behind is Goddess Saraswati. During the festival of Navratri, devotees from all corners of the country throng the temple to catch a glimpse of Devi Mahamaya. The main temple is surrounded by big halls where Jyoti Kalashas are lit by thee temple trust on behalf of the devotees. The Kalashas are kept alighted for the entire nine days of Navratri festival. Thus they are also called Akhand Manookaamna Navratra Jyoti Kalashas.
A number of historically significant temples are located near the Mahamaya Devi temple, namely the Mahamrityunjaya Panchmukhee Shiv Mandir and Kanthi Dewal. The Panchmukhee Shiv Mandir is a magnificent piece of architecture made from red stone. It is believed to be the origin of the Mahamaya statue. Devotees of Lord Shiva believe that their beloved Lord grants the wishes of those who devotedly pray him and offer to hang a coconut wrapped in red cloth on the sacred tree of the temple.
The Kanthi Dewal temple is octagonal in shape and pertains to both Hindu and Moghul architectural style. This temple is built with red stone and its walls are decorated with sculptures from the 9th to 12th century. Kanthi Dewal temple has a Shiv Linga, which is believed to give immense energy strength to the devotees who worship the almighty with utmost faith and devotion. This temple was reconstituted recently by the Department of Archeological Survey of India, which took five years to complete. But the actual shape of the temple was in fact kept intact.
Legend and Stories
Ratnapur was once the capital of the Kalchuri kings. It has a history of about a millenium. The temple is built based on the Nagar school of architecture. The temple is surrounded by a 18 inch thick boundary wall and has sixteen stone columns for support. The temple is believed to be built around the 12th century AD. Many of the statues and motifs used in the temple have been taken from damaged or destructed temples of the earlier centuries, some of them from even Jain temples. The temple compound consists of smaller shrines devoted to Mahakali, Bhadrakali, Surya Dev, Lord Vishnu, Lord Hanuman, Bhairav and Lord Shiva. In 1050 AD, the Kalinga ruler Ratna Dev is said to have performed the very first pooja for the Devi here, on shifting his capital from Tuman to Ratnapur. The remnants of the ancient palaces and forts can be seen even now in Ratnapur.
How To Reach Ambikapur
Darima airstrip is located 12 km from the city of Ratnapur is nearest airport. It plies regular flight services to Raipur, which is the capital of Chhattisgarh.
Ambikapur is located near Anuppur, which is the nearest Railway junction. Annupur is a town bordering Madhya Pradesh. Trains to places like New Delhi, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Raipur, etc are available from Anuppur railway junction.
Ambikapur is well connected to other major cities of Chhattisgarh such as Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Bhilai, Korba and Raigarh through good road network. Daily bus services also operate to cities in neighboring states like Varanasi, Renukoot in U.P, and Gadhwa in Jharkhand. Bus services are available from Anuppur to Ambikapur, plies via Manendragarh .
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Removal of debt
- Good health
- Family welfare
- Attainment of noble positions
Daivi Hyesa Gunamayi Mama Maya Duratyaya Mameva Ye Prapadyante Mayametam Taranti Te
Meaning -According to this sloka, the heavenly maya of God is very complicated, but those who worship God will be able to overcome it.
Balam Balavatam Caham Kamaragavivarjitam Dharmaviruddho Bhutesu Kamo'smi Bharatarsabha
Meaning -According to this sloka, God is the isolated and aloof strength of the controlling and virtuous craving in men.
Ye Caiva Sattvika Bhava Rajasastamasasca Ye Matta Everti Tanviddhi Na Tvaham Tesu Temayi
Meaning -According to this sloka, though the only source of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obsessive and dark) elements is God, they are not present within the God or the deity.
Tribhirgunamayairbhavairebhih Sarvamidam Jagat Mohitam Nabhijanati Mamebhyah Paramavyayam
Meaning -According to this sloka, the entire world doesn't recognize the eternal God beyond them, because they are consumed by the elements of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obssessive and dark).
The temple is open from 6AM to 9PM.