Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati. Bhavani means "giver of life", the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, "filled with mercy".
Bhavani was the tutelary deity of the Maratha leader Shivaji, to whom she presented a sword. A temple to Bhavani at Tuljapur in Maharashtra, dates back to the 12th century. The temple contains a meter-high granite icon of the goddess, with eight arms holding weapons. She also holds the head of the demon Mahishasura, whom she slew in the region which is the present day Mysore.
Temples of Bhavani
The Tulja Bhavani and anthiur temple in Tuljapur in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra is considered as one of the 51 Shakti Pithas. This temple was built in c. 12th century CE. A Tulja Bhavani temple was built between 1537-1540 CE in Chittorgarh. It is located at coordinates 18°00′41″N 76°07′32″E / 18.011386°N 76.125641°E.
Worship of the primeval energy Shakti in the form of the mother Goddess is seen in the four Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra - Bhavani with her seat at Tuljapur, Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, Mahamaya Renuka at Mahur and Jagadamba at Saptshrungi. Other Shakti temples in the state are those at Ambe Jogai and Aundh. (also see Daksha Yagna).
Bhavani was the tutelary deity of Shivaji, the valiant Maratha ruler and is held in great reverence throughout the state of Maharashtra. Bhavani is considered to be an embodiment of Ugra or ferocity, as well as a Karunaswaroopini - filled with mercy.
The Bhavani temple in Tuljapur is located on a hill known as Yamunachala, on the slopes of the Sahayadri range in Maharashtra near Sholapur. The temple entrance is at an elevation and visitors need to transcend a flight of steps to reach the shrine. Historic records speak of the existence of this temple from as early as the 12th century CE.
Bhavani is worshipped in the form of a 3-foot-high (0.91 m) granite image, with eight arms holding weapons, bearing the head of the slain demon Mahishasura. Bhavani is also known as Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita and Amba.
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