Sheetla Mata Mandir
Sheetla Mata Mandir is a major Hindu pilgrimage. Lots of pilgrims come here every day to offer prayer and seek blessings from the Goddess. This temple is located in Gurgaon, Haryana. Sheetala Devi is a Goddess which is being worshipped by people of different parts. People from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, North India, West Bengal worship her. She is better known as pox-goddess. She is also known as Goddess of ghouls, sores, pustules and various other diseases.
This temple is situated near a pond at Gurgaon village. Sheetala Devi Mandir is located in the suburb of Guru Dronacharya’s birth place in the state of Haryana. There is a large crowd of devotees throughout the year except during the month Shravana (July-August). During the month of Chaitra (March-April), this place looks like another Kumbh-Mela. There is a large crowd of pilgrims on Mondays of this month.
Sheetla Mata Mandir History
- There are many stories behind this Sheetla Mata Mandir. One such story is that Goddess Durga has incarnated as little Katyayani. Katyayani was the daughter of the sage who all these demons who were destroying the earth with their evil and wicked power. Sheetala Devi in her real form as Goddess Durga killed the demons that were sent by Kaalkeya.
- The demon of fever, Jwarasur, started spreading an incurable disease to all the childhood friends of Katyayani. He spread diseases like cholera, dysentery, measles, smallpox etc. It was Katyayani who cured some of her friends but to relieve the world from all sorts of fever and disease, she took the form of Goddess Sheetala.
- Each of her four hand had something or the other to protect the world from fever and destroy the demon. Her hands held a short broom, winnowing fan, jar of cooling water and a cup. With her power, Sheetala Devi cured all the diseased children.
- After all the children were cured, Katyayani asked her friend Batuk to go out and face the demon of fever, Jwarasur. The battle happened between the young Batuk and Jwarasur, resulting the death of young Batuk. Batuk, lying on the ground, started disappearing and magically faded into dust.
- On seeing Batuk disappeared, Jwarasur became shocked and started wondering where he went. Little did Jwarasur know, Batuk assumed the form of an aweful male figure. This person had three eyes, four arms and a garland of skulls. He had axe, sword, Trishool and demon head. He was black in color. His eyes were blazing with fury, and his hair flowing. He was wearing tiger skin. Batuk took the ferocious form of Lord Shiva, Bhairav.
- Bhairav informs the demon of fever that he is the servant of Goddess Durga. They had a long discussion which later converted into battle. During the battle, Jwarasur created many demons but Lord Shiva managed to kill everyone. At the end, Bhairav started wrestling with Jwarasur and end up killing him with his Trident.
Significance of Sheetla Mata Mandir
- Sheetala is a sanskrit term which means ‘one who cools’. This Goddess have the various name and is worshipped by these different names in the subcontinent.
- Hindus, Buddhists and people from tribal communities worship Goddess Sheetala. Goddess Sheetala is often referred to as Maa by her devotees.
- Goddess Sheetala has been clearly mentioned in Tantric and Puranic literature. Her appearence in the vernacular text has strengthened her status.
- Goddess Sheetala is majorly famous in North India. In many places, she is often identified as one of the forms of Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.
- Shitala is known as the seasonal goddess and with honorific titles such as Thakurani, Jagrani, Karunamayi, Mangala, Bhagavati, Dayamayi. In South India, Goddess Sheetala’s role is taken by the Goddess Mariamman, who is worshipped by Dravidian-speaking people.
Sheetla Mata Mandir Timings
Sheetla Mata Mandir is open for darshan from 6am to 8pm. The Puja of Shitala Temple is conducted by both, Brahmins and low caste Pujaris. Goddess Sheetala is mainly worshipped in the dry seasons of winter and spring. There are many arti sangrah and stuties for the puja of Goddess Shitala. These arti sangrah and stuties include shri shitla mata chalisa, Shitala Maa ki Arti, Shri Shitala mata ashtak, etc.
Festivals celebrated in Sheetla Mata Mandir
- Sheetala Ashtami– this festival is very much popular among Hindu and is dedicated to Goddess Sheetala. This festival is also known as Basoda Puja. It is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna during the Hindu month of ‘Chaitra’. It corresponds to the month of mid-March to April in the Gregorian calendar. Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated Holi, generally after eight days. But in some communities, it is celebratedon the first Thursday or Monday that comes after Holi. Also in some districts, Sheetala Ashtami is observed on the ‘ashtami’ of the Krishna Paksha, every month, but of all these, the Chaitra Krishna Paksha Ashtami is considered most propitious.
The celebrations of Sheetala Ashtami are very famous in the north Indian states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. In the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Sheetala Ashtami festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. A huge fair is organized for this occasion and several musical events and programmes are also staged. Devotees celebrate this festival with immense joy and devotion. It is believed that by keeping the vrat on this chosen day, they will be prevented from several deadly diseases. On the day of Sheetala Ashtami according to the traditions, the families do not lit the fire for the purpose of cooking. They, therefore, prepare food a day in advance and consume the stale food on an actual day. It is only in Sheetala Ashtami that there is the unique custom of offering stale food to Goddess Sheetala.
Devotees get up early, before sunrise and take a bath. They visit the Sheetala Devi temple and worship the Goddess with ‘haldi’ and ‘bajra’. After performing the puja rituals they listen to the ‘Basoda Vrat Katha’. ‘Rabri’, ‘curd’ and other essential offerings are then made to Goddess Sheetala. People also take blessings from their elders. After offering the prepared food to the Goddess, rest of the food is eaten all day long as Prasad and is known as ‘Basoda’ in the local language. The food is also distributed among other devotees and also given to the poor and needy people. On this day reading ‘Sheetalashtak’ is also considered favourable.
How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air
- By Air– The nearest airport to Sheetala Devi Mandir is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.
- By Road: The state transport buses connect Gurgaon to neighboring cities within the state and in neighboring states.
- By Rail: Nearest big Railway Stations are New Delhi Railway Station & Nizamudin Railway Station.
Where to stay?
There are various places where one can live. There are various hotels and private organizations which provide dwelling places for the tourists. There are many hotels who provide proper hygiene, clean food, and wifi for they customers. These hotels are built keeping the needs and budget in mind. These hotels have a clean and hygienic environment. Tourists are treated very well by the hotel staffs as well.
These hotels and private organizations donot charge high keeping the budget and the needs of the customers. They provide a very pleasant environment and stay for the tourist. They provide clean and healthy home-made food for the tourist. Nowadays, all the hotels provide tourists with wifi facility so that they can enjoy their stay more and remain connected to the whole world.
Where to eat?
The Temple provides food to its devotees. They are free of cost and all the expenses incurred are borne by the Trustees. Once the daily Puja is over, devotees are allowed to move for food. These food are made in a very hygienic condition maintaining the dignity of the Temple. The food includes three main courses and is given in plenty. All the expenses incurred are borne by the temple trust.
Apart from the prasad provided in the temple, one can also have food from hotels outside the campus. These hotels provide clean and hygienic food. There are various other places to eat food. There are many hotels and cafe which provide food keeping the taste and needs of the devotees. They cost very nominal keeping the needs and budget of the tourists.
Nearby Places to visit
- Sitaram Mandir– A partly-in-ruins temple in Gurgaon, Sitaram Mandir, as the name suggests is dedicated to Lord Ram and his consort, Sita. Located in Farrukhnagar area of the place, this temple is one of the places of worship for the Hindus. One of the most distinct aspects of the temple is its architectural style. The temple is a three-dome structure and resembles a mosque. Another unique fact is that though Sitaram Mandir is a temple that looks like a mosque, it also serves the function of a gurudwara. Farrukhnagar is near Savera Group of Institutions and can be reached by hiring a cab or an auto-rickshaw.