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Gurgaon Sheetla Devi Mandir

Introduction

One of the major Hindu pilgrimage is the Sheetala Devi Temple located near a pond at Gurgaon village, a suburb of Gurgaon, in the state of Haryana. Also referred to as a 'Shakti Peeth', the presiding deity of this temple is Mata Sheetala Devi.

Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple during the Hindu month of 'Chaitra' corresponding with the months of March and April. There is a heavy rush of pilgrims especially on Mondays of this month.

Situated near a pond, this temple witness's horde of pilgrims throughout the year, except during the month of 'Shravana' (July-August). People also come to this temple to conduct the 'mundan' (shaving off the heads) ceremony of their children.

History

Legend says that a fanatic Mughal Emperor had thrown the idol of Goddess Krupi in the pond. The idol sunk deep into the bed of the pond and was covered by layers of mud. After a considerably long period of time a devotee called Singha got the idol out of the pond and consecrated it. The story of Chaudhary Singh Ram alias Singha is as follows:

More than three centuries ago two brothers, Padarath and Singha lived in the village of Gurugaon.They were fief holders and owned thousands of acres of land. Singha was a calm, good-natured person who spend most of his time in singing Bhajans. As a result he never earned any livelihood, which caused a clash between the wives and families of the two brothers. This further resulted in in the division of their land between the brothers. Singha was given 8 biswas of land. This land is spread till Khandasa, and includes the Guru Dronacharya pond. Legend also says that Guru Dronacharya had trained the Kauravas and Pandavas in the art of archery and elephant riding here.

Impressed by Singha's devotion, Sheetala Devi appeared in his dream and granted him a boon. The boon was that , Singha?s mere touch would free a person from all pains. Singha thus left his luxurious abode and started meditating near the pond. He also made a crude temple like structure and started worshipping the Devi there. One day it seems, while collecting mud from the pond, Singha found the idol of the Devi and consecrated it in the crude structure. This structure later on became the Sheetala Devi temple.

An unique feature of this temple is that till 1972, this idol used to be taken by the presiding Poojari (priest) to his home everyday after sunset. And after bathing the idol, it used to be brought back after sunrise the next day. One reason for this custom could be the fear of certain fanatic Mughal rulers of those times.

These rulers used to throw idols in rivers and ponds and inorder to protect the idol, the priest used to take it home everyday.. But after 1972, this custom was stopped due to the huge influx of pilgrims everyday here. The idol is now permanently consecrated in the temple. This custom is still followed at Mubarakpur (Maragpur), close to Gurugaon. Here the Budho Devi idol is still carried home every night by its Poojari Shri. Bastiram Numberdar.

After being blessed by the Devi, Singha became famous and people from all over, including his estranged family came to take his blessings.

Who's The Devi

Legend says that Rishi Sharadwan had two children. Thinking that the two would disturb him in his penance he leaves them in the the jungle. Bheeshma?s father, King Shantanu, comes across the two children and recognises them as Rishi children as they possess deer skin and bow. The king takes them with him and looks after them. On hearing this, Rishi Sharadwan comes and collects the children from the king. As the children grew under the kindness (krupa) of king Shantanu, the daughter was named as Krupi and the son as Krupacharya.Krupi was married to Guru Dronacharya and she was made to stay on the banks of the pond at Gurugaon, while the Guru was training the Kauravas and Pandavas. Krupi due to her penance, became a motherlike figure to all. Later this Krupi became Mata Sheetala Devi.

The temple is famous for its miracles. Some 5000 years ago, the only son of King Puranjet was brought to the temple with paralysis. For around 15-16 days the child was gently wrapped in the mud from the pond and with the blessings of the Devi, the child got well.

Three Legends of the Devi

Three legends are quoted regarding the building of the present temple. The first legend says that there lived a poor carpenter at Farukh Nagar, who had a beautiful daughter. When she became of marriageable age her fame as a beauty spread all over the land. The Mughal ruler send a message to the carpenter, asking his daughter?s hand in marriage. The carpenter did not like to give away his daughter to a person from a different religion and so appealed to King Surajmal of Bharatpur.The king refused to interfere, saying the case belonged to another kingdom.As the disappointed carpenter was returning, he met Prince Bharatpur, son of King Surajmal.

The carpenter narrated his condition to the prince. The prince took up the matter with his father, but the king was adamant. This resulted in the prince revolting against his father and he attacked Delhi. Legend says that while proceeding towards Delhi, the Prince passed through Gurugaon and he pledged to the Devi that if he returns victorious he would build a proper temple. The prince was victorious and on returning, he build the temple.

Another angle is given to the same story by some. When prince Bharatpur proceeded towards Delhi, he and his army rested at Vallabhgadh. But the horses refused to move further from here. On the behaviour of the horses the court astrologer was summoned. He said that after entering Gurgaon on their way, pooja was not offered to the Devi. This angered her and the result is the strange behaviour of the horses. A proper pooja was conducted immediately and the horses started moving. The prince pledged that he would build a temple on his victorious return.

The third legend also includes king Bharatpur. On a pilgrimage to Pushkar, a verbal fight ensued between the queen of Ajmer and the queen of Bharatpur, Kishori. The fight was as to who would first jump into the waters. The Rajputs started showing their musclepower and King Bharatpur attacked the king of Ajmer, defeating the latter in the process. Queen Kishori was jubiliant and urged the king to build the Sheetala Devi temple. And King Bharatpur and Chaudhary Jawahar Sigh consecrated the idol made of eight metals in this temple.

 
 
 

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