The shrine of the twin goddesses atop the Purnagiri hills is known as one of the four Adi Shakti Pitha’s of the country. According to legend the breast of Sati fell here, hence the shape of the idols. Since its inception it has been established seat of Tantrism. Amongst the devotees of the temple were the followers of Mahayana sect of Buddhism- who follow the same tantra rituals as the Hindus. Together the twin goddesses Tara and Tarini represent one Shakti and are the Ista Devi of Ganjam (Main deity of Ganjam).
An interesting aspect of this revered shrine is the fact that unlike other temples, it wasn’t built under the patronage of a King or a Noble, the temple was set up by a Brahmin named Basu Praharaj as per popular legend. Basu Praharaj was a great devotee of Shakti, one night the goddess appeared in his dreams and blessed him to be the father of twin daughters. He reared his daughters with utmost care and devotion. However, when he became old the daughters vanished all of a sudden. Again the Goddess appeared in his dreams, this time instructing him to build a temple atop the Purnagiri hill, to which he duly obliged.
The temple located at 708 feet above sea level can be approached by three ways. One is to take the motorable road, second is the ropeway and the third is climbing nine hundred ninety-nine steps. The steps were built by Shri. Citi Ramaya a trader from Brahmapur. He was blessed with a daughter soon afterwards.
If you have been to the temple, you can’t help but admire at the beauty of the Ganjam courtesy the panoramic view the temple offers. With the river Rushikulya meandering through the plains, lush green paddy fields, forest and the Eastern Ghat mountain ranges makes for a great view.
The four fairs held every Tuesday in the month of Chaitra (March-April) sees lakhs of devotees coming to pay their respect to the Goddess’s.
Mahavisubha Sankranti is another major festival observed by the temple in mid-April.