An ancient site and a unique form of shakti
Jajpur the ancient capital of Odisha was known as Biraja Kshetra. The temple of Goddess Biraja was the nerve centre which inspired the Bhaumakara and Somavamsi kings to great heights thereby elevating the socio cultural scenario of Odisha.
Biraja Kshetra finds mention in the Sanskrit Mahabharata as a famous pilgrimage place. The temple of Goddess Biraja is considered to be one of the fifty one Shakti Pitha’s of the country. According to legend, the navel of Sati fell here. Hence it became known as Navigaya. Subsequently the worship of the Goddess Biraja started and the place was called Biraja Kshetra. It is believed that seven generations of ancestors get salvation if one visits the Biraja Temple.
The idol of Goddess Biraja is a two armed Mahisamardini (Slayer of Buffalo Demon). The iconography is unique in the sense that it’s the only Mahisamardini idol in the country having two hands.
Though she was the presiding deity of the Bhaumakaras, it was under the Somavamsi rule that the temple was built in the 11th Century AD. The temple was desecrated when Odisha fell to the Afghans in the year 1568 AD. Later on a Zamindar by the name of Sudarshan Mohapatra reconstructed the temple in the first half of 19th Century AD, which is standing till today. The Biraja temple complex encompasses several other subsidiary temples each having a story weaved around it.
Ratha Yatra – During the Saradiya Durga Puja, a representative of Goddess Biraja is taken out in chariot accompanied by a procession on all the nine days of the festival.
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