Dongargarh is one of the prominent places of worship which is located at a distance of 35 km from Rajnandgaon and 67 km from Durg in the state of Chattishgarh. The name is derived from two words- `dongarh` meaning `mountains` and `garh` meaning `fort`. One of the most thrived celebrated shrines present in the area is that of Maa Bamleshwari Devi, located on a hilltop, 1600 feet high.
Video - In and Around Maa Bamleshwar Devi Temple
Approximately 2200 years ago the place of Dongargarh was a fairly renounced territory named Kamavati which was ruled by Maharaja Kamsen also called Kamakhya Nagri. When the Raja’s Queen gave birth to a son they named him Madansen. Since Raja Veersen considered it a blessing of Lord Shiva and Parvati he constructed the temple of Maa Bamleshwari at Dongargarh. The Raja Madansen had a son named Kamsen because of whom this area here became famous and came to be known as Kamakhaya Nagari.
Then later a big battle had taken place between Raja Kamsen and Raja Vikramaditya, the reason being the love between Maadhavnal and Kaamkandla, which had led to the complete destruction of KamavatiI.
Legend conveys that after the death of Maadhavnal and Kaamkandala, Raja Vikramaditya had felt guilty as he thought that he was responsible for Kaamkandala committing suicide. Then the Raja underwent deep anguish and started constant worship, resulting in Maa Bagulamukhi Devi appearing before him. Raja Vikramaditya then requested the goddess to make both Maadhavnal and Kaamkandala alive again and also asked Maa Bagulamukhi Devi to reside at the temple. Since then it has been believed that Maa Bagulamukhi Devi is present here. As time passed by the years the name got transformed from Maa Bagulamukhi to Maa Bamlai to Maa Bamleshwari as it has been known today.
Significance of the Temple
The temple here is dedicated to Maa Bagulamukhi Devi who is a powerful manifestation of Goddess Durga. Devotees here have to climb a flight of 1100 stairs to reach this holy destination. It is believed that Raja Veersen, the then ruler of Dongargarh, in order to appease the Gods for his true successor, had built the temple 2200 years ago. This particular temple is referred as Badi Bamleshwari and there is another temple at the ground level, known as the Chotti Bamleshwari, situated at a distance of ˝ km from the main temple complex.
There is also available ropeway path, built keeping in mind the comfort level of the devotional climbers. The magnificient view from the top is an added attraction for the devotees to witness the might of Bamleshwari Devi. An enormous statue of Buddha in golden is visible on the opposite mountain, as if placed there in some mysterious circumstances.
Time to Visit
The Maa Bamleshwar Devi temple would be open to devotees from 4.00 AM to 12.00 PM on weekdays and 5.00 AM to 10.00 PM on weekends. Devotees flock here in huge numbers during the Navratris of Kavar (during Dusshera) and Chaitra (during Ramnavami).
Other places to Visit
There is another temple on the plain of Maa Bamleshwari Devi and is popularly known as Choti Bamleshwari Devi. In ancient times, when there was lack of facilities and many people because of age and other reasons could not climb the mountain for darshan, they established a temple on the plains that slowly took the shape of Choti Bamleshwari Temple.
There are two temples of Lord Hanuman, one which is situated on the plain near Choti-Bamleshwari temple and second one is on the mountain on the way towards the main Maa Bamleshawari temple.
The temple of Lord Shivji is almost 3/4th of its way towards Badi Bamleshwari on the mountain and has been recently constructed. The temple here has the outer decoration of many snakes in different postures. The devotees before going to the main Shrine worship the Shivling and a statue of Lord Shiv that is there in the temple.
Nearby tourist places to Maa Bamleshwar Devi Temple
Hawan is the worship done to Agni Dev for internal energy and power. Every Sunday between 10 am to 12 noon a Hawan is conducted at the Badi Bamleshwari temple on the mountain.
During the Navratri Festival offering worship at the temple is been believed to be of great importance for the fulfilment of one's aspirations.
How to reach the Temple
Through Air - the city of Raipur is the capital of the state of Chatisgarh and is the only centre to be linked up with an air network. The Indian Airlines connects the city with Delhi and Nagpur by regular flights.
Through Railways - Almost the whole state is connected with good railway network internally and even externally. Raipur and Bilaspur are two major railway stations that are connected to every part of the country.
Through Road - the major National Highways 6, 43, and 16 connect all the major cities of the state to other parts in the country like Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and many places in western India. There is a good internal road network in the state connecting all the major parts with the state capital.