It is a known fact that India is a country, in which mother India has imbedded into her the qualities of spiritualism and devotionalism where it is believed that there is a gracious presence of the gods and goddesses, and thus acquired the name Punyabhumi, has been and is being a land of many iconic, historic temples, where every temple is unique and has its own significance that makes it a place of specialty.
I being a girl who believes in spirituality and the one who believes in every god and goddesses, do move around different temples and unique places with a zeal to explore it and with the same enthusiasm, have been to the place “Devi Puram”, 15 km away from my University, i.e. DSNLU, Sabbavaram at Visakhapatnam, A.P. and really got surprised and have been astonished after learning the true history of the place and its existence.
Visakhapatnam, popularly known as “City of Destiny” and the “Pearl of East Coast”, once visited, leaves us with the satisfaction that those names aptly suits it because the ambiance the city provides is to that extent and it is for sure to be experienced by exploring the city to feel the real joy as each and every place in the city has its own significance and one of such places is this, i.e. Devi Puram. Situated 40- 45 km away from the city, on Sabbavaram- Anakapalli Highway, this place is an eye feast not only to the men of spirituality/ pilgrim but also the common people.
From the main road, a distance of 3-5 km has to be moved in to explore this temple and along the distance of 3-5 km the beautiful cashew trees on both the sides of the road attracts the piligrims, with their reddish green fruits hanging in bundles to the trees, which is really an eye- treat to every pilgrim. Having completed this deep yet beautiful passage, at the entrance of the temple there is doom shaped structure, where there will be a video played on how temple has been constructed and its significance. Moving ahead, there is the well- architected; Sri Chakra Theme based Sahasrakshi Devi Temple, with a continuous hearing of the soothing stotra “Sri Matre Namah!!”, which possesses 108 sculptures, beautifully carved and each sculpture has its own identity where the common and unique feature of all these 108 statutes is that they are all naked with not even a single strip of cloth on them. It is said that these statutes have the power to treat different diseases and disorders of human beings, when some rituals and pooja being performed as advised by the priest. This temple is a two- storied one, where those 108 statutes are placed in the ground and first floor and then at the top- floor, i.e. the second floor, there is one, only one Goddess Sahasrakshi Devi Statute with a neatly drapped saree, nicely decorated with all the garlands, where we can experience the fresh fragrance that comforts the whole soul. The special thing that is to be noted here is that only a female priest is allowed to perform the pooja and other rituals that are needed to be done and no male priest is allowed even to touch this particular statute.
Moving forward along the road, there comes the “Kamakya Peetam”, another unique features of the temple, and this is the only temple in South India which has this Peetam, where it is said that by offering pooja and performing daily rituals, all the menstrual problems of the female can be treated and there are also evidences for this that the disorders regarding menstrual cycles are effectively treated. The first and foremost uniqueness of the temple to be noted of all others keeping apart is that the female are allowed during their menstrual cycle and the temple priest say that the effect of the rituals performed will be more when done when the female are in their cycle.
Then, besides this Kamakya Peetam, there are steps, when climbed; we can have the darshan of Lord Shiva carved in a white marble stone and for sure this will be a peaceful retreat. Coming down and moving forward a while, there comes the Dhaksha Vati, which is a place where one lakh and above Shiva Lingas are rowed parallel to each other and in the middle of all these lingas, there is another Shiva Linga carved out to look like a pyramid and people do offer prayers here regularly. Coming to the special rituals, every fortnight, there are special offerings performed and the festivals of Dusserah Navaratri and Maha shivaratri are highly celebrated.
And a little about the history of the temple, it is said that a professor named Dr. N. Prahalada Sastry @ Sri Amrithananda Natha Saraswathi had a dream in which Goddess Sahasrakshi told him that she will come in his dream every Friday in different avatars and ordered him that those avatars are to be carved out in the form of naked statutes and he did so. He then laid the stone for constructing the temple according to the wish of the Goddess Sahasrakshi, and then named the place as “Devi Puram” meaning the place of the Goddess. After the construction of the temple, there have been daily rituals that are performed and there are also various special rituals that had been performed in the presence of him and his wife till his death in 2015 and the legacy is being carried out by his students’ till date. Then last but not least, the hospitality of the temple authorities is to be noted and I say that they provide us a very good ambiance, where they provide us every meal with utmost care and affection towards every pilgrim for free. There are guest rooms constructed near the Dhaksha Vati for the piligrims to stay. There are some meditation courses that will be organized year long and the foreigners do take part in it and when we have interacted with one of the German Lady, she enthusiastically said, “I have experienced the inner me within 3 months of my stay here” and this speaks enough of what the temple actually provide us.
Coming to my personal experience, I literally got goose bumps, once I heard of the total history of the temple from the student of the Guruji, where I just went there for a normal outsight, but stayed there for the whole day till evening forgetting myself and listning to the importance of each and every part of the temple, which has been beautifully structured and I assure you the same, if once visited.
“Om Sri Matre Namah!!!”
Author: B. Leela