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Tulja Bhavani Temple is located in Tuljapur, Maharashtra. The temple is among the 51 Shakti Peeths in India and is located about 45 Km away from Solapur. It is believed that Tulja Bhavani Temple was constructed in the 12th century. The Tulja Bhavani is the deity of the Royal Bhosale family. It is believed that the temple was visited by Shivaji Maharaj to get blessings from the goddess. Legend states that the goddess gifted Shivaji Maharaj with a sword which is known as the Bhavani sword. The temple sits atop a hill along the Bala ghat recognized as Yamunachala.

The idol of the Goddess Bhavani is a self-oriented idol. It is in the form of a granite statue about 3 feet high and has eight arms with different weapons. The main entrance of the temple is known as the Sardar Nimbalkar Dwar. There are two entrances to the temple, one the Raja Shahji main gate and another Rajmata Jijavu gate. Walking through the Sardar Nimbalkar Dwar on the right side is the Markandeya Rishi Temple. Descending the stairs is the main Tulja Bhavani temple. From the gates Raja Shahji main gate and another Rajmata Jijavu gate are two libraries.

There are two teerths in the temple premises namely the Gomukh Teerth and the Kallol Teerth. Before entering the temple devotees take a dip in these teerths. Other important features of the temple include the Duth temple, Siddhi Vinayak temple and an Amruth Kund. There is also a temple devoted to Goddess Annapurna inside the temple complex.
Bhavani Temple can be reached easily by air, rail and road. Regular buses are available from Solapur to Tuljapur. The nearest railway station to Tuljapur is in Osmanabad about 20 Km away and Solapur about 45 Km. the closest airport is in Pune.

The temple celebrates various festivals like Gudi Padva during the Hindu month Chaitra. Other festivals celebrated in the temple include the Makar Sankranti, Lalita Panchami, Rathasaptami and Shriral Sashti. The festival of Navratri is celebrated with full gaiety and ends with Vijaya Dashmi. Every Tuesday, a procession is taken out from the temple where the idol of the goddess is taken out around the temple premises.

History of Bhavani Temple in Maharashtra

The history of the temple is also elaborated in the Skanda Purana. An old legend states that once there was a sage Kardam. When he expired, Anubuti- his wife made repentance to Goddess Bhavani along the banks of Mandakini River. While she was making repentance a demon named Kukur started disturbing her. This is when Goddess Bhavani came to the rescue of Anubuti and slew the demon. From then, Goddess Bhavani is known as Tulja Bhavani.

Another legend states that in ancient times, the devtas and mankind were troubled by a demon Matanga. When the devtas approached Lord Brahma, he advised them to take help from Goddess Bhavani. She took the form of destroyer and overpowered the demon.

A third legend states that Goddess Bhavani slayed another demon, Mhisha who was in the form of a buffalo. After slaying the demon she toll abode on the Yamunachala hill where the temple is located today.

Rituals at Bhavani Temple in Maharashtra

The everyday rituals at Bhavani Temple include several services. The prayers start at 5:30 AM but before the prayers commence drums are beaten which is an indication for the devotees to come to the temple for prayers. The morning puja starts at 5:30 AM known as the Charantirtha. During this puja a representative from the princely state of Karvir is present. This puja involves the priest washing the idol of the goddess and offering the idol special meal.

Another puja is performed at 9:00 AM the Abhishek is performed. During this, the goddess is given a bath with curd and panchamrit. The idol of the goddess is fed with various fruits and holy meal. At noon devotees and priests get together to sing hymns in praise of the Goddess. Another Abhishek is performed in the evening at 6:00 PM. During the night, a ritual is performed with holy water and aarti is performed which involves singing devotional songs and prayers.

During every ritual, several musical instruments like zanj, dimdi and tal are played to give rhythm to the songs and hymns sung in praise of the Goddess.

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