Sakhada Bhagawati – Devi Chinnamasta Temple of Nepal

For many Hindus worldwide, Nepal is popularly known for the temples like Pashupatinath, Muktinath, and Ram Janaki Temple. There are hundreds of Hindu Temples inside the country’s territory to explore. In Eastern Nepal, there’s a place where the headless goddess, Devi Chhinnamasta, is worshipped. 

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Located in Chinnamasta VDC, Saptari District, 10 km from Rajbiraj, lies a temple of Sakhdaha Bhagawati dedicated to goddess Chhinnamasta, who is known for her self-decapitated body. It is one of the famous Shakti Peethas of Nepal.

The temple’s location is quite interesting as it lies near the Indian border. Thus, it is the main attraction for pilgrimages from India and Nepal. Though thousands of visitors visit this temple every month, a special crowd of people from India and Nepal can be seen during Navratri. During this festival month, thousands of goats are sacrificed in the name of Devi Bhagwati.

The temple holds immense religious importance. There is a black stone statue of the goddess installed at Sakhadeshwari temple. The main statue is the statue of Goddess Mahishasura Mardini slaying the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. The goddess is shown crushing the head of the buffalo, and besides that, the statue of Bhairavi, Chamunda, Chinnamasta, and Dakshin Kali is also set in the temple.

The temple gate opens early at 4 am, and morning puja is completed within 7 am. Every day the first animal is sacrificed inside the temple, and others are sacrificed outside the temple. Daily from 12:15 pm to 2 pm temple remains closed and again reopens till 8 pm. After evening aarti at 8 pm, the firstly sacrificed animal is cooked and distributed to all devotees.

Chhinnamasta Bhagwati

Chinnamasta is one of the Mahavidyas (a group of ten facets of Adi Shakti in Hinduism). Mahavidyas are the form of goddess Parvati, and the 10 Mahavidyas are Kali, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairabi, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala.

Chinnamasta Devi

Among these 10 Mahavidyas, Chhinnamasta is the goddess of wisdom and transformation and is probably the terrifying form among them. She is portrayed holding her self-cut head, standing aggressively, three blood spurting out from her neck, drunk by her head, and the other two attendees.

Chhinnamasta is one of the most offensive forms of holiness in Hinduism and is not very popular due to her aggressive nature. She is entirely naked, denoting her nature as a Shakti free of all hindrances. The attributes and iconography of the goddess are also portrayed in Buddhism as a Buddhist goddess Chinnamunda.

Mahisasura Mardini

Mahishasura Mardini is also the form of Goddess Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya, the lord of the mountains. After killing the buffalo demon- Mahishasura, the goddess was named Mahishasura Mardini. Goddess is praised in popular Mahishasura Mardini Stotram, also known as Aigiri Nandini. The story of the goddess killing the buffalo demon is widely narrated during Durga Puja.

Worshipping Chhinnamasta Sakhadeshwari

Chinnamasta Sakhadeshwari belongs to the family of Durga. Her worship is said to yield: health, wealth; freedom from fear; ability to influence family, friends, women, and enemies, and also yield liberation.

Her followers believe that Chinnamasta Sakhadeshwari gives all and anything to her devotes. It is a widely held view that, when the path of life is dark and there is no help from anywhere, she helps in the very moment and can change lives quickly.

People also be certain of having a child if they worship her with flowers and a good heart. Usually, daily wedding ceremonies happen, and newlywed couples are practiced to take blessing from goddess Chinnamasta for their happy new beginning.

History of Sakhada Bhagawati Temple

It is believed that in 1097 when king Nanyadeva left his state because the Muslim Kingdom attacked his kingdom, he ran through Pataliputra and came to stay in Nepal (Simraungadh). He came to the Saptari district to live the rest of his life. One day, when he started cleaning the forest area where he lived, he found the statue of the goddess.

King Nanyadeva established the deity statue in the place he found and named her Sakhereswari Bhagawati, also Chinnamasta Bhagawati, because when the idol was found, its head was severed. The gold mask later covered the severed head; however, most of the time silver mask was input over her head, replacing the gold mask.

Another history also believes that the goddess Sakhadeshwari is the Kuldevi (family deity) of King Shakrasingh of Simraungadh. Due to the pressure of the king’s brother-in-law, he came to the Saptari area to spend the rest of his life, entrusting the throne to his son Kumar Harisinghdev.

At that time, the area was filled with dense forest, and the king was resting in one of the trees. Same time, goddess Bhagwati came into the dream of King Shakrasingh and said, “You will find Trishul and other idols in the vicinity buried in the place where you are staying. Worship that idol, and it will be good for you.” Saying all these things goddess disappeared. After the king searched for the idol and established her in the place she was found.