For many Hindus around the world, 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.
Located in Chinnamasta VDC, Saptari District, 10 km away 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, is the main attraction for the pilgrimages from India and Nepal. Though thousands of visitors visit this temple every month, special crowd of peoples 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 goddess installed at Sakhadeshwari temple. The main statue is the statue of goddess Mahishasura Mardini slaying the buffalo demon. The goddess is shown crushing the head of buffalo, and besides that, the statue of Bhairavi, Chamunda, Chinnamasta, Dakshin Kali are 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 at night. After evening aarti at 8 pm, the firstly sacrificed animal is cooked and is distributed to all devotees.
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.
Among these 10 Mahavidyas, Chhinnamasta is the goddess of wisdom as well as transformation and is probably the most terrifying form among them. She is portrayed holding her self-cut head, standing in an aggressive manner, three blood spurting out from her neck which is drunk by her own head and 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 completely naked denoting her nature as a Shakti who is completely free of all hindrance. The attributes and iconography of the goddess is also portrayed in Buddhism as a Buddhist goddess Chinnamunda.
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 as Mahishasura Mardini. The story of goddess killing 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 the life in a very short span.
People also be certain of having a child if they worship her with flowers and 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’s attacks his kingdom, he ran through Pataliputra and came to stay in Nepal (Simraungadh). He came to 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 as Sakhereswari Bhagawati, also Chinnamasta Bhagawati because when the idol was found its head was severed. The severed head was later covered by the gold mask, however, most of the time silver mask input over her head replacing the gold mask.
There is also another history which believes that 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 Saptari area to spend rest of his life, entrusting the throne to his son Kumar Harisinghdev.
That time, the area was filled with dense forest and the king was resting in one of the trees. Same time, goddess Bhagwati came in 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 that king searched for the idol and established her in the place she was found.(Last Updated On: November 13, 2019)