Tulaja Bhavani is a form of goddess Parvati, who is worshipped in Maharashtra, Gujarat and also by people of Telangana, Northen Karnataka, and Nepal. “Bhavani” literally translates to “giver of life”, meaning the power of nature or the source of creative energy. She is considered to be a mother who provides to her devotees and also plays the role of dispensing justice by killing Asuras.
Shuvaji, the founder of the Maratha KIngdom, was reputed to frequently visit this temple to seek blessings. The history of the temple dates back to the days of ‘ Skanda Purana ‘ as it finds a mention in that holy script. According to the epic story, there was a sage “Kardam” and his consort “Anubhuthi’ with an infant, in this area. After his death his wife “Anubhuthi” performed a penance for goddess in the name of Bhavani on the banks of the river “Mandakini” to look after her child. There was a demon (Rakshasa) by name “Kukur” who tortured her. Then Goddess Bhavani rescued Anubhuthi and killed the demon. The goddess on the prayer of her pet devotee settled on the hill of “Bala Ghat”. Since then the Mother Goddess came to be called as Bhavani of Tuljapur or Tulja Bhavani.
Mother Goddess Bhavani temple is the place where Chhatrapati Shivaji was blessed by Matha Bhavani. It is situated at Tulajapur as such it is popularly known as Tulja Bhavani Temple in many districts of Maharashtra. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peetas attributed to Goddess Parvati. The second among the ‘Shaktipeetas’ is Goddess Bhavani at Tulajapur. Bhavani is one who gives life and source of original power.
Tulajapur is at 45 km from Solapur. Historically this temple was built in the 12th century CE. There is yet another Tulja Bhavani temple built in 1537-1540 in Chhatisgarh. There is a third temple of Tulja Bhavani in the village of Patnakuva Gandhinagar in Gujrat. According to the priest, this Goddess came here from Tuljapur during 14th century. The Goddess is said to be swayambhu (self emanated). It is true that God or Goddess is always referred as ‘swayambhu’ in Vedas, Puranas and many legends. But it does not refer to the stone idol installed in a temple. What is attributed is to the invisible Supreme power.
The second among the ‘Shaktipeeths’ is Tulja Bhavani of Tuljapur. It is the family deity of the Bhosale Royal family, the Yadavs and of countless numbers of families belonging to different castes. The great ruler and founder of the Maratha Kingdom, Chatrapati shivaji visited the temple as he was a prominent devotee of her, people believe that the Goddess gifted him a sword – ‘The Bhawani Talwar’ – to succeed in his expeditions. Tulaja word indicates to an old Hindu monastery at Tolaja village in the present Rawalpindi division of Pakistan.
Worship and Rituals
The temple follow a set of elaborate rituals for the deity.These include priests offering a daily ritual bath, change of clothes, and offering food to the deity four times a day.The daily routine also includes offering devotional prayers to the Goddess. In the evening the deity is ceremoniously put to rest.On special occasions such as the birthday, marriage, in addition to ritual bath, the idol of the Goddess is taken around Tuljapur in a procession.