--> Skip to main content

Tuljapur Temple Rare Facts – Architecture – Maths – History – Festival

Mother Goddess Tulja Bhavani, lovingly referred as Bhavani Aai, is a powerful manifestation of Mother Goddess Shakti and consort of Lord Shiva. Tuljapur is located in Osmanabad District. It is about 25 km from Osmanabad town and 50 km from Solapur city.
She is the kuldaivat (family deity) of many families in Maharashtra and numerous other regions in India. Tulja Bhavani is one among the 51 shakti Peethas of India.

Tuljapur Temple History

Bhavani Aai is considered the Mother Goddess of Maharashtra and is held in high esteem.

The main murti or vigraha worshipped in the temple was installed by Adi Shankaracharya. The region was an important center of Shakti worship from time immemorial. It is also an important Tantric center mentioned in numerous Tantric texts. The shrine is also mentioned in the Skanda Purana.

The current temple was constructed during the 12th century AD.

Shivaji Maharaj was a great devotee of Bhavani and visited the temple many times for inspiration. He even installed her vigraha at Pratapgad for daily worship. She is the family deity of the Royal Bhosale family.

It is firmly believed that Goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur presented Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj with a sword to fight against the oppressors of Dharma.

The Vigraha Of Goddess Tulja Bhavani Which Is Movable

The vigraha or murti of Goddess Tulja Bhawani is swayambhu (self evolved). Goddess Bhavani is worshipped in the form of a three-foot high granite image, with eight arms holding weapons, bearing the head of the slain demon Mahishasura. Bhavani Aai is also known as Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita and Amba.

The main murti (idol) of Goddess Bhavani is not fixed but moveable. In majority of other temples the vigraha is fixed or static.

The installation ceremony of the murti was done by Adi Shankaracharya on Sri Yantra.

The main murti is taken out from the Sri Yantra thrice a year for pradakshina. The pradakshina is also done along with Sri Yantra, Mahadeo and Khanderao.

The temple complex also has shrines of Siddhi Vinayaka, Adi Shakti, Matangi Devi, Dattatreya, Annapurna and Vitthal Rukmini.

Tuljapur Temple Architecture

The location of the temple is very strategic and it is enclosed by hills on three sides and plains covered with wood on the other. The temple is on the western end of the town, and the temple complex may be entered through the mahadwar, on the top of which musician play. There are two main entrances to Tuljapur temple. One is called the Raja Shahaji Mahadwar, and the other as Rajmata Jijau main gate.  Going through the Sardar Nimbalkar Pravesh Dwar after the main entrance, there is the temple of Markandeya Rithi to the right.

Inside the temple there are steps going down and on the left is the Kallol Tirth and on the right is the Gomukh Tirth.

The main gate of the temple faces east, and is encrusted with brass. The image of the deity is finely sculpture, and holds many weapons and destroys demon Mahisha with a Trishula.
The temple is divided into a sabhamandap or stambh mandapa, Garuda Mandapa and Gabhara. The courtyard of the temple is surrounded by cloisters. The entrance on the West and in other parts are located images of different Gods and Goddesses. Next to the sabhamandap is the Shajghor of the deity. The temple complex is enclosed safely within protective walls, and this is because the temple used to be attacked by many invaders during the past centuries.

Elephants, horses, peacocks, monkeys, trees, deities and celestial beings are carved on this temple. The shikhara is in the typical Peshwai style of architecture, with the Kalasha Amalaka creepers, the niche and chhatri motifs. A bold synthesis of various architectural forms and features has resulted in a strong local architectural form.

The sabhamandap is built on the solakhamb or the principle of sixteen pillars. The pillars in the sabhamandap are partially turned and partially sculpted. They display a fusion of South India and local style of architecture and are possibly of an earlier origin. The temple shikhara and some other parts are of the 18th to 19th centuries period. The pillars of the sabhamandap are also very heavy and have brackets to support the superstructure.

Important Tirthas of Tuljapur Temple

There are many sacred tanks or tirthas in and around the temple. Kailol, Gomukh, Mankavati, Papnashi and Nagazari are the chief among them.

On the Nagazari tirtha, the Narayan Nagbali and Nagbali ritual are performed for the well being, prosperity, and continuity of the family by the devotees.

Gomukha tirtha is believed to have the waters of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers.

Before the darshan of the Goddess, devotees take a dip here in these theerthas. 

Important Math Associated With Tuljapur Temple

There are many maths in this temple town directly associated with the Tuljapur Bhavani Temple.

The Bharati Buva Math has an interesting story associated with it. Goddess Bhavani used to visit Bharati Buva Baba and play a game of dice with him at night. It became customary therefore, to call back the Goddess in the morning before the daily worship commences. This practice continues even today. The math has a great tradition and following.

The Sant Garibnath Math, also known as the Dashavatar Math, is well known for its association with the Gomukh tirtha. The chief of this order can only visit the temple once a year.
The Bakoji Baba Math is the order which guards the temple precinct.

The Hamroji Baba Math looks after the ornaments of Tuljapur Bhavani. Even though the government runs the management of the temple, the representative of this math has to be present every time the ornaments are handed or received by the treasury.

Navratri Festival In Tuljapur Temple

The most important festival here is the navratri or the nine nights (September – October). 

At this time the whole town is decorated and is in a festive mood. Devotees in large number from all over Maharashtra visit the shrine during the period. There is the custom of using cowry shell ornaments by the devotee of Tuljapur Bhavani during the period.
Pilgrims come to Tuljapur to fulfill their vows. Some of the vows include Gondhal or the dance, Dandavat or visiting the Goddess while prostrating oneself on every step from the house to the temple, Bhogi or panchamrut snana for the Goddess, offering saree to the goddess and sada or sprinkling of kumkum all around the courtyard to gain a longer life for one’s husband. Similar other customs exist here for achieving varied objectives.

The daily worship of the Goddess is done four times a day and on every Tuesday, a procession or chabbina is taken out with wooden vahana or mounts in the form of a simha, garuda, hansa (swan) and peacock (mor) which are specifically arranged by the temple.
Bhute, Gondhali and Bhope are a few of the attendant communities of the Tulja Bhavani Temple. There are special musical instruments which the musicians play including the sambal which add to the charm of the occasion. The martial traditions of the Maratha community are narrated by the Gondhali communities along with the stories of Goddess Bhavani.

A special ritual is performed annually after Vijayadashami for which tall bamboos come from Solapur, beds from Bhingar and palkhi from Nagar. The Teli community has the honor of doing this worship.

Some of the other important festivals observed in the temple are Shakambari Navratri (December - January), Makar Sankranti, Ratha Saptami, Gudi Padwa, Shitala Sashti, and Lalita Panchami.