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Eleven-Armed Goddess Durga At Athmallik Maheshwari Temple Odisha

We are used to worshipping four-armed, eight-armed, ten-armed and 18-armed form of Goddess Durga. But there is a very rare eleven-armed Goddess Durga worshipped at Athmallik Durga Temple in Odisha. This form of Mother Goddess is worshiped as Goddess Maheswari here. The shrine is at Rugudisahi, around a kilometer from Athmallik bus station.

Eleven-Armed Goddess Durga Story

According to Devi Bhagavata, while fighting with the buffalo headed demon Mahishasura, Goddess Durga had to give up her clothes and became naked in order to attract him.After the annihilation of the demon when the Goddess became temperate, the Gods of the heaven made her conscious about it. So, she felt shame and all of a sudden a new hand came out from her nucleus and covered the vagina. This particular representation is worshipped at Athmallik Maheshwari Temple.

The present shrine was constructed in 1922 CE and it faces east. The murti and the original shrine belongs to the 8th century CE during the rule of Sulkis. Goddess Stambheswari was their tutelary deity and She later came to be known as Goddess Maheshwari.

Along with the eleven-armed Goddess Maheshwari, there is also a murti of Dolagobinda in main sanctum sanctorum. The deity holds various weapons in her ten hands. The murti has three eyes, high breast and thin waist. Her eyes resembling the nilotpala or blue lotus and stand in the tribhanga pose. In her right hand, She carries the trisula, khadga, saktayudha, chakra and bow, and in the left hands the pasha, ankusha, khetaka, parashu and a bell. The Asura Mahishasura carries a sword and a shield. Goddess plunges her trisula into his neck and he is bleeding profusely.

It is widely believed that prayers offered to her never goes unanswered. Hundreds of people arrive daily to seek her blessings and for desire fulfillment. It is believed that worship here helps in curing various ailments.

Athmallik Maheshwari Temple Festival

A sixteen-day annual festival is held in the month of Ashwina (October – November) and it begins on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami or the eighth day during the waning or dark phase of moon in Ashwin month. The festival concludes on the Dasara day with a colorful procession. The deity worshipped in the shrine is carried to the Dasara mela ground. Animals are sacrificed during the annual festival.