The syambhu (natural ) statue of Mata has been in existence from the 9th century. It is located approximately 70 kms from the town of Bhuj enroute the Lakhpat fort. The road towards the temple is as smooth as butter without any any humps or any pot holes. But one needs to vary of the same for we encountered a sudden road repairing trench while we travelled from Lakhpat to Narayan sarovar without any indication of the repair works.
The Samma clan of Rajputs seem to be earliest followers of Divine Mata. Later the Royalty started patronising the goddess with more families spreading the message of the goddess. Khengarji I ( 1548-1585 ) became a strong follower of Ma Ashapuraji and thus the followership started multiplying once the festivity of Navarathri in honour of the Mata commenced.
Legends abound the aura of Mata. Once a trader stationed himself in the town near the Mata’s statue selling his ware. While sleeping he had a dream of Mata goading him to build a temple on the spot in her honor. Mata had advised him not to open the doors till six month but curiosity overcame the devotees and found the deity on her knees trying to get up.
Thus a temple in dedication was built by Devchand in order to fulfill his wishes of being blessed with a child. His wish was fulfilled by Mata after the construction of the temple. Thus Mata’s legend spread far and wide regarding this incident.
All the devotees visiting the temple are served with a simple and delicious food in the noon between 12 to 2 pm. Our driver suggested that we should partake the food ( Prasad ) as a mark of respect to Mata. We found that puris, sabji, rice and dhal were really tasty and it was served with devotion. Very rare one does find such hygienic food served as Prasad to devotees. It is unlimited serving but devotees are required not to waste the food, for it can fill the stomach of other devotees.
Special ceremonies are conducted for Mata during the months of Chaitra ( April/May ) & Ashwin ( Sept-October ) during the time of Navaratri. During Navaratri a nine day festivity is organized in honor of the goddess. Special Pujas are conducted everyday during the festival days. Buffalo sacrifice was undertaken in olden days which was discontinued in favor of vegetarian fare. When the sacrifice was in vogue the blood of the beheaded buffalo’s were partaken by some women devotees in trance. The horrific practice was thankfully discontinued.
The havan pooja takes place in the midnight of the seventh day of Navaratri which is unique custom followed in the area. The Maharao was the chief guest who goes through the ceremonies conducted during the havan with chanting of mantras by the priest. There are lot of devotees who take a long walk from various parts of the country to arrive at doorstep of Mataji. The goddess helps in fulfilling the wishes of the devotees some time or the other.
Thus Mataji worship with pure mind and devotion helps in fulfilling the wishes and devotees keep flocking and donating money to the goddess. The legend of the goddess keeps growing day by day. The goddess represents Shakti, which is giver of wealth and food.
A devotional song sung by Gulshan Kumar will aptly sum it up :
Chalu, Bhulava Aye Hai,
Mata Ne bhulaya Hai !
( Come one and all, a call has been given. Our divine Mata has invited us to her doorstep )
Tere Dwar Pe Ay Ke, Nirash Na Koi Jaye,
Asha Purana Karini, Asha Purna Kare !
( Nobody goes back sad, after coming to your doorstep All wishes are fulfilled of devotees)
Basic facilities for pilgrims stay is available at the temple guest house for devotees who want to stay put, however during Navaratri time it may not be possible in lieu of huge crowd flow. A visit to this temple always provides serenity and tranquility to the devotees. Jai Matanamadh.
Official website of the temple.
Ack : Photos from temple website.