Maa Hingula is one of the Ashtachandi (8 deities) of Odisha. Hingula temple, also known as Hingula pitha (shrine) is situated in Gopalprasad village of Talcher gada. After this fiery deity Narayani (deity Laxmi) annihilated Sumbha and Nisumbha , en route to kill Subala and Dundubhi the Ashta mahabidya also went with her. Maa Hingula is one of the Ashta Mahabidya. There's a folktale surrounding this well known temple of Talcher. That is, whenever there's a sudden emergence of volcano flames in the Singada river maa Hingula was presided/ worshipped. Over time maa Hingula Jatra (pilgrimage) is being held on Chaitra Shukla Chaturdashi (Indian calendar) and presently it's known as Hingula Pitha (shrine).


In the reign of king Nanda maa Hingula was worshipped in Bidharbha as the district's deity. By the grace of the deity king Nanda was always devouring elixir like food. The prepared dishes were always luscious. At that time Gajapati Maharaja of puri was in search of finding ways to make puri shrimandir (Jagannath temple of puri) maha prasad more delicious. Because of a command given through dream, the king sought help from maa Hingula. Being pleased by the devotion of maharaja maa Hingula went to the shrimandir kitchen. By her grace, the mahaprasad and other dishes of the shrimandir kitchen reached their utmost delicacy. On the way to Shrimandir maa Hingula stayed in Gopalprasad village of Talcher Gada which became her abode and is famously known as Hingula Pitha (shrine).


There are some myths related to this main shrine of this omnipotent deity , maa Hingula. According to the shrine of Tantar Chudamani (ତନ୍ତର ଚୁଡାମଣି) a part of Devi Sati's forehead fell in a place called Hingalaja (ହିଙ୍ଗଲାଜ) after being cut by the (Vishnu's)Sudarshan Chakra. This Hingalaja temple of maa Hingula is presently situated at the top of Makran mountain range which is 120 km away from the estuary of the Sindhu river, that is presently in Pakistan's territory. The part of forehead where Maa Sati applies Sindur , fell in Talcher. The colour of Sindur is called Hingala (Red), thus the deity is worshipped as Hingula.

Gopalgada's Hingula shrine and Shri Mandir's connection is narrated in many mythical books. On the time of arrival of maa Hingula in the Shri kshetra (puri) with the king of Bidarbha, Ruler Nala, the deity had mentioned that her Shakti Pitha (worshipping shrine) will be in Gopalprasad and her Karmakshetra (workplace) would be the Jagannatha Temple. This folktale implies that there was no worshipping shrine for maa Hingula before. Since when the deity is being worshipped in Talcher, it's answer lies in the form of Maa Hingula confined in religion, beliefs, determination and folk culture. The history surrounding the emergence of maa Hingula in this region is linked to another story , someone from the modern civilization, a devotee of fire begun the worshipping of fire and placed Maa Hingula here. The ancient worshipping method of the deity involves placing the idol of maa Hingula in a bed of burning coal at the place of emergence. The deity's name Hingula or Hingulai is derived from the word "Hingula" , an Ayurvedic medicine that acts as an antidote for poison. It also signifies the colour Red. In other words the shrine of deity Hingalaja , which is presently situated in Pakistan's Beluchi province is the main Shakti Pitha of the Hindus. The exact location of the shrine is the river mouth of Hingal river of Makram mountains. In the local language it's called "Nani Ki Mandir" which is the worshipped deity of both Hindu and Muslims. Although the Mushlims doesn't believe in worshipping Gods and Goddesses, a community of Muslims of this province, called Beluchi community has been worshipping deity Hingalaja long before the Islam religion was introduced. The Hindu myth says Sati (Shiva's first wife), jumped into the Ygyan Kunda (sacrificial fire) in Dakshya's (Sati's father) Ygyan when she couldn't bear to hear the insults thrown at her husband (Shiva). On the demise of his wife, Shiva became furious and started performing Tandava (dance of destruction) by carrying Sati's charred remains on his shoulder. Lord Vishnu , with his Sudarshan Chakra cut Sati's remains into many pieces, those 51 pieces fell on different parts of Indian making each place a Shakti Pitha (Deity's Shrine). Sati's ବ୍ରହ୍ମରନ୍ଦର (the part of forehead where sindur is applied) fell in the western edge of India , on the coast of Hingal river which made it the Adya Shakti Pitha). The deity of this shrine embodies fire. Another shrine is a Jwalamukhi temple located in the Kangra province of Himachal Pradesh, which is a Agni Shakti Pitha. Sati's tounge fell here. Therefore, the name Jwalamukhi comes from combining 2 words , "Jwala" and "Mukhi". Jwala means fire and Mukha means mouth. Out of all 51 shakti pithas Hingalaja and Jwalamukhi are fire shrines. Both the deities residing in these shrines embodies fire. These deities are being worshipped since the mythical ages. A historical connection is noticed between Hingalaja shrine of Beluchi and Hingula shrine of Talcher. The Hingalaja shrine on the coast of Hingal river is connected to many mythical and historic facts. Hingalaja shrine of Beluchi is located inside a stone cave. Many Kadarma volcanoes are seen in this area. These caves emit natural gases automatically, which lights up in small embers by slight ignition. Furthermore, natural combustion in coal of Talcher's Gopalprasad and the descending of deity Hingula to Earth is a religious tradition, which is working as a bridge for relationships since eras.

Hingula Jatra:

Among the festivals celebrated in Hingula shrine throughout the year , Basantika Puja or Hingula Yatra is the most popular. Hingula Yatra begins from Chaitra Shukla Pakhya Vishnu Damanaka Chaturdashi (refer to Indian calendar). This yatra continues for 9 days with adherence to particular rules. The pujaka (priest) receives an order through dream before the emergence of maa Hingula. A flaming orb is witnessed in the emergence spot. The priests subdue the deity by chanting Mantras and present coal stones as offerings. These coal stones are famously known as Chara Pathara (ଚରା ପଥର). On the morning of the Yatra Pata Chandua (silk canopy) is presented to the deity near the emergence spot by the king of Talcher. In Hingula shrine the devotees offer their sacrifices and offerings to the deity themselves.

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