The Ekvira Devi Temple, located in the village of Karla near Lonavala, Maharashtra, is a holy shrine dedicated to Goddess Ekvira.
It is a prominent pilgrimage site in the state, drawing in numerous devotees every year. This article takes you on a journey to this sacred site, delving into its history, significance, and customs.
History of Ekvira Devi Temple
Believed to have been constructed during the Satavahana era around 2000 years ago, the Ekvira Devi Temple was later restored and enlarged by the Yadava dynasty in the 12th century.
Local legends state that the temple was once a cave where the goddess meditated. The cave was eventually transformed into a temple, with the installation of the goddess’s idol.
Architecture and Design of the Temple
The Ekvira Devi Temple features traditional Hemadpanthi-style architecture, typical of the temples built during the Yadava reign.
The temple is constructed using black basalt rock, adorned with intricate carvings on its walls and pillars.
The temple’s main entrance showcases beautiful sculptures of deities, and the inner sanctum houses the swayambhu or self-manifested idol of Goddess Ekvira.
How to Reach Ekvira Devi Temple
The Ekvira Devi Temple is well-connected by road and can be easily accessed by private or public transport.
The nearest airport is in Pune, approximately 70 km away from the temple. The closest railhead is Lonavala, and regular trains run from Mumbai and Pune to Lonavala.
Significance of Ekvira Devi Temple
The Ekvira Devi Temple is one of the most important holy sites in Maharashtra, attracting a large number of devotees annually.
The temple is considered a powerful Shakti peetha, with the goddess’s energy believed to be particularly potent here.
Devotees visit the temple to receive the goddess’s blessings and to fulfill their wishes. It is also reputed for its healing abilities, believed to cure various illnesses.
Festivals Celebrated at Ekvira Devi Temple
The Ekvira Devi Temple observes several festivals throughout the year, with the most significant being the Chaitra Purnima festival.
Held in March-April, it marks the goddess’s birth anniversary. The temple is decorated with flowers and lights, and special prayers and rituals are conducted to honor the goddess.
Navratri, a nine-day festival dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess Durga, is another important festival celebrated at the temple.
Darshan Timings and Pooja Rituals
The Ekvira Devi Temple is open to devotees every day from 6 am to 7 pm. The temple follows a strict schedule for pooja rituals, and devotees can participate in them by paying a nominal fee.
The principal pooja rituals conducted at the temple are the Abhishekam, Archana, and Aarti. Devotees can also conduct special poojas and havans at the temple by booking an appointment in advance.
The temple authorities offer various seva options for devotees who wish to contribute to the temple’s upkeep.
Accommodation near Ekvira Devi Temple
Several accommodation options are available near the Ekvira Devi Temple, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts.
Some of the popular options include Hotel Sai Niwas, The Machan Resort, and Sterling Lonavala. It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
|Tourist Attraction||Distance from Ekvira Devi Temple|
|Karla Caves||4.5 km|
|Bhaja Caves||7 km|
|Lohagad Fort||9.5 km|
|Visapur Fort||12 km|
|Pawna Lake||20 km|
|Rajmachi Fort||31 km|
Safety Tips for Visitors
While visiting the Ekvira Devi Temple, it is important to follow some safety guidelines to ensure a hassle-free and safe pilgrimage experience.
Visitors are advised to carry enough drinking water, wear comfortable and modest clothing, and avoid carrying valuables. The temple premises can be slippery, so it is advisable to wear appropriate footwear.
Visitors should also be careful while climbing the steps leading to the temple, especially during the monsoon season when the steps can be slippery and treacherous.
Traditions and Customs of Ekvira Devi Temple
The Ekvira Devi Temple has several unique customs and traditions that are followed by devotees. One of the most popular customs is the offering of bangles to the goddess.
Devotees offer bangles to the goddess as a symbol of their devotion and seek her blessings. Another popular custom is the tying of threads or vastrakas around the tree located in front of the temple. It is believed that tying a thread around the tree fulfills one’s wishes.
Famous Legends Associated with Ekvira Devi
The Ekvira Devi Temple has several legends associated with it. According to one legend, the temple was built by the Pandavas during their exile period. The temple was later renovated by the Yadava dynasty.
Another popular legend associated with the temple is that Goddess Ekvira used to meditate in the cave where the temple is now located. It is also believed that the goddess appeared in the dreams of a shepherd boy, who then discovered the idol of the goddess in the cave and built a temple around it.
Interesting Facts About Ekvira Devi Temple
- The Ekvira Devi Temple is one of the few temples in India that is dedicated to the goddess of the forest.
- The temple is believed to be more than 2,000 years old and has been mentioned in several ancient texts and scriptures.
- The temple is built on a hill, and visitors have to climb around 500 steps to reach the temple.
- The temple attracts a large number of devotees from all over Maharashtra and other parts of India.
The Ekvira Devi Temple is a revered pilgrimage site in Maharashtra and is known for its unique customs, traditions, and legends.
The temple attracts a large number of devotees every year who come here to seek the blessings of the goddess and to fulfill their wishes.
The temple’s beautiful architecture and serene surroundings make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring India’s rich cultural heritage.
What is the best time to visit the Ekvira Devi Temple?
The best time to visit the temple is between October and March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
Is there an entry fee to visit the Ekvira Devi Temple?
No, there is no entry fee to visit the temple. However, visitors may have to pay a nominal fee to participate in the pooja rituals.
Is photography allowed inside the temple?
No, photography is not allowed inside the temple premises.
Are there any restaurants or eateries near the temple?
Yes, there are several restaurants and eateries near the temple that serve authentic Maharashtrian cuisine.
Can we take our car to the temple?
Yes, visitors can take their cars to the temple. However, there is limited parking available, so it is advisable to reach early.