The Shakti Peethas are powerful places of worship dedicated to Goddess Shakti, the most important feminine divine presence in Hinduism. The Goddess is the complete incarnation of Adi Shakti.
Her forms are seen as three important types of manifestation:
Durga – Goddess of strength and valour
Mahakali- Goddess of destruction of evil
Gowri- Goddess of benevolence
Legend and History of the Shakti Peethas
Daksha, the son of Lord Brahma had 27 daughters including Sati (form of Goddess Shakti) who was married to Lord Shiva.
Daksha, entered his arena one day to attend a yagna performed by Agni and found that everyone except Lord Shiva stood up as a gesture of respect and was very angry. Later on when Daksha conducted a yagna himself, he didn’t invite his daughter Sati or son in law.
Despite the lack of invitation, Sati still chose to attend the yagna to be with her father and sister who completely ignored her and started misspeaking about Shiva in front of her which made her feel very hurt and disgraced.
She scarified herself at the place of yagna by creating agni from earth with her right thumb of her foot. Lord Shiva, when he came to know what had happened, removed one bunch of Jhatha from his head and hit it on the earth. From that portion, Lord Veerabhadra was born and rushed to the yagna spot and killed Daksha by cutting his head off.
Lord Shiva went to the yagna himself and started dancing with Sati’s body removing it from the fire. This Tandava Nritya, scared everyone and instilled fear. The people were terrorised and Lord Vishnu had to take matters into his hands to control the situation. Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut Sati’s body into pieces which fell in various places in India and Srilanka.
The places where the parts of the body fell, came to be known as the powerful Shakti Peethas. Out of the 51 Shakti Peetha temples, there are 18 which are considered to be especially most significant. These 18 shrines of Mata are known as the Maha Shakti Peethas.
The 18 Shakti Peethas in the order
Part of the body fallen
Name of Shakti
Are given below:
Trincomalee (Sri lanka)
Kanchi (Tamil nadu)
Praddyumnam (West Bengal)
Sri Srunkhala devi
Alampur (Andhra Pradesh)
Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh)
Eka Veerika devi
Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
Pithapuram (Andhra Pradesh)
Draksharamam (Andhra Pradesh)
Prayaga (Uttar Pradesh)
Jwala (Himachal Pradesh)
Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
These 18 temples have immense power, as places where parts of Shakti were found here. Of these temples, the Temples at Kamkhya, Gaya and Ujjain are often considered the most sacred and significant as they represent the three most important features of Goddess Shakti: Creation, Nourishment and Annihilation.
Powerful Shakti Peetha mantra:
Aadi Shankaracharya’s Asthadasa Shakti Peethas sloka is a powerful prayer which describes all the different forms of Goddess Shakti in the places the parts of her body were found.
Lankayam Shankari devi, Kamakshi Kanchika pure
Pradyumne Shrinkhala devi, Chamunda Krouncha pattane
Alampure Jogulamba, Sri shaile Bhramarambika
Kolha pure Maha lakshmi, Mahurye Ekaveerika
Ujjainyam Maha kali, Peethikayam Puruhutika
Odhyane Girija devi, Manikya Daksha vatike
Hari kshetre Kama rupi, Prayage Madhaveshwari
Jwalayam Vishnavi devi, Gaya Mangalya gourika
Varanasyam Vishalakshi, Kashmire tu Saraswati
Ashtadasha Shakti peethani, Yoginamapi durlabham
Sayamkale pathennityam, Sarva shatri vinashanam
Sarva roga haram divyam, Sarva sampatkaram shubham
Goddess Shankari in Sri lanka, Kamakshi in Kanchipuram,
Goddess Shrinkhala in Pradyumna and Chamunda in Mysore
Goddess Jogulamba in Alampur, Goddess Brhamarabika in Sri Shailam,
Goddess Maha Lakshmi in Kolhapur and Goddess Eka veera in Mahur
Goddess Maha Kali in Ujjain Purhuthika in Peethika,
Goddess Girija in Odhyana and goddess Manikya in the house of Daksha,
Goddess Kama rupi in the temple of Vishnu, Goddess Madhevaswari in Allahabad,
The flame giving Goddess in Jwala muki and Mangala Gouri in Gaya.
Goddess Visalakshi in Varanasi, Goddess Saraswathi in Kashmir,
Are the 18 houses of Shakthi, which are rare even to devas.
One should try to visit these 18 Shathi Peethas in their lifetime for attaining salvation. May we all receive the choicest Blessings of Divine mother for security, peace and happiness.
(Cover photo – Kanchi Kamakshi Devi: coutesy: mahaperiavaa.blog)
You may watch the attached video (courtesy: Karma & Dharma) for having Dharshan of 18 Sakthi Peetha Deities: