One of the major Hindu pilgrimage is the Sheetala Devi
Temple located near a pond at Gurugaon village, a suburb of
Gurgaon (Guru Dronacharya's birth place), in
the state of Haryana. The temple is thronged by devotees in large numbers
throughout the year. Also referred to as a 'Shakti Peeth', the presiding
deity of this temple is Mata Sheetala Devi.
There are many legends, which are connected with the building of the present temple of Sheetala Devi. According to one legend, a poor carpenter living in Farukh Nagar had a beautiful daughter of marriageable age. On hearing about her beauty, the Mughal ruler expressed his desire to get married to the girl. The carpenter resented giving away her daughter to a person from a different religion and so appealed to King Surajmal of Bharatpur. The matter being outside his jurisdiction, the king refused to interfere. The disappointed carpenter met Prince Bharatpur, son of King Surajmal while returning home who tried to talk it out with his father but to no avail. Consequently, the prince revolted against his father. On his way to attack Delhi, he passed through Gurugaon and he pledged to the Devi that if he returned victorious, he would build a proper temple. The prince won and upon his return, he built the temple.
There is another version of the same temple. It is said that when prince Bharatpur was proceeding towards Delhi , he and his army rested at Vallabhgadh. But the horses refused to move further from here. The court astrologer was summoned to explain the strange behaviour of the horses, whereupon it was found that since obeisance was not paid the goddess after entering Gurgaon on their way, this had angered her. Thus an elaborate worship of the goddess was arranged and the horses started moving. The prince pledged that he would build a temple on his victorious return.
The Queens At War
The third legend also includes king Bharatpur . On a pilgrimage to Pushkar, a verbal fight ensued between the queen of Ajmer and the queen of Bharatpur, Kishori on who would first jump into the waters. The men finally took over and it resulted in King Bharatpur attacking the king of Ajmer, defeating the latter in the process. Queen Kishori was jubiliant and urged the king to build the Sheetala Devi temple. And King Bharatpur and Chaudhary Jawahar Sigh consecrated the idol made of eight metals in this temple.
Time For Festivity
Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple during the Hindu month of Chaitra corresponding with the months of March and April. The place resembles a Kumbh-Mela. There is a heavy rush of pilgrims especially on Mondays of this month Situated near a pond, this temple witnesses hordes of pilgrims throughout the year, except during the month of Shravana (July-August). People also come to this temple to conduct the 'mundan' (shaving off the heads) ceremony of their sons.