Tuljapur located near Sholapur
is a quite neat and tidy town with roads paved with concrete and lighting
provided by electricity. It is famous for the Bhavani Temple. Tuljapur is
one of the four Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra
where mother Goddess, Shakti is worshipped. The temple is located on a
hill known as Yamunachala, on the slopes of the Sahayadri range in
Maharashtra near Sholapur.
The Great Shivaaji Maharaj, Maratha ruler was ardent devotee of Bhavani. He built this temple in 1661 and was unable to visit the famous temple due to torrential rains. Shivaaji always took her blessings. Legend has it that the Goddess gifted him a sword-the Bhawani sword-for success in his expeditions. Bhavani is considered to be an embodiment of the ugra or ferocity, as well as a Karunaswaroopini - filled with mercy. Goddess Shakti is also known by different names as Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita and Amba.
According to the legend prevailing a demon by name Matanga,
craeted havoc upon the devas and the humans who approached Bhrahma for
help were advised to request Mother Goddess Shakti, who then took up the
form of the destroyer, and powered by the other (Sapta) Maataas Varaahi,
Bhrahmi, Vaishnavi, Kaumaari, Indraani and Saambhavi vanquished him to
enable to peace to reign again.
There is also another legend that Bhavani vanquished another demon who took the form of a wild buffalo (Mahisha), and took abode on the Yamunachala hill, which is now home to the temple.
Historic records speak of the existence of this temple from
as early as the 12th century. The temple is on the eastern side of the
lower fort. As one enters from the gateway one has to descend nearly some
fifteen feet to reach the first stage of the temple Prakara.
This stage consists mainly of the large tank known as the Kallola tirth. It consists of a hall and a shrine. The shrine is made of black stone and the hall has wooden pillars. The roof of the temple is flat inside, outside is a leaden cover put by Maharaja Pratap Singh of Satara, also there is a small spire or 'shikhar' over the shrine.
The image of Bhavani is three foot high made of granite.
The idol worshipped has eight arms holding weapons, bearing the head of
the slain. This image is supposed to be swayambhu'-selfborn, created
without the medium of human agency. The lowermost right hand holds a
trident, the next one a dagger, the one above this an arrow and the
uppermost right hand wields the chakra. In the uppermost left hand is a
shankh, next is a bow, the third one carries a bowl and the lower most
left band holds the knot of bair on the head of the asur. The right leg is
planted firmly on the body of Mahishasur, the left one is on the ground,
between the two is the head of the asur gripped by the lower left arm.
The vahan of the Devi is a lion, and on the backrest are carved the sun and the moon on the left and right sides of the Devi. To her left is an image of a tapasvin; head touching the ground and legs pointing towards the sky. This is a representation of Anubhuti, a woman tapasvini who was responsible for bringing Tvarita devi on this Yamunachal. On the headrests a crown that has a yoni and ling carved on it. Ornaments like earrings, kundalas, necklaces etc. are, carved on the image. Services are offered four times each day.
The important festivals celebrated here with religious fervour are Gudi Padva in the month of Chaitra, Shriral Sashti, Lalita Panchami, Makara Sankranti and Rathasaptami. The deity is taken out in procession on Tuesdays. Navaratri is also celebrated with great fanfare.
Air: Nearest airport is
Rail: Nearest railhead is Solapur on South Central Railway.
Road: Tourists can take bus from Osmanabad 19-km away from Tuljapur or Solapur, which is 40-km away from Tuljapur.
Accommodation is available in the Dharamshalas and rooms let by local people and small budgeted hotels.