Around election time, a temple in Rajasthan’s Banswara district becomes a favourite of politicians seeking some divine intervention.
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is said to be a firm believer of the temple deity, Maa Tripura Sundari, who the devout say helps people seeking power or an “empire” (samrajya).
And politicians across party lines, from village heads to ministers, are regular visitors to the Tripura Sundari temple in Umrai village.
“Maa Tripura Sundari blesses devotees who seek ‘samrajya’, which is visits by those wishing to contest the assembly polls has increased,” Nikunj Mohan Pandya, a priest at the temple, told PTI.
Polling in all 200 assembly constituencies in Rajasthan will take place on November 25 and counting will be held on December 3.
“Those wishing for ‘samrajya’ and success in politics visit the temple and pray to Maa Bhagwati (Tripura Sundari). Leaders from different political parties visit the temple. Some have immense faith, and regularly visit and offer prayers. Sadhna is performed at the temple,” he said.
Pandya said that erstwhile kings and rulers would offer prayers before every important battle. Raje, who often visits the temple, had reportedly stayed inside the temple for the entire duration of the counting of votes of the 2013 assembly polls – which she won – and stayed there till the results were declared.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and several state ministers have also visited the temple this year. Temple manager Jagesh Panchal said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also visited the temple when he was the Gujarat chief minister. Apart from him, former president Pratibha Patil, many union ministers, CMs of other states have also come for darshan. On Thursday, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda offered prayers at the temple.
Pandya said that renovation of the temple has been done from time to time by Panchal samaj, who manage the temple. Major development works outside the temple were also done during Raje’s tenure as CM. Deputy leader of opposition Satish Poonia, who also frequents the temple, told PTI, “The place of Tripura Sundari is full of energy. People visit and pray to the goddess so that they can work with more enthusiasm in service of the people in society.” He said the idol of Tripura Sundari inspires people and that he has strong faith in the deity.
Apart from politicians, a large number of regular devotees also offer prayers at the temple.
Located at a distance of 14 km from Banswara district headquarters, the Tripura Sundari temple is said to be centuries-old but the exact date of its establishment is unclear.
It is said that earlier there used to be three forts named Shaktipuri, Shivpuri and Vishnupuri around the temple and since it was situated in the middle of the forts, Goddess Bhagwati was named Tripura Sundari. In the sanctum sanctorum, there is a black-coloured grand and attractive idol of the deity with eighteen arms, carrying different weapons in each. Other small idols, called Das Mahavidya, are also present. Shri Yantra is engraved at the bottom of the idol, which has its own special tantric significance. “For centuries, the temple has been a famous worship centre for ‘Shakti’ seekers. People from far and wide come and bow their heads at this Shaktipeeth. During Navratri festival, special programmes take place every day in the temple’s courtyard,” he said.
Priest Ganesh Sharma said, “Due to Jagat Janani Tripura Sundari Shaktipeeth, this place is alive, energetic and powerful.” President of the temple trust Kanti Lal and general secretary Natwar Lal said that a lot of development work has been done over the years.
They said that people from all over Rajasthan and other states, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, visit the temple. During Navratri, special programmes are organised and lakhs of devotees visit the temple, they added. Ashok Panchal, former president of the trust said, “Whatever wish is asked in this temple, it is definitely fulfilled by Maa Tripura. Due to its importance, many big leaders of the country have come to the temple to bow their heads before the goddess,” he said.