Was Uttarakhand’s worst natural disaster the result of a freak cloud burst? Was it a man-made disaster waiting to happen or was it the wrath of the gods?
Dhari Devi is a temple on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand state, India. It houses the upper half of a deity of goddess Kali specifically called “Dhari Devi”. At top of 20 metre high rock, the temple of Dhari Devi is situated on the banks of river Alakananda. For 800 years the deity stood in the middle of the Alaknanda river controlling it’s dhara or flow. The idol’s lower half is located in Kalimath, Rudraprayag, where mata is prayed in Kali roop. Its the place where Kali killed Raktbeeja.
When Kali entered the earth in Kali Mathh, she first peeped out her head as Kalyani (the helper of the world), in Dhari Devi. Dhari Devi is local name of this temple given by Garhwalis because the temple is situated on the fast flowing Alaknanda river. The temple is dedicated to Mother Kali and a head of black stone, coming out of rocks is worshipped here.
- It is the belief of people of Uttarakhand that ‘Dhari Devi’ has been protecting Uttarakhand from ancient times; she is protecting all places of pilgrimage in the area.
- According to local lore, idol of Dharidevi changes her appearance during the day from a girl, to a woman, and then to an old lady as the progress of time.
- It is believed that the idol of Dhari Devi shall not be put under roof. For the same reason, the idols in Dhari Devi Temple are put under open sky.
- According to a local legend, the temple was once washed off by floods, while floating the idol struck against a rock, the villagers heard the cries of the idol. On reaching the site they heard a divine voice instructing them the install the idol as it was, on the spot it was found.
- As per the head priest, One night he was awakened by someone and he saw Mother kali standing near his bed, eyes red with anger. She asked the priest to stop sacrificing the animals in her name, otherwise she would destroy his family. The priest woke up next morning in high fever and trembling with fear and announced “No more Balis” in the temple. The locals were infuriated as nobody believed his dream ! But seeing the adamant priest, who himself was enjoying the bali meat, they decided that the sacrifice will not be done at the temple but at Bhairon Gufa, 1 Km ahead the stream. So this Kali temple became the first sacrifice free temple of Devi in Uttranchal.
The Concept of Energy Formation
Dharidevi is not just any other Shakti (Energy) temples, it is among the 108 Shakti Peetha mentioned in the Devi Bhagavat.
The lower half of the idol of Kali is located in Kalimath Temple. These joint temples are aligned exactly at NE-SW direction symbolizing Kali as sleeping with her feet in NE direction and head in the SE direction.
This causes the energy to flow in the NE direction, which in jyotisa, is the direction of Jupiter (Ishana Shiva), the paramesthi guru. The upper part of the devi with the head symbolizes the calming of Kali by Shiva, the Guru. The lower part of Kali is not in the form of an idol and instead, is worshiped as the Sri Yantra. In this manner we learn that the Sri Yantra, as established by Adi Shankara at Kalimath, is the yoni of Shakti (Energy) from which all creation proceeds.
Relation to Kedarnath Jyotirlingam
There is some strange connection between these guardian goddess and the Kedarnath jyotirlinga.
The Kedarnath jyotirlinga is exactly North from Kalimath symbolising the husband-wife of Shiva-Shakti relationship. In this, Kedarnath being to the North (Mercury direction for ahimsa) is constantly calming the devi who is in the south (Mars direction, anger, agitated and at war).
On June 15th 2013, the deity of Dhari Devi was removed from her ancient temple to be shifted to another location to facilitate the construction of the dam (a 330 megawatt hydro electric project which stands in ruins).
The affidavit, submitted to the Supreme Court, says that it is the strong religious belief of a large section of Hindus that not just the superstructure but the very rock on which the temple stands is where Adi Shankaracharya worshipped and the rock has immense religious significance and neither the rock nor the temple should be disturbed. “To this end, the project proponent’s (AHPCL) plant to lift the temple up on columns and preserve it under the guidance of INTACH cannot possibly be a solution to this important issue.”
Locals were opposing ever since the conception of the project with the belief the moving of the Dhari Devi would somehow agitate Kali. Ironically, it seems they were right in their belief as any movement would lead to change in the angle of the Dhari Devi and Kalimath alignment, besides alerting the distance. Exactly on the next day a massive cloudburst and flash flood started in Uttarkhand.
With the shifting of Dhara Devi, the agitated Kali has been woken up, and she seeks the demon Raktabija (seed of blood). As per mythology, Raktabija took various bodies and she continued to destroy each one.
As per believers, Uttarakhand had to face the Goddess’ ire as she was shifted from her ‘mool sthan’ (original abode). A similar attempt in 1882 by a local king had resulted in a landslide that had flattened Kedarnath.
Cracks appeared on Dhari Devi idol’s platform after uplift
A portion of the shrine to which the idol of Dhari Devi was shifted developed cracks after establishing the idol. This also gave rise to talks about whether the cracks have been formed due to the wrath of the goddess because she is believed to have foiled repeated.
There are energies we human beings do not understand as yet and it is best to let these spiritual shrines where energies are contain, be maintained.