Cassian Baliarsingh

The doors of this temple are opened once a year during Navratri while its doors are shut once the Navratri gets over. It’s an annual ritual of the temple. Danda Maa Peetha at Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district carries this special feature. 

Danda Maa shrine witnesses a huge rush during nine-days celebrations. It is believed that the Goddess has been worshipped here since times immemorial. The presiding deity is believed to be the source of Shakti.

Situated near Dolabandha in Parlakhemundi, the temple remains closed for rest of the year.

Moreover, termite mound located inside the temple is also worshipped.

Narrating the daily rituals of the temple, the chief priest of the temple says, “Every year, the doors of the temple are made open in Odia month of Aswini.  Homo yagya and other rituals are performed for nine days. On the day of Dussehra, we close the door of the temple after performing certain rituals.  Due to Covid restrictions, devotees were not allowed to worship the deity for last two years. As Covid restrictions are no more, the shrine is witnessing huge footfalls.

Notably, the daily rituals of the Goddess are not observed during other times of the year when the Shakti Peeth is closed. 
Locals believe that the divinity of the feminine deity who is seated on a termite mound is full of awe and people who offer their devotion with true heart get their wishes fulfilled.

A devotee says, “We eagerly wait for these nine days to have a glimpse of Goddess and take her blessings. I love participating in homo yagnya and other rituals.”

Another devotee says, “My happiness knew no bounds as the district administration is allowing us to worship the goddess after a gap of two years.”

Interestingly, a coconut is kept in an earthen pot as part of traditional offerings before closing the doors of the temple on the day of Dasmi. You will be surprised to see that the coconut remains as fresh as ever when the temple opens after one year during Navratri.

The coconut prasad is then distributed among locals there.