Odisha is famous for its incredible culture and rich tradition. The eastern coastal State which is home to some of the most iconic sites of religious importance and famous Shakti Peethas comes alive with sheer jubilation as religious fervour reverberates during Durga Puja festivities.
But the diversity of practices in these Peethas and the numerous facets of the divine feminine Goddess archetypes who preside the every nook and corner, from a nondescript village to metropolitan town in the State, is what make it a thing of beauty.
Devi Dandulama's temple situated near Dolabandh in Paralakhemundi town of Gajapati district, is one such fascinating tale. Believed to be a Shakti Peetha, the shrine of the Goddess follows an interesting religious practice.
As per people and the temple management, the shrine remains open for darshan of devotees only for nine days during the Navratri period. Apart from another ritual, the temple remains closed for rest of the year.
The chief priest of the temple narrates that even the daily rituals of the Goddess are not observed during the other times of the year when the shrine 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.
Devotees seeking fulfilment of wishes generally offer coconuts as tokens of devotion. But to the astonishment, the coconuts remain fresh in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple even after a year, says the priest.
As the temple opens during the short period of nine days, the time of the Navratri is auspicious and holds much importance for the thousands of people who visit the shrine during this time of the year.