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Sheetala also known as Sitala is basically a Goddess of the Hindus who is widely worshipped in West Bengal, North India, Bangladesh and Nepal. This Goddess is also called the pox-goddess and the Goddess of pustules, sores, diseases and ghouls in the Hindu mythology. The meaning of Sheetla is small pox in the Sanskrit language and it is only because of this reason that Sheetla is worshipped by the Hindus as a Goddess who has the power to ward off the disease. There are different names for this Goddess who is worshipped not only by the Hindus but also by the tribal communities and the Buddhists. Sheetla is mainly worshipped as protector and has also got its name mentioned in Puranic and tantric literature. The Brahmins as well as the pujaris of the lower castes can worship Mata Sheetla during the dry seasons of spring and winter. Shri Sitala Mata Arti and Chalisa and even the Sitala Mata Ashtak are some stutis and prayer services for the Goddess.
Significance of Sheetla Mata Mandir
The Sheetla Mata Mandir Gurugram is located in a village in the area and in the state of Haryana. The temple stands very close to a pond and is dedicated to Mata Sheetla. This temple is also called the Shakti Pith and is supposed to be very sacred among the Hindus. The temple is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimages in the country and is flooded by devotees during the months of March and April which is called the Chaitra period among the Hindus. There is always a huge rush in the temple on all the days of the week but on Mondays the rush is exceptionally larger. The only month when the rush is considerably low in during the months of July and August which is known as the Shravana period among the Hindus. During the months of March and April, the temple appears like a Kumbha Mela where thousands of people pay a visit for their mundan ceremonies and other important and sacred ceremonies of the Hindus.
Deity in Sheetla Mata Mandir
The presiding deity in the temple is Shri Sheetla Mata Devi who is also called Masani Maa and Bhagat Lalita Ma. The Devi is considered to be Goddess Durga’s incarnation. The deity’s statue weighs four kilograms and is basically made from gold polish and mixed metal. The deity is kept in a casket that has been made from wood and the casket is placed on a platform that is very small and is made out of marble. People, who suffer from small pox, make it a point to visit this temple because Goddess Sheetla is said to possess the power of warding off this disease from a human being. The small pox sufferers perform a ritual called ‘Jal Dema’ where they need to spend an entire night in the temple premises. They usually spend the night chanting songs and hymns in the Goddess’s honor. Married couples also pay a visit to this temple in order to get the blessings of leading a happy life after marriage. There is an annual fair called the Masani Fair which is also conducted within the temple and is attended by a large number of devotees from all over the world.
The Legend of Sheetla Mata Mandir
According to legend, there were two children of Rishi Sharadwan. Rishi Sharadwan, thinking that his two children would disturb him in worshipping, leaves them alone in a jungle. King Shantanu, Bheeshma’s father meets the two children in the jungle and identifies them as Rishi Sharadwan’s children as the children possess a bow and deer skin. The King takes the children along with him and takes good care of them. When Rishi Sharadwan comes to known this, he comes and takes his children back from the king. It was because of the kindness that was showered on the children by King Shantanu that the son was named Krupacharya and the daughter was named Krupi. Krupi got married to Dronacharya who trained the Pandavas and the Kauaravas and made Krupi sit on the banks of a pond in Gurugaon, presently called Gurugram. It was the penance of Krupi that made her a mother-like figure and she came to be identified as Mata Sheetla Devi.
The temple is even famous for the miracles that have occurred in the temple from time to time. About 5000 years ago, King Puranjet’s only son was brought with paralysis to the temple. The child was wrapped with the pond’s mud within the temple for about fourteen to sixteen days and the child got well after this.
It is believed that three centuries ago, there were two brothers who lived in Gurugram. The two brothers were named Singha and Padarath. These two brothers were the owners of more than thousand acres of land. Singha was a very good-natured and calm person who largely spent his time in singing bhajans and hymns. It was due to his bhajans and hymns that Mata Sheetla Devi got impressed and granted a boon to Singha. The boon was that a mere touch of Singha would cure a person of all his sufferings and pains. Thereafter, Singha completely sacrificed his luxurious dwelling and began meditating close to a pond. Apart from this, Singha also constructed a crude structure that was very similar to a temple and started worshipping Mata Sheetla Devi. Singha also found the idol of the Devi while collecting mud from the pond and therefore consecrated the idol within the temple. The idol later came to be known as Maya Sheetla Devi.
Another legend says that a carpenter from Farukh Nagar possessed a daughter who was very beautiful and at the same time marriageable. It was due to the beauty of the carpenter’s daughter that the Mughal Emperor expressed his wish of getting married to the carpenter’s daughter. The carpenter did not agree to this because he did not like the idea of getting his daughter married to a person from a different religion and therefore he made an appeal to King of Bharatpur called Surajmal. Since, King Surajmal refused to interfere in the matter because it was out of his jurisdiction, Prince Bharatpur spoke to the carpenter and tried to talk the matter out with his father but it was of no use. As a result, a revolt broke out between the king and his son who decided to attack Delhi. On his way towards Delhi, the prince came across the Sheetla Mata Temple and pledged that if he managed to emerge victorious, he would construct a proper temple for the Goddess. The prince tasted victory and therefore he constructed the temple which is now called the Sheetla Mata Temple in Gurugram.
Accommodation for Pilgrims
Accommodation assistance and lodging is also provided to the pilgrims by the authorities of the Sheetla Mata temple in Gurugram. There are a number of Dharamshalas and even motels that can be taken on rent for a day or two. The temple of Mata Sheetla Devi opens at 6 am and it closes at 9.30 pm in the evening. There is a huge crowd found on Mondays and Thursdays for Mata Darshan. It is believed by the pilgrims that Devi Sheetla is the calmest and the coolest of all Goddesses worshipped in Hindu mythology.
Location and How to Get There
The Mata Sheetla Devi temple is located in Gurugram which is the southern outskirt of Delhi and is referred to as Shakti Pith.
Address: Sheetla Mata Mandir Masani Village, Sector 6 Gurugram, Haryana 122006
You can always avail the State Transport Buses that connect Gurugram to its neighboring cities and it would serve as a comfortable medium to visit the temple. You can easily go through auto-rickshaws, state buses, taxis and even private buses to reach the Mata Sheetla Devi Temple.
The temple is a place of worship that is intended for the Hindus and is considered to be very sacred. People who visit the temple have a very strong belief in the Goddess and they are of the view that the Devi would cure them of all their diseases, pains and sufferings. Not only as a scared pilgrimage for the Hindus, but the temple is also famous for its beauty and its grace. The entire temple has been erected quite marvelously and is considered to be very bright in its radiant white and bright red colors. The temple is also famous because of its huge premise that consists of a neem tree that stands for the beliefs of the people. This tree is supposed to be sacred and people tie cloths to the tree in the hope of fulfilling their wishes. There can be absolutely no doubt in the fact that the Sheetla Mata Temple is truly a masterpiece of art and belief engulfed together.