The Sidhpeeth of Himalayas “Surkanda Devi”
Surkanda devi – Residing in Shreekoot Mountain
Surkanda comes from the Sanskrit word Shreekantha which means the neck of the Goddess. Surkanda Devi is also known as Sureshwari or Surkanda suri. There are 2 black idols of Goddess inside the temple. One is eight armed Mahashakti Durga and other is a big black stone idol with two lady figures engraved on it known to be Sati and Surkanda. One is shown headless and the other one is adorned with a huge traditional gadhwali nosering known as Nath or Nathuli.
Locals believe that goddess appeared in form of an old lady in the Dahigaad (presently known as Maldevta) in Dehradun valley. There were men who were returning back to the hills with the traded goods (Dhaak in local language). An old lady was seeking for help, if anyone could take her on her back towards the highest peak. Many men ignored her but later a middle aged man stopped and asked her. After their conversation the lady sat on his basket and they started moving. Slowly and steadily the middle aged man went ahead all the other men who previously ignored the lady.
He felt as if his weight had become too light as if it were a flower. They took their first rest of the journey in a place which is today known as Village – Pujaldi (the priest of Surkanda temple are from this particular village), they took their second rest in Kaddukhal (which is today the main market and the base of the Surkanda Temple trek the final destination where the lady stopped the man was the peak of Shreekoot mountain and surprisingly she disappeared, the man thought the lady would have gone. Time passed and one fine day the same old lady appeared in the dreams of that man, and ordered him to visit the same place where he had left her, and construct a temple.
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Following the divine orders the man visited the place and found these idols of Devi. Goddess was installed on the day of Ganga Dusherraa in the temple and till date this festival is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm.
The aura still rains on every Ganga Dusherraa, it is believed that Goddess Ganga herself rains to bathe Bhagwati Surkanda.
Along with this the locals believe one more story which is the other half of the story, after Goddess appeared over the mountain there she found a venomous snake named Naag. He said, “this is my land, my place, my authority. For what purpose are you here, now either marry me or fight with me.” There was a fierce battle between Devi and Naag. The Naag coiled Devi and she started suffocating.
Devi got angry and cried so loudly in her fierce anger that lighting appeared from the sky and strucked the Naag. As a result Naag turned into pieces and shattered in the distant hills, locals say that the lighting also affected Devi as her head and right brest was lost in this conflict and she turned into a stone idol. The idol kept in the temple is fragmented and shows figure of a lady without a head and right brest, the goddess is named Surkanda standing with Sati and Mahadurga.
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Holy offerings of the temple are Ransuli leaves (leaves of a local tree).
Lekhwar surname are the priest and Jarhdhari surname are the people from the maternal side of Goddess.
Every year the palanquin of the Goddess is brought to the Jardhar village so that devi may meet her maternal relations. A same replica of Surkanda Temple is also made in Jardhar Gao village.
Bhagwati Surkanda is the presiding devi of Tehri Garhwal
RESEARCH AND WRITTEN BY SHIVANK THAPLIYAL