Maa Biraja Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in Jajpur (about 125 kilometers (78 mi) north of Bhubaneswar), Odisha, India. it is called the Viraja or the Biraja kshetra. Jajpur is known to have about one crore of Shiva lingams. Biraja or Viraja Temple is one of the significant Maha Shakthi Peetas. Here the main idol Durga Devi is worshipped as Girija (Viraja) and Lord Shiva as Jagannath. Adi Sankara describes the goddess as Girija in his Ashtadasha shakti Peetha stuti. Here Maa Biraja Devi is worshiped as Trishakti Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati.
According to Shiv Puran, this temple is among 51 Shakti Peeths. Lord Vishnu divided the body into 51 parts utilizing his Sudarshan chakra. Out of those 51 parts, from which the ‘Navel’ of Sati fell to this place.
According to Brahmanda Purana, when Brahma (the creator of the Whole world) performed a Yajna (wonderful sacrifice) on the river Baitrani. Parvati appeared from the Garhapatya flame as an outcome of Brahma’s invocation and suggested Brahma identify her as Biraja. Brahma wished to Parvati and asked her to stay at the Kshetra as the magnificent consort of Siva. Parvati created and concurred Nine Durgas, Sixty Four Yoginis, and Eight Chandikas, and asked to stay in the Kshetra eternally. Due to the existence of this goddess, this land was popular as Shakti Peetha. At Biraja Temple, Lord Vishnu is in Varaha avatar.
Jajati Keshari, a ruler of the Kesari empire constructed the Biraja temple in Jajati Nagar (now Jajpur) in the 13th century throughout the Kalinga time. The deity, Maa Biraja which stands 70 feet from the flooring is believed to be worshipped from the 5th Century. The temple is named after King Jajati Keshari. According to the legend, the place is also considered as ‘Gadakhestra’, as Bhima’s Gada (mace) was lying in this sanctuary. In front of the temple stand 2 lions just above the elephant. This is a sign of the achievement of the Keshari dynasty (Symbol of the Lion) than the Gajapati dynasty (Symbol of an elephant) in Orissa.
A wonderful Yagna (sacrificial oblation) was performed over the body of Gayasur, (the fantastic devil devotee of Lord Vishnu) by the Lords Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu to eliminate the devil. Gayasur’s feet were in Pada Gaya (a place in Pithapuram, Andhra Pradesh), nabhi (Navel) in Biraja Kshetra or today’s Jajpur, considered as Nabhi Gaya and head at Shiro Gaya. The specific area is in a well that is located inside the Biraja temple simply near Maa Biraja.
Maa Biraja Devi temple is a Shakti Peeth and ‘Nabhi Gaya’, among the 3 most significant sites. The Skanda Purana explains Maa Biraja cleans devotees who worship here. This is among the couple of temples where Devi Bagalamukhi has been blessed. This ‘Roop’ of the Dasa Mahavidya is barely seen in temples.
Ancient proof verifies a temple was constructed in the 2nd or very first century CE during the Gupta duration. Later on, a temple was constructed in the 13th century CE. At this time the temple complex had numerous other temples devoted to the different goddesses. In 1569 the temple complex was damaged by intruders. It lay in damages for a long period of time till it was reconstructed by a rich Zamindar (Land Owner) in about 1840.
The idol of the Devi in the temple reveals Her standing on Mahishasura. The crown of Maa Biraja has engravings of Lord Ganesh, a Shivling, and a crescent moon.
- Triveni Amāvāsyā -the birthday ceremony of goddess Biraja is one of the most important festivals in the temple. The day comes in the month of Māgha(January-February) on the new – moon day.
- Dola Purṇimā – Dola Purṇimā is held on the full-moon day of the month of fālguna (February).
- Vāruṇi Festival – Vāruṇi, an auspicious day comes in the month of Caitra(March-April).
- Mahāviśuva Samkrānti – On the first day of the solar month of Vaiśakha (April-May) Mahāviśuva Samkrānti or paṇa Samkrānti is held in the Biraja temple.
- Candana Purṇimā – On the Candan Purṇimā day in the month of May June, the face of the deity of Maa Biraja is smeared with sandal paste. So the day is very significant for the devotees.
- Sāvitri Amāvāsyā – Sāvitri Amāvāsyā is celebrated on the new-moon day of the month of Jyestha (May-June).
- Citālāgi Amāvāsyā – Citālāgi Amāvāsyā is a special festival that is celebrated in the month of Srāvaṇa (July-August)
- Gahma Purṇimā – Gamha Purṇimā otherwise known as Rākṣi Purṇimā comes on the full moon day of Srāvaṇa (July-August).
- Suniā – Festival Suniā is held on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Bhādrapada (September).
- Autumnal Durgā Pūjā – Held in the month of Āsvina (September – October)
- Rathayātrā – In the month of Āśvina (September-October), the wooden chariot of Goddess Biraja is placed in front of the lion’s gate.
- Lākhavindhā – The Lākhavindhā ceremony is held at the midnight of the Mahānavami day.
- Kumāra Purṇimā – Kumāra Purṇimā festival is held on the full moon day of Āsvina (September-October).
- Dipāvali – On the evening of Kāli pūjā in the month of November,
- Prathamāṣṭami – It is a tradition in Odisha that on the day of Prathamāṣṭami in November, the eldest sons and daughters wear new clothes and take a special and delicious cake with turmeric aroma named ‘Enḍurī’.
- Dhanu Samkrānti – This is the beginning of the month of Pauṣa (December-January) when people enjoy sweetened balls of parched and husked paddy for health.
- Vakuḷa Amāvāsyā – On the new moon day of Pauṣa (Dec-Jan) Vakuḷa Amāvāsyā is celebrated in the Biraja temple.
Other Temple in Temple Campus:
On one side of the temple is a temple for Bagalamukhi Devi, among the ‘Dasa Mahavidyas’. The triangular complex has a Shivling dedicated in each of the 3 corners.
- Jagannath Puri Temple
- Konark Sun Temple
- Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri
|Morning Timing||Evening Timing|
|04:00 AM to 01:00 PM||03:00 PM to 10:00 PM|
Aarti, Bhog and Pooja Timing
|Aarti, Bhog, and Pooja||Timing|
|morning Seva and Aarti||4:00 AM TO 4:30 AM|
|midday Seva||1:00 PM|
|afternoon Seva||3:00 PM|
|evening Arati||7:00 PM|
|night Seva||10:00 PM|
- The morning Seva starts at this Maa Biraja Temple at 4.00 a.m. with Mukha Marjan (Facewash), followed by Danta Kastha. Here the deity’s teeth are brushed with Bilwa stick. Then the deity is readied for the royal bath by applying Gandhamala, turmeric and sandal paste, sarbaushadhi, and other scented oils. The deity is given Panchamruta snan (liquid mixture of milk, curd, ghee, sugar, and honey) followed by Shudodhaka snan using water from sacred Rivers like Ganga and the Baitrani. This is followed by Mantropachar wherein Purusasukta and Sri sukta are recited to the goddess. Mantropachar is followed by Dhoop, Deep, and Naiveidya, after which the deity is open for darshan to all her devotees. (Sahan Mela). The morning seva ends at 4.30 am.
- The midday Seva consists of Dhoop (burning of incense sticks) and Deep,(lighting of lamps). Sweetened rice and other items are offered as Naivedya to the deity. This is followed by Arati (burning camphor), Puspanjali (offering flowers and Bilwa leaves to Maa Biraja), Arghya Samarpan (Offering of water), and Mantra Pushpa (recital of sacred mantras). The midday rituals come to a close (Pahuda) at 1.00 pm
- The afternoon Seva starts at 3.00 p.m. with Mukha Soudha (cleaning of the mouth). This is followed by offering curd mixed with sugar and then the deity is opened for darshan to all her devotees. (Sahan Mela)
- In the evening Arati is performed followed by Pushpanjali (offering flowers to the goddess). Then sweets are offered as Samanya Naivedya.
- The night Seva starts at 10 pm with Nitya (normal) upachar puja and boiled rice, dal, etc. It is offered as Naivedya. Arati, Pushpanjali, and Arghya Samarpan are offered after which the day comes to an end. This is also called night close (Ratri Pahuda).
How to Reach
- By Air: The nearby Airport is Bhubaneswar Airport and it is 103 km away from the temple.
- By Train: The nearby railway station is Jajpur Keonjhar railway station and it is 30 km away from the temple.
- By Road: The nearby Bus Stand is Jajpur Bus stand and it is 2 km away from the temple.