Sanatan, Buddhism and Jainism have met in Itkhori, 150 km from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. For the followers of Sanatan Dharma, this holy land is the center of faith in the form of Siddha Peeth of Maa Bhadrakali and Sahasra Shivling Mahadev. At the same time, there is a place of worship and worship for the people of Buddhism in the form of Tapobhoomi of Lord Buddha.
Siddhartha did penance here and his mother had come to celebrate.
It is believed that Yuvraj Siddhartha (Lord Buddha), who came out in search of peace, did penance here. At that time his mother had come to take him back. But when Siddhartha’s attention did not break, the word Itkhoi came out from his mouth which later turned into Itkhori. Jains have recognized the birthplace of Lord Sheetal Nath Swami, the tenth Tirthankara of Jainism. In ancient times, the ascetic Megha Muni had established this complex as a Siddhapeeth after proving this complex with his tenacity. Maa Bhadrakali temple complex has been associated with the mythological religious stories of Lord Rama’s exile and Pandavas’s exile. The temple complex is also very important from the archaeological point of view.
During the archaeological excavations carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India in the year 2011-12 and 2012-13, many archaeological facts have come to the fore. The Archaeological Department has confirmed the construction of monasteries and temples here in the ninth-tenth century period. Evidence of this is kept in the temple museum in the form of antiquities. The ruins of ancient temples carved out of sandstone stones and statues made of precious black stones tell the story of their glorious past.
Black stone mother statue
The idol of Maa Bhadrakali is carved out of a precious black stone. The life-size statue, about five feet high, is a quadrilateral. Under the feet of the statue, it is inscribed in the Brahmi script that the statue was built by King Mahendra Pal II in the ninth century.
Unique Sahasra Shivling,
The Sahasra Shivling here is quite unique. 1008 Shivlings are engraved in the Sahasra Shivling made by carving a single stone. On performing Jalabhishek of Sahasra Shivling, all one thousand and eight Shivling are worshipped simultaneously. A giant statue of Nandi is installed in front of the Sahasra Shivling temple.
Amazing Buddhist Stupa in the temple complex
There is a wonderful Buddhist stupa in the temple complex. It is also known as Manauti Stupa. There are 1004 small and four big statues of Lord Buddha in the Buddhist Stupa. There is also a statue of Lord Buddha in the posture of Mahaprayana. This stupa has been described by the Department of Archeology as dating back to the ninth century. By the way, there is a legend that this stupa is also included in the eighty-four thousand stupas built by Emperor Ashoka. The collection of water in the upper part of this stupa is surprising as well as a matter of discovery.
Sheetalnath’s footprint in the temple museum
In the museum of the temple, there is a footprint of Lord Sheetalnath Swami, the tenth Tirthankara of Jainism. This step mark made by carving the stone was obtained in the year 1983 during excavation by the villagers. A copper letter was also found at that time. In which this place has been described as the birth place of Lord Sheetalnath Swami, the tenth Tirthankar of Jainism in Brahmi script. At present, the district administration has provided two and a half acres of land to Sheetalnath Teerth Kshetra Committee for the construction of temple, Dharamshala etc.
Kanuniya Mai Temple
There is an ancient Kanuniya Mai temple in the temple premises itself. In one rock, trident is engraved with the sun and moon. In this rock the statue of male and female is also engraved. The Archaeological Department calls it the Sati Pillar.
How to reach the temple
Located in Itkhori block, the Maa Bhadrakali temple complex is located at a distance of 150 km from state capital Ranchi, 35 km from district headquarter Chatra, 50 km from divisional headquarter Hazaribagh. The nearest railway station from the temple complex is Koderma at a distance of 56 kms. Whereas the nearest airport is Bodh Gaya at a distance of 90 kms.