The Maa Sarala Temple is a Hindu temple in the Odisha district of Jagatsinghpur. It is one of Odisha’s eight most famous Shakta shrines.
‘Maa Sarala’ (Mother Sarala) is a Hindu Goddess who serves as a patron to Vaishnav and Shakta devotees. It is unusual for a single deity to be worshipped by both of these Hindu sects. She is sometimes thought to be a Buddhist tantric figure because she is holding a book, a Veena, and a handbell, all of which are Mahayana symbols. Vak Devi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom, and Jhankad Vaasini Sharada are some of the other names for Goddess Sarala.
The goddess’ folklore dates back thousands of years, to the time of Parashurama. It is said that the goddess was carved with the tip of the god Parashurama’s arrow. Sidheshwar Parida, a small-time farmer, and part-time Odia Paika are credited with popularising Goddess worship in the 15th century CE. He was a devout devotee of the Goddess who later became Sarala Das, the author of the Odia Mahabharata. He refers to Goddess Sarala as Durga, Aparna, Parvati, Narayani, Bhavani,Barati, Mahalakshmi, Mahakali, Katyayani, Chandi, Ugratara, Kamala, Bhairavi, Bhagavati, Mangala, Aparna, Hingula, Tripura, Vasuli, Maha Yogeswari, Tarini, Ambika, Mahasaraswati, Charchika, and Parama Vaisnavi etc.
The current temple was built around 500 years ago by the Raja of Manijanga. The ruins of the old temple are no longer visible, but folklore suggests that it was located in Badasarol, where a Ganesha temple now stands.
The temple hosts many festivals, including Parbana, Sharadiya Utsav, Pana Sankranti, Dola Purnima, and Chandan Jatra. The inhabitants of the districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, and Cuttack are so devoted to the goddess that they visit the temple at least once a year.
Accommodation and location:
By road, the temple is 20 minutes from the district seat in Jagatsinghpur. Bhubaneshwar, the nearest airport, is around 80 kilometers distant. Rahama Railway Station is the closest station. Buses from Cuttack go frequently to the shrine. A facility for overnight accommodation is maintained by the Government of Odisha’s Roads and Building (R&B) Department. A rest house is also maintained by the Water Resources Department near the temple.