Chandika Devi Temple of Juchandra (Naigaon)

Chandika Mata, the village deity of Juchandra village, is situated on a hilltop to the east of the village.

Chandika Devi Temple is situated at Juchandra village in Naigaon East of Vasai taluka in Palghar. Chandika is demon-destroying goddess. This temple is a sacred pilgrimage centre for the devotees. It is located at a distance of 4 kilometres to the east of Naigaon station on the Western Railway. The temple can also be accessed through the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway. The temple of Chandika Devi is situated on a high mountain. Therefore, the atmosphere here is pleasant. Big yatra of the Goddess takes place in Chaitra month every year. Devotees from different parts of the Maharashtra participate in the yatra in large numbers.

This temple is said to be of Pandava period. The Pandavas were in exile for some time after losing the game of dice with the Kauravas. Pandavas used to stay in dense forest. While in exile, the Pandavas lived in the hilly area to the east of the Juchandra village . It is said by the ancestors that they built a temple on the mountain during their stay.

It is said that the goddess came in a dream to a devotee of the village and told him that idols of her in three forms were in a cave in the hill east of the village. This devotee told all the facts to the villagers. Understanding the divine command, the villagers decided to look for the goddess. While searching, the villagers reached the cave. At that place, the idols of the goddess in three forms were found.

East-facing stone idols of Shri Kalika Devi, Shri Chandika Devi, Shri Mahishasurmardini and Shri Ganesh are in the cave of the temple. Wooden images of tiger and lion are also in the cave. Similarly, there is an idol of the rakshak gan or dwarpal of the goddess.

The temple of Chandika Devi is situated on a hill 400 feet above sea level. Due to the dense forest, earlier it was difficult to go to the temple. In the year 2002, the temple was renovated with the help of villagers and devotees. Five-storied building has been constructed for the convenience of devotees. There is a lift facility to make it easier for the senior citizens to visit the temple. One has to climb 200 steps to enter the temple from the western side of the temple. There is also a road leading to the temple from the other side and the vehicle can be taken to the temple.

In the month of Chaitra, a big yatra of the Goddess takes place. During the three-day yatra, various programmes are organized by Chandika Devi Nyas. The Palakhi Ceremony of the Goddess is an experience of heavenly happiness. The picturesque rangolis drawn by rangoli artists of Juchandra village in this yatrotsav attract the devotees. These rangolis have a extraordinary liveliness.

With the inspiration of Rambhakta Purushottam Maharaj, a resident Ayodhya, Navaratri Festival of Chandika Devi is celebrated from Ashwin Shuddha Pratipada every year. Temple is open from 6 am to 9 pm for devotees. Rituals like Jalabhishek and Dugdhabhishek are performed at 5 o’clock in the morning. The goddesses are adorned with jeweled sarees. Early morning pancharati is done after wearing gold and silver ornaments to the silver masks of the goddesses. Also there is homhavan on Navami. On this day, mahaprasad is given to devotees.

The temple is 4 km from Naigaon Railway Station of Western Railway, 1 km from Juchandra Railway Station on Panvel-Diva-Vasai Railway Line and 1.5 km from Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway. From all these places one can go to this temple by rickshaw.

Since the demon-destroying three forms of Adishakti – Kalika (or Mahakali), Chandika and Mahishasuramardini are in one place, the Chandika Devi temple situated on Juchandra hill in Palghar district has acquired a special significance.

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