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The Ugratara temple is a Devi temple located in Latasil area of capital city Guwahati on the western side of Jur Pukhuri tank in Assam. The temple is located towards the eastern part of Guwahati city. It is an important Shakti shrine related to Sati, the first consort of Lord Shiva.
Ugratara Temple Legend
There are different legends relating to the Ugratara Temple. The Ugratara temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha by many people. According to legends, when Goddess Sati immolated herself on her father Daksha’s yagna after being insulted by him, Lord Shiva saw and out of grief he carried the corpse of Sati and thereafter performed the Tandava dance (dance of destruction). Seeing this, many Gods and Goddesses feared and ran to Lord Vishnu asking for help to stop Shiva. Vishnu then heard their prayers and cut Sati’s body into pieces with his Chakra and they fell on earth. In that course, Sati’s naval is said to have fallen in this spot where the Ugratara temple is located.
There are different descriptions of Shakti Peetha’s stated in different Puranas. According to the Kalika Purana, there are seven Shakti Peethas. These seven Peethas are primarily concentrated on and around the famous Kamakhya Shakti peeth. One of those peeth is called Dikkara Vasini. The Dikkara Vasini has two known forms, the Tikshna kantha and Lalitha kantha. The Tikshna kantha is said to be black and pot bellied and is also called Ugratara or Ekajata. The Ugratara Temple in Guwahati is dedicated to this form of Dikkara Vasini.
According to another legend, it is stated that Yama (the God of hell) made a complaint to Lord Brahma that regarding no one coming to hell from Kamarupa because of the sacredness of the Kamrupa area. Yama said that despite committing sins, the people are not sent to hell. Lord Brahma then carried this compliant to Vishnu who then took it to Shiva. Lord Shiva then ordered Goddess Ugratara to drive away all the people who live in Kamakhya.
Goddess Ugratara then sent her army to bring the people. On their way, the army laid their hands on Sage Vasistha who became angry as his meditation was being distracted and he cursed Ugratara and Shiva. From then, all Vedic sadhanas conducted thereby were given up in Kamarupa and Goddess Ugratara became a Goddess of Vamachara sadhana and her entire army thereafter became Mlechhas. Goddess Ugratara is also connected to Buddhism. It is popular as a Sakta shrine and the deity herself is associated with Eka-Jata and Tiksana-Kanta.
Ugratara Temple Formation
The present temple of Ugratara in Guwahati was built by Ahom King Siva Singh in 1725 AD. The Ahom king excavated a tank years before. This tank, known as Jur Pukhuri is situated on the eastern side of the Ugratara temple. The tank still exists in that same place, though a part of it was destroyed by an earthquake which was later rebuilt. In the Garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Goddess, no idol or image of her is present but small pit filled with water is considered as the Goddess. There is a Shivalaya located beside the temple and also a pond behind both the temples.
Worshipping at Ugrata Temple
Goddess Ugratara is worshipped like Goddess Kamakhya with offerings and sacrifices. Goddess Ugratara likes liquor, flesh, Modaka, coconuts and sugar cane which are offered. There are also traditionally animal practices done in the temple to please the Goddess. Animals like goats, pigeons, ducks and even buffaloes are sacrificed in the temple. During the annual Durga Puja held in the temple, a certain number of buffaloes are sacrificed to please the Goddess.
Festivals in Ugratara Temple
Durga Puja is held every year with rituals and much devotion. During Durga Puja, large number of devotees throngs the temple to offer prayers to the deity. Other festivals of different incarnations of Goddess Ugratara are also celebrated in the temple.
How to Reach Ugratara Temple
The nearest airport to the Ugratara temple is Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati. Guwahati Junction Railway Station is the nearest railway station located few kms away from the temple and is connected by trains from all major stations across India. Apart from that, there are also regular buses, private vehicles, richshaws and auto rickshaws for road transportation.