Mundeshwari Devi Temple
The Mundeshwari Devi Temple is located on the Mundeshwari Hills of the Kaimur district in the state of Bihar. It's said to be one of the oldest functional temples in India and is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti. The site indicates the built or dating of the temple in 635CE, also Hindu inscriptions dating 635CE were also found in the temple. Since 1915 the monument has been protected ASI. Local customs say that Chanda and Munda who were brothers of the demon Mahishasura were rulers of the area. As mentioned in Durga Shaptshati Demon Mahishasura fought a decisive battle with Devi Durga. Munda built the Devi Mundeshwari Bhawani Temple while his brother Chanda who was younger to him built Chandeshwari temple at the peak of Mandurian hill near Chainpur.
History and Architecture
The temple is built on an octagonal plan which is very rare to see. The architecture of the temple is about Nagara style and is also one of the earliest specimen. There are windows and doors on the four sides, the door jambs at the entrance of the temple are seen with carved images of Dvarapalas, Yamuna, Ganga and many other types of Murtis. The important Deities in the sanctum Sanctorum of the temple are Devi Mundeshwari and Devi Chaturmukh (four faced) Shiv Linga. Even though the Shiva Linga is installed in the centre of the sanctum, the main presiding deity is Devi Mundeshwar, riding a buffalo, having ten hands, holding symbols attributed Mahishasuramardini. Also Murtis of popular Gods such as Lord Ganesh, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya are placed inside the temple.
It is believed that rituals here are being performed here without a break. The temple witnesses a large number visitors every year, usually during Shivratri and Ram Navami festivals. Also big Mela (annual fair) are held nearby during Navratri, which is visited by thousands. Worshipping Shakti in the form of Devi Mundeshwari in the temple is also symbolically tantric cult of worship, which is practiced in Eastern India.