Idol of Renuka goddess in Mahur
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Nanded|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Kinwat|
Mahur or Mahurgad is a religious place in Maharashtra, India. Mahur is said to be the birthplace of Hindu Goddess Renuka, mother of the god Parshuram. Mahur has a popular temple to Renuka, which is considered one of the three and half Shakti Peethas (temples) in the state. A big fair is held here every year on the occasion of Vijayadashami.
There are many other temples in Mahur like Anusuya and Kalika temples. Mahur is said to be birthplace of the god Dattatreya, son of Anusuya and Sage Atri. There is an ancient temple of Dattatreya. Every year on Datta Jayanti, thousands of people visit Mahur.
Mahur finds mention in the ancient Devi Bhagawatam as "Matripura" or "Matapur", where it is mention as one of the famous pilgrimages. In Devi Gita the final and most important chapter of the text, it is mentioned as one the important places of Shakti worship:
Raje Udaram Deshmukh and later his brave wife RaiBagan (Royal Tigress) Pandita Sawitribai Deshmukh were the rulers of Mahur. RaiBagan was an honorary name given by Aurangzeb to Sawitribai Deshmukh after the death of her husband. Sawitribai Deshmukh fought along the side of Aurangzeb against Shivaji.
For Muslims it is famous for the Dargah of Baba SonaPir, who is also known as Mohar-e-Rasool (Stamp of Prophet). In every fifth of the month a Urs has been conducted in Dargaah. Many people come from different parts of country to celebrate this occasion.
The temple is considered as a revered shrine for the Shaktism sect, because of the above told mythology and also because the Shrine is a Shakti Peetha. It is believed that Renuka, (the wife of Sage Jamadagni) was decapitated by her own son Parashurama and her head fell here. Renuka was later given rebirth as a boon by Sage Jamadagni to his son Parashurama. The temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha because of the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati's self immolation.
Shakti Peethas are Durga or Adiparashakti shrines that are believes to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. The Shakti of Mahur is addressed as Renuka Devi. Most of the Shakti Peetha is associated with a Kalabhairava shrine.
All three important temples — Renuka Temple, Dattatreya Temple and Anusaya Temple — are built on three mountain ranges. Mahur is surrounded by jungles rich with trees and wild life. There is teakwood trees everywhere. Peacocks, deer, black bears, panthers are very common in the jungle.
On one of the mountains is the ancient Mahurgad Fort constructed in the 12th century. Mahur was an important fort in ancient Berar history. It became a separate province in 1478 during the Bahmani Sultanate. It was one of the Sarkars (then district) with 20 parganas (towns) in Berar Subah (state) in Akbar's rule.
The main attractions in Mahur are Matapur Niwasini Shri Jagdamba Devi Temple or Renuka Devi Temple, Dattatreya Temple, Anusaya Temple, Devdeveshwar Temple, Parshuram Temple, Sarvatirtha, Matru-Tirtha, Bhanutirth, Hati darvaza, Bal samudra, Pandav Leni, Mahurgad Fort, Mahakali Temple (In the fort), Mahur Museum, Sonapir Dargah, Shaikh Farid Water fall (Wazara), Palace of Raje Udaram. Raje Udaram Deshmukh and later his brave wife RaiBagan (Royal Tigress) were the rulers of Mahur.
People who visit Mahur also visit Unkeshwar Hot Spring (90 km from Pusad; 50 km from Mahur; 15 km from Kinwat), which has natural sources of hot water. This sulphur-rich water is supposed to have medicinal value. The name Unkeshwar is because of Lord Unkeshwar (MAHADEV i.e. Shiva) temple and Aashram complex.
Devdeveshwari mandir belongs to Mahanbhav Panth, casically called a nidra sthan (sleeping place) of Jagat Guru Shree Dattatreya Prabhu. It is at elevated outskirt of Mahur town, 2 km from Mahur bus stand.
Daily Shree Dattatreya Prabhu will take nitya snan (daily bath) at meruwada talao (tank) in Mahur, bhiksha (the meal served to a sadhu or Indian monk) at Kolhapur, bhojan (lunch) at Panchaleshwar and get back to sleep in Devdeveshwar mandir Mahur (nidra sthan of God Dattatreya Prabhu). Jagat Guru Shree Dattatreya swami is a chiranjiv avtar (Immortal) so it is believed that even today Shree Dattatreya swami comes to sleep here.
There are Maharashtra state transport buses that go from Nanded, Kinwat, Yavatmal or Pusad to Mahur. Kinwat and Nanded are on the rail network and trains from Mumbai make a stop here. There used to be daily flights from Mumbai to Nanded, which have now been withdrawn.
Hadgaon also has bus and taxi transport going to Mahur. The only way to approach Mahur is by Road. There are frequent buses (State-run ST buses as well as private buses) from Yavatmal and Pusad.
Accommodation Facilities are available in Mahur city (7 km from Temple). All types of accommodation facilities are available like Lodges, Hotels, Govt Rest House. For more luxurious options, at a distance of about 70 kms., Yavatmal is the best option. Foods served by local hotels, Dhabas (roadside eateries for the travelers) are of good quality but served fresh.
On auspicious occasions like Navaratris, Datta Pournima; Mahapuja is organised which is followed by Mahaprasad (Feast for the Pilgrims).