Tulja Bhavani Temple (Marathi: श्री क्षेत्र तुळजा भवानी देवस्थान) is a Hindu temple of Goddess Bhavani. It is located in Tuljapur in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra and is considered as one of the 51 Shakti Pithas. It is situated 45 km from Solapur. The temple was built in c. 12th century CE. Another Tulja Bhavani temple was built during 1537-1540 CE in Chittorgarh.[dead link] A third temple of Tulja Bhavani is in the village of Patnakuva Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. The Goddess is called swayambhu. Legends say that the Goddess came here from Tuljapur in the 14th century.
The second among the 'Shaktipeeths' is Tulja Bhavani of Tuljapur. It is the family deity of the Bhosale Royal family, the Yadavs and of countless numbers of families belonging to different castes. The founder of the Maratha kingdom, Shivaji Maharaj always visited the temple to seek her blessings. It is believed that the Goddess gave him a sword - 'the Bhawani sword' - for success in his expeditions. The history of the temple has been mentioned in the ' Skanda_Purana '.
Many legends are associated with the temple. One legend involves a demon, Matanga who was wreaking havoc upon the gods and humans. Unable to find any solution, they turned to Lord Brahma for help, and upon his advice turned to Goddess Shakti, who took up the form of a destroyer and powered by the other (Sapta) Maataa Varaahi, Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Kaumaari Indraani and Saambhavi, vanquished the demon Matanga and restored peace. Legend also states that Bhavani finished another demon that had taken up the disguise of a buffalo (Mahisha), and took shelter on the Yamunachala Hill which is part of Balaghat mountain range. The Tuljabhawani temple is located on this hill. Another legend mentions the story of a a sage known as "Kardam" After his death his wife "Anubuti" had performed a penance at the banks of river "mandakini " for Bhavani mata to look after her infant child. While performing the penance the demon known "Kukur" tried to disturb her penance during which the Goddess came to the aid of "Anubuti" and killed the demon "Kukur". From that day onwards the Goddess Bhavani came to be known as Tulja Bhavani.
The main entrance of the temple bears the name of Sardar Nimbalkar. The other two entrances are named after the parents of Shivaji Maharaj, that is Raja Shahaji, and Rajmata Jijavu. As one enters the Sardar Nimbalkar entrance, there is a temple dedicated to Markandeya Rishi on the right. After descending the stairs, one sees the main Tulja Temple. There is yagna kund (Holy Fire pit) in front of this temple. On the floor near two main gates (Raja Shahaji Mahadwar and Rajmata Jijavu main gate), there are two libraries named, Shree Santh Dnyaneshwar Dharmik Library and Shree Tukaram Dharmik Library. After alighting from the stairs, there is `Gomukh Theerth` on the right side and `Kalakh`, also known as `Kallol Theerth` on the left side. Before entering the Sanctum sanctorum of the Goddess, devotees take a dip here in these theerths (Shallow tanks of "holy" water). There are also Amruth Kund and a Datta temple on the premises. A Siddhi Vinayak temple is situated on the left side of the main gate whilst on the right, there is a temple of Aadishakti, Aadimata Matangadevi. A temple of goddess Annapurna is also present in the main complex.
The idol of Goddess Tulja Bhawani is believed by her devotees to be `swayambhu` ("self-manifested" or "that which is created by its own accord"). The high granite idol is three-foot tall , with eight arms holding weapons, and bearing the head of the slain demon Mahishasura. The Goddess a is also known as Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita and Amba.
The Goddess is kuldevi (clan goddess) for martial Maratha clans of Maharashtra. The Goddess is either revered by or is the Family Deity for many castes including Deshastha Brahmin, Carnatic Brahman, Bhadbhunja, Burud, Kolhati, Gavli, Jogi, Johar, San Teli, Gavandi, Pangul, Sonar , Lonari , Kasar , Bhute , Kalar and Koli.