One of the 51 Shakti Peethas, Saptashrungi Devi temple is considered as one of the significant religious sites in Maharashtra. The temple is located at an altitude of 1230 meters above the sea level on the top of a series of seven hills called Saptshrung Gad near Vani (Nashik).
Name ‘Saptashrungi Devi’ is derived from its locality which is surrounded by seven peaks of the mountains. Sapta means seven and Shrung means peaks, so Saptashrungi Devi means ‘Mother of Seven Peaks’.
The beautiful 10 feet tall goddess idol is carved on a single rock bearing various weapons in her 18 arms. The Devi is portrayed in a rebellious pose with a Nath (Nose ring)decorating her nostrils. Devi’s 18 hands signify the Maha Shakti – the divine power. One of the hands of goddess is placed on her left ear as if listening to the prayers of her devotees. Always covered with Sindoor (saffron color), the goddess looks aggressive.
Saptshrungi Devi is also called as ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ (who killed a buffalo demon – Mahishasur). Hence, head of a buffalo, made in stone, is placed at the foot of the divine hill.
Hill in front of Devi’s temple is called as ‘Markandeya hill’ as Sage Markandeya had performed tapa here. As per the myth, the sacred book “Devi Mahatmya” (also called as ‘Durga Saptashati’) was composed at this place by sage Markandeya.
There are over 108 water reservoirs on the hill, known as Holy Kundas.
Pilgrims from all over India regularly flow in to pay homage to the Devi which is typically offered coconuts & sarees.
Located in high mountains and lush greenery, the journey to the temple itself is very beautiful and breathtaking. The place becomes heavenly during monsoon when the clouds come down to kiss the mountain peaks.