INTRODUCTION OF GODESS SHITALA
Shitala (Sheetala), also named Sitala ( śītalā), is a Hindu deity widely honoured in the Indian subcontinent, notably in North India. As an embodiment of Supreme Goddess Durga, she ameliorates poxes, sores, ghouls, pustules and diseases, applauded by Hindus. Goddess Sheetala is adored on the eighth day after the festival of colours (Holi), on the event of Sheetala Ashtami.
According to Skanda Purana, when the Gods accomplished a sacrificial fire ceremony for Goddess Durga, from that fire arose Goddess Shitala, who was perched on an ass, clenching a pot, and a silver broom, in her two hands. At that period, from Lord Shiva’s sweat was bred Jwarasura, who dissipated disease all over the world. Goddess Shitala relieved the world from the disease, and from then onwards, Jwarasura came to be her servant.
The worship of Shitala is performed by both Brahmins and pujaris. She is especially worshipped in the dry seasons of winter and spring on the day which is recognized as Sheetala Satam. There are several art sangrahs and researches for the puja of Maa Shitala. Some of them are Shri Shitla Mata Chalisa, Shitala Maa ki Arti, and Shri Shitala Mata Ashtak.
Shitala is exemplified as a young maiden crowned with a winnowing-fan, sprinting a donkey, clasping a short broom (either to spread or dust off germs) and a pot full of pulses (the viruses) or cold water (a healing tool). Among low-caste Hindus and tribal communities, she is depicted with slab-stones or carved heads. Sometimes, she is said to be holding a bunch of neems (Azadirachta indica) leaves, a therapeutic herb used throughout India since historical times that is reckoned by some to be an effective cure to most skin diseases to this day.
Shitala is the kind of folk demi-goddess Katyayani. She bestows tranquillity to the patients of fever. According to Devi Mahatyam, when a devil named Jvarasura gave bacterial illness to all the children, goddess Katyayani came in the form of Shitala to cleanse children’s blood and to eliminate the bacteria of fever in blood. In Sanskrit ‘vara’ means “fever” and ‘shītala’ means “coolness”. Shitala is occasionally depicted with Jvarasura, the fever monster; Ghentu-debate, the deity of skin disorders; Raktabati, the goddess of blood diseases and the sixty-four inflammations; and is often worshipped with Oladevi, another disease goddess.
She is also depicted enthroned in an 8 handed form carrying a trident, broom, discus (chakra), a jar of abrasion or pot full of water, branches of neem, Scimitar, conch and vard mudra. She is also flanked by 2 donkeys. This depiction has ascertained her as a deity of protection, good prosperity, health, and stability.
One story says Goddess Durga gives birth to incarnation as little Katyayani, the daughter of sage Katyayan to demolish all arrogant evil demonic forces of the world, in her real form as Durga, she assassinated many devils that were sent by Kaalkeya.
A demon named Jvarasura, the demon of fever, started unravelling incurable diseases to Katyayani’s childhood friends, such as cholera, dysentery, measles, smallpox etc. Katyayani cured the diseases of some of her friends. To relieve the realm from all fevers and diseases, Katyayani inferred the form of Shitala Devi. Each of her four hands clutched a short broom, winnowing fan, a jar of cooling water and a drinking cup. With her power, she relieved all the children’s infections. Katyayani then pleads with her friend, Batuk, to go out and thwart the monster Jw Arasur. A battle ensued between the ignorant Batuk and demon Jwarasur. Jwarasur succeeds in overthrowing Batuk. Then, Batuk, lying dead, magically vanished into dust. Jwarasur was outraged that Batuk disappeared and wondered where he went. Then, he doesn’t know that Batuk has speculated the form of a terrible male figure. This soul was three-eyed and had four arms. He clenched a battle-axe, sword, trident and demon head. He was pitch-black in colour. His hair was trickling. Eyes flickered with fury. This figure chafed a tiger-skin and a garland of skulls. Batuk presumed the form of Lord Shiva’s ferocious form, the horrible Bhairav. Bhairav reprimands Jwarasur and warns him that he is the helper of Goddess Durga (incarnate as Katyayani). A long conversation ensued but then restored into battle. Jwarasur formulated many monsters from his abilities but Bhairav managed to kill all of them. Eventually, Bhairav wrestled with Jwarasur and assassinated him with his trident.
Shitala Chaukiya Dham Mandir
The temple of Maa Sheetla Chaukiya Devi is quite ancient. The worship of Shiva and Shakti has been going on since moments immemorial. The account states that, during the era of Hindu emperors, the governance of Jaunpur was in the hands of Ahir rulers. Heerchand Yadav is considered the first Aheer ruler of Jaunpur. The descendants of this clan employed the surname ‘Ahir’. These people built forts at Chandwak and Gopalpur. It is speculated that the temple of Chaukiya Devi was built in the glory of their clan-deity either by the Yadavs of the Bhars- but bestowed the predilections of the Bars, it seems more logical to infer that this temple was constructed by the Bars. The Bears existed non-Aryans. The worship of Shiv and Shakti was common in the non-Aryans. The Bears held strength in Jaunpur. At first, the Devi must have been installed on an honoured platform or ‘chaukiya’ and probably because of this she was pertained to as Chaukia Devi. Devu Sheetla is the suggestive blissful aspect of the Divine Mother: hence she was called Sheetla. On Mondays and Fridays, worshippers arrive here in quite large numbers. Huge crowds pleated here during Navratri.
The main allure of the people of Purvanchal is the Shradhalu Darshan Puja in the centre, Shitala Dham Chowkian, and pray for the fulfilment of their desires. The devotees propose prayers throughout the day. Apart from this, there is a ton of publicity in the mother’s tribunal on Monday and Friday. The sound of conch-bells and shlokas resonates in the temple from dawn itself. There is no substantial historical evidence of the building of the Shitala Chowk Dham Temple.
A temple with sacred history is the exemplar of Hindu traditions. You must visit the Chaukiya Dham Situated Near Prasad group of Institution(SH-36). Nearest Railway Station is Jaunpur Junction & Yadavendra Nagar Halt. 4 Km from Jaunpur Junction & 1.5 Km from Yadvendranagar. You will be astonished to see the rich heritage of the temple which is generally known for its elaborate architecture and rich history. Visiting this famous temple would take you to a journey of faith, spirituality and a lot of cultural heritage that you won’t witness anywhere else.