Sakthi Peedams

The Shakti Peeth ( seat of Shakti,the Mother Goddess) are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism. As per various puranas there are 52 Shakti peethas or peedams and most of these temples are in India, but some are in Nepal, Bangladesh, and one each in Tibet (Mansarovar), Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

As per legend Sati, an avatar of Goddess Sakthi was destined to be married to Lord Shiva. Her father Dakshan hated Shiva and refused to give away her daughter and insulted Lord Shiva at various opportunities.

Daksha performed a yagna with a desire to take revenge on Lord Shiva and invited all the deities to the yajna except Lord Shiva and Sati. Though not invited Sati wanted to attend the yagna. Shiva was reluctant to let her attend but Sati went to the yagna. Sati was not given any respect at the yagna as she was not invited. Sati was unable to bear her father's insults toward her husband Lord Shiva and jumped into the fire and immolated herself.

Enraged at this, Shiva took the avataar of Virabhadra and destroyed Daksha's yagna and cut off Daksha's head.Virabhadra's anger could not be controlled. Shiva picked up the remains of Sati's body, and performed the 'rudra tandava' ( a fiery dance of rage and destruction). The other Gods requested Maha Vishnu to intervene to stop this destruction and Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra, which cut through Sati's corpse. Various parts of her body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed sites which are revered as Shakti Peedams .

There are various theories about the sakthi peedams and their locations. Some puranas like the Shiva Purana, the Devi Bhagavata, the Kalika Purana,the AstaShakti and Pithanirnaya Tantra talk about four major Shakti Peethas as in Jagannath Temple of Puri, Odisha, Tara Tarini near Berhampur, Odisha, Kamakhya Temple Guwahati, Assam and Dakshina Kalika Kolkata, West Bengal.

However as per Adi Shankara's Ashta Dasa Shakthi Peetha Stotram , 18 major Sakthi Peethas are recognized. They are
1.Kamakshi temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu ( again there is a dispute that the older Adi Kamakshi amman temple or Kaliyambal temple is a sakthi peeth and not the popular Kamkshi Amman temple)
2.Shrinkala,Pandua, West Bengal
3.Chamundeswari Temple, Mysuru, Karnataka
4.Jogulamba Devi, Alampur,Telangana
5. Brhamaramba Mallikarjuna Temple,Srisailam,AP
6.Mahalakshmi Temple,Kolhapur,Maharshtra
7.Eka Veerika Temple,Mahur,Maharashtra
8.Mahakalehwar Jyothirlinga,Ujjain,MP
9.Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple,Pithapuram,AP
10.Biraja Temple,Jajpur,Odisha
11.Kumararama Bhimeswara Temple,Draksharamam,AP
12.Kamakya Temple,Guwahati,Assam
13.Jwalamukhi Temple,Kangra,HP
14.Alopi Devi Mandir,Prayagraj,UP
15.Mangla Gowri Temple,Gaya,Bihar
16.Kasi Visalakshi Temple,Varanasi,UP
17.Sharadha Peeth,Sharda,Kashmir
18.Shankari Temple, Triconamale, Sri Lanka