Before visiting the Karla Caves, I thought of visiting the Ekvira Devi Temple, which is located on the entrance of the Karla Caves. I could see the temple perched on the hill
and there are steps to climb and reach the top of the hill. I was told that the temple is the best place for the spiritual retreat and it was worth visiting.
From down the hill, I followed a group of devotees, who were climbing the steps. I could figure out that there are around five hundred steps, which lead to the top of the hill and to the temple. The devotees were talking about the deity and the religious importance of visiting the temple. I joined them for some valuable information.
The deity in the temple, Mata Ekvira
is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Renuka, who in the Hindu epics is known to be the mother of the sage Parshurama (One of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu). I was explained by one
of the devotees that God Ekvira is highly worshipped by the fishermen community Koli.
Though climbing the steps was quite tiring, I couldn’t feel the tiredness for I had a continuous chat with the devotee all along. There was a legend and it was that the temple was built by the
Pandavas, who are the important characters in the epic Mahabharata. Pandavas in exile were living in the forest and happened to visit this holy place. At that time, the Goddess appeared before
them and asked them to build a temple for her.
Nevertheless, she instructed them to build it within a day and Pandavas constructed it beautifully that Mata was impressed by it and granted them the boon of being successful in the secret exile. On the top of the temple, I found many people from various places. There were three shrines built to look alike in a row and they were facing the west. It looked that these shrines were well preserved. There were mandapas such as Maha Mandapa and Varsha Mandapa. Other than these, there were as many as sixteen shrines surrounding the three primary shrines and those shrines belonged to Parivara Devtas.
I offered my prayers to God and stayed at the place for some time and climbed down to travel to the next place in my itinerary, Karla Caves and Bhaja Caves.