Shila Mata Temple, Jaipur
The Shila mata (Stone Goddess) temple at Amber fort (Jaipur, Rajasthan) is dedicated to the Goddess Durga. Thousands of people from Jaipur and surrounding areas come here to pay offerings to Shila mata.
Although Jaipur is known for its Murtikars (idol carvers), this particular idol was not made in Jaipur, but came to Jaipur from far away Bengal. It is believed that Maharaja Mansingh brought the statue of the Goddess Shila mata from Jessore (now in Bangladesh) in 1604. Legends say that Maharaja Mansingh received a defeat at the hands of king Kedar. Humiliated and depressed, the Maharaja worshipped goddess Durga to bless him. Goddess appeared in his dreams and asked him to recover her statue lying under sea near Jessore (now in Bangladesh) and install it in a temple. The idol was recovered from the sea in the form of a shila (slab) and brought to Amber, when cleaned and washed, the present idol appeared. This is why the goddess is named as Shila mata.
It took 10 long years to build the temple. The temple is made out of white marble and the idol is black in colour. An idol of Lord Ganesha is carved here out of a single piece of coral. Extremely beautiful is the whole conception of the temple. Adherence to the principles of vastu has made it as ideal work of architecture. The fort and the temple are on a hill and are cozily nestled in the lap of Mother Nature. The surrounding hills of Amber reverberate when special pooja is offered and drums are beaten. The visitors and tourist find that moment a most memorable life time experience.
- Shweta Modi