Karanwas, a remote town located on the banks of the sacrosanct Ganga derives its name from Daanveer Karna, undisputedly the most generous and large-hearted man who has ever walked this earth. This ancient town of immense spiritual and historical importance has several temples dating back to the olden times especially the Mahabharat Period.
It has been stated in the Hindu scriptures that Daanveer Karna’s aaradhya devata was Maa Kalyani Devi of Karanwas. Daanveer Karna used to offer oblations to the Ganga three times a day and with the blessings of Maa Kalyani Devi donate as much as 50 kg (सवा मन) of gold every day to the Brahmins and the poor and needy while sitting on a rock that is close to the temple.
Maa Kalyani Devi Mandir is situated atop a small mound and offers a scenic view of the Ganges flowing past. According to the locals, this Shakti Peetha receives many visitors during the auspicious months of Chaitra, Magha and Shravan and Navaratri. People take a dip in the Ganges and offer prayers and perform rites and rituals as prescribed in the Vedas to seek the blessings of Divine Mother.
Roughly hundred years ago, Seth Bagla of Hathras came to seek the blessings of Divine Mother for a child. A son was born to him soon after. Seth finished the entire temple structure in limestone adding carved doorways.
The idol of Maa Kalyani Devi in the sanctum sanctorum is a picture of beauty, grace and peace. She is seen with the trishul, gada, chakra, shankha and madhu patra. The temple has a yagashala and an open courtyard for devotees to spend their time in meditation, bhajans and adhyāya (learning the scriptures).
It is believed that Swami Dayanand Saraswati also has spent a great deal of time in tapas (penance and austerities) here. Archaeological excavations uncovered rare sculptures as well as the foundation for an earlier temple built with bricks on its site.
It is customary for devotees to circumambulate Divine Mother and draw a swastika on the wall of the temple with cow dung and pray for Her blessings.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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