Uchaitha : Siddhipitha of Kalidasa

Uchaitha village is about 30 miles north-west of Darbhanga railway station..People outside Bihar do not usually know that local legends widely prevalent in Mithila associate Kalidasa, the immortal poet in the court of ancient Ujjain, with Uchaitha during his early years as a student.

It is said that there was a pathshala in this village where Kalidasa was reading. The students of the school used to go to the temple of the goddess Durga for lighting. deepaks and for chanting hymns. On a dark night his class fellows decided to send Kalidasa, who was a dull student to the goddess for puja. They polished his hands with black and white powder and told him to touch the face of the goddess with his hands so that they could know that he bad really visited the place. Kalidasa went to the temple and lighted the deepak.

He tried to mark the face of the goddess with black and white powder. The goddess appeared and advised hini not to mark her face with powder. She also asked him as to what he wanted as a boon. Kalidasa said, "I want to be learned." She said, I You may go and turn over all the pages of the whole book". He came to his residential pathashala in the night while all were asleep. At the dead of night, as advised by the goddess, he turned over all the pages one by one and slept. When some students of the hostel woke up in the early morning and began their studies Kalidasa marked their mistakes in pronunciation and shouted "wrong", '’wrong.

This conduct of his enraged them and they made a complaint to their Guru that Kalidasa, who was considered to be a very dull student,disturbed them in their studies. The Guru called him and asked as to why he was misbehaving. Kalidasa promptly replied in an unusual way that he could not tolerate the wrong pronunciation of his class fellows.The, Guru, to his utter surprise, found that the boys had erred in their pronunciation and that Kalidasa was fully justified in pointing out their mistakes.

He asked Kalidasa about this sudden development of great intellect in him. Kalidasa narrated the story of the previous night when he had the privilege of meeting the goddess Durga, who had appeared before him and gave him the blessing of wonderful learning. For this very divine achievement the place is called Siddhipitha of Kalidasa.There is a slight variation to the story. Some say that the goddess Kali who was visited at midnight blessed Kalidasa.

It is said that no one could dare to visit the temple of Kali at midnight, as he would be dead by such a visit. The boys at the pathshala wanted to test the courage of Kalidasa and asked him to visit the temple at midnight. Kalidasa did this and the goddess, being pleased with his courage, blessed him that lie would be a great scholar.

It may be mentioned here that Durga and Kali are the manifestations of Mahasakti. Kalidasa ultimately became the court poet of Vikramaditya who was known as Chandra Gupta II. We need not enter into the historical controversy regarding the age of Kalidasa or the age of Vikramaditya.The temple faces the east. It has a round dome. The temple is on the edge of a tank. The tank is a small reservoir with flights of steps to reach the water.

The temple appears to be a recent structure. At the entrance to the temple there is a verandah measuring 10 feet by I2. Above this there is a room for the goddess Durga which s about 8 feet by 10 feet.There is also an image of the goddess Durga in black stone about 2 feet high. A lotus flower can be seen on the back of a lion and tile goddess is sitting on it.

There is Brahma on the left and Moon on the right side. There is an image, 6 inches high, of the goddess Kali, on the left side of the goddess Durga. All the four arms of the goddess Durga are cut off and the head is missing. The image is said to have been desecrated. Some small images of Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi and Hanuman are on the right side of the goddess Durga. They are of black stone.

It is said that the late Maharajadhiraja Sir Rameshwar Singh of Darbhanga had expressed his desire to reinstate the head of' the image. Accordingly, an order was placed and the head was carved out. Before the installation of the head he had a dream in which the goddess told him, ''I am the creator and you want to create my head. Do you think it is proper for you to create my head?"The Maharajadhiraja was upset. The Mahantha of Uchaitha temple had also the same dream. At last it was decided that the head should not be installed.

The priests of the temple took the head from the Maharajadhiraja and kept it near the image to offer it the usual offerings. The stone head is still lying in the temple precincts. A few years ago, the tank was cleaned and a number of images were found. All of them were removed to the Patna Museum. The site is very old and an excavation may yield good results.

In front of the temple of the goddess Durga there is newly constructed a temple of Lord Shiva. There is also a small temple of Bhairava in the rear side of the Shiva temple. Just below these temples flows the river Kamla.

On the other side of the river, towards the south-east of the temple, is the site of what is believed to be the pathshala of Kalidasa. In local dialect and survey records it is mentioned as Kaildasko Chaupdi i.e., the college of Kalidasa. Chaupdi is derived from the Sanskrit word Chatushpathi i.e., where the four Vedas are read and taught. It is an elevated piece of ground measuring about one bigha in area.

So far as the architecture is concerned, the temple is reconstructed in the Indo-Aryan style. There is a square cella for the image. It is curvilinear and there is no trace of storeys and the massive circular coping stone i.e., amalaka, on which the kalasa has been put, surmounts it.

People from all over the locality take little pieces of earth from here to erect pindi (small globes) in their houses, more particularly on the occasion of the sacred thread ceremony of their sons. Some earth of this place is preserved in Darbhanga at the Mithila Institute of Post graduate Studies and Research in Sanskrit.
Regarding the routine of the rituals, the deity is daily bathed morning and evening and the priest performing puja, accom- panied by the ringing of bells and drums follows this.

Durga Devi is known to fulfil the wishes of devotees expressed before her. This goddess being essentially a goddess of the masses, the number of such vows taken and gifts made or other acts performed in fulfillment of such vows is very great. The offerings are varied.

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