By Ashok Kumar
It is due to the great reverence of the Mewar ruler that there are quite a few famous abodes of the Goddess in the region. One of them is the well-known Ambamata Temple in Udaipur.
The appearance of Amba Mata in Udaipur is considered to be miracle. It is believed that the original abode of the goddess is at Arasur in the Arbud Hills.
According to legend, Ambika obliged the people of Mewar by being kind to Maharana Raj Singh (1652-1680). Once, Maharana Raj Singh suffered from severe eye trouble; every effort was made by the Raj Vaidya to cure the Maharana but no medicine had any effect.Meanwhile, he was advised to go to Ambika Mata in Arbudancha hills of Gujarat. Raj Singh decided to visit the temple and asked his courtiers to make preparations for the journey. Incidentally, before starting the journey, the Maharana saw the Goddess in his dream and was told that he need not make the journey as the Goddess herself was coming to Mewar. She also told him about the place where she was to appear.
The Maharana woke up from his sleep and expressed his pleasure that the Devi (Goddess) was appearing in his kingdom. He decided to build a Temple and called his courtiers in the morning and told them about the place and asked to start digging immediately.
As the digging proceeded, the Maharana began to get better. Immediately on the extraction of the idol from the ground, he was fully cured.
He decided to cast his eyes first of all on the idol which had appeared of its own accord. With tears of joy and gratitude, he had the darshan of the idol and respectfully bowed before it.
With the appearance of the idol, the construction of the temple started. The Maharana ordered that an idol like the form he had seen in his dream should be made, and the work started immediately.
In Vikram Samvat 1721, the idol was completed; after the completion of the temple both the idols were placed ceremoniously.
On the occasion, Maharana gifted land and buildings to the temple so that the worship in temple continues without any difficulty.
Priests attached to the temple say that the small idol near the big one originally appeared near the “Chauth Mata” spot. This idol is decorated attractively with sindoor-molipanna every six months.
When the idol appeared, it was set up at a platform in front of a house with four big rooms. The construction of the temple continued. The platform where the idol was put or where it put its foot first time was called Charanpatka or Charanpaduka and is still there under a neem tree outside the temple.
Devotees coming to the temple first bow before the Charanpudaka. All the rulers after Maharana Raj Singh, who visited the temple on Navratra or other occasion first of all bowed here.
Built on a high pedestal and situated in huge premises, Ambamata Temple is enclosed with a high compound wall.
After the 20 ft high platform the ‘jugati’ of temple starts, outside the main compound wall, there is a courtyard and in it is the Charan Paduka platform. Programs of Gavri, Ger and Garba dances are held here.
In front, are the steps leading to the temple, above the main gate of the compound wall is “nakkar khana” with Gold Lion statues on the either side; the vehicle of Ambika are painted.
The paintings of Dwarpals is touched up from time to time. Below the Nakkarkhana, in the west is the east-facing main temple in the expansive premises. There is no special decoration in this temple made of white stone.
Everything here is built according to Vastu Shastra. After the steps, there is the mandap which has a door bejeweled with colored glasses. On the frames of the door of the main temple, there are pictures on both the sides. The Maharanas doing Pooja and having darshan have been attractively painted. The main temple has both the idols of Ambamata.
Devotees circumambulate the temple, bow their heads and pray for the welfare of their families, women make inverted swastika with sindoor, kajal, mehandi, etc. and pray for the fulfillment of their wishes. When wishes are granted they come back with families and after night long prayers set the swastik right.
Ambamata has been greatly revered by the royal family as well as masses. They feel that their wishes get fulfilled by her grace.
There are many who do not start any work before making floral offerings here. The royal family has a tradition of visiting the temple on second navratri.
Content from the book Mandir Shri Ambamataji Udaipur, written by Dr. Shrikrishna ‘Jugnu’