Sheetla Mata temple, Gurugram is a temple dedicated to the Mata Sheetla Devi, she is Kripi/Kripai/Lalitha wife of Guru Dronacharya who was the teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas according to Indian epic Mahabharata. The district Gurgaon, now renamed as Gurugam derives it name from Guru + Gram or the village of the guru. The temple is located on Sheetla mata Road in Gurgaon city of Gurgaon district in the state of Haryana in India.
The shrine is very famous and is visited by large number of people
The Sheetla Mata temple is dedicated to the wife of Guru Dronacharya, Kripi/Kirpai, also called Lalitha.
Kirpai, also called Lalita and later Mata Sheetla, used to live in Keshopur village located in the nearby Union Territory of Delhi. Dronacharya her husband used to visit her daily at Keshopur from his Gurugram ashram.
She devoted herself to look after the sick children, specially those suffering from the smallpox. People called her Mata (Mother) out of affection and respect. After her death a temple was built in her honour by the villagers and she began to be remembered as Mata Sitla or Mata Masani, i.e. ‘the goddess of smallpox’.
It is said that more than three centuries ago, Masani Mother appeared in a dream to Chaudhri Singh Ram alias Singha, a fief-holder of village Gurgaon. She expressed her desire to leave Keshopur and come to Gurgaon. She made him build a place for her.
Towards the south of Gurugram village lies Gurugram Bhim Kund near the temple of Dronacharya. Sheetla mata temple lies to the north of Gurugram village.
The legend goes that even after Singha had brought and installed the goddess Masani, after her own heart’s desire, at village Gurgaon, the residents of Keshopur continued to dispute the claims of Gurgaon folks. This controversy was put at rest during the time of Begum Samru, the Governor of Jharsa under the Mughals. Her child who had contracted smallpox was cured after being consecrated in the prescribed manner before the goddess Masani at Gurgaon. It was then finally established that the goddess had begun to live at village Gurgaon.
The current temple was built in the 18th century by the Hindu Jat king Jawahar Singh of Bharatpur, in memory of his victory over the Mughals, for which he had invoked the blessings of Sheetla Mata.
One story says Goddess Durga has incarnated as little Katyayani, the daughter of sage Katyayan to destroy all arrogant evil demonic forces of the world, in her real form as Durga, she killed many demons that were sent by Kaalkeya.
A demon named Jwarasur, the demon of fever, started spreading incurable diseases to Katyayani’s childhood friends, such as cholera, dysentery, measles, smallpox etc. Katyayani cured the diseases of some of her friends. To relieve the world from all fevers and diseases, Katyayani assumed the form of Shitala Devi. Each of her four hands held a short broom, winnowing fan, jar of cooling water and a drinking cup. With her power, she cured all the children’s diseases. Katyayani then requests her friend, Batuk to go out and confront the demon Jwarasur. A battle ensued between the young Batuk and demon Jwarasur. Jwarasur succeeds in defeating Batuk. Then, Batuk, lying dead, magically faded into dust. Jwarasur was shocked that Batuk disappeared and wondered where he went. Then, what he doesn’t know that Batuk has assumed the form of an awful male figure. This person was three-eyed and had four arms. He held a battle-axe, sword, trident and demon head. He was pitch-black in color. His hair was flowing. Eyes blazed with fury. This figure wore a tiger-skin and a garland of skulls. Batuk assumed the form of Lord Shiva’s ferocious form, the terrible Bhairav. Bhairav reprimands Jwarasur and tells him that he is the servant of Goddess Durga (incarnate as Katyayani). A long discussion ensued but then converted into battle. Jwarasur created many demons from his powers but Bhairav managed to destroy all of them. Finally, Bhairav wrestled with Jwarasur and killed him with his trident.
Name and variants
Shitala literally means “one who cools” in Sanskrit. Shitala is worshiped under different names in various parts of the subcontinent. Shitala is more often called Ma and Mata (‘mother’) and is worshiped by Hindus, Buddhists and tribal communities. She is mentioned in Tantric and Puranic literature and her later appearance in vernacular texts (such as the Bengali 17th century Shitala-mangal-kabyas, ‘auspicious poetry’) has contributed to strengthen her status.
Shitala is primarily popular in regions of North India. In some traditions she is identified with an aspect of Parvati, the consort of Shiva. Shitala is addressed as Mother, as a seasonal goddess (Vasant, i.e. Spring) and with honorific titles such as Thakurani, Jagrani (Queen of the World), Karunamayi (She who is full of mercy), Mangala (The Auspicious One), Bhagavati (The Goddess), Dayamayi (She who is Full of Grace and Kindness). The role of Shitala in South India is taken by the Goddess incarnate Mariamman, who is worshiped by Dravidian-speaking people.
In Gurugram of Haryana state, Shitala mata is considered to be Kripi (wife of Guru Dronacharya) and worshiped there in Sheetla Mata Mandir Gurgaon.