Sheetla Mata is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Her Vahana is Donkey. Vahana means carrier. Every deity in Hinduism has a carrier, generally referred to as a vehicle or Vahana, and it serves as the seat of the goddess.
Unlike other Hindu goddesses holding weapons and Kalash, Shitala Mata has a broom in her right hand and a medicinal water pot in her left hand. With the broom, she drives away the disease-causing germs and uses medicinal water to cure poxes and other diseases.
Sheetla Mata Story
Goddess Sheetala was born from a yajna conducted by Lord Brahma. The lord presented her with a boon that she would be worshipped as long as she carried Urad Dal with her. After some days, the goddess married Jwarasura, the fever demon born from the sweat of Lord Shiva.
Together the couple visited heaven. On their way, the Urad Dal she carried changed into smallpox germs. And so, where ever the couple went, they were spreading fever and germs. Devas pleaded with Sheetla Mata to show mercy. Upon the requests made by Lord Indra and other Devas, the couple decided to find a place for themselves, stay there, and worship Bhagwan Shiva. This way, they shall put an end to the spread of the germs.
Shitala Mata and Jwarasura descended to the earth and prayed to lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased by their prayers and presented Shitala Devi with medicinal water and healing powers. The couple then visited King Birat, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He agreed to provide them with accommodation but refused to worship Shitala Mata and her companion.
Goddess turned furious and started spreading smallpox in the kingdom. Thousands died. The king finally relented and prayed to the goddess to show mercy. Pleased by the king’s prayers, Shitala Mata cured the pox with the medicinal water in her hand and neem leaves. Today she is worshipped for good health. She cures smallpox and several other diseases related to fever.
Sheetla Mata Mandir
Apart from the story of Jwarasura and Sheetla Mata, there is another version. This version is famous in and around Delhi. Many Delhites believe that Shitala Mata was the wife of Guru Dronacharya. Guru Dron was a master of military arts and divine weapons (ASTRAS).
He taught the Pandavas and Gauravas. Kripi (Goddess Shitala) was his wife. She used to take care of sick children infected with smallpox and other diseases in her own ashram. Guru Dron visited her now and then. Kind at heart and compassionate in actions, Kripi was called “Mata.” After she died, the locals built her a temple in the Keshopur Ashram, where she lived, and named her Sheetala Mata. Guru Dron’s temple is near Gurugram Bhim Kund. Sheetla Mata mandir is near Guru Dron’s temple.
Sheetala Mata Temple in Gurgaon
The Shree Mata Sheetla Shrine Board of Haryana governs the temple. It is in Gurugram or Gurgaon. The temple is very famous; Navaratri is the major festival celebrated in the temple. At the Shitala Devi Temple in Gurgaon, devotees call her Lalitha.
How to reach the temple?
Temple is well connected by air, road, and rail. It is at a distance of 6 km from NH8. If you are visiting the temple from Delhi, you can take a metro train from the Huda City Metro Station. From here, the temple is just 6.6 km. Gurugram railway station is 2.7 km away from the temple. The Indira Gandhi International Airport is the nearest airport.
Sheetala Mata Puja Date 2023
The best time to perform Sheetla Mata pooja is during Basoda. Also called Sheetala Ashtamai, Basoda is popular in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.
In 2023, Sheetala Ashtami starts on the 14th of March at 8:22 PM and ends on the 15th of March at 6:45 PM.
You can Sheetla Mata Puja either on the 14th night (after 8:22 PM) or on the 15th of March (before 6:45 PM). Make sure you do the pooja during the Ashtami tithi, that is, within the time mentioned above.
How to perform Sheetala Mata Pooja?
The first and foremost rule of the pooja is that you do not cook food on Sheetala Ashtami. Say you are to do the pooja on the 14th night. Then you do not cook food the entire 14th (day and night).
You eat food prepared on the 13th. You can go back to your normal cooking from the 15th. If you are doing the pooja on the 15th of March, then you eat the food prepared on the 14th of March and go back to your normal cooking from the 16th of March. Ideally, it is good to do the pooja on the 15th of March as most of the Ashtami tithi falls on this day. However, you can also do it on the 14th.
You clean the pooja room and diyas a day before. Get some neem leaves if possible. Place a picture of the goddess. You can also use a stone to represent her. Clean the stone or the photo with water, apply turmeric and Kumkum, and decorate it with flowers.
Sheetala Devi heals small poxes with neem and turmeric. So it is good to use more turmeric and neem during the pooja. You can chant her Ashtotram or do mantra japas simultaneously, offering turmeric. Do deep, dhoop, and offer the Prashad you prepared the day before. The major rule of pooja is to offer the food prepared the previous day. You can also offer red cloth, wheat, curd, and henna to the goddess.
The pooja protects you and your family from smallpox and every other fever-related disease. You can do this pooja regularly on Ashtamis. Sheetla Mata protects you and your family from skin diseases, heat burns, and accidents. She is the guardian of the children.
Prashad for Shitala Mata
As Prashad has to be prepared the previous day, many are doubtful about what to offer to the goddess. You can offer Sweet Olia, Roti, Churma, Rabri, Vegetables, Chikki, Puri, etc.
Scientific Reasons for offering Cold Food
Eating cold food relaxes your digestive system. The meaning of the word “SHEETAL” is cold. The entire Sheetala Mata pooja and the fasting relax and strengthen the digestive system.
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