Itkhori, a confluence of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism has evolved as an important religious site over the years. The place is considered highly auspicious by the devotees who have different stories to narrate.
Apart from being a religious site, Itkhori is also known for its historical and archaeological remnants. Keep scrolling to know more about Itkhori, a place that speaks volumes about cultural unity.
- Bhardrakali Temple
- Bhadrakali Temple Idol
- Other Temples
- Bhadrakali Temple Story
- Who Constructed
- Goddess Bhadrakali Story
- Buddhist Pilgrimage
- Jain Pilgrimage
- Best Time To Visit
- A Connection To Ramayana and Mahabharata
- Kartik Purnima
- Rajkiya Itkhori Mahotsav
- Bhadrakali Temple Museum
- Nearest Town
- Nearest Railway Station
- Nearest Airport
- How To Reach
- Where To Stay
- Nearby Places
Bhadrakali Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. According to the archeological survey conducted, the temple was built somewhere around the 9th century.
Bhadrakali Temple Idol
The idol is made up of black stone with inscriptions in Brahmi script at its base. The aesthetic style of the idol suggests its existence since the Middle Ages.
Besides the Bhadrakali temple, the complex has Shiva and Hanuman temples.
The Lord Shiva temple standing adjacent to the Bhadrakali temple is known for its Shiva lingam that has 1008 lingams carved on it. The Nandi outside the temple is built from a single rock.
Near the Shiva temple, there is a Hanuman temple with an idol of Hanuman having five heads of different creatures. Such an idol is known as Panchamukhi Hanuman.
A Blackstone Buddha stupa from the Pala period is found in the premises of the Bhadrakali temple having 1008 images of Bodhisattvas and 4 principles i.e the truth of suffering (Dukkha), the truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya), the truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha), and the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga) of Buddha carved in it.
Story of Bhadrakali Temple
King Surath whose name has been mentioned in ‘Durga Saptashati’ as an emperor of ancient Vanga was a great devotee of Goddess Durga. According to the Markandeya Purana, he preached the worship of Devi Mahatmya also known as Goddess Chandi. He was also the first to organize Durga Puja in his capital Bolpur in West Bengal which later became a popular festival in West Bengal as well as in few other parts of India.
If history has to be believed, Kauleshwari hill, another important religious site in Chatra for Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists was also one of the capitals of King Surath.
Once in a battle, he was defeated by a foreign invader and distressed by his defeat he visited the ashram of Medha Rishi to seek peace. At the same time, Sarathi, a rich businessman whose family tricked him to acquire all his wealth, also visited the ashram.
Both of them were suffering and needed to know the cause of such agony. Medha Rishi who was the storyteller of Goddess Durga asked them to pray to Goddess Bhadrakali and seek their answers in prayers.
As suggested by Medha Rishi, both of them went to the thick forest of Tamasin near the Mahane river and devoted themselves to the Goddess. Tamasin is also located in Chatra district and is a popular tourist destination known for Tamasin Waterfall.
Tales say that Goddess Bhadrakali was so much pleased with the prayers that she appeared in front of them and offered to give them their lost wealth back.
King Surath got back his Kingdom, however, Sarathi refused to go back to his earlier life and asked the Goddess for Moksha, which was granted to him.
Who Constructed The Temple?
Soon after King Surath returned to his Kingdom, the entire royal family started worshiping Goddess Bhadrakali. Later, the temple was built by King Mahendra Pal.
The current temple is built on the ruins of the ancient temple by Jharkhand Tourism with the objective to preserve its rich history.
Story of Goddess Bhadrakali
The story narrates how Goddess Durga took the avatar of Goddess Bhadrakali.
According to the ancient tales, Once an Asura (demon) named Dambh prayed to Lord Vishnu and told his desire to have him as his son. Lord Vishnu delighted by his prayers accepted his request. A partial incarnation of Vishnu was born as Dambh’s son, who was named as Shankhchud.
Shankhchud was Sudama of Golok who was born on because of a curse given to him by Radha. Sooner, as he grew up, he started creating havoc on Earth. He was very powerful and was impossible to defeat.
When gods lost their patience over his terror, the commander of gods Kartikeya went to fight him but was also defeated. Seeing such destruction, Goddess Durga took a fierce form of Bhadrakali and fought him but could not defeat him. So she began to swallow the asuras on the battlefield and in the last Shiva destroyed Sankhchud with his Trident.
Itkhori, A Buddhist Pilgrimage
Lord Buddha after abandoning his royal kingdom, spent a few days meditating at Itkhori before he made his journey to Bodh Gaya as Bodhisattva.
Meanwhile, his aunt came to convince him to return to his kingdom Kapilavastu and take back charges of his royal duties. However, she failed to make any difference as Lord Buddha was very determined with his decision.
While returning back with heavy hearts, she uttered the word ‘Iti Khoyi’ which in Pali means ‘I have lost him here’ and that is how the place got its name as Itkhori.
Itkhori, A Jain Pilgrimage
The place is also believed to be the birthplace of the 10th Jain Tirthankara Shitalanatha. Footprints of him have also been found here which makes it an important pilgrimage of Jainism. The second-largest temple dedicated to Shitalanatha is also located in Itkori.
A Connection To Ramayana and Mahabharata
According to many tales, it is believed that Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lord Laxman has spent a few days of their exile here. Also, it is believed that King Yudhisthir had spent a few days here in the region during his Agyatvas exile.
Bhadrakali temple is located in Bhaduli village of Itkhori, a religious block in the Chatra district of the Indian state of Jharkhand. The town lies in the meetup point of two rivers Mahane (also known as Mahanad) and ‘Baksa’, 147 KM from the state capital Ranchi and 35 KM from the town of Chatra.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Itkhori is during Bishua also known as Kartik Purnima and Rajkiya Itkhori Mahotsav.
Kartik Purnima is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartika (October – November) on the full moon day. Many devotees visit the place take bath in the natural water reservoir present adjacent to the temple on this day.
Rajkiya Itkhori Mahotsav
Rajkiya Itkhori Mahotsav is a three-day-long annual festival celebrated in the month of February at Itkhori in the premises of the Bhadrakali temple. Many famous singers from Bollywood takes part every year in the festival along with local artists who perform folk dance, songs, and dramas.
Some of the famous artists who have performed so far in the festival are Sona Mohapatra, Malini Awasthi, Richa Sharma, Mamta Joshi, Rohan Pathak, Maithali Thakur, etc.
Archaeological Excavation – Bhadrakali Temple Museum
The excavation conducted by the archaeologist has unveiled as many as 417 statues of Lord Buddha, Buddha stupas, antiques belonging to Jainism, idols of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Uma, Goddess Maheshwari, etc, which belongs to the period between 2nd century to the 12th-century.
All the idols are made up of black stone and are preserved in the Bhadrakali Museum, located on the premises of the temple complex.
The nearest town is Chatra located at a distance of 35 KM from Itkhori.
Nearest Railway Station
The nearest railway station is Chatra (Station Code: CTR). The station is a small railway halt and is located on the Sahibganj Loop. It is not well connected with major cities
The nearest railway station that is connected well with all the major cities is Hazaribagh Town Railway Station (Station Code: HZBN) located at a distance of 50 KM.
The nearest airport is Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi located at a distance of 150 KM.
The nearest International airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport, Kolkata located at a distance of 423 KM.
How To Reach
Board a train to Hazaribagh Town Railway Station (Station Code: HZBN) and from there book a cab to Itkhori.
Hazaribagh To Itkhori Route And Distance
- 50.3 km via NH20 and Padma – Itkhori Rd
- 70.2 km via NH20
Book a flight to Birsa Munda Airport Ranchi or Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata. Here is how to reach Itkhori from Ranchi and Kolkata.
After reaching Ranchi, you can take a cab to Itkhori or board a train from Ranchi Junction (Station Code: RNC) to Hazaribagh (Station Code: HZBN). Cabs are available from Hazaribagh to Itkhori.
Birsa Munda Airport To Itkhori Route And Distance
- 149.1 km via NH20
- 165.6 km via Chouparan – Chatra Rd
International travelers landing at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, can book another flight to Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi, and then take a cab to Itkhori.
For those who are willing to take a train ride can board one from Howrah Junction (Station Code: HWH) to Hazaribagh Town Railway Station (Station Code: HZBN). After reaching Hazaribagh book a cab to Itkhori.
Cabs can also be booked from Kolkata to Itkhori. However, due to the distance it is not recommended.
Kolkata To Itkhori Route And Distance
- 423.5 km via NH19 and AH1
- 525.4 km via NH 14 and NH19
Itkhori is located 35 Km on the East of Chatra town and 16 Km west of Chauparan and is connected with G.T. Road.
Where To Stay
Hotels and Lodges are available at Itkhori. Also, one can stay in the town of Chatra or Hazaribagh as both the town has some of the best tourist places in the state.