Located in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, Maihar is a small town. It was established in 1778 by the Jogis clan, under the Rajput rule of Bundelkhand. During the British Rule of India, Maihar town became the capital of the princely state of Maihar in the 19th Century.
Maihar is most famous for being home to the Sharda Mata Temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of Goddess Durga. The name Maihar originates from two words ‘Mai’ and ‘har’ which literally translate to ‘Mother’s Necklace’. It is said that when Goddess Sati died by jumping into the fire, Lord Shiva became enraged by grief. He picked up Sati's corpse and started performing Tandava, the dance of destruction. Ultimately, Lord Vishnu had to intervene to save this world. He used the Sudarshana Chakra and cut through Sati's corpse. The specific spots where various body parts of Goddess Sati fell into the earth are known as Shakti Peeths today. It is believed that Sati’s necklace fell at Maihar, hence, the name of this town.
The most famous temples to visit in Maihar are:
Sharda Mata Temple
The Sharda Mata Temple at Maihar is built on top of the Trikuta Hill. The temple is believed to be at the exact same spot where the necklace of Sati had fallen. This temple is one of the Shakti Peeths, and hence, an important religious place for all Hindu pilgrims. Situated on a hilltop, devotees need to undertake a very steep climb of 1063 steps. Damodar Ropeways & Infra Limited (DRIL), one of the oldest ropeway construction companies in India, has built a cable car facility that takes devotees up the hill. By taking this ropeway ride, devotees can reach the temple in just a few minutes. This is extremely helpful for physically disabled and elderly visitors. Due to the steep landscape, there was a lack of space to build the upper station. DRIL came up with an innovative layout where the tension tower which provides the counterweight is built on a very steep slope. The ropeway ride at Sharda Mata Temple is quite popular among the tourists.
Alha Deo Temple
The Alha Deo temple is dedicated to the fearless Rajput warrior named Alha who fought bravely against Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Both Alha and Udal were two brothers who served in the army of King Paramardideva Chandel. The Alha Deo Temple is located behind the Sharda Mata Temple, situated downhill. As per local legend, Alha worshipped Sharda Mata for 12 years and got the blessing of immortality. There is a holy pond in which Alha used to take a bath before offering his prayers. 2km away from the pond is an “akhara” where Alha and Udal used to practice wrestling. The people of Maihar believe that Alha is still alive and comes to worship Sharda Mata every morning at dawn.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Golamath Temple was built during the Kalchuri period between 10th and 11th Century. This ancient temple has been built in the Nagara style, facing towards the East. It is said that the temple was built in one fortnight only.