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Prabhadevi Temple
Neighbours dwelling in the same locality. One is famous, the other, relatively unknown , waits for its place in the limelight.
Down the road from Siddhivinayak is the 285-year-old Prabhadevi temple that leads its name to the locality. There are no crowds or long queues here but a serenity and calmness that stills the wandering mind. The tranquillity of the place is intermittently broken by a trickle of devotees with offerings, making their daily routine daily pilgrimage. They appear very much at home as they go about the temple there's a sense of belonging that comes with familiarity.
Built in 1715, this 18th century temple has a very interesting history behind it. The main deity, Shakambaridevi,  dating back to 12th century, was the famous goddess of Bimba raja of Gujarat. The Kalikadevi and  Chandikadevi, two other manifestation of Shakti are sited on the either side of Shakambaridevi. Today known to all as Prabhavatidevi , the name Shakambaridevi lies forgotten. According to the temple   priest, the story goes that when the Mughals invaded the area, the idols were shifted to safer location to escape the vandalism. They first found refugee in Mahim Creek and then in a well, located near the temple site.

Prabhavatidevi appeared in the dreams Shyam Nayak who belonged to the rich Pathare Prabhu community. The temple was later built under his supervision and is now managed by the trust setup by the Kirtikar family, descendants of Shyam Nayak. At present, this 12th century idol made of black stone lies hidden under the coats of paint in an attempt to mask the years of slow deterioration. Every year in the Paush month, the temple bears a festive look. A ten day 'Jatra' is held, beginning on Shakhambari Purnima day, to celebrate the consecration of the idols. During this period, the normally quite temple is transformed into a hub of  activity.
In the temple are also seen numerous other deities of Hindu mythology, each belonging to different periods. Lakshmi Narayan guarded by Jay and Vijay the 'Dwarpals' occupy pride of place, a lit earthen lamp keeping them constant company. Facing Lord Shiva a small distance away are a tortoise and Nandi the bull. "Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva, is in hurry, depicting the wandering human mind that pursues many desires at the same time. On the other hand, the tortoise signifies the truth that no matter how slow the headway, a clear idea of the goal ahead surely leads to success", says Jaywant Gajanan Joshi, third generation priest serving the temple.
What adds to the charm of the temple is the devotees, paying obeisance to each deity in turn. There are 'Bel' leaves, milk and curds abhisheks for Lord Shiva and generous portions of oil are offered to Lord  Hanuman.
Prabhadevi temple with its colourfully tiled interiors and simplicity, wooden beams and airy portico, has a very welcoming air to it. Those looking forward to some quite time in  their busy schedules need not look any further.

-article by Veena Kamath

The Bombay Times (The Times of India)

Dated:- Monday 6th August 2001
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