Even though the Khodiyar temple, on the outskirts of Bhavnagar (15km), was built only as recent as early 20th century, it has a staunch following amongst devotees of Janbai (Khodiyar Ma). The temple lies on the edge of the Tataniya Wali Lake and has a ropeway at the back that connects the base to a shrine on the top of a hill. Lapsi (broken wheat dessert) is the main prasad of the temple.
Brief History: Khodiyar Mata is believed to be a warrior Hindu goddess born as a member of the Charan caste around 700 AD. She is said to be the daughter of Mamad Ji Charan, who was blessed by Lord Shiva and Nagdev with seven daughters and a son. One of the daughters was Khodiyar Mata, who has temples all over Gujarat, Rajasthan and Mumbai. There is an interesting legend around the Goddess and the construction of this temple.
Maharaja Wakhatsinghji Gohil, who ruled the state of Bhavnagar from 1748 to 1816, is said to be the one who built this temple. He was a devout follower of Khodiyar Mata. Once, he prayed to the goddess to present herself in her physical form in Sihor, the capital of Bhavnagar. Khodiyar Mata appeared in front of him and asked him to lead the way, only on the condition that he doesn’t turn around and check if she is following him. Wakhatsinghji walked on for many hours until he stopped just short of Sihor, in Rajpara, to see if she was still there. The Goddess was very much there but kept to her promise and never moved an inch ahead. She and her sisters decided to stay put and this is where the shrine was built.
Best time to visit: November–February is the best period to visit.