History of Maa:
This has happened a long back in 1475 AD when Orissa was known as Kalinga. King Purusottam Dev ruled Kalinga. Legends galore present Lord Jagannath as a friend, philosopher and guide to his devotee, be he a prince or a pauper. One legend with a delightful association with the car festival concerns King Purusottam Dev (15th century). Travelling through South India, the young king chanced to see Princess Padmavati of Kanchi, and was charmed by her beauty. He sent his emissary to her father proposing marriage. The proposal was welcomed. The minister of Kanchi proceeded to Puri to finalise the arrangements for the wedding. That was the time of the car festival. It began with the king sweeping a part of the chariot where the deity was to be placed. This signified that even the king was a humble servant of the Lord. (The custom continues to this day, the scion of the Raj family of Puri performing the rite.)
Sweeper-King (Chandal Raja)
Unfortunately, the Kanchi minister saw in it an act unworthy of a king. We cannot make a sweeper-king our son-in-law!. The king of Kanchi withdrew his consent to the marital proposal. The infuriated Purusottam Dev marched upon Kanchi, but returned defeated. He lay before Sri Jagannath for days, praying for victory or death! The Lord assured him, in his dream, that he would win on a second expedition. But with the appointment of new Senapati or commander-in –chief. Lord Jaganth advised King to look out for a house where a red flag will be flying of the rooftop. Immediately in the morning he send his troops to find out this particular house. As his dream suggested the troops found out a house of a young man name Govinda Bhanja. Govinda Bhanja plays a major of bringing Maa to Ghatagoan, Kheojhar. Govinda Bhanjha was the son of Trilochan Bhanjha the king of Kendujhar now known as kheonjar. He had abandoned his kingdom and was living in Puri as a common man. He went on to fight for king Purusottam Dev to avenge the king insult.
Journey of Maa from Kanchi to Kalinga
The journey started towards Kanchi (Vijayanagar) with Govinda Bhanjha as Senapati (Commander-in-chief). Suddenly in the forest of Vijayanagar the horse of Govinda Bhanjha refused to move further. This created curiosity in mind of Govinda Bhanjha.
He started enquiring among the tribes and was revealed that after Goddess Sita was kidnapped by demon Ravana, Lord Rama & his younger brother Lord Lakshmana started searching her. They searched in different parts of the forest. But they were not able to find Sita. Finally Lord Rama thought to worship goddess Durga in order to get the solution. He worshipped her & Goddess Durga appeared before him. The goddess told Rama not to see her, otherwise she would become stone there. But Lord Rama was not able to control himself & saw her when she appeared before him. So the goddess became stone there. Then goddess told Lord Rama not to worry, she will appear & help him when he will remember her in mind. Then Lord Rama worshipped her there. The goddess remained there in the name of ‘Tarini’.
In the forest Lord Rama only found some tribes, so he gave the responsibility of the worship of the goddess to those tribes. From that day onwards, Maa Tarini is worshipped by the Tribal people. that Maa Tarini is being worshipped there and without her acknowledgment no one can defeat King Kanchi. The famous war began and it was a very fierce battle among the Kanchi n Kalinga. God supported both sides. King Kanchi was supported by Lord Ganesha n King Purusottam Dev was by Lord Jaganth. But as we all know everything happens according to the almighty. We can never know why, how, who won n who lost. Maybe this is Maa ‘s desire to come to Kheojhar by this way. King Purusottam Dev won the war and Princess Padmavati came with King Purusottam Dev. King wanted to bring Maa along with Lord Madammohan , Raghunathjew to Puri. They prayed them to bring them. Thus they came to Kalinga or Orissa .
Journey of Maa from Puri to Ghatagoan(Kheojhar)
At that year King Trilochona Bhanja (King of Khedhujhar) died and Govinda Bhanja had to return to his kingdom. King Purusottam Dev wanted to give Govinda Bhanja something as he had helped him to avenge his insult and Princess Padvati to his kingdom. Govinda Bhanja wanted only one thing for himself .He wanted to bring Maa to his kingdom. King Purusottam Dev agreed to this and asked him to ask Maa’s permission. Govinda Bhanja prayed MAA and MAA agreed with one condition. Maa said she will go with him as long as Govinda Bhanja doesn’t look back to see Maa. With this Condition Maa went with Govinda Bhanjha to Kendujhar(kheojhar). From Puri to Khedujhar Maa horse hoof sounds were audible. On the outskirts of Khedujhar lies river Baitarini. On the forest of Kheojhar Maa’s horse hoofs was not audible to Govinda Bhanja. He got scared that Maa stayed behind and he turned to look back to see. There n then Maa turned into stone. Govinda Bhanjha prayed Maa for forgiveness but Maa said she has made the condition with him before coming. And she will stay in the wild jungle and asked Govinda Bhanjha to worship in that place. Till today Maa Tarini is being worshipped in Ghatagaon, Kheojhar. Which is now a major tourist attraction in Kheojhar (Orissa).