India is indeed a land of history. It is home to the oldest civilization in the world, has the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and in Bihar, it has the oldest functional temple in the world.
Mundeshwari temple in Kaura, Kaimur district of Bihar, is considered to be the oldest functional temple in the world. The temple made out of stone dedicated to Durga and Shiva, has withstood the test of time and continues to receive visitors even today. According to an inscription by ASI at the entrance of the temple gates, the temple dates back to 108 AD and is still being used by devotees who come here in large numbers during Navratri to seek blessings.
A fine example of Nagara style of architecture that evolved in Magadha in Bihar, this temple’s main deity is a four-faced Shivalinga. The idol of Mundeshwari, a version of Durga, is placed in one of the sub-chambers inside the main temple. The temple is located on a hill at a height of 608 feet near the Son river. The temple has an octagonal plan with Dwarpalas, Ganga, Yamuna and other moortis at the entrance of the temple.
The origin of the name of Mundeshwari is not clear, but many believe that this temple was made by the demon king Munda after Parvati killed his military chiefs, Shumbh and Nishumbh. Another interesting fact about this temple is the bloodless sacrifice of goats here. People have witnessed that the goat becomes unconscious after chanting of several mantras and becomes conscious again after some time.
The easiest way to reach the temple is taking a train till Mohania Babua station and then a short car/bus drive of 22 km. A huge mela is organized during Navratri. Pilgrims also visit the temple on other important festivals like Ramnavami and Shivratri as well.