Once Parvathi devi asked Lord Shiva to built a house for them. But, Shiva is not interested. He loves Vairagya. He replied that he can't do it because of lack of money. Parvathi didn't agreed. She asked him again and again. Finally Shiva called Vishwakarma and ordered him to built a house. Vishwakarma went to Lanka dweepam. (Again, there is a controversy on the location of Lanka. I will write another post for that.) He built a wonderful palace.
Shiva wanted to do Griha pravesam. At that time Ravana is doing Tapasya for Lord Shiva. Pleased by his Tapasya, Shiva and Parvathi appeared before him. Shiva gave boons. Ravana is Brahmin by birth. He is a master of four Vedas. Parvathi asked Ravana to perform Puja for their Griha pravesam. Ravana accepted it very happily. He did all Pujas and made them enter the house. Pleased by the dedication of Ravana in doing Pujas, Parvathi told him to take a boon from her. But, Ravana is only great at Tapasya and Knowledge. He is not good at heart.
Ravanasura asked Shiva about taking a boon in return to the Puja he made. Shiva replied that it is not good for a Brahmin to ask returns for the Puja. A real Brahmin must satisfy with the Dana and Dakshina given by Yajamani. He should never ask what to give as Dana or Dakshina. Parvathi told that Ravana can ask any thing he wishes. Ravanasura was attracted by the Lanka palace. He asked the palace as a boon! (Who knows? Parvathi may also be convinced by the Vairagya of Shiva.)
She accepted. She gave Lanka palace to Ravanasura as Dakshina! She was fully depressed. Seeing that, Ravana asked Jaganmata to live in Lanka. Shiva disappeared. Parvathi told that she will be in the form of Shankari (Shakti peeth), as long as Ravana follows her word. Also warned that she will leave Lanka if Ravana don't cares her.
She is going to Kailasa with sorrow and grief. At Kashmir, Goddess Saraswati appeared before her. Saraswati is telling consoling words to Parvathi. Parvathi was frustrated and told Saraswati that she is speaking like a parrot. Parvati called her Sarika (One who speaks like Parrot). She told her to stay there and tell this type of words to all. By the respect on Parvathi, Saraswati appeared in Kashmir as a Shakti peeth. Parvathi went to Kailasa.
Shankari Shakti peeth:
Ravana built temple for Shankari and grown Ashoka vanam around the temple. That is the most beautiful garden in Lanka. But, after some time Ravana brought Sita mata from Lord Sri rama. Shankari mata told Ravana to return Sita to Sri rama. But he refused. Shankari left Lanka and was passing through the forests of Kashmir to reach Kailasa. At that time there are many great devotees of Parvathi in Kashmir. They prąyed her to stay there and give blessings to them. Shankari accepted their plea and appeared as Vana Durga.
Again, Let us come to our discussion. I too belong to this second group. I believe the Sthala purana of Sarika temple. I believe in the name Sarika. There is a third group telling that Kheer Bhavani in Kashmir is Saraswati Shakti peeth. They will show the fame of Kheer Bhavani. They also support their logic with the style of worship running in the temple of Kheer Bhavani. Puranas suggest Milk, as a way to get the blessings of Saraswati. Kheer Bhavani is offered a lot of milk for Abhisheka and and Naivedya. (The name Kheer Bhavani / Ksheera Bhavani itself came from this worship.) But, the Sthala purana at Kheer Bhavani temple tells that she is Shankari who stayed in the forests of Kashmir by the requests of Rishis.
The fourth group are very famous. They come up with the story of Adi Shankaracharya. They tell that Adi Shankaracharya found Saraswati peetham and shifted her golden idol to Sringeri. According to them Sringeri Sarada peetham itself is Saraswati Shakti peetham.
Lankayam Shankari Devi:The temple of Shankari Devi supposed to be in Sri Lanka at Trimkomali. At present there is no temple availble at this place and it is said that the temple was destroyed by Portugese people between 16th to 17th century. My friend who was posted from air force in Sri Lanka has confirmed the same.
The following report on the visit of Sri Sachidhananda Swamiji to Sri Lanka in search of Sri Shankari Devi Temple confirms the above statement.
Report on SRI SWAMIJI visit to SRI LANKAfrom 2nd to 5th May 2005
Parama Pujya Sri Swamiji decided on to go to Sri Lanka to visit the famed SHANKARI Temple, one of the 18 Devi Temples (Ashta Dasha Shakti Peethas). Sri Swamiji flew Bangalore - Colombo on 2nd May 2005 morning.
Many have heard the Ashtadasha Shakti Peetha Shloka starting with LANKAAYAAM SHAANKARI DEVI........... - composed by Sri Adi Shankara which means Shankari in Lanka.This Shloka enumerates the list of places of Devi temples which are considered to be part of the 18 Devi Peethas.
But almost nobody we contacted in Sri Lanka knew of any famous Devi Temple in the country. Even on Internet, not much authentic information was available. Sri Swamiji opined that the temple should be in the famed town of Trincomalee on the eastern coast. With that hope we left India.
In Colombo Dr. Sudarshan Kumari and Dr. Kumar received Sri Swamiji at the airport.
Sri Harshith Dharma Dasa of Nawaloka group came for Darshan and welcomed Sri Swamiji to Sri Lanka. In the evening, Sri Swamiji visited the home of Smt. Dr. Sudarshan Kumari and a Buddhist temple situated on a lotus pond. On 3rd May (Tuesday), Sri Swamiji traveled from West Coast of Sri Lanka (Colombo) thru the centre of the island nation to the east coast town of Trincomalee, the journey which took eight hours. All along we listened to the the audio CD SHAANKARI and the song LANKA SHAANKARI PAALAYAMAAM in particular. Crossing the entire mid section of a country in just 8 hours - from west coast to east coast is amazing.
Later that evening, the temple of Sri Shankari Devi was inquired and visited that place. As per the priest's account, the Portuguese who invaded the island in the 17th century completely cannon balled from their ship and demolished the cliff top Devi temple. In its site stands a lone pillar, as a mute spectator.
I have observed that many travels are announcing visits to Sri Lanka including the Shankari Devi Shakti peetha which may not be correct.