By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 6: The ‘Babu Puja’, a special puja of Goddess Tamreswari Devi or Kesaikhati Goxani, was performed at the temple of Saikhua in Tinsukia today. Unlike the other three pujas of the Goxani in Bohag, Magh and Kati, the Goddess is worshipped specially on the first Sunday of Agrayan. Since this special puja was started during the Raj regime, it is called Babu Puja.
Member of Kesaikhati Goxani Xaal Puja committee, Hemen Baruah said: “The tradition of worshiping Goddess Kesaikhati was started even before the arrival of the British by local tribes like Deori, Chutia and others. It was also patronized by their kings. The Goddess is believed to be a raw flesh eater, and hence devotees sacrifice animals before the deity for blessings. The puja is observed three times a year, in the months of Magh, Bohag and Kati. On every second Wednesday of the Sankranti of these months, people worship the Goddess for blessings with sacrifices. Later, when the British came to rule and started tea gardens in the nearby areas of the Than, people of these communities were engaged in tea gardens, and it became difficult for them to run the puja on weekdays. Therefore, the local people decided to start a special puja on the first Sunday of Aghon every year, especially for the Babus or staff working in the tea gardens. From then, this puja was called as Babu Puja, though people from all communities and areas come and worship on that day. This year also, more than lakhs of devotees came to the temple and worshipped the deity.”
Baruah also said: “The deity of this temple is believed as the daughter of Lord Shiva and Parvati, and also a part of Goddess Parvati. This is one among five living temples of Goddess Tamreswari. The other temples are also situated in various places, including Aruchal Pradesh, Sadia and other parts in the banks of the Brahmaputra. People sacrifice animals like goat, duck, pigeon and others. Earlier, humans were also sacrificed in the temple, but now, only the goats and ducks are sacrificed. The pigeons are released in the me of the Goddess. There are five/ six statues of the Goddess in the main temple, which can be visited only on these four special days of the year. The puja is conducted by the Deori priest and in an ancient Deori dialect. The temple and its pujas are now patronized mainly by the family of Daulat Chandra Buragohain, who established the temple at the present place after the 1950 earthquake.”