From a Correspondent
Tezpur, Feb 19: As in the past, mandir committees of different Shiva temples locatedin and around this historically and mythologically-famous scenic town, including Mahabhairab, Ketekaswar, Holeswar, leswar, Tingeswar, Biswath Temple, gsankar and Singri Gupteswar Temple are working round-the-clock to prepare for the Shivaratri Mela from February 24.
Some mandir committees have chalked out elaborate programmes, including presentation of bhao, in order to attract the greatest number of devotees. The ancient temple of Mahabhairab, which is located to the north of the historic Tezpur town, and which is believed to have been established by King Ba with a Shiva lingam, has always been a must-visit destition for devotees and other visitors, irrespective of religion. As per legend, the temple was initially built out of stone and has now been renovated with cement concrete.
“The Ahom kings doted land for the temple’s welfare. Further, priests and paiks were appointed to look after the temple. The responsibility of magement was in the hands of a Bordoloi or Borthakur. But now, the affairs of the temple are maged by the local authority through a maging committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner. Shivaratri is the most significant festival celebrated in this temple. The celebrations have obviously been organized with great pomp and religious fervour over the decades,” said a priest.
On the other hand, social worker, Sajib Mazumder explained that along with the famous Mahabhairab Temple, the Singri Gupteswar Temple too is a pre-historic temple of Lord Shiva. Situated on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, it is located about 45 km west of Tezpur town. It is believed that the temple was constructed by King Ba and came into existence following 15th century saint reformer Srimanta Sankardeva’s father offering milk to worship Lord Shiva for a son. The son, who was subsequently born, was med after Lord Shiva as Shankar (another me of Lord Shiva). Mazumder further said, “Most people in Tezpur’s Mahabhairab Temple, wear clean clothes and then perform puja in honour of Lord Shiva who is said to have saved the world by swallowing the poison formed while churning the ocean. While married women pray for the well-being of their husbands, women of marriageable age pray for a suitable groom, and men pray for strength to be capable enough to protect their loved ones, just like Shiva did.
Puja and other events held here during the Shivaratri Mela have been a crowd-puller over the decades, thereby turning the spot into a place of commul harmony. The scenic beauty of the place, besides the Red River, also provides an ecstatic attraction to the people.”
Raju Chakraborty, office secretary of the Shivaratri Mela celebration committee of Mahabhairab Temple, said that as in the past, this year too, a week-long mela would be organized at the venue and there would be a mela starting from February 24 for which all arrangements have been made in association with Tezpur administration and other prolific members of the committee like president Monoj Kumar Deka, Deputy Commissioner of Sonitpur, secretaries Bipul Borthakur and Munin Baruah and advisors RP Sarmah, MP, and local MLA Brindabon Goswami.
Meanwhile, the famous Holeswar Temple located some 10 km to the north of Tezpur town was built by the Mlecha king, who established the capital of Kamrupa at Harupeswar and dedicated the temple to Lord Shiva. Mythology points out that a stone linga was found by a cultivator (halowa) while he was ploughing in this place. Later, a temple was set up med Holeswar.
In due course of time, Ahom king Rudra Singha constructed a bigger temple in the area in 1705 AD. The Shivaratri Mela witnesses hundreds of visitors thronging the temple every day seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Likewise, the Ketekaswar Temple, leswar, Tingeswar and
gsankar, along with the Biswath Temple in Biswath division, have remained important spots of tourist attraction.
However, a section of the religious-minded local people, who are in some way or the other associated with these temples, expressed their collective dissatisfaction over the lackadaisical attitude of the government agencies concerned in looking after the monuments properly.