GUWAHATI: In the vicinity of Barpeta town, just 13 kilometers away, the Dokreswar Devalaya faces an imminent threat of extinction. Established by Ahom king Siva Singha, this historic Hindu worship site stands out for its unique rituals, particularly its practice of refraining from animal sacrifices during pujas.
Despite the rich history and unconventional practices, the sanctity of this sacred space is under a severe and immediate threat. The relentless Brahmaputra River, with its unyielding force, has become an inadvertent adversary, causing extensive soil erosion that is encroaching upon vast tracts of the temple's land. The erosion poses a direct challenge to the preservation of not only the physical structure but also the spiritual essence of the Dokreswar Devalaya.
The rituals at Dokreswar Devalaya are steeped in tradition, featuring a distinctive worship practice centered around a religious effigy meticulously crafted from turmeric, a banana tree, and seven other tree stems. This departure from the conventional use of tall clay idols sets the temple apart, reflecting a unique cultural and religious identity.
The once-stable ground surrounding the temple is now succumbing to the erosive power of the river, putting the very foundations of this historic site at risk. The erosion not only endangers the structural integrity of the temple but also poses a threat to the surrounding environment, displacing families and disrupting the continuity of local life.
This crisis calls for urgent attention to protect and preserve the unique heritage embodied by Dokreswar Devalaya. As the river continues its relentless advance, it underscores the pressing need for concerted efforts to mitigate the impact of soil erosion, ensuring the continuity of this venerable place of worship for generations to come.
The crisis has compelled numerous families in the affected areas to abandon their residences, with some witnessing the erosion of their homes. Tapan Pathak, a local resident, lamented the substantial loss, stating, "We have lost four bighas of land due to erosion, and it is a huge loss for poor people like us." The advancing erosion has prompted many others to flee, emphasizing the urgency of intervention. Tapan Pathak implored the State Government and District Administration to intervene promptly and implement necessary measures to safeguard this revered location.