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Durga Puja 2022: Know About The 500-Year-Old Durga Temple At Nartiang In Meghalaya

Durga Puja, is the biggest festival celebrated for Goddess Shakti or Durga in the entire stretch of India. It is especially celebrated with pomp and verve in West Bengal and for other states too, including the state of Odisha, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, it is very significant.

It is on these six days that good triumphed over evil due to Goddess Durga's miraculous powers. The fierce demon Mahishasura was subdued by Goddess Durga and hence these days are marked for celebration in Indian households. It is time now for every Indian household to celebrate this occasion on all the 6 days of the festival.

This year, Durga puja will be celebrated from 01 October 2022 to 05 October 2022. There are several shakti peeths of Goddess Sati for Goddess Durga which draw maximum number of devotees for worship. On this occasion, let us explore and pay our respects to a fairly unknown, relatively mysterious, and ancient Durga Shakti Peeth at Nartiang Meghalaya.

Situated in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, about 60 kms away from the capital city, Shillong bus stop, the 500-year-old Nartiang Durga Mandir is one of the 51 most important and powerful Shakti Peeths in Meghalaya. Nartiang Durga Temple is regarded by the devout populace as the holiest site ever, that is located in the Jaintia Hills district. Read on to know more about this ancient temple.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Legend

After the demise of Sati, Lord Shiva was so distraught that he roamed the entire three worlds with her mortal remains. Not able to withstand this, Lord Vishnu, with his chakra tore Satis' body into 51 pieces. It is believed that her thighs fell here at Nartiang and a temple rose in this place to commemorate this event. As per a folklore, Goddess had appeared in King Dhan Manik's dream and explained to him how important the place was, as a site of pilgrimage and asked him to construct a temple for her. It was this king who set up this temple at Jaintia Hills, which came to be called Jainteshwari after this event.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Architecture

The temple stands regal and imposing on top of the Jaintia hill. At the basement, the temple houses the sacrificial pier called 'Boli Garbha', which is connected through a tunnel to a river. This temple, which overlooks the monoliths, originally looked like a thatched roof house, that resembled the homes of Khasi people. Ramakrishna Mission later intervened and built a tin roof and a permanent structure for the deity of this temple.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Worship Method

Usually, a Maharastrian Brahmin handles the puja and worship. This was the decision of the King Dhan Manik to bring a priest from Maharastra and he helped him settle down in Meghalaya. Nartiang is the only Hindu village remaining in Meghalaya. The arrival of Durga Puja every year, brings in a huge number of pilgrims from all over the country. The shakti here is worshipped as Jayanti and the Bhairava as Kamadishwar.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Puja Rituals

During Durga Puja, which is the most prominently celebrated festivals here. A Banana plant is decked up and worshipped as Goddess. At the end of the four-day celebrations, the plant is immersed in Myntdu river along with a Gun salute provided as a mark of respect to her. The central puja committee in Meghalaya is officially taking care of the activities of this temple.

Since it is atop the hill, one can view from the top, the Myntang river flowing majestically below it. Best time to visit Nartiang Durga Mandir is during Durga Puja time. The dress code is on the clean and conservative side. The temple opens between 6:00 am To 9:00 pm. The morning pooja and aarti starts from 7:30 am.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Celebrations

Every year, when it is time for the Durga Puja, the Hindus of Meghalaya gather for the occasion. Their customs have a rural touch and hence idols are not placed in the temple, but a plantain tree wrapped in a saree is worshipped during Durga Puja. Bengalis and especially people from Shillong attend this event in hordes as it is a very sacred site for them. Human sacrifice used to be a common occurrence before. But, now it has reduced to animal sacrifice during Ashtami.

The people of Meghalaya have a unique and distinct matriarchal touch to their culture and traditions. When it comes to them, the lineage and inheritance are passed through women descendants. People from Meghalaya, especially the Khasi community are born dancers who find dance an expression and extension of their personality. Most of these dances are about historical themes or life of an individual or villages.

They have a distinct regional flavour according to the regions they come from but still, they retain the classic touch in their dances. Various festivals that they celebrate are Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap, Ka-Shad-Kynjoh Khaskain, Ka Bam Khana Shnong, Umsan Nongkharai, and Shad Beh Sier. The celebration of festivals holds immense significance.

The festivals connect them to nature and allow a balanced relationship to prevailing between man and his culture. These festivals also bring unity in diversity among the population and enrich them and their surroundings.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Significance

This temple attracts the devout with its strange mysterious power that cures sick persons in a day. The sick people are brought to the temple and are made to stay with the priest the entire day, from morning to night. By the next day, the sick person is bound to recover. This temple almost feels like a gateway to the world of the astral powers where the souls wander in devotional ecstasy. People used to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga for all their auspicious beginnings during ancient times.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

Story first published: Monday, September 19, 2022, 18:17 [IST]
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