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Tanot Mata Mandir: History, Timings, When To Visit, And The War Miracles

If you are enchanted with the idea of the expansive Thar desert in the valorous lands of Jaisalmer, make it a point to visit the Tanot temple first. Tanot is in the vicinity of Longewala, a critical India-Pakistan border where people are not permitted to cross beyond that point, without the permission of Indian Government authorities.

Tanot Mata Mandir: Timings

The temple is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm throughout the week. A Border Security Force personnel, that is the jawan 135 BM BSF, performs priestly duties in Tanot Mandir every day. The Jawans from 135 BSF provide langar facilities to pilgrims daily 'Tanot Mata Mandir' is shut to the Indo-Pak border. This temple is under BSF because of security reasons. Read on to know more.

Tanot Mata Mandir: History

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Hinglaj Mata, which is believed to be a Shaktipeeth of Goddess Sati, and it is believed that she later reincarnated as Tanot Mata.
This temple was built by Rajput King Tanu Rao who laid the foundation in AC 847 and installed the deity there. As time passed, the capital was shifted to Jaisalmer but the temple of Tanot Mata remained there, where she was, as an emblem of protection for the Indian soldiers.

Tanot Mata Mandir is located in district Balmer, about 120 km far from Jaisalmer, an area covered by sand dunes and mountains. Temperature can easily rise above 49 degrees. The temple attracts every spiritual seeker with its cool tranquil vibes and it is worth visiting from the spiritual as well as historical angle. There is no entry fee and it is maintained by the BSF since 1965. The pilgrims who visit this temple must carry their identity cards with them, otherwise they will be scrutinised by the BSF.

After the darshan of the Tanot Mata, you can then proceed ahead on your camel safari in the thar desert or if you wish, visit the majestic beauty of Jaisalmer fort.. Few other famous landmarks around this area are Jaisalmer fort, Desert National Park: Bada Bagh:Salim Singh ki Haveli: Vyas Chhatri: Sam Sand Dunes, Maharaja's Palace, Khaba Fort, The Thar Heritage Museum and Nath Mahal ki Haveli.

Tanot Mata Mandir: Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Tanot Mata Temple is between November and April when weather is pleasant. Especially during Navaratri, the temple records maximum number of footfalls and free lungar is served by the BSF to the devotees.

Tanot Mata Mandir: The War Miracles

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

It was in 1965, that a violent attack by armed militants had shaken the morale of Indian civilians and the soldiers scattered in the area as the war had just begun at the post of Sadewala.

The attack was so fierce and one could just sense a cloud of 3000 bombshells that sprayed forth to confirm that death was just inching near. The Pakistani army had captured areas including Kishangarh near Sadewala post which had plenty of Indian soldiers. 13 Grenadiers and two companies of the BSF led by Major Jai Singh had to face the entire brigade of the enemy to defend Tanot.

They knew that they had to fight a harsh battle just to even secure their post. Very soon the shelling began on 17 November on Sadewala, a post near Tanot Mata temple. As people expected an explosion of a huge magnitude, and waited with bated breath, in despair and anticipation of martyr hood, the bombs that had been hurled, fell into silence and diffused on their own. Surprisingly, even the 450 bombs that fell in the temple premises had not exploded. Attempt after attempt at causing untold damage, had miserably failed and the war had just ended with a whimper.

According to a local legend, the Pakistan army dropped more than 3000 bombs on the Temple, continuously till 19 November, but the temple of Tanot Mata remained unharmed. The soldiers who had taken refuge in the temple, were safe, as the area around the temple was unharmed. Unmitigated disaster was averted. Reportedly, as per a local account, the deity had appeared in the dream of the soldiers and promised to protect them if they stayed close to the temple.

The Tanot Mata Mandir Longewala Miracle 1971

Pakistan and Indian armies came face to face again as a war broke out in 1971. As the Indian army was busy fighting in East Pakistan, during the war, the Pak decided to counter the Indian army on two fronts and opened the western front in Rajasthan. They did not choose Sadewala this time. Another post near the Tanot Temple, by name Longewala was selected which was guarded by 120 men under the leadership of Major Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri.

The army jawans braved this situation with immense faith and belief in Tanot Mata. Even then, on December 4, Pak attacked the Longewala violently with a full batallion and tank squadron. They bombarded countless furious shells on the premises of Tanot Mata temple with a view to raze it to the ground. But the shells which had been hurled, fizzled out on their own and the Indian soldiers were able to only cast aside the diffused bombs as somehow, they found themselves unable to move an inch beyond that point.

As people looked on with a wide-eyed wonder and deep veneration towards Mata Tanot, the band of 120 men now went on to crush Pakistani squadron of tanks successfully. The Pakistani Force was taken aback and stunned. It is in the records of Indian military history that each and every enemy soldier who tried to attack this area were killed.

After the war, the Pakistani General were very curious to know the details of the incident, went on and inquired about it and sought permission to visit the temple area. When he got the green signal to go ahead, he actually stepped into the temple, enquired the priests about the miracle, paid his respects to the Goddess and left to his homeland with intact memories of this sacred place.

The faith in Tanot Mata, is such that the soldiers as they pass the temple by, stop to kneel down in front of her idol and apply the sand on their foreheads and vehicles with a belief that it will keep them and their undertakings successful.

Tanoth Mata Mandir: The War Aftermath

After the war, the temple management was handed over to Border Security Force (BSF) of India on their request. Indian Army built a Vijay Stambha to mark the victory of Longewala inside the temple compound and each year a celebration takes place on 16 December as commemoration of the great victory over Pakistan in 1971.

Out of five top war museums, Jaisalmer's war museum is the most famous. It was dedicated to the nation by Lieutenant General Ashok Singh and displays war exhibits, which include vehicles and the equipment captured during the wars of 1965 and 1971. In memory of this incident, the museum of Tanot Mata Temple still houses live bombs fired by Pakistan. The war museum at Jaisalmer is the first in the country to show the light and sound show that showcases the bravery and tales of the soldiers of India and Pakistan.

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: Saturday, August 13, 2022, 10:00 [IST]
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