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Durga Puja 2022: Discover the 500-year-old Durga Temple in Nantiang, Meghalaya

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Faith Mysticism

oi-Pundreeka Valli

Durga Puja, is the biggest festival celebrated for Goddess Shakti or Durga in the whole expanse of India. He is especially celebrated with pomp and verve in West Bengal and for other states as well including Odisha, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat he is very important.

Durga temple in Nartiang

It was during these six days that good triumphed over evil through the miraculous powers of Goddess Durga. The fierce demon Mahishasura has been subdued by Goddess Durga and hence these days are marked for celebration in Indian homes. Now is the time for every Indian household to celebrate this occasion during the 6 days of the festival.

This year Durga puja will be celebrated from October 1, 2022 to October 05, 2022. There are several Goddess Sati shakti peeths for Goddess Durga which attract maximum number of devotees for worship. On this occasion, let us explore and pay homage to a rather unknown, relatively mysterious and ancient Durga Shakti Peeth in Nartiang Meghalaya.

Located in the Jaintia hills of Meghalaya, about 60 km from the capital, Shillong bus stop, the 500-year-old Nartiang Durga Mandir is one of the 51 most important and powerful Shakti Peeths in Meghalaya. The Nartiang Durga Temple is considered by the devout population as the holiest site ever, located in the Jaintia Hills district. Read on to learn more about this ancient temple.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Legend

After Sati’s disappearance, Lord Shiva was so distraught that he traveled the entire three worlds with his mortal remains. Unable to resist this, Lord Vishnu with his chakra tore Satis’ body into 51 pieces. It is believed that his thighs fell here in Nartiang and a temple rose there to commemorate this event. According to a folklore, the goddess had appeared in the dream of King Dhan Manik and explained to him how important the place was, as a site of pilgrimage and asked him to build a temple for her. It was this king who established this temple at Jaintia Hills, which was called Jainteshwari after this event.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Architecture

The temple is majestic and imposing on the top of Jaintia hill. In the basement, the temple houses the sacrificial jetty called “Boli Garbha”, which is connected by a tunnel to a river. This temple, which overlooks the monoliths, originally looked like a thatched-roof house, which resembled the houses of the Khasi people. The Ramakrishna mission intervened later and built a tin roof and a permanent structure for the deity of this temple.

Nantiang Durga Temple: Method of Worship

Usually a Maharastrian Brahmin does the puja and worship. It was King Dhan Manik’s decision to bring a priest from Maharashtra and he helped him settle in Meghalaya. Nartiang is the only remaining Hindu village in Meghalaya. The arrival of Durga Puja every year attracts a large number of pilgrims from all over the country. The shakti here is worshiped as Jayanti and the Bhairava as Kamadishwar.

Nartiang Durga Temple: Puja Rituals

During Durga Puja, which is the most celebrated festival here. A banana plant is adorned and worshiped like a goddess. At the end of the four-day celebrations, the plant is submerged in the Myntdu River with a cannon salute provided as a sign of respect for it. The central puja committee of Meghalaya officially takes care of the activities of this temple.

Since it is at the top of the hill, one can see from the top, the Myntang River flowing majestically below. The best time to visit Nantiang Durga Mandir is during Durga Puja period. The dress code is clean and conservative. The temple opens between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Morning pooja and aarti start from 7.30am.

Durga temple in Nartiang

Nartiang Durga Temple: Celebrations

Every year, at the time of the Durga Puja, the Hindus of Meghalaya gather for the occasion. Their customs have a rural touch and therefore idols are not placed in the temple, but a plantain wrapped in a sari is worshiped during Durga Puja. The Bengalis and especially the people of Shillong attend this event in hordes as it is a very sacred site for them. Human sacrifices were commonplace before. But, now it has reduced to animal sacrifices during Ashtami.

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

They have a distinct regional flavor depending on the regions they come from, but they still maintain the classic touch in their dances. Various festivals 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 is of immense importance.

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

Nartiang Durga Temple: Meaning

This temple attracts devotees with its strange mysterious power that heals the sick in a day. The sick are brought to the temple and are obliged to stay with the priest all day, from morning to evening. The next day, the sick person is condemned to recover. This temple is almost like a gateway to the world of astral powers where souls wander in devotional ecstasy. People used to seek Goddess Durga’s blessings 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 entry or information related to the article and our sole purpose is to provide information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.

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Article first published: Monday, September 19, 2022, 6:17 p.m. [IST]



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