GAURIPUR, April 11 - The historic Charakabanidham Kali Mandir established in the year 1850 on more than ten bighas of land by the than Zamindar Pratap Chandra Barua of Gauripur Royal Estate is the oldest Kali Mandir in the entire Gauripur area. Due to abolition of Zamindary Estate in 1957 and division of the Zamindar family, the temple has presently lost its glory.
Originally Charak puja was performed in a field at ward No 2 of the town and thereafter its venue was shifted to hospital area of the Gauripur Town and it was again shifted to the present site at Charakbanidham in ward No 1.
After the death of Pratap Chandra Barua, his adapted son Prabhat Chandra Barua was looking after the daily puja rituals of the temple and Charak puja was held on the last day of the month of Chaitra with pomp and gaiety. Thousands and thousands of devotees assembled in the Charakbanidham field and witnessed the terrifying games played by the Charakiya.
Raja Prabhat Chandra Barua was the architect of the Gauripur town and during his reign, Gauripur flourished as one of the best residential areas of the undivided district of Goalpara. After his death, Prakritish Chandra Barua (Lalji), the elephant expert paid little heed to the needs of his tenants and after the abolition of the Zamindary system in 1957, their influence ended totally and as a consequence, the glory of the Charakbanidham temple has since been on the wane. The historic Charak puja held every year on the last day of the month of Chaitra is managed by the Mahamaya temple Management Committee and the entire dham is managed by the Dham Committee. Every year the Dham Committee celebrates Kali Puja.
The Charak puja is celebrated every year with a five-day programme and the Charakiya numbering nine take part in the programme. The five-day programme includes adhibash, Dhupbati khela, Katabhanga, Chandi dance and the main Charak puja. During the period, the Charakiya play a number of dangerous and terrifying games like standing in the burning fire, chewing of tubelights, piercing of the tongue by iron sticks, cycling by a charakiya hanging on the top of a simalu tree post by piercing the skin of his back with a fish hook and so on. Thousands and thousands of people coming from adjoining areas throng the Dham field and witness the games played on the occasion. A big mela is also organised.
The age-old temple lacks infrastructure facilities. The Assam type temple needs renovation as it is too congested to accommodate the devotees and the Charakiya. There is an urgent need of a �Bhog ghar� and a hall with all modern facilities for proper display of the games. The devotees of the entire area have urge the Government to popularise the traditional culture of the people by providing all possible help so that these types of folk culture can well be preserved for study and research in the days to come.