The city of Guwahati can boast of a number of ancient temples. Kamakhya, Aswakranta, Umananda, Ugratara, and the list will go on and on. The temple in the present context however does not claim its past to as ancient times as the ones mentioned above, but it does merit a discussion for its distinctly inherent past. This place of worship can claim to possess a history of its own.
No one has the record or chronological data as to when the worship of a Sivalinga under a bel tree located on an open ground attached to the Navagraha cremation ground at Silpukhuri had started. There was no specific answer to this query made to many senior citizens and even to a nonagenarian or two living in its vicinity. It was nonetheless a unanimous opinion that points to the conclusion that the prayers and offering of puja at the Sivalinga under the said tree date back to the days when cremation activities at the Navagraha smashan had started.
It was the sadhus and sanyasis that frequented the cremation ground who offered their puja in this place initially and later the local residents too followed suit.
The Sivalinga continued to remain in the open for decades together till a few young men of the area came together and volunteered to build a permanent structure as a temple for the Sivalinga. It was in 1976 that the object of worship found a roof above it and an Assam type house was built. The place soon gained publicity as a place of worship and people from other parts of the city started frequenting it. Subsequently this place of worship came to be known as Navagraha Smashan Niramuhiya Siva Mandir and started celebrating Sivaratri every year with great enthusiasm. People from far and wide thronged the temple during the four-day celebration of Rudra Yajna as well as during Sivaratri celebrations. In addition to Sivaratri, Ganesh Puja, Nag Panchami Puja, Shani Puja, Bhoot Chaturdashi and Jai Santoshi Maa Puja also are being observed regularly on the temple premises for decades.
The year 2001 proved to be a turning point for the temple. Rudra Yagna and Mahasivaratri were celebrated in a grand manner that year. Similar celebrations were witnessed during the next three years to come.
The Shankaracharya of Bhanpura Peeth Sri Sri Divyananda Teerth Mahaprabhu attended the celebration in 2001 and his gracing the occasion gave immense publicity and prestige to the temple. In addition, the temple committee arranged programmes of famous classical singers and instrumentalists of international repute like Anup Jalota (bhajan), Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute) Shiv Kumar Sharma (santoor) and other classical exponents. The Shankaracharya attended the celebrations for the next three consecutive years as well.
With great moral support coming from the Shankaracharya himself, the big dream of the temple committee to build a state-of-the-art complex for the temple started taking a concrete shape. It was Sri Sri Divyananda Teerth Mahaprabhu who laid the foundation of the temple and after years of efforts on the part of the members of the committee and with generous patronage of donors, the beautiful building of the temple comparable to any such structure anywhere in the country, has become a reality and is now ready for opening for devotees. The grand opening ceremony of the temple is slated for December 15.
It is indeed unfortunate that the Shankaracharya of Bhanpura Sri Sri Dibyanand Teerth Mahaprabhu whose blessings acted as an inspiration and strength for the committee to undertake the arduous task of erecting such an impressive structure, had an untimely death a year ago.
The opening ceremony of the new temple complex will be a grand affair with the main entrance (door) to the place of worship scheduled to be declared open by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The door of the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) will be inaugurated by the present Shankaracharya of Bhanpura Peeth Sri Sri Gyananandaji Mahaprabhu.
In addition to the temple, the �Peace Home� that will accommodate a rest house, a health care assistance centre, a yoga training institute and a library, too will be part of the temple complex. It is a matter of great significance that a Sivalinga once worshipped in the open under a bel tree is now to be honoured with a beautiful temple built with architectural excellence.