BARPETA, Feb 26 � The 523rd birth anniversary of Mahapurush Sri Sri Damodardeva was celebrated at Rauli in Barpeta district with a five-day-long programme from February 13-17. The birth anniversary of this great saint has been celebrated here for the last fifty years at a stretch and this year it was observed as the golden jubilee. The grand programme was led by a group of young people who are generally perceived to be devoid of any such sense, and it was a tremendous success.
According to information provided by Anil Talukdar, working president, Naba Kumar Barman, secretary and Dwipen Barman, assistant secretary of the golden jubilee celebration committee, the programme began with the community cleanliness drive at 7 am on February 13 followed by sapling plantation by Basanta Kumar Deka, president of Rauli Satra Gaon Unnayan Samiti. The morning prayer and �Bhagawat yatra� commenced at 8 am that day.
The newly-constructed gate of the temple was formally inaugurated by Hiranya Barman, president of the golden jubilee celebration committee at 7.30 pm that day. The idol of the saint was erected on the altar at 8 pm followed by exhibition of the fireworks.
Besides day-to-day religious and other programmes for entertainment, late Sidam Sarkar memorial naam competition for women was held at 10 am on February 15. Another such competition in the memory of late Lohit Chandra Talukdar for men was held next day. The prizes for the first and second groups of the two competitions was donated by Pabitra Sarkar and Mrigen Talukdar respectively. Prizes for individual performances in these two competitions were given as late Nareswar Barman memorial prize donated by Ghameswar Barman.
The five-day-long programme came to an end with a grand cultural nite on February 17 which was inaugurated by Dr Tara Prasad Das, MLA, Sarukshetri.
Rauli is one of the oldest satras in Barpeta district. But due to one or the other reason, it is lagging behind in terms of development. The satra known to be established by Dharadhardeva, a trusted follower and a descendant of the great saint Damodardeva, is almost on the verge of extinction. The satra land has been encroached and the relics have been disapearing one by one. But there is no dearth of reverence for their religious guru Sri Sri Damodardeva among the rural folk of the village and they have been observing the birth anniversary of the saint with much devotion and fun fare. Kalpa Barman, secretary of the Rauli Satra Gaon Unnayan Samiti, informed this correspondent that they have been trying hard for the restoration of the Satra from the verge of extinction and have seen some hope in this respect. The site of the original naamghar has already been freed and some of the valuable properties have been recovered. The followers of the saint scattered in this area have wholeheartedly cooperated in this process.