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Tezpur temples decked up for Shivaratri

By Correspondent

TEZPUR, Feb 16 � As in the past, mandir committees of different Shiva temples located in and around this historically and mythologically-famous scenic town, including Mahabhairab, Ketekaswar, Holeswar, Naleswar, Tingeswar, Biswanath Temple, Nagsankar and Singri Gupteswar Temple are working round the clock in their annual preparation to celebrate the Shivaratri mela from February 17.

Some mandir committees have chalked out elaborate programmes, including presentation of bhaona, in order to attract the greatest number of devotees. It may be mentioned here that the ancient temple of Mahabhairab which stands to the north of the historic Tezpur town, and which is believed to have been established by king Bana with a Shiva lingam, has been a �must visit� destination for the devotees and other visitors, irrespective of religion.

Also a major attraction for both foreign and domestic tourists, as per legend, the temple was formerly built out of stone and has been presently renovated with cement concrete.

�The Ahom kings donated land for the temple�s welfare. Further, priests and Paiks were appointed to look after the temple�s upkeep. The responsibility of management was in the hands of a Bordoloi or Borthakur. But now, the affairs of the temple are managed by the local authority through a managing committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner.

Shivaratri is the most significant festival celebrated in this temple. The celebrations are obviously organised with great pomp and religious fervour over the decades,� informed a priest.

On the other hand, noted travel writer Dip Kalita explained that along with the famous Mahabhairab Temple, the Singri Gupteswar Temple too is a pre-historic temple of Lord Shiva. Situated on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, it is located about 45 kms west of Tezpur town. It is believed that the temple was constructed by King Bana and came into existence following 15th century saint reformer Srimanta Sankardeva�s father offering milk to worship Lord Shiva for a son. The son who was subsequently born was named after the Lord, as Shankar (another name of Lord Shiva).

Puja and other events held here during the Shivaratri mela have been a crowd puller over the decades, thereby turning the spot into a place of communal harmony. The scenic beauty of the place beside the Red River also provides an ecstatic attraction to the people.

Upcoming journalist Kalpajyoti Nath, who is a member of the Shivaratri mela celebration committee, said that as in the past, this year too a week-long mela has been organised at the venue, which will formally be inaugurated by Tezpur MP RP Sarma. The inaugural session will be attended by BJP spokesman Bijan Mahajan and former minister Tanka Bahadur Rai, among others.

Meanwhile, the famous Holeswar Temple located some 10 kms to the north of Tezpur town was built by the Mlecha king, who established the capital of Kamrupa at Harupeswar and dedicated the said temple to Lord Shiva. Mythology points out that a stone linga was found by a cultivator (halowa) while he was ploughing at this place. Later, a temple was set up named Holeswar.

In due course, Ahom king Rudra Singha constructed a bigger temple in the area in 1705 AD. The Shivaratri mela witnesses hundreds of visitors thronging the temple every day seeking the blessing of Lord Shiva. Likewise, the Ketekaswar Temple, Naleswar, Tingeswar and Nagsankar near here along with the Biswanath temple in Biswanath sub-division within the district have remained important spots of tourist attraction.

However, a section of the religious-minded local people who are in some way or the other associated with these temples, expressed their collective dissatisfaction over the lackadaisical attitude of the Government agencies concerned in looking after the monuments properly.

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