How Ruditya Starts This New Year

January 5, 2021
Author: Bhaskar Jyoti Kundu

It's understandable to feel overwhelmed by the challenges of the past year, and seeking solace and hope in spirituality is a beautiful way to navigate through difficult times. Visiting the Dirgheswari Temple with your family on the first day of 2021 sounds like a meaningful and uplifting way to start the new year.

Ruditya's excitement for the trip reflects the innocence and joy children often bring to such experiences. Their enthusiasm can be contagious and add a special energy to the journey.

May your prayers and homage to the Divine Mother bring comfort, strength, and guidance as you embark on this new year. Wishing you and your family a year filled with positivity, blessings, and renewed hope.

The Dirgheswari Temple sounds like a truly remarkable and spiritually significant place. Its location on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra River amidst the Sitachal Hills offer breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere for worship.

The temple's status as a Shakti Peetha highlights its importance in the Shakti Cult, drawing worshippers seeking the blessings and divine presence of the Mother Goddess.

The presence of numerous rock-cut, engraved, and sculpted images of gods and goddesses within the temple premises does create an ambiance of reverence and awe for visitors.

The giant rock-cut statue of Ganesha along the way to the main temple serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking his blessings before approaching other deities, in accordance with Hindu tradition.

The place is also a perfect destination for a year-end picnic, which is positioned adjacent to the river Bramhaputra. The spot was bustling with picnic-goers when we visited, and Ruditya was thrilled to watch them.  The presence of a small water tank with fish and turtles adds yet another dimension of fascination to the surroundings of the Dirgheswari Temple. For Ruditya, seeing the colourful fish darting through the water and the serene movements of the turtles must be a captivating sight. The opportunity to witness the beauty and diversity of life, both on land and in water, further enriches the experience of visiting this sacred space. 

It sounds like the surroundings of the temple offer not only spiritual richness but also a vibrant connection to nature. The presence of monkeys, both big and small, adds an element of excitement and wonder to the visit, especially for Ruditya. Observing these playful creatures in their natural habitat must indeed be an awe-inspiring experience for him.

The occasional sight of monkeys engaged in their activities, whether collecting food or interacting with each other, provides a glimpse into the intricate dynamics of wildlife coexisting with the sacred space of the temple.

The abundance of birds, particularly the prominent pigeons, adds to the charm of the surroundings. Ruditya's fascination with these birds, as he tries to run after them, highlights the innocent curiosity and joy that children find in the simple pleasures of nature.

Visiting such a place not only offers moments of spiritual reflection but also allows for memorable encounters with the diverse fauna that call it home. It's heartwarming to hear about Ruditya's delight in experiencing these natural wonders alongside the spiritual journey of visiting the temple.

The main attraction of Dirgheswari temple is the annual Durga Puja celebrations, in which devotees from far of places use to attend to witness the sacrifice of animals, especially Buffaloes. The Bog or the Prasadam during lunchtime is worth mentioning as its taste and divinity are incomparable.

Limited historical records exist regarding the presence of Goddess Durga in Dirgheswari during ancient and early medieval periods.

The Dirgheswari Temple was commissioned by Ahom King Swargadeo Siva Singha during his reign (1714 CE-1744 CE), overseen by Tarun Duwarah Barphukan, the Ahom Viceroy of Guwahati and Lower Assam. Constructed atop the hill using bricks amidst solid rocks, the temple stands as a testament to ancient craftsmanship.

The inner sanctum, or Garbha-griha, housing the idol of Goddess Durga, is situated underground within a small cave.

During a royal visit by Ahom king Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha in 1756 CE, additional lands and manpower were bestowed upon the temple for its maintenance. Furthermore, the king gifted a silver Japi, or hat, which remains in use to adorn the main idol of Devi Durga within the temple premises.

According to prevalent beliefs and mythological narratives, Dirgheswari has held significant reverence among the followers of the Shakti cult of Assam since ancient times.

Legend recounts that when Devi Sati, Lord Shiva's first consort, passed away, Lord Shiva, overwhelmed by grief, carried her lifeless body across the world. To alleviate Shiva's sorrow, Lord Vishnu and other deities decided to dispose of Sati's body, which had become a source of immense anguish for Mahadeva.

Lord Vishnu instructed his divine disc, the Sudarshan Chakra, to dismember Sati's body. Following Vishnu's command, the Sudarshan Chakra fragmented Sati's body into multiple pieces, scattering them across various locations. While her genitals fell on Nilachal Hill, where the renowned Temple of Kamakhya stands, one of Sati's limbs descended upon Sitachal Hill.

Since then, this site has been regarded as sacred by the people. Legend also tells of the venerable sage Markandeya, counted among the immortals in Hindu tradition, who visited this place and commenced an extensive penance dedicated to Goddess Durga. Eventually, the Goddess appeared before him, bestowing her blessings upon him.

As a result, Dirgheswari emerged as a significant centre of Goddess Durga worship. Local inhabitants consider it the second-holiest place after the Kamakhya Temple. It is believed that one must visit the Dirgheswari Temple, in addition to offering prayers at Kamakhya, to receive the complete blessings of Devi Durga.

Recognizing its historical importance, the Dirgheswari Temple is designated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a crucial historical site, with measures taken to preserve its architectural integrity.

The temple holds considerable appeal for tourists and aficionados of historical landmarks in and around Guwahati.

As residents of the city and devotees of the Divine Mother, we encourage you to visit this site at least once in your lifetime. We found immense joy and tranquillity in its serene surroundings, as captured in the accompanying images.

Warm wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year from Ruditya, and his parents. May the year ahead be filled with abundant joy, happiness, and blessings from the Divine Mother.

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