Saturday, March 27, 2010

Maa Tripureswari

A couple of weeks back I took a break of 10 days and went to Kolkata. It was a great feeling to be back and spend some time with the family after a solitary stint here. We took a step to further enhance the experience and made a dash to Agartala, the place where we spend our childhood days. It was an indescribable feeling to be back in the places which meant so much to life there after more than 15 years. Those were the places like my school, the streets, the play grounds, and above everything our home where I lived for so many years. I will not go into describing that aspect in this post. I wish to introduce two temples from my childhood land. The first one is the Tripureswari Temple the temple of the Mother Goddess of Tripura who protects all her children. The other is the Bhueswari temple immortalized by the great Rabindranath Tagore in his novel 'Rajarshi'.
Agartala is the state capital of Tripura an erstwhile princely state now an undisputed and integral part of India. It is one of the seven North Eastern States of the country. Today, while India no longer recognizes any princely states or royalty, the 186th successive king of Tripura, “Maharaja” Pradyot Bikram Kishore Manikya Deb Burman is a common man. But the fact remains that he belongs to one of the oldest surviving dynasties in the world. The Tripura dynasty is one of the longest unbroken dynasties in the world today (as recorded in Rajmala) and surpassed only by the Mikado dynasty in Japan.

According to the Hindu Mythology once, Prajapati Daksha (The great King of God) had arranged for a 'Mahayagna' (great sacrificial rite). All Gods except Shiva were invited. Sati turned up in her father's home without any invitation. Suddenly, Daksha started condemning Shiva and Goddess Sati unable to bear the insult of her husband gave up her life at the yagna. When Shiva heard this, he assumed a destructive mood and plundered the Yagna and took up the life-less body of Sati on his shoulders and began 'Tandava-Nritya' or a frantic annihilation dance which threatened the whole creation with extinction. After all ways to stop the 'Tandava' failed, Lord Vishnu used his spinning weapon, 'The Sudarshan Chakra' and that severed the body into pieces and relieved Shiva of this fatal obsession. The 51 fragments of the body fell on to various parts of the Sub-continent, which were later, referred to as Maha-Pithas and developed into places of pilgrimage. In Udaipur, Tripura there is one such place where the right toe of the goddess is believed to have fallen. In 1501 A. D. (1423 Saka Era) Maharaja Dhanya Manikya built the Tripura Sundari Temple, which is also known as Mata Bari (Mother’s abode) or Tripureswari Temple. According to the Rajmala (the recorded historical document of the Royal family), the King had planned for a Vishnu Temple but received divine instructions in his dreams from Devi Bhagavati to fetch the idol of the Goddess from Chittagong and install at the present temple site.

This is also known as Kurma Pith because the shape of the temple premises resembles to that of "Kurma", a tortoise. Alongside the idol of Goddess Kali inside the temple is an idol of smaller size of Maa Kali called 'Chotto Maa ' which used to be taken by Maharajas during "Mrigaya" (hunting) and to battle fronts. Choto Maa is always worshipped first and there is also an idol of Lord Vishnu inside the temple.

The temple structure appears to be a modified Buddhist Stupa at the first look. Though the influence of medieval Bengal “Char Chaala“(4 slanted roof) temple architecture is clearly visible, such a blend is unique to this place and Tripura could distinctly claim this as its own Architectural style. A stamp featuring the Tripureswari temple was released on September 2003 acknowledging this heritage. In the eastern side of the temple there lies Kalyan Sagar (a lake) where fishes and tortoises of huge size live undisturbed.

Bhueswari Temple

On the northern bank of the Gomati river was the palace of King Govinda Manikya. But that did not survive the test of time and now we only relics of its former self is visible. But what survived is the Bhueswari Temple. The temple is currently undergoing conservation and is one of the sites protected by the Archaeological Department. This temple was the backdrop of Rajasri, the famous novel by Tagore and the equally famous drama “Bisarjan”. In this temple human sacrifice were supposedly offered to appease the Goddess.
We get to see the same style of temple architecture in this temple too.

12 comments:

  1. Very nice and beautiful post with lovely pictures. I am sure that you have enjoyed very much in Kolkata and especially at Tripura as its always special to visit childhood place. Though you had short leave but each and every moment you made it special. The temples are wonderful and you have described very nicely about your trip. One of your best post.

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  2. Very interesting (and glad to see you back again:).
    Loved the narrative and the pictures; is that your little girl? So cute...
    I know the feelings you describe, there is something one can not explain about returning home to places that one knew in childhood. A certain comfort and feelings of nostalgia.
    xo
    Zuzana

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  3. Such fascination!




    Aloha from Hawaii my Friend


    Comfort Spiral

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  4. Lovely pictures of the temple.Each corner of our country is full of such beautiful mythological and historical stories. A lifetime will not be enough to see these places.

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  5. Fabulous post with lovely images. Ii is nice to know about these temples and their relevance. This is added to my travel wish list.

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  6. I loved this post...you know i have read it several times since you published it.I am in awe of this temple.Tripura dynasty being one of the longest unbroken one is a new information to me.Kamrup's Kamakhya,Tripura's temple in Udaipur that you have mentioned are in a way linked.I am happy that tortoises of Lske Kalyan are left undisturbed.Your pictures are very beautiful.Is that your little darling i see in one of your pictures.
    A trip to home land after more than 15 yrs must have been very special.

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  7. very nostalgic, its always beautiful to revisit a fond memory, and this post and the pictures are just that. Its very clear that you enjoyed the visit to the fullest!

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  8. I have missed you! And what a great post! I love it! Please keep telling us more! I especially love the stories and insights into this religion. Thank you! C

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  9. As full of information as as lucidly written as ever. Back at your blog after a long time, but I was fascinated.

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