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Relics tell a story in Tamreswar Devalaya

Partha Pratim Sharma | Updated on October 09, 2020 Published on October 09, 2020

Tamreswar Devalaya — or house of three deities — in Assam’s Udalguri district is replete with archaeological gems

The road and the destination are equally spectacular. The way to the Tamreswar Devalaya — or Tamreswar Temple — is scenic, with lush green paddy fields on both sides and glittering ponds in front of every village home. The temple complex is stunning in a different way. It is surrounded by ancient trees. Silence envelops the site at Khairabari in Assam’s Udalguri district. The relics lying around evoke a sense of awe, recalling ancient rituals and times.

Excavation findings and manuscripts date the temple to the 10th and 11th centuries. Built with intricately carved stones, it is believed to have been destroyed more than a hundred years ago — perhaps in the 1897 earthquake.

Tamreswar might have once housed one or more Shiva temples. The complex includes a historical tank (Gajhidhowa Pukhuri) and a garbha griha or inner sanctum with a shivling. The site seems to have once had a mandap with a stone floor. The many tanks, experts believe, are evidence of the once-flowing stream Dudra.

Members of the Bodo community largely inhabit this region, about 70km from Guwahati. The word Tamreswar seems to have originated from thamiswar, which means three gods in the Bodo language. The three presiding deities are Rangraci, Gohouraci and Mitharaci, identical to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Religious festivals such as Shivaratri, Basanti Puja and Deul Utsav during Bohag Bihu are observed here. Nama-kirtan — hymns — are performed by devotees. Animal sacrifices are not conducted here. The complex is maintained by the doloi (caretaker and priest).

A museum to preserve the excavated stone relics and sculptures was set up here in 2004-05. The relics on display include scrolls of floral designs, parts of door frames, amalaka (spire) with a carved horizontal lotus, and the stone foundation of the garbha griha. A visit to this ancient shrine conjures up visions of an era long forgotten.

Partha Pratim Sharma

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Published on October 09, 2020