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Tarkulha Devi Temple in UP is the host of Animal Sacrifice Ritual connected with a Martyr

Devotees from far-flung areas, including Bihar and Nepal, visit the temple and propose animal sacrifice to appease the deity.

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Gorakhpur, April 12, 2017: Tarkulha Devi, a temple in Gorakhpur has been following an uncanny ritual which involves animal sacrifice, Bali as it is called among the local folklore. The practice has its roots in the lore of a martyr who was hanged by the British 160 years ago.

Tarkulha is one of the many manifestations of Goddess Durga. The goddess derives the name Tarkulha Devi from the tarkul (palm) tree.

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The temple witnesses devotees coming from all over to sacrifice goats almost daily either as thanksgiving for the fulfillment of their wishes or to ward off the evil eye. The sacrifices heave on Navami and Dashami during the Navratri. It is known that over 500 goats are sacrificed each on Navami and Dashami alone, mentioned HT report.

“The entire year, people visit the temple to offer a sacrifice when their wishes are fulfilled. But the number increases during Navratri,” stated Dinesh Tiwari, a priest at the Tarkulha Devi temple. And those who don’t wish to sacrifice animals offer coconuts to the goddess, he further added.

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Ordinarily, Navratra is a period throughout which Hindus abstain consuming non-vegetarian food.

Devotees from far-flung areas, including Bihar and Nepal, visit the temple and propose animal sacrifice to appease the deity. Most adherents bring the goats with them while the others buy from shops outside the temple for Rs 2,500 or more. The animal is then bathed and offered sweets, a butcher beheads the sacrificial goat consequently.

“It is a long-standing tradition. The devotees, whose wishes are fulfilled, sacrifice the goats and distribute its meat as prasad,” told Manohar Tripathi, a devotee associated with the temple.

The meat is distributed as ‘prasad’ (consecrated food) to the faithful who cook it in earthen pots and enjoy a feast on the temple premises. The animal waste is buried.

The history of the temple is connected with Bandhu Singh, a devotee of Tarkhula Devi. Singh was hanged by the British who found him guilty of killing their soldiers.

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Bandha Singh, skilled in guerilla, used to worship Goddess Tarkhula under a tarkul (tree along with Gurra river which used to flow through dense forest), said Dr. PK Lahiri, member of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural heritage (Intach).

“Bandhu Singh used to sacrifice animals and offer heads of the British at the feet of Devi,” said Dinesh Tiwari.

Bandhu Singh beheaded the British when they traversed the forest. As the news proliferated and reached to a British official, the court sentenced him to death. However, the rope broke thrice at the time of the crucifixion.

The fourth time, he implored the goddess for mercy, declaring he was in extreme pain, and his prayer was answered. Finally, he was publicly executed at Alinagar crossing on August 12, 1857.

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“Every time, the noose was placed around his neck and the lever was pulled, the rope broke and he escaped miraculously till he was finally executed. It is said that at the time of Bandhu Singh’s execution, a thunderstorm hit the area. The branch of a Tarkul tree, where he used to worship the goddess, broke and blood started oozing out of it,” Lahiri told HT.

Ever since then, people commenced idolizing Tarkulha Devi. They started offering sacrifices the same way Bandhu Singh did when he was alive.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC