Shivarai Temple (Joypur)

Cultural Narrative: 

The story talks about a particular Joypur Shiv temple. The story is elaborated by late Mohanjoy Barman of Joypur village. He was a retired school teacher of Langlacherra M.E. School. He wrote and described the story in Bengali.

Among all the Kachari kings, king Krishna Chandra was known as the most religious Dimasa king. During most of his ruling period, he would give the responsibility of his kingdom to his younger brother prince Govinda Chandra Narayan Hasnu and would go for ‘tirth-yatra’ i.e., journey to the holy places. During his journey to the holy places he used to meet many saints who were religiously knowledgeable persons and gained a lot of knowledge regarding ‘Dharma’. During his ruling period, the impact of Hinduism on Dimasa community can be seen and all Dimasa Barman Kachari community was introduced to the Hindu Religion and Culture. To spread Hinduism in his kingdom he bought twelve families of saints from Nabadwip along with him to his kingdom to preach the Hindu religion in the Dimasa community; and till today these families of saints are still living in Cachar. The king’s goal was to walk on the footsteps of the religion and to maintain peace and harmony in his kingdom. For this reason he established a number of temples in his kingdom so that the people of his kingdom would start to have faith in the Hindu religion. The king’s heart was so much devoted towards the Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu religion that one day at mid night in his dream Lord Shiva took the avatar of a saint and gave order (swapnadesh) to king Krishna Chandra to establish a Shiv temple in the north east direction. Later to obey the order of Lord Shiva, the king gave the responsibility of establishing the temple to Raj sachiv (Minister) Jai Singh Barman Dibragede. According to writer Upendra Chandra Guho in Cacharer Itibritti, in 1709 Jai Singh Barman Dibragede took the journey to ‘Bhuban’ for the first time for the task given to him by the king to establish a temple. At that time he established a small temple of Shiv Linga at Chandragiri, near Sonai. But the direction of the place where the temple was established was believed to be not correct. Though the temple was established but the direction was not correct so the king ordered his minister Jai Singh Barman Dibragede again to build a new temple in the right direction in the year 1972. Then Jai Singh Barman started his journey with all the essential tools of building a temple, towards the north east direction. Jai Singh with his soldiers went through the forests of Kumbha (presently known as Kumbhirgram), and Indigram and crossed Laduma and finally reached Longkhao or a place near the Chiri river. It is believed that before British colonization in the hills of Kumbhirgram area, Dimasa and other tribes used to do jhum cultivation and planted cotton tree. In Dimasa, plucking cotton is called as khunbar (bhar)   or khumbar. From this khumbar or khunbar during British ruling period that place is known as Kumbha or Kumbhirgram. After settling down in Longkhao or near Chiri River   they started their work to build the temple in the correct direction. After searching for a long time Jai Singh found a plain land and correct direction to build the Shiva temple as directed by the king. The work started and within some days the temple was ready. According to the older people, there was a large stone near Chiri River, which was cut by some machine by the workers to build a seat to settle the Lord Shiva inside the temple and a placed a stone as Shiv Linga in a very interior place. The place was in the outskirts area where no human have settled earlier. Later the headman of the village also gave permission to the village people to worship the temple. It is also believed that the sister of Joy Singh gave a helping hand to her brother for the establishment of the temple and in this way Minister Joy Singh established the Shiv temple by the order of the king Krishna Chandra with the exact direction from the capital Khaspur’s north east direction from joypur the temple was built, only for the reason of having a devotional, peaceful and harmonious relationship with the people. It was because of the establishment of this temple that a name of a place was given as Shivosthan, it got the name form Lord Shiva, and in the north direction a place was named by the name of the minister Joy Singh, as Joypur. In this way the two villages were established. According to the older generation, minister builds his camp at presently known as Rajabajar from where the work of building temple was done. Later on there was market in that place and from that only the place is known as Rajabajar.  The first worshiper of this temple was Rambru Tati and he was a resident of the Ainachera Bagan. He was the first worshipper and saint of this temple. After some years a worshipper Romoni Remdi Barman, a resident of Muliura, it is said that she came as a worshipper of the temple as she also had dreamt about the Shiv temple. She was a devotional woman. A committee of the temple was formed long before sadhu ramani Remodi came to the temple. Rajendra Barman was the first president of this committee, who was a resident of Dolaichora and father of Harinagar Gao Panchayat’s president Rudra Prasad Barman. First secretary was Kedali Barman he was the father of joypur Gao Panchayat’s president Panchaluchan Barman. The first member of this temple was Lalit Mohan Barman and he had also donated land to the temple. He became secretary of the committee after Kedali Barman.

            The improvements to temple can be seen from the time of worshipper Remodi Barman. It is believed by the devotees that the temple is much awakened temple, as they have many proofs related to that. There was an incident to show the specialty of the temple and king. By looking at the king’s religious belief and devotion towards the temple a striking incident happened.  On the flood there was landslide and some land of this temple was washed away in the flood. One morning on11th June of 2006 of Purnima Tithi at around 5.30 a.m., suddenly a box appeared, the shape of the box was like Shiva Linga carved in a stone was inside it, secondly appeared a gold trishul (trident) then silver damru, fourthly some weeds, fifth items were some earthen lamps and earthen pot to burn coconut husk, to be used as incense and other necessities related to puja. From this incident it was sure that the king had built the temple in the right direction and god was happy with it. Before there was no temple committee to look after the temple, so during natural calamities the villagers had faced many issues and they had to shift the place of the temple two or three times. The stone carved seat of Lord Shiva was once lost during flood, later on it was found near bank of the river and kept it back to the temple again. Due to flood many items of the temple were lost and damaged. After two hundred years on 11th June, 2006  those lost items including the Shiv Linga shaped box was found after digging in the bank of the river near temple.  From these entire incidents it is confirmed by the believers that this temple is much awakened. After getting back these lost items, the number of worshipper increased; many worshippers started coming and worshipping from various places. For this reason the temple got its position is Assam Darshan as one of the historic religious place.

            Worshipper Remodi Barman started looking after of the temple during king's rule and since then many saint or worshipper looked after the temple. However, at present days it is taken care by the temple committee ‘ Shivbari Seba Samiti' and an priest is hired by them for puja and other issues.  “For the development and progress of the temple the attention of all people or worshippers are mandatory”. It is also important to get noticed by the people that by the effort of many devotees and worshipper Remodi Barman one Lord Visnu temple and devotee Maneshwar Barman of Dholaicherra, Cachar established Har-Parvarti temple was established near the Shivbari temple. These temples were established for people's good, which is what the narrator believed. Therefore, these temples are always there for devotees to bless them and they can come and offer anytime they pleased.

            In the temple, the offers and worshipping are done by priests at present days. Since some years there were some planning to bring statue of Shiv Linga and Nandi by the villagers and the committee. Later years many people started donating and retired ex-army captain Nandakumar Nunisa helped in bringing these two statues from Rajasthan. After that the statue of Shiv Linga and Nandi were placed in the temple and people started worshiiping them.

            The area of the temple is safe and well maintained by villagers. The walls of the temple were built by Bhupendra Chandra Barman of Joypur for the protection of temple area and he has donated this wall in the name of his late father Golok Chandra Barman.  He was related with many development works of the temple. Later on as the temple was very near to the bank of Chiri River and there was high chances of washing it away during flood, for this reason the temple committee decided to shift the temple in the east direction few distance away from the old temple. In this meeting Nabada Barman of Jembru, Kumacherra, ex-ITDP chairman expressed his gratitude and donated huge amount of money for the re-establishment of the temple. Therefore, with his help and everybody’s agreement the decision of re-establishment of the new Shiv temple was taken and the work of establishment was looked after by the temple committee; after many meetings regarding the structure of the new temple by the committee finally they decided to build the the structure of the temple which resembles the Dimasa King’s monuments. At present new committee is formed. After the sudden death of president Jibon Barman the new president of the committee is Munishwar Barman and secretary is Sishir Barman of Joypur village respectively. The committee is working hard and very active for the development of the temple. This is the narrative of how temple was built from king’s ruling period to present time.

                                                                                    Writer: Mohanjoy Barman

                                                                                    Location: Joypur, Part 3, Cachar, Assam


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