About the Author - Rhea Mahanta
Rhea is student from Guwahati, Assam. She is surrently studying in class 12 at Army Public School, Narengi. This article shares author's travel experience in and around the historical town Sivasagar.
On the advent of Sivasagar through the bypass, milestoned by statues of freedom fighters and Ahom Kings in the entrance of it, lay the infinite infamous Jerenga Pothar to our right. Here, the saga of Ahom rule begins, as I realized bit by bit the abundant historical significance of this far away town.
Silorshakhu (Stone Bridge): Made by an Ahom King even before British rule, this conduit has been withstanding for nearly 200 years with the heaviest of traffic passing over it.
Jerenga Pothar: Here is where the tragic demice of the brave Joymoti transpired. She was tied to a tree and tortured. Lora Raja’s men lashed her with a whip and poured boiling oil over her, just because she wouldn’t reveal where her husband, Godadhar Singha, the next probable King of Assam, was hiding from the Lora Raja’s ministry. Till her last breath, she was decisive in withholding Godapani’s location for the sake of Assam. An epitome of indomitable courage, patriotism, tolerance and strength as she was, the terrifying memoirs of the atrocities on Joymoti would always be reminiscent and remind us of her sacrifice for the welfare of our land.
Joydol: It is the largest of the 5 temples that the son of Joymoti, Rudrasingha built in memory of his mother in 1697, next to Joysagar. Beside it, he built another Shivadol and Rudrasagar in his own name. It certainly is a beautiful sight, with bright pink lotuses blooming in the lakes beside all the ancient monuments.
Rang Ghar: One of the major landmarks of Assam, it was an entertainment house for the Ahom Kings where they would feast their eyes on Bihu performances, buffalo fights and various other activities. Apparently, the Rang Ghar is made of ‘duck eggs’ and ‘mati daal’. You will also be interested to know that the ULFA was formed right here, at the stroke of midnight on 7th April, 1979, with the pledge to establish a sovereign socialist Assam through an armed struggle.
Tolatol Ghar: Legend says that it contained a secret passageway or tunnel which led to the Dikhou River, through which the Lora Raja would flee from the Burmese.
Shivadol: It is believed that all wishes are granted by the Lord if you pray in Shivadol on a Monday morning. Built in 1734 by queen of Ahom King Shivasingha, it stands 104 feet tall capped by a dome made of gold, beside the magnificent Borpukhuri.
Just as the majestic Shivadol came into our view early Monday morning, the golden apex shimmered under the sunlight, glorifying the entire ambience. As was the ritual, mother and I went inside barefoot, with a tray of incense sticks, ‘sakee’s or diyas and flowers. The entrance, bustling with the devotees fighting their way to the middle of the aperture and the occasional sounding of the bell at regular intervals by each aficionado, gave the environment a pristine form.
A dark passage led to the core of the temple, and when I stepped into the dungeon-like-cave, it was the eeriest of experiences one could get. The atmosphere carried the wavering chants and hymns that echoed against every wall in the surrounding. It was a fanatical ambience, with the followers of Lord Shiva combating their way through the crowd to present their offerings to the purohits. There was a shallow well, which I tried peering into but the gloominess took over. We were told that inside it was the unison of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Coming out into the opening, I realized that I had been holding my breath all the while we were inside. The picture inside the tomb still lingered in my mind even as I was back in the car after leaving the temple. Just when I was pondering upon the scenario, my father told me how lucky I was to have visited Shivadol on an auspicious Monday morn and asked me if I had thanked God or wished for anything. That’s when I realized that I was so overwhelmed with the milieu in there that prayers just slipped my mind!
Although it is renowned for the temples of Hindu deities, what amazed me about Sivasagar is its secularity. Right in front of the regal Shivadol is a mosque. The burial of the Sufi saint Azan Pir is also located in the same town, known as the Azan Pir Dorgah.
On returning via Kaziranga, hardly able to keep my eyes open in the vicinity of the passing environment through the windows of our speeding car, some interesting quotes carved on the road side rocks caught my attention, preaching traffic rules in a unique, ‘sarcasm-wit’ duet, humorous, contemporary approach. Some of which I could grab were:
‘Be Mr. Late, rather than Late Mr.’
‘If you’re married, divorce speed’
‘Keep your nerve on the curves’
‘Arrive in peace, not in pieces.’
Glad that I had such an enlightening experience, I couldn’t wait to come back home and put it down in words. This journey was not just a family trip taken impulsively at the first opportunity we all got simultaneous holidays (although it initially was). I’m glad I learnt that my own land possessed such vital and legendary events imperative to our culture and history. Each testimonial had a story behind it. This, is just a gist of your native origin. Know it!
Courtesy: To my family and Pi Aita for this learning experience.