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New look for old temple

- Jharia’s Durga mandir undergoes makeover at Rs 25 lakh

Call it the Puja look.

One of the oldest temples of Jharia coalfield, which has earned a name for its traditional Navratri Puja and the fastest immersion of the idol, will flaunt a new appearance this Durga Puja.

Located about 11km from the Dhanbad district headquarters, Sri Sri Maa Adya Shakti Mandir, Misir Mela — established by a priest of Jharia estate, Late Nand Kishor Mishra, more than 300 years ago — is being renovated at a cost of around Rs 25 lakh.

The roof and floor of the sanctum sanctorum spread over 675sqm and the 475sqm adjacent verandah or nath mandir have already been reconstructed for around Rs 8 lakh. Marble is being laid all around the temple while construction of a 25ft main gate is on.

The temple committee members along with descendants of the Mishra family led by senior Congress leader Sujit Mishra (14th generation of Mishra family) are overseeing the entire process.

“Earlier, the temple used to be a structure of mud that stood in the midst of bushes. Even then, it drew a huge number of devotees. It was in 1939 when a devotee, Vidhibhushan Sarkar, built the concrete structure after his wishes got fulfilled by the grace of goddess Durga,” said a member of the Mishra family, Ajit Mishra.

Sujit Mishra added that the decision to renovate the temple was taken just after Dugra Puja last year. “The existing space was not enough to accommodate such a huge number of devotees with the footfall increasing every year. Everybody agreed to contribute for the repairs and construction started on January 26 this year. Though we never sought any donation, many devotees contributed on their own with the majority of them providing construction materials like cement, sand and bricks,” Sujit said.

He went on to add that such was the grace of the goddess that they could continue construction even during monsoon. “It rained only when we needed water while on other days like when the roof was being built, the weather was completely dry,” Sujit said.

A resident of Misir Mela locality, Gopal Mandal, who is actively involved in temple renovation work, added that they were retaining the old structure and architecture.

“The immersion process of the temple is unique. Devotees carry the idol on their shoulders and run for more than 900 metres in around 10 minutes to immerse the idol in the historic Taja Talab. We have also applied for registration of the immersion ceremony as the fastest on foot,” said Pinaki Roy, a teacher and resident of Poddar Para locality adjacent to Mishir Mela.