| The temple of Goddess Kattyani at Dhamara Ghat in Khagaria. Picture by Mohan Mahto |
Dhamara Ghat (Khagaria), Aug. 20: Faith in the powers of Goddess Kattyani to fulfil worldly desires draws thousands of devotees to her temple every Monday and Friday, particularly during the holy month of Shravan that ended today.
The temple is located 500m north of the Dhamara Ghat railway station, where the Rajya Rani Express crushed 28 devotees on their way to the shakti peeth yesterday. The tragic incident, however, has not shaken their faith in the goddess, whose shrine they continued to visit today.
The target of their attack was the government.
Ravi Shankar, 32, a resident of Dhamara Ghat said it was completely safe around the temple. “Almost 10,000 to 20,000 people converge here (near the temple) every Monday and Friday. They beat drums and cymbals, sing bhajan, offer prayer and return happily.”
He added: “The problem is that there is no road to reach the temple. The pilgrims get down from the trains at the Dhamara Ghat railway station and take the tracks to reach the temple. It has been the usual practice for decades.”
Sources said the deity of Goddess Kattyani — a primordial form of Shakti mentioned in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya (2AD) — first surfaced in the area in 1835, drawing a large number of devotees to pray here. It was immediately declared a shakti peeth. A warrior goddess, she is closely associated with Bhadrakali and Chandika and her mythological exploits described in the Puranas.
According to mythological legends, Kattyani was either the daughter of or first worshipped by Rishi Kattyan and hence the goddess was named as such. Kattyani is also worshipped by young girls to get good husbands.
A temple at the site was built in 1952, housing the deity in the sanctum sanctorum. But there is still no road to the temple.
“Kattyani is one of the forms of Goddess Durga. Devotees from different parts of the state, particularly Saharsa, Khagaria and Bhagalpur districts, visit the temple. It is for the administration to take care of their safety,” said the priest of the temple, Shambhu Bhagat.
More than 20,000 people were expected to be at the temple yesterday — the last Monday of Shravan.
“But the tragedy struck at 8.40am preventing many people from reaching the temple. It was a black Monday,” said Bhagat.
He is, however, hopeful that the number of devotees will not abate next year.
The villagers claim that they have often seen senior politicians — even members of the state Assembly and Parliament — visiting the temple to seek the blessings of the goddess, particularly in election season.
Manju Devi, an elderly villager who lives near the temple, said: “We are sure the goddess will not forgive them if they come to seek blessing to get elected and then forget to construct roads to reach the temple.”