Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Abode Of Hundreds Of Bells

Few minutes back, my husband got a call from his friend,from Duliajan. This place holds a very important place in my heart, as I started the new chapter of my life with my hubby at this place. This is a important oil town of Assam,India and few kms from this town is the famous Tilinga Mandir. I really missed my temple visits on 12th Feb, ie on Shivratri. Its a Hindu festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva. When I first shifted to Duliajan my first priority was to visit this temple as I had heard a lot about it.This Shiv’s Temple or the famous “Tilinga Mandir” is nestled at Bordubi, a small town in Tinsukia District of Assam. It is 7 km from the oil town Duliajan. Tilinga means “bell” in Assamese and mandir means “temple”. This bell temple is as spiritually and mystically strong as any other temple I have ever visited or seen. There are hundreds and thousands of bells of all sizes in bronze, brass, copper and aluminum that’s tied to the big banyan tree (pipal) and its various branches. I was startled and bewildered by the vast and varied collection of bells that were hanging from its various branches. That’s how the temple is said to have got its name. There was also hundreds of Shiv tridents carelessly speared into the sand here and there. Most of them were packed together in one place, madly jutting out of the ground few feet away from the mystical tree.
I remember what Dhananjay Pande, the priest of the Tillinga Mandir, said about the tridents. According to him,they were left by the ascetic devotee of Lord Shiva who took rest under the tree while on their pilgrimage. As they rested under the pipal tree they felt a unique spiritual presence and they left their tridents as a testament to this mysterious encounter.Long ago one such ascetic unearthed a naturally formed black rock in the shape of a Shiva lingam, nestled among the roots of the tree. When news of the discovery got around people started coming to worship. The fame of the temple with its mysterious power, all of a sudden spreaded like wild fire when pilgrims discovered that wishes they expresses in prayer under the tree actually came true. In the beginning, devotees would express their gratitude by returning to hang a bell on the tree after their wishes had been fulfilled.Eventually, however the custom changed and pilgrims began to tie bells as they said their prayers and made their wishes.As told by the priest, about 65 years ago on the advice of the village elders, the owner of the land upon which the pipal tree is located donated the land. Since then hundreds and thousands of devotees have come with hopes, prayers and bells.
But with time, the way of offering prayer has changed. From oil diyas to candles and tying long red threads around the pipal tree, to the many small shops selling various puja items that has come up near the temple, the temple has seen all changes. But even today, the silence and stillness of the magic temple is broken only by the chanting of mantras, fluttering of birds and the numerous bells which hang from its branches. No one who has visited the Tillinga Mandir can deny the strong, unique and divine feeling that one experiences.
I can never forget this holy place where so many bells are tied to every reachable part of this lonely banyan tree shading a naturally formed Shiva Lingam. Even today, though I stay far away, I still remember the tranquility and serenity I experienced, the visits and bells that I tied and the smiles of the people as their wishes were fulfilled.
A pretty long one.....getting late and its time for sleep...Good Night friends!!!!

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