Bhuban Hills take the shape of carnival on Maha Shivaratri

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SILCHAR, February 28: Thousands of devotees thronged the Bhuban Hills, 50 km from here, to offer their obeisance to Lord Shiva at the famous Shiva temple on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri on Thursday night.
The Bhuban Hills in the extreme south east of Barak Valley bordering Manipur and Mizoram is a centre of pilgrimage. Besides the famous temple of Lord Shiva nestle atop the hills covered with deep forests abound with legends and mysteries.
After a journey of 45–46 km from here by bus and other motor vehicles, the devotees reach the place called Panichouki Punji via Motinagar under Dholai constituency of Cachar district and from there to the route towards the famous Shiva temple through the rugged and difficult track. They climb around 4–5 km to reach the shrine.
In order to avoid any untoward incident, the Police administration imposed guidelines, which were unfortunately not strictly followed by the devotees. The Police and CRPF personnel have been deployed in and around the hill to ensure security of the people. Several saints and sanyashis have also flocked to the hill from different parts of the country on the occasion. A fair named Bhuban Mela is also going on at the foothills.
A few NGOs have arranged drinking water, food and medicine for the devotees on the route of Bhuban Hills. The PWD Department has been spraying water on the road to control dust. Sonai Primary Health Centre set up a stall there to give basic medical facility to the devotees if they feel ill. In order to curb the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicated substance at the top of the hill, the Excise Department has imposed a check gate. On Thursday, many local and foreign made alcoholic products were recovered at the gate.
Popular myth about the Bhuban Hill is that in ancient times, the hill abounded with images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Subsequently, Nagas began to settle in the hill, took these Gods and Goddesses to be their ancestors and decided to install them at one place. They tied the images below their waists by long rope and began to drag them whereupon curses befell the Nagas who were hurtled hither–thither and instantly turned into stones. Nearby at one spot, pilgrims find a raised big stone altar on which sits a Naga saint, praying to some deity in penance for atoning the sins of their ancestors.
From there the trek descends sharply and after another walk of two km, a pilgrim or visitor sees in craggy silhouette a colossal cave, an awe inspiring and amazing spectacles. It is a dark place where the sunlight does not reach, where the thin air is suspended softly matching the delicate porcelain blue of the sky, where the visitor cannot but stare in bewilderment. Only a few dare descend its colonnaded steps to reach the base strewn with boulders, where the door of a mysterious and limitless tunnel opens. When, why and how was the tunnel dug up are lost in the mists of time? Was it man made or the result of some cataclysm in the past?
On the left and right sides of the caves are huge stone altars and the candle light shows up the faces of Naga saints, calm and statuesque in deep meditation and prayer to Lord Shiva on it. In the pitched darkness, the massive debris of boulders makes it difficult to locate exactly the entrance to the tunnel. But a closer scrutiny with the help of a torch or candle light reveals the entrance to the tunnel just in the middle and about 25 foot from the mouth of the cave. Both in height and breadth, the tunnel is two foot. One gets into it by crawling.
There is a myth that a person who crosses the tunnel gets salvation from the cycle of births. But none can go beyond 300 foot of the tunnel. Some also say that in the past, saints and sages made their journey through it to Kamakhya near Guwahati.
The well–known Kapil Ashrama, popularly known as Siddheswar Shiva temple, located at Badarpurghat, witnessed the huge turnout of devotees. The number of people swelled many times today compared to Thursday, as the Shivaratri started at 6.41 pm on Thursday and ended this evening. Puja was performed in many small temples across the valley. Many women and girls offer obeisance to Lord Shiva keeping day long fast. (Source: SentinelAssam)