The Ugratara temple in Guwahati

Guwahati: The Ugaratara temple is host to, what is widely believed, the oldest Durga Puja celebration in Guwahati. Some records suggest that puja celebrations have been going on in this temple since 1044 when Dharma Pala of the Pala dynasty ruled Kamarupa (currently Kamrup) with its capital at Pragjyotishpur, the erstwhile name of Guwahati.

Mythological accounts have it that the naval part of Hindu goddess Sati fell here when her husband Lord Shiva was doing a tandava dance following her death at the Dakshayajna.

At this highly revered place of worship, prayers and rituals happen all year round. However on special occasions, like Durga Puja, devotees throng the temple in hordes to offer animals to the goddess.

Kailash Sharma, a trustee of the Shakti shrine, said, “We have been following the same rituals which were there in the olden times.” Narrating the history of the puja celebrations here, Sharma further said, “During the Pala rule, priests of Aryan origin were called to perform pujas and impart religious preachings. Bardeuris from Sualkuchi and Digheli started have been performing pujas at this shrine since the days of Ratnapala in 1044 AD.”

As per Sharma, devotees offer animals like goat, ducks, pigeons and buffaloes during Durga Puja. “On Saptami and Asthami, goats and ducks are offered to the goddess, and on Navami, buffaloes and catfish are offered,” he added.

There are 51 other shrines like the Ugratara temple across the globe, where “parts of Sati” had fallen after Lord Vishnu dissected her body

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