Friday, January 09, 2009

A dream that made the Rhenock Shivalaya

Rhenock Shivalaya more than 100 yeas back


Sikkim is a spiritual place where historical presence springout from every corners. It is here myth and legends are part of day-to-day life. No matter the days are not the same as it used to be some century ahead. Still facing the time immemorial are folklores and traditions of places that are being witnessed even to this date, while there are few that got lost along its golden past and are just a part of memory, a sweet forgotten memory.

I found an interesting story at Rhenock about how the Shivalaya was set up. The century old Shivalaya near Bhanu Bhakta's statue at the heart of the bazaar is one of the many few doyens of distant past. People say that this Mandir is in its present site ever since their parents were a child.

An interesting narrative about the Mandir goes as: "During those days landlord inherited the land of Rhenock. The landowner of Rhenock then was one Rai Sahib Tulshi Das Pradhan. Once Rai Saheb had a strange dream. He saw in his dream a Sadhu inform him of a presence of a Shivlingam in the small pond present at Rhenock bazaar and ask him to construct a temple. The next day he shared his dream with his associates as such a collective decision was taken to empty the pond water. The water was emptied and as told by the mysterious Sadhu a Shivlingam was found on the bottom of the pond. A small Mandir was then constructed with walls and roof over the precious stone. Newar Samaj was formed and given the charge of the Mandir. Later years land was owned and a house for Pujari was constructed".

Many times I had passed by Rhenock bazaar and just looking at the Shivalaya makes me feel nostalgic. Once did I have the chance to look inside the dark rooms of the Shivalaya and I did saw the stone Shivlingam. I do not know whether the story that I was told did actually happened but the aura I had experienced inside that dark chamber was something that wanted its presence to be told.

This Shivalaya in the past had witnessed many religious functions. One of the important festive then Gai-Jatra, a religious ceremony held in Newar community was last held in this sleepy Sub Division in late 90s. According to it, after the death of male or female person a statue known as Basah in Newari language is made. In case of female the statue resembles a cow while for male counterpart ox is made. The statue is made of paper, mud, cement, marble rock, pottery and others. These statues are kept in man-made Rath and moved around the bazaar and returned back to the Mandir. Higher the cart betters the occasion, as it is told. It is believed that the ceremony would help the spirit of the departed person attain moksha. These celebrations now a part of legend in Rhenock and in some way or the other it is the loss of Rhenock that today's generation no more look for it.

Like this silent piece of Rhenock Shivalaya there are many such legends lying across different part of Sikkim and I am sure we may live up to it to witness many such stories in days to come too.