Our member, Mrs Mira Pal, tells us about her fond memories of Shivratri at her childhood home Majdiya in Krishnaganj of Nadia district. The Siva Lingam there is the tallest one in eastern India.
Shiva Niwas, a tiny hamlet in Krishnaganj in Nadia, has a beautiful history related to it. Anticipating an attack from the Bargis and Maratha raiders, Raja Krishna Chandra Rai temporarily shifted his capital from Krishnanagar to this place. The Raj Rajeswar Temple, named after Lord Shiva, was built by him in 1754. There is a 300-year-old “Shiva Lingam” here. Of the 108 Shiva temples built by King Krishna Chandra, only 3 of them still exist, the rest have been swallowed up by the mighty Ichhamati river. There is a shrine of Ram and Sita beside it. The design is a curious blend of the Hindu, the Islamic and the Gothic styles of architecture.
Shivaratri is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. “I remember waking up early in the morning, often while it was still dark outside…” she recounted, “I used to celebrate Shivaratri with great devotion and religious fervour. After having tea before sunrise, we used to fast the whole day. We didn’t even drink water. In the evening, we visited the temple to anoint the idol of Shiva with milk, water and honey. During that time there wasn’t any market or shops where we could buy the “akondo” flowers, which are an integral part of this puja. We used to carry the traditional puja items like milk, water, bel leaves, fruits, incense stick, oil lamp and flowers from home. But the problem for us was that the lingam was so tall that we couldn’t smear milk and water at the top, instead we used to pour that on the base!! A few villagers used to bring handmade clay dolls for sale near the temple. This was a major attraction for all of us and we were very happy to buy those things from them. My sisters used to have fruit after coming back home, but my mother and I would eat something only after “Chaturdashi” was over. Even now I try to do the puja almost the same way as I did before but I miss my childhood Shiva Niwas temple. I have heard that due to massive popularity of the festival, several stalls selling puja items have come up outside the temple. The area has now been renovated by the Birlas and they have made stairs so that the devotees can climb up and smear the milk and honey at the top.
How to get there?
Majdiya is now well connected by rail and road. There are trains from Sealdah to Majdiya, and auto service from Majdiya to Shiva Niwas. It takes around 2 and half hours to reach Majhdiya. One can easily go there and come back in a day, but if someone wants to stay, the nearest hotels are in Krishnanagar.
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