Nepal in the Mahabharata Period, Part 10
BY: SUN STAFF
Singri Gupteswar Temple
Dhekiajuli, Sonitpur, Assam
Feb 19, 2013 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's liberation of Banasura, the Yadava dynasty's presence in Nepal, and the events that preceded and followed.
Sri Krsna's pastimes battling the demons Banasura, Narakasura and Mura illustrate the concentration of asuras who were inhabiting the Himalayan foothills region at that time, stretching from Rudraprayag to Assam. Krsna arranged for the Yadavas to rule this region after the defeat of Banasura, and although their kingdom was in power for eight generations in Nepal, the Yadavas were eventually overcome once again by the mlecchas.
There are numerous temples in Assam that were either built by, or are associated with King Banasura, and before moving on to the region of Nepal, we'll mention a few of them.
When Assam was known as Kamarupa, situated along the banks of the Brahmaputra River that flowed through it were many ancient Shiva temples. Guwahati, or Pragjyotishapuram, and Tezpur, previously known as Sonitapuram and Sibsagar, are both densely populated with Shaivite temples.
Sri Sri Gupteswar
Singri Gupteswar Temple
Singri Gupteswar is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva constructed by his devotee, King Bana, and is one of the most ancient temples in Assam. The abode of Sri Sri Gupteswar (Gupta-Iswar) is situated on the northern bank of the River Brahmaputra in the Dhekiajuli tensil, district of Sonitpur, about 50 km. from Tezpur. The current structure, which dates to the 7th Century A.D., stands on the foothills of Singri, overtop a cave.
The presiding deity, Sri Sri Gupteswar, known as Gupteshwar Baba, is Shivalinga. According to the 10th Century Kalika Purana, Shiva was worshipped here by the Kirat people. Sometime after the reign of Kirat king Banasura, a later Koch king, Naranarayana began to offer worship to Lord Shiva here with Brahmanical rituals, and that worship continues today.
The temple has a sacred fire pit called dhunighar within its premises. It is believed that the dhuni has been burning unceasingly from time immemorial, and that Lord Shiva himself originated the sacred blaze. Shaivite followers smear the holy ashes from this fire over their bodies.
Dhunighor, the Place of Ashes
There is a beautiful rock-cut sculpture of Lord Ganesha at the entrance of Singri Gupteswar Temple, carved from a big rock. A small protective temple has recently been built around this shrine. A boundary wall made of ancient bricks and the brass spire of the temple were completed under the Ahom kings.
The sage Rishya Sringa resided here, and was known for his ability to create rain that possessed celestial wisdom and spiritual insight. A small neglected agnihotra pit sits at the top of Singri hill.
Singri Gupteswar Temple, overlooking Dhekiajuli
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