On the day of Mahashtami, we hit the road to reach Jamshedpur to attend the Durga Puja at the Swarn Vihar, Sonari, Jamshedpur.
There is an ancient solahbhuji (sixteen-armed) Durga temple at Deori, near Tamar, around 60 km from Ranchi, on the Tata-Ranchi Highway (NH33). I have been visiting this temple from the time it was in its original shape. I came to Ranchi from Delhi on my promotion in the year 1997. My bank colleagues told me about this temple and we used to visit this temple often. The main attraction is that the idol is having sixteen hands, normally goddess Durga is seen with eight or ten hands.
The original temple is made up of big stone placed one over another without using any cementing material. Inside the sanctum sanctorum, the 700-year old idol of Goddess Durga with 16 hands is consecrated along with Lord Shiva. According to some local beliefs, this Solah Bhuja Devi Prachin Durga Mandir is actually in existence since the Mahabarata times. The Pandavas are believed to have prayed here during their period of ‘Agyatvaas’ (secluded exile).
Legend has it that whoever has tried to alter the structure of the temple has had to face the wrath of the gods and suffer consequences. Therefore, new construction is being done from outside keeping the original temple intact.
Alongside the Brahmin priests, there are six tribal priests known as Pahans who worship in this temple and take part in different rituals and prayers. It is the only temple where the tribal priests are allowed to worship the Goddess. I like this place very much. The best thing in this temple is that one can directly worship the Goddess. The priests only assist with mantras.
Even, the captain of India’s cricket team, MS Dhoni also comes to this temple regularly. The previous captain Saurav Ganguly also came here for worship. We stopped here for a while. Babai & I went to the temple for prayers. After paying our obeisance, we moved on.