Nartiang Durga Temple is a 600-year-old Durga Temple located in West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya.  This temple is supposed to be one of the Shakti Peethas. The Shakti of Nartiang Devi shrine is worshipped as Jayanti or Jainteshwari.  Devi’s left thigh is believed to have fallen at Nartiang in the Jaintia Hills. This temple was built by Jaintia kind Dan Manik.

Jayanteswari was the presiding deity of the Jaintia royalty and a central figure in the Niamtre faith. The Pnars of Jaintia Hills believe that Niamtre was a God-given religion that rested on the  principles of  honest livelihood), compassion towards fellow humans and brotherhood and respect of members of parent’s clans. The Nimatre faith involved worshipping a Mother Goddess and this got assimilated into the Shakti tradition of Sanatan Dharma.

Since the practitioners of the ancient Niamtre faith did not worship any Murtis, the tradition continues. During Durga Puja, the trunk of a banana tree is worshipped as Ma Durga.

The rites at the temple are not performed the conventional way as in the plains, but in a unique way, a blend of Hindu and ancient Khasi traditions. The local chieftain or Syiem is considered the chief patron of the temple. It is said that the locals of Jaintia kingdom weren’t aware and familiar with the Puja rituals, and since they could not find any Brahmins from neighboring Bangladesh or Assam to preside over this ritual and hence had to invite Deshmukh Brahmins from western India as priests.

The Jaintia kings are supposed to have practiced human sacrifice. Human sacrifice has now been replaced with animal sacrifice; goats and ducks are sacrificed on Ashtami.

The temple draws a large number of pilgrims from all over the country on occasion of Durga Puja. Even today, during Durga Puja, the Syiem sacrifices goats. Durga Puja is the most important festival of this temple. During Durga Puja, a banana plant is dressed up and worshipped as the Goddess. At the end of the four-day festivities, the plant is ceremoniously immersed in the Myntdu River.

Temples of India

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