H-M synthesis in Rajasthan: Muslims have been priests in this Durga temple for 600 years

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H-M synthesis in Rajasthan: Muslims have been priests in this Durga temple for 600 years

Post by Rashmun on Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:14 am

For the last 13 generations, Muslims belonging to Sindh province (now in Pakistan) are serving as priests of the temple which is located at Bagoriya village of Bhopalgarh Tehsil in Jodhpur district.

Muslim priests not only offer prayers in the temple but also perform all the rituals associated with Goddess Durga as per Hindu mythology. Built on a hilltop at Bagoriya village, it’s one of the oldest Durga temples in Rajasthan and imposes no restriction on visitors.

People from all castes and communities visit the temple in large numbers to worship Durga. The head priest and his family offer prayers in the temple and also perform Namaz simultaneously.

For last so many generations, head priest and his family members are treated with great respect and dignity by the people of all communities living in Bagoriya village.

“For the last 600 years my family and forefathers have been serving as head priest in this temple. I am the 13th generation and for last 50 years I am the head priest here. People from all communities come here to offer prayers and they also call us to perform rituals at their residences. Like other people, my family members also have immense faith in Goddess Durga,” said Jamaludin Khan, the 80-year old head priest in the temple.

Jamaludin Khan has even groomed his son, Mehrudin Khan, to take charge as the head priest after him.

The association of Jamaludin Khan and his forefathers with Durga temple is no less than any mythological tale in Hindu religion. According to Jamaludin Khan, his forefathers were from Sindh province. Due to massive drought, the family along with relatives decided to migrate to central India in search of food and shelter.

“When family members were on their way to central India, two camels suffered fracture and the caravan had to stop in the middle of the desert. All the family members had to spend several days and nights in the desert without food or water. They were on the verge of death when Durga appeared in the dreams of one of our forefathers and showed him the way to a nearby step well, where they quenched their thirst,” said Jamaludin Khan.

He claimed that the goddess had also directed him to worship her idol that was lying deep inside the step well.“The idol was recovered from the step well and my forefathers started worshiping it. All their problems were solved and they decided to stay at the same place. Later, they constructed the temple,” said Jamaludin Khan. The family members of Jamaludin Khan have immense faith in Durga. Offering prayers in the temple and Namaz at local mosque are daily routine of Khan’s family members.

“No religion stops you from worshipping gods. So our family members perform rituals in the temple and offer Namaz as well. However, my father Jamaludin Khan does not offer Namaz as he is too old now,” said Mehrudin Khan...

The entire village has immense faith and respect for Jamaludin Khan and his family. Even during Hindu-Muslim riots at the time of Independence, the villagers stayed united and treated Jamaludin and family with the same dignity and respect as they do today.

“Muslims have been the head priest in this temple. We have been watching them since childhood. As per the directions of Durga, Muslim families from Sindh province will continue to become the head priest of the temple. So we are obeying the tradition with full faith and respect,” said Thanaram Jakhad, former sarpanch of Bagoriya.

According to villagers, the prayers and yagnas take place every day in the temple strictly according to Hindu traditions.

“In our village one cannot make out difference between Hindus and Muslims. People from all castes and religions visit temple every day and offer prayers. We have a head priest who is Muslim and he is called in for every ceremony to perform rituals. The month of Ramadan is also celebrated with great fun and frolic in the village,” said Hukamaram, a villager.



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