Howrah: Lord Ram in mustachios, the signature form of the deity is unique to this temple in Howrah’s Ramrajatala. The idol dates back to 250 years. It is hiddenly claimed to be the patriarchal ‘X-Factor.’
Back in 1957, Satragachchi’s famed zamindar Ayodhyaram Chowdhury first began worshipping this form of Lord Ram. Festivities continued for three days in Howrah’s Chowdhurynagar. Ayodhyaram’s successors continued with the legacy and zeroed on Sakherbazar to be the place of worship. And a tussle ensued.
A part of the zamindar family used to reside in the same area and worshipped Goddess Saraswati. A fair was organized which appealed to the locals. However, the bone of contention was the worship of Lord Ram which led to a scuffle between the two parties, which later got sorted. But terms and conditions were applied to which the family members abided.
The idol of Saraswati needed to placed some feet above that of Lord Ram. The practice still prevails. Five figurines of Saraswati stand erect above the 28 feet long deity of Lord Ram.
Trustee member Tapan Chowdhury highlights the distinctive feature of Lord Ram. Ram with a pair of moustaches is a rare sight. On being asked the rationale behind such an appearance, he said that this guise of Lord Ram represents his royal status. While the other forms depict his days in exile. “ The kingly stature is evident from his attire and demeanour. Though the sculptor behind the idol is unknown to us, their descendents have been carving out this idol for ages,” he added.
Initially, the festivities continued for 3 days. But due to its immense popularity, it got extended to four months. The festival commences in the Chaitra month of the Bengali calendar. Along with Lord Ram, 26 other deities including Sita, Laxman, Bharat, Hanuman are worshipped too. Some temples have been constructed for the same.
Huge festival gathering can be spotted across the four months. The rally during the immersion sees thousands of devotees flocking. However, much to the plight of the locals, the power lines needs to be snapped to accommodate the 28 feet long idol.
Then Howrah Magistrate and literature pioneer Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay opposed the British who wanted to end the practice. He had to face the wrath when he snapped the power lines of the tramlines.
Many notable and respected personalities have visited the place to seek the blessings of the distinctive deity.
Reported By: Souptik Banerjee
Edited By: Ahana Sen Gupta