‘The planning and design for the new temple is ready and we are set for the new construction’, said Ram Singh, member of the management committee. Chandra Shekhar Rao, an architect from Mumbai, has prepared the design for the temple. ‘We have not received any funding from the government so far, but have received assurance that the government is willing to provide assistance. We have received generous donation from devotees and have managed funds for beginning our new construction’, Singh added.
Narsing Shah, a trader from Tura has made donations for the new stone idol, which is ready and will be brought from Rajasthan after the existing temple is dismantled. ‘The present temple is not spacious enough to house the new idol. Next year, the puja will be held with the permanent stone structure of Godess Kali’, he said. The existing temple will be dismantled next month.
Singh said that in May this year activist Prasant Bhusan had visited the temple and had assured to raise the issue in New Delhi, so that necessary assistance can be provided to the temple. The Charantola temple attracts over 10 – 15 lakh devotees from the length and breadth of the country during April – May. The temple is located at Babedpara village in Selsella, about 55 km from Tura in West Garo Hills. The existing temple was built in 1965. The temple holds immense significance for the indigenous Hajong and Koch tribe.
Locals believe that an epidemic had struck the village, which led to loss of many lives. The puja for Goddess Kali began here after a fortuneteller, who had migrated from Bangladesh during the liberation war made the suggestion.
In the last five decades, the temple was built brick by brick to bring to its present shape with generous donations from the devotees. Three-day annual puja rituals are held during the end of April or May as per Hindu calendar on the ambashya.
Devotees believe that wishes are fulfilled, if one offers prayers at the temple. In the subsequent year, the devotees, whose wishes are fulfilled, offer sacrifice of goats, pigeons and bulls.
‘Initially only local Hindu population offered puja here but slowly the temple rose to prominence and devotees from different parts of the country starting to flock here,’ said Jibendro Narayan Koch, secretary, Charantola Kali Puja Welfare Society.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays round the year puja rituals are held.
For Hindu devotees from Meghalaya, Assam, West Bengal, Nepal and Bangladesh, the temple is considered a “must to visit” to offer obeisance to Goddess Kali, as the locals believe that Goddess Kali had appeared to the people here at the time, when epidemic had struck many village in Selsella, which is now populated mostly by the Garo tribe.