GAURIPUR, – The historic 156-year-old Dhelkhowa Shiva temple situated along the Gauripur Rupshi PWD road at Daobhangi-Khudimari area in the district of Dhubri near here has remained neglected for years. Earlier, the temple was located in a Assam type house and there was no provision of any electricity. Hundreds of devotees of the adjoining areas used to come and offer puja on the day of Mahashivaratri every year and the importance of the temple has been increasing day by day due to trust and belief that Lord Shiva listens to their prayer and blesses them for their peace and happiness.

In 1992, a group of miscreants demolished the temple by setting fire in order to create communal tensions but the peace-loving people living in and around the temple area did not lose their temper and unitedly rebuilt the temple collecting donations from the people of the adjoining villages and the devotees.

According to legends, Raja Prabhat Chandra Baruah of Gauripur Zamindary estate went to Parbatjhora forest for hunting riding on an elephant through the Gauripur Rupshi village road covered by wetlands. After sometime the elephant refused to obey the signals of the mahut to go further.

Suddenly, the elephant raised his trunk and sprinkled water on a heap of clay standing in the nearby wetland. Raja Prabhat Qandra Baruah was surprised at the behaviour of the elephant and thought that the heap of clay might be a place of worship. He immediately got down from the back of the elephant and prayed to God for his safe journey to the place of hunting and after a few minutes he again rode on the elephant and continued his journey to his destination safely. Coming back to the Royal palace at Gauripur, Zaminder Baruah built a Shiva temple on the heap of clay with the help of his tenants at Dhelkhowa and arranged puja rituals. From that time around daily, puja rituals are being performed.

On the day of Mahashivaratri, hundreds of devotees, mainly women and girls, assemble in front of the temple and worship Lord Shiva with devotion. It is also customary that each and every person going and coming through the road shall have to throw pebbles for attention of Lord Shiva, who, in turn, blesses them for their safe journey. Dhel means to throw and khowa means to eat and so the temple is called the Dhelkhowa temple.

In 1957 the Zamindary system was abolished and since then the glory of the temple has gradually faded. Late Rudra Narayan Ray, the then president of the temple management committee tried his level best to develop the temple but failed due to non-receipt of any grant-in-aid from the Government. There are five bighas of land and daily puja and other rituals are performed from the output of the land and donation.

There is an urgent need of a ‘Bhog-ghar’ and a rest house with water supply facilities for the devotees coming from far-flung areas. The temple lacks electrification and recently Nipan Sharma, a devotee of Gauripur area made arrangements for electrification. The devotees of the entire area have urged the government to improve the infrastructure facilities of the historic Shiva temple by providing financial help without any further delay.