Friday, January 8, 2016

Tanot, the place of faith for Indian Soldiers

Tanot, the place of faith for Indian Soldiers

25 December 2015 was a hectic day visiting Desert Nation Park at Sudasari and Desert Safari at village Sam. We had planned to leave Jaisalmer early after visiting some places in the fort on 26, but when the Tehsildar asked, have you seen Tanot Sir? our entire schedule changed. 

What is in Tanot? I inquired.

Arey Sir, all VIPs including the President, Governors go there. There is a temple, where 8 Pakistani bombs didn't explode in 1965 war due to the power of the Goddess. Goddess had saved the soldiers and the villagers, therefore, they built a temple and worshiping the Goddess daily.

Tanot is 120 kms away from Jaisalmer. We have planned to reach ARI Jodhpur via Ramdevra by evening. The visit of some places in the fort as well as the Gadisar lake was pending. And now the temptation of Tanot. It is on the same route further ahead of Desert National Park which we have travelled in the morning. But due to communication gap, we missed it and now to travel the same road again. Finally we decided to start the journey for Tanot at 4 am next morning.

Passing through the Thar sand dunes, we have reached Tanot at 6.30 am, as both the drivers drive the vehicles very well on the desert road. Tanot is a BSF base camp area. There is a temple of Goddess Chamunda/ Karni Devi. The BSF soldiers perform daily pooja aarti and maintain the campus well. The mandapam of the temple carries slogans of good virtues. The idol of Goddess Karni Devi was very attractive. There were other deities too: Lord Shiva, Manasa Devi, etc, in the campus. After the darshana of the Goddesses and God, we were about to leave for Jaisalmer but one of our colleagues suggested to stay for the Aarti as it was to start at 7am. We stayed.  

Slowly the soldiers took their position of pooja in the temple. One man on harmonium, one on drums, 4 on Mike with manjira for singing bhajans and one dressed like a Brahmin was ready for the Aarti. At Sharp 7am the Aarti started. The pujari soldier with his loud voice on mike was trying to use the opportunity at optimal. He was chanting all the slokas he knew by changing their shape, size and tune. He was doing pooja with lot of actions and enthusiasm. 

Sir, a senior officer has come in the Aarti, somebody murmur in my ears. Therefore the pujari is performing at his pick. 

He started with the Aarti of the chief deity, then did aarti of other deities one after another. Each time some broken slokas with actions, bhajan singing by the soldiers with the tune of harmonium and drum bits. As our day was scheduled for long journey, we were waiting for the end of the aarti but it was going on endlessly. After the Goddesses, he started slokas and aaarti of Lord Shiva. We thought, let him complete this round as it may be the last. But as soon as the Shiv puja got over, he started for Lord Rama. We were losing our patience. I thought if Lord Rama has come, surely he will do Hanuman Chalisa! At last the aarti was over at 8.15 am. 

Shakti pooja by the warriors is very common in India. The faith in the Goddess and chanting her slokas and mantras rejuvenate and stimulate energy currents in the body of the warriors and to make them capable to excel in wars. It is not easy to sacrifice once life for the safety of people without the faith in God or Goddesses. Therefore, all forts of India carry two people, the Brahmins and the Warriors (kshatriyas), the Law and the Order!

I met one Sadhu in the campus. He was a disciple of Dandi Swami of Ayodhya. He explained the importance of the place. This place is part of the route of Goddess Ashapura of Kutch India and Goddess Hinglaj of Nagarkot Pakistan. The area was an Aghat Sea in past. The Goddess drank entire water of the Sea. The entire route carry powerful presence of the Goddesses. Tanot is a temple of Karni Devi though the soldiers have written sloka of Devi Chamunda.  This place is also very powerful as it falls in the route of Devi Ashapura and Devi Hinglaj. However, this place is not one of those places (Sati Sthans - Shakti Pithas) where the body parts of Sati were fallen.

During the war with Pakistan in 1965, 8 bombs dropped by Pakistan army in this area but not a single exploded. The BSF javans have preserved them in the temple as memories.

The border point is further away by 33 kms from Tanot. Late by an hour of our planned scheduled, we skipped the tea and snacks arranged by the BSF and left for Jaisalmer. But the aarti and soldier pujari have been recorded in our memories permanently.

During the trip to Jaisalmer, if you are keen to visit border area of Thar Desert, you may visit Tanot Temple and admire the enthusiasm of our BSF soldiers, guarding our borders in the desert of Thar.

8 January 2016


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