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Ma Kenduaburi: The presiding deity worshipped as Goddess Durga through centuries

Mail News Service

Jhargram, Sept 28: Any religious belief is a blend of facts and foibles and temples and deities are not bereft of folklores and facts. Ma Kenduaburi is the presiding deity of 35 villages. The Kenduaburi Temple is situated in Balipal village under Beliabera police station that is 25 kilometers away from the Jhargram district headquarters.

The temple itself is surrounded by pleasant natural greens that adds to the serenity of Ma Kenduaburi Mandir that in turn evokes piety. Elephants and horses can still be seen grazing amidst the green cover and these animals have not been known to attack devotees visiting this temple to offer payers.

Even today the residents of 35 villages including Balipal, Baghgyara, Ramchandrapur and Asanbani offer prayers to Ma Kenduaburi as Ma Durga. Devotees even today, offer prayers according to traditional rituals that include blood from a devotee’s finger as sacrifice to the Mother.

The centuries old Ma Kenduaburi temple is layered in history and may be, some myth but in no way does it take the religious sheen off the faith and belief on the presiding deity, Ma Kenduaburi. Folklore has it that in the 13th century, Gopiballabpur was a part of Chiara Pargana. It is believed that about 500 years ago, the prince of a Puri region, Bolipaldev was banished from his princely state and while on the run, he reached Balipal. Fatigued and hungry, Prince Bolipaldev settled down under a Neem tree and rued his sudden turn of fortune. At this juncture, Goddess Kenduaburi appeared before the forlorn prince in the guise of a tribal young girl and offered him some fruits. Having overcome his hunger, Prince Bolipaldev gazed around the place and found the area thick with Kendu fruit trees that added to the romance and aesthetic forest environment.

The weary and fatigued prince soon fell asleep. The Goddess appeared in the prince’s dream and told him that right under the Neem tree was Her Devi Kund and that She desired that Her devotees should offer prayers under the open sky. At the same time, Ma Kenduaburi directed Prince Bolipaldev that She was to be worshipped only by the people of the Bagri community who were members of the Schedule Tribe. The prince did as he was directed by the Devi in his dream. Balipaldev’s devotion to the Devi saw him emerging as a very powerful king. In fact, the village was named after him and till date remains known as Balipal. The rich growth of Kendu trees gave the Mother Her name — Ma Kenduaburi who is worshipped in traditional Ma Durga’s form. The Bagri community continues to worship Ma Kenduaburi in strict traditional rituals. The Mother’s devotees, spread across 35 villages offer prayers at this temple before embarking on any auspicious event. Ma Kenduaburi is worshipped on Tuesdays and Saturdays in accordance with tradition that are centuries old. Every year, the villagers of Balipal worship Ma Kenduaburi in the form of Devi Durga, a practice that has been followed through 68 years.

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