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Stones offered to appease deity
Published on 4 Jul. 2010 11:06 PM IST
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People carry stones in their hands, looking out for more, some running, while others walk swiftly in a particular direction. No, the group is not getting ready for a fight, but going to a temple where stones are offered to appease the deity.
Welcome to the Bhujanga Devi temple in Naglabheekan village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district, some 300 km from Lucknow, where devotees offer stones to get their prayers answered. The temple is named after Bhujanga Devi, who locals say is an incarnation of goddess Durga.
“We don’t worship with flowers, incense sticks or other puja items in the temple. Only stones are offered to Bhujanga Devi,” Kumudesh Chandra, who owns a garment shop in the village, told IANS.
“The unique way of worship may definitely surprise outsiders, but for villagers it has become a tradition. For the last several decades, I have been coming to the temple with my family,” he added. The small temple has a six feet black idol of Bhujanga Devi. Hundreds of stones are offered daily at this temple.
“Though a large number of devotees visit the temple daily, the numbers go up during Navratri (nine-day festival dedicated to goddess Durga) when around 300-500 people come a day,” said temple priest Jagram Das.
Legend has it that there once lived a woman named Bhanumati in the village, who became mentally challenged after being afflicted with multiple health problems. She was forced out of the house by her family members. Bhanumati then started living on the streets.
One day she entered the temple carrying stones and started throwing them around. When passers-by noticed her, they tried to stop her but found to their astonishment that she had been cured.
“It is said that when a group of men went inside the temple to bring her out, they found that Bhanumati was perfectly all right.... They were taken by surprise and believed that the miracle was possible because of Bhujanga Devi. Since then people have been offering stones at the temple to get their wishes fulfilled,” said 65-year-old Lolarak Dubey, a resident of the village. So, where shops outside other temples would sell flowers for devotees to offer to the deity, the many makeshift stalls that come around Bhujanga Devi’s shrine during Navratri package stones for people to buy.
Said Das: “It’s up to the devotees to choose or select the stones they want to offer to the goddess. There’s a belief that if black stones are offered to Bhujanga Devi, the devotee gets the blessing instantly. It may be because the favourite colour of the goddess is black.”

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