India is a land of legends and myths. It’s indeed interesting that Indian mythology is one of the major highlights of Indian culture which makes this country standout among the rest in the world. Through centuries, varied stories and beliefs have been passed on from generation to generation either by word of mouth or ancient scriptures. Bisrakh Village has one such story to unwind which is kept concealed in this tucked away rural community near Noida
It is believed to be the birthplace of demon King Ravana, the emperor of Lanka.
Bisrakh caught my attention last year when I read few parallel stories on leading websites which mentioned it as the village which do not hold the annual celebrations of Dussehra or Diwali. Instead they mourn their son’s death for 10 days in gloom.
I must admit what fascinated me about Bisrakh was first the idea that King Ravana was born and has roots connected from a place which is just 30 kms away from Delhi. Second, how he ended up ruling Lanka, which is nowhere even close to Bisrakh. My visit here surprised me in many ways. Unlike what I read, talking to the locals I found that they certainly do not mourn Ravana’s death like it’s said. They celebrate Dussehra but with a difference
The village derived its name from Ravana’s father, Vishravas; a famous sage lived to worship Lord Shiva in this village. Ravana spent his childhood at this village before moving to Lanka. I was told that Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarana, who performed penance, acquired Lanka after getting miraculous powers from Lord Brahma, which helped them to drive out Kuber (Step brother of Ravana who got this country as a gift from Lord Shiva) to occupy the golden kingdom .
Ancient temple of Lord Shiva at Bisrakh
Vishravas found a linga in the forest and established it at this village as an abode. Bisrakh boasts an octagonal shivling that is probably the only one of its kind.
Some years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavation in the Shiva temple premises and unearthed a cave, large bricks, metal coins and other relics. The roughly two-and-a-half-foot-high shivling above actually extends about eight feet under the surface
The villagers recently constructed a new temple as well where in some villagers were trying to put an idol of Ravana along with other deities related to him.
But just 2 days before the installation of statue, I was told that few armed men attacked the temple and the statue was vandalised making it unworthy to be kept in a temple.
How Bisrakh celebrates Dussehra
The villagers never held Ramlila at the village nor burned the effigy of King Ravana. The villages believe that it would invite the wrath from Shiva (the abode) as Ravana was the lord’s devotee. A local woman whom I chanced upon meeting told me that she heard from her in-laws that two people died in their immediate family the very next day of Dussehra because they burned the effigy of Ravana. She also told me another story of a family which held the function of Ramlila and the head of the family died the following year.
“They challenged the belief, so this was inevitable” she told me.
But unlike what I read in the news reports, the villagers certainly do not mourn the day and celebrate these ten days in full flow which includes buying new clothes to making new dishes every day.
“We do everything but do not burn or harm the figure of Ravana” the lady said
The priest of the old Shiva temple in Bisrakh who has been taking care of the temple for last 30 years told me that all these years he never saw any villager burning the effigy of Ravana. Rather they keep the celebration simple.
But it is ironic to note that though the village claims to be the birthplace of Ravana, I could not find any particular mark which can justify the legend, except what people claim. India truly is a wonder land
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