Sunday, 23 November 2014

Trip To Tukreswari


     It took me fourteen years to set foot on this place although I whizzed past it every year with the same refrain coming from the driver's seat.
 " This is where the king of the monkeys lives!"
Ever since I went past this hauntingly beautiful hillock as a bride, Tukreshwari was just a name tagged with the same story of monkeys. It was made out to be the land of monkeys as many places of worship tend to be. And the image I conjured up was a hillock teeming with the simian lot at every step. Anecdotes abounded of the many antics of our four legged ancestors. But strangely very few of those people, from whom I heard these, had actually ventured up there for a first hand experience.

A view of a distant hillock 

    And so one sultry afternoon, we set out from Goalpara town for Tukreswari which is about 25km away on the NH 37. Yes, it was that close and yet it took me 14 years to finally reach that place. From afar the hillock looked formidable with dark hued rocks and boulders jutting out from dense foliage. I was always under the impression that this rocky hillock probably had no trail that would take one to the top. Influenced by the stories and a far away perspective can so hamper the reality. Right at the foothill was a temple dedicated to Lord shiva and his consort Parvati. The doors of this temple are kept locked and there is a grill enclosed verandah that gives respite to the devotees from the simian pranks and snatchings.

View from one of the resting spots

    A path beside the temple leads to the stairs that winds up the Tukreswari hill to the top. And that is where the main temple is. And here I was thinking I would have to trudge the way up following a dirt track. Climbing up I could see the steps disappearing behind huge boulders dotted with ferns and other foliage. Trees grew from under them, around them and also sprouted from them. Huffing and puffing my way up with sweat making rivulets down my forehead, we stopped at the little bends to catch our breath. Peeking through the foliage, the branches and half obstructed by the boulders was a stretch of lush paddy fields all around dotted with more hillocks in between. The NH 37 snaked through in bits and pieces from my view point.

The Assamese Macaque

     A place not frequented by many at this time of the year, it felt like intruding on the silence. I was surprised not to have come across any  monkeys in our climb so far. Just one odd loitering around. Must be a young one out to have fun while his mamma was enjoying a siesta on one of the branches. This is the abode of the Assamese macaque. And whenever an offering is being made, especially in the morning and in the evening at the temple, all of them congregate on the branches, the rocks jutting out, the steps. And wait. They wait for their king to come and partake the offering first. It is only once the king has had his share, that the minions come forward. So we were told by our guide who accompanied us with a long staff to ward off the macaques.

Statue of Joy or Bijoy

    The steps are a new construction and fairly in a steep incline. They say the dirt track was a better climb. On the way, in the nooks and bends are few more recently installed statues of deities. Flanked by the carvings of Joy and Bijoy, the two gate keepers to the temple on the top, an iron ladder hanging from the huge rock that is crowned with the temple, is to be negotiated for the final climb.  A beautiful and serene panoramic view of the surrounding green paddy fields interspersed with hillocks and the distant rolling blue Garo hills greeted us. We just sat there for a few minutes soaking in the serenity sans the simian natives.
Tukreswari Temple In The Right Corner

    There was a small temple, said to have come up when a small piece of Sati fell on this part. Hence the temple of Tukreswari, in the place called Tukura. The temple below was constructed so as to make it accessible to all without having to trek uphill. A very simple temple on the hill top at the edge of rock, enshrining the spot of the fallen piece,  looked out at the highway and all the villages, mostly of the Rabha community. It looked more like a shed of iron and tin sheet. The door to the temple is kept latched mostly and opened only for visitors.

Another View In The Fading Light

   We did not get to meet the King since it was not the offering time. We spent a good amount of time just sitting there on the flat top of the huge rock and gazing out. After a while it was time for the descent though we would have liked to absorb a bit more of the tranquility. Tukreswari did not let me down. The sun was slipping down in the horizon. Very soon it would be dark. It is an effort to tear oneself away from such peaceful places. I have often thought of how trivial all our worries seem and how many things gain clarity when some time is spent in these places. Climbing down the steps as the evening light faded, my mind was at peace of finally having made this trip. After all these years.






  1. Ah! A Shaktipeet? And I would prefer dirt tracks any day. Steps are always a killer! Looks a grand place to visit - even without the pilgrimage aspect and even sans the King :)

  2. Cute place Ilakshi--serene and seclude.And the pics are beautiful .

  3. Beautiful and scenic place. I would love to visit some time.

  4. Yes, Suresh, a lesser known Shaktipeeth. All the more better I think or it would be marred by the hordes of visitors.

  5. Yes, Indu, it is a quiet little place. I am glad you liked it.

  6. you will like it, Rajesh. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Nice! Glad to know about this place.

  8. It's a lovely place, Niranjan!

  9. It's a lovely place, Niranjan!

  10. Very detailed narration about the place and also beautiful n nice photographs. First time i heard about this place. Thanks for sharing.

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