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A Day at Gonasika, Keonjhar, Odisha

BY: Madhulika Sahoo | Category: Travel | Submitted: 2011-09-03 21:02:53
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Article Summary: "The push up different community people to the Gonasika, has brought changes in Juang tribes rituals and practices. The article has explored the age old history of the place, people and practices..."


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I reached the Kenonjhar town at 6 O'clock morning. As I started walking through the lanes, I could smell the early morning incense stick from the local temples, the smell of morning meals making me thoughtful about the relaxed life of the people here. There was no rush to catch the local train to the work, no traffic to get late to the office, no fear to get warning from the manager. Entire town was getting ready for the day trade, women preparing to open their leaf plate shops, kids cleaning tea glasses at tea stalls. As the time passes by, we hired a local vehicle and went towards Juang Pidha. The lane was appearing unchanged but with little prohibition due to construction work. We took a separate track which was muddy and not properly mended. It took us little longer to reach the place. As we stopped near the famous Brahameswari temple in Gonasika (GP of Banspal block) where the meeting was supposed to take place, there were 3-4 people waiting in front of the Brahameswari temple. 'Some more people are on the way to attend the meeting sir' said a man, suddenly a thought cross my mind to take a walk around the temple within the spare time.

The artifacts carved on the temple walls appear to be very old, the local Brahmin offering prayer to the god replied to our query. Apparently the temple was 1500 years old during the emergence of Juang in the area, while digging for the sweet potato underneath the earth, the Juang man discovered the 'Ling' popularly known as 'Shiv Ling'. Soon the message spreads in the entire kingdom; the king built up a temple there known as Brhameswari temple now. The popular temple in earlier days was taken care by the Juang tribes where they started practicing human slaughter in order to offer prayer to the god. With large number of slaughtering cases the situation went out of control, the district administration took charge over the management of the temple. Latter Brahmins from neighboring district was appointed in the temple to offer prayer to the god. With the push of different community people to the area brought changes in the Juang practices, the Juang stopped going to the temple as the practice by the Brahmins was not similar to their kind of rituals. Apparently during the time of Keonjhar king in collaboration with the Dhenkanal king, the Keonjhar king allowed milkmen's, goat keepers and cultivators from Dhenkanal because Keonjhar didn't had specialized people to give those services.

Hearing the tales from the local people and the Brahmins working in the temple gave me the picture that, the colonization of people from neighboring district who belongs to different caste and community has brought changes on the Juang's culture and practices. The shops outside the temple owned by a non-Juang, the onset of the Brahmins in the temple is a big example of revolutionize in the Juang culture.

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