NOIDA (UTTAR PRADESH): As the entire country celebrates the festival of Dussehra, there is a less known village 10 km to the west of Greater Noida, not far from the national capital, called Bisrakh.
Bisrakh looks like just any other village but people aver that it has a unique nature and significance. The festivities of Dussehra ranging from the Ramleela (stage portrayal of the events of Ramayana) to the burning of certain effigies with the usual pomp and grandeur are conspicuous by their absence here.
Wonder why? This village is believed to be the birthplace of Raavan. ALSO READ & WATCH: Man Hanged To Death At Farmer Protest Site, Haryana Cops Begin Murder Probe On Nihangs
The team of The New Indian travelled to Bisrakh to understand and interact with the locals. Taking a left turn from the main highway, one is greeted with an unusual and eerie sight of a line of stores with the word “Raavan” as prefix. After a thorough interaction, the team learnt that there is actually a temple dedicated to Raavan in the heart of the village.
Making our way through the ramshackle and uneven streets of the village, our team reached a large complex known to house the ‘shivling’ that was worshipped by Raavan and his father Vishrava, a sage who is believed to have spent his life devoted to Hindu God Shiva.
The temple priests were more than eager to show us around the premises and tell us about the history and their beliefs. Pandit Vinay Bhardwaj said:
The entire village considers Raavan as their ancestor. That is the reason that any festivities of Dussehra are not celebrated in this village. It has not happened from time immemorial and it will not happen
Devotees around the temple talked with enthusiasm about how their elders told them tales of how the ‘shivling’ is more than a million years old. Once a group of thieves attempted to dig it out believing that there was treasure underneath, they could not reach the bottom end of the structure, goes one such story.
Bhardwaj also explained that the ‘shivling’ has been carbon-dated by experts and has been established as more than a million years old.
One would argue that Raavan was known for his evil side, the archetypal binary opposite of the paragon of virtue – Ram. However, Raavan is still beloved by some as he was an ardent die-hard devotee of Hindu Lord Shiva, the devon ka dev, Mahadev. As Pandit Prince Mishra said, “Without Raavan, there is no Ram. And without Ram, we wouldn’t know Raavan.”
Perhaps, that is why Raavan holds a special place of veneration in the hearts of these village residents over countless generations, and reportedly, in some other parts of the subcontinent too.