23rd January, 2016
Whenever any incident of religious mayhem grips our attention and quashes our spirits, we wonder if there could ever be an end to all this violence. Whenever we see a bunch of our fellow countrymen spilling blood all over or getting into a war of words in a bid to establish each other’s religious superiority; our hearts sink, fear clogs our mind and we find ourselves praying to God, beseeching him to send down a panacea. It is perhaps the result of many such prayers that God gifted us with a place named Hajo. Situated at a distance of 24 kilometres off the city of Guwahati, this small town has been a longstanding symbol of inter-faith harmony. Being an important pilgrimage centre to three different religions, i.e. Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, Hajo holds the same level of significance for many Indians as Jerusalem does for the world. So, then, what is it that makes Hajo so culturally diverse? And, why is it considered to be a symbol of religious tolerance? Well, let’s find out.
1.The famous Hayagriva Madhav temple is situated here and is important to both Hindu and Buddhist community
The uniqueness of this temple lies in the fact that it preaches both Hinduism and Buddhism.
And, quite interestingly, it is regarded as a Buddhist shrine because Lord Buddha is believed to have attained Nirvana here.
2.Hajo is home to a Muslim sacred site – Powa Mecca
Powa Mecca is a revered shrine for the Muslims. It was established in order to spread the fundamental message of Islam - Peace. It is believed to have been constructed with the very soil from Mecca.
3.The Ganesh Temple is an important religious shrine of Hajo
It is also known as Deva Bhavana since it serves as the meeting point of all the deities of the area. This temple is quite ancient and has its own fair share of tourists.
4.The Dhoparguri Satra is another significant religious place which teaches Vaishnavism, a set of beliefs founded by the great religious Guru, Srimanta Sankardeva
This major tourist attraction has been modelled on the lines of an Ashram and preaches the teachings of the great Srimanta Sankardev. Every year, devotees from the length and breadth of Assam throng the premises of this holy place in hordes.
5.Hajo has never witnessed any violence in the name of religion despite being so spectacularly diverse
No religious tension has ever marred the pristine beauty of this place. On the contrary, the people of this incredible place have always shown unprecedented love and support for each other’s faith. All are intertwined by the virtues of love, compassion and fellow-feeling. For instance, in the wake of the recent Magh Bihu celebrations, a slew of people belonging to different faiths gleefully took part in a rally from Powa Mecca to the Hayagriva Madhava Temple in a bid to send across the much-needed message of communal harmony. And, the fact that this procession was flagged off by the Head priest of the Hayagriva Madhava Temple along with the Khadim of Powa Mecca gave it a midas touch.
It’s an oft-repeated statement that India is a land of unity in diversity. But, what many of us fail to fathom is that it is places like Hajo which have helped our country earn this tag. With an unwavering sense of inter-faith kinship and tolerance running in its veins, Hajo, definitely has in it to be the national symbol for religious unity and is the ideal guiding light for the people gone astray.
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