Oct 14: A special Durga Puja is held every year along with the India-Bangladesh border in Assam’s Karimganj district. Residents of Manikpur village organize Puja at a Durga temple located in a no man’s land between India and Bangladesh.
As per the belief among locals, the temple was built more than 150 years ago. After independence, the temple fell outside of India’s territory. Now, barbed wires stand between the Durga temple in no man’s land and Manikpur residents.
However, the barbed wire fence and the boundary do not dampen the spirit of the villagers. They organize Durga Puja with everlasting joy and excitement every year.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sushmita Dev, who visited the temple and offered her prayers to Goddess Durga, said, “The historic temple is located in a no man’s land between India and Bangladesh, and it is about 150 years old. In 1994, rituals performed by the villagers at the temple were stopped, but in 2009 the Border Security Force (BSF) had allowed villagers to visit the temple and perform rituals again. The villagers had again started Durga Puja celebration at the temple in 2009 and it has been continuing.”
According to the locals of Manikpur village, during the Durga Puja days, the BSF keeps the border gate open from 5 am to 10:00 pm every day and allows only devotees to enter.
“Not only local villagers, [but] jawans have also celebrated Durga Puja by offering prayers to Goddess Durga at the same temple. We only allow devotees to go beyond fencing gate during the festival,” a BSF official said.
Assam’s Karimganj district shares a 92-km-long border with Bangladesh, mostly with the country’s Sylhet district.