JEYPORE: Strange though it may sound, hill tribes of Koraput worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati as siblings, not as consorts. Since ages, people of Girligumma under Dasamantpur block have been worshipping Lord Shiva and his wife as brother and sister at a cave named Banadurga on the outskirts of the village, setting aside tradition.
Though there is no specific historical background over this tribal belief, locals said once both Lord Shiva and Goddesses Parvati had decided to perform brother and sister roles on the Earth as new incarnation. Accordingly, they were living with their parents at Banadurga cave in the village. Later, Lord Shiva went for ‘tapasya’ (deep meditation) and Devi Parvati was staying along with their parents at the cave.
Since then, tribals have been worshipping both Lord Shiva and Goddesses Parvati as brother and sister in Banadurga cave, unknowingly making the temple unique. The cave is also known as ‘Bhai-Bhauni’ (brother-sister) temple in the locality due to this tradition. Basudev, a priest of Girligumma, said, “The new avatar of both Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati was worshipped by our ancestors since time immemorial. We follow it happily.”
Interestingly, the non-tribals of different areas of the district also throng the cave to worship the idols round the year. Special rituals are performed during all the 12 months of Hindu calendar. While tribals are appeasing both the idols by sacrificing cattle heads, the non-tribals worship the deities by offering fruits. The idols were also being worshipped by the royal families of Jeypore kingdoms for centuries.
It also came to light that Dussehra festival of Jeypore kingdom got started only after the beating of drums at Banadurga cave in Girligumma village. “The historical fact over the tradition and idols at Girligumma village would surface only after a research by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” said CH Santakar, a social worker of Koraput.