Exploration of the Sacred Abode: Basistha Mandir


Our sojourn to the venerable Basistha Mandir Transpired on the auspicious 20th of March, 2024, wherein I engaged in lettered discourse with the venerable Pujaris, stewards of the Mandir, delving into the annals of its storied past. They bestowed upon me a plethora of captivating anecdotes, while I immersed myself in the enchanting narratives shared by the diligent custodians of this sacred sanctuary.

The foremost Pujari imparted unto me the great lore that Basistha, a revered Vedic sage and amongst the pantheon of the saptarishis, embarked upon a divine journey of penance within the hallowed areas of the Mandir, dedicating himself to the austere worship of Lord Shiva. Nestled amidst the ethereal Sandhyachal mountain ranges, akin to the mystical Kamakhya temple fitted in the Nilachal peaks, the Mandir finds its tranquil abode. Adorning the mandir’s rear, a serpentine river, christened Vasistha Ganga, gracefully flows, its genesis attributed to the benevolent invocation of Basistha Rishi, endowing it with three tributaries-Sandhya, Lalita, and Kanta- whose meandering currents eventually converge with the mighty Brahmaputra River. Constructed five centuries past by the Assamese monarch Raja Shersinha, the Basistha Mandir now finds custodial care under the aegis of the Government’s Archaeological Department. Foremost among the jolly festivities adorning its calendar is the august observance of Shivaratri, wherein the Mandir reverberates with devout chants and orchestrates multifarious melas in homage to the divine.

The second Pujari expounded upon Basistha’s exalted stature as the preceptor of Lord Ram, ensconced in the royal surroundings of Ayodhya. A tale unfolded of Kamadhenu, a celestial bovine (cow/buffalo) coveted by Basistha for its bounteous blessings, only to fall victim to the caprice of Guru Vishvamitra, thus igniting the flames of discord between the two sages. Consumed by desolation and revenge, Basistha embarked on a spiritual odyssey, beseeching the blessings of Lord Brahma. Guided by the divine, Basistha traversed to Kamrup, the ancient appellation of Assam, offering obeisance at the sacred Kamakhya Mandir, yet finding his path impeded by the dramatic closure of Brahma’s portal. Demoted to the magnificent Sandhyachal peaks, Basistha embarked upon fervent penance, beseeching Brahma’s grace for the gift of water. Thus ensued a ritualistic petition of Lord Shiva, culminating in the miraculous emergence of Basistha Ganga, anointed by the divine essence of the Lord Vishnu. Renowned for his purifying cleansings in the confluence of Sandhya, Lalita, and Kanta, Basistha immortalized the mandir as an abode of sacred austerity, dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva.

The third Pujari elucidated upon the Mandir’s festive fervour, heightened by the grandeur of Shivaratri, a jubilant affair cheered by spirited meals and bounteous offerings. Antecedent to Shivaratri’s crescendo, the mandir extends benevolent generosity, proffering sustenance to its devout pilgrims. Additionally, the Mandir reverently observes Makar Sankranti, accompanied by the glorious Bhulbom Mela, Ambubassi Mela, and Raspenem Mela, where devotees partake in sacramental rituals, purifying themselves in the sanctifying waters of Basistha Ganga, whilst idolizing the divine visage of Lord Shiva. Similarly, the sacred months of Shravan heralds the arrival of Bhulbom Mela, Ambubassi Mela, and Raspenem Mela, thus perpetuating the Mandir’s august legacy of spiritual communion and divine reverence.

Mokshada Choudhary is 16 years old and presently studying in class XI at dps school. She is a national level sports player in fencing game. She is avid writer and authored 03 published books till now. She is running a project named fence the future, which encourages underpreveilages childrens to join the sports in various schools. She is a community worker for old age home and special childrens. She is pursuing economics in her high school and writes articles about the indian economy.