Nartiang Tour

Nartiang is located in the Jaintia hills district. With a diameter of 100 m, Nartiang is a whole cluster of monoliths situated in the eastern part of Meghalaya, at a distance of 65kms from Shillong. The erection of Nartiang monoliths is regarded as one of the major events during the Jaintia era.

Nartiang is around 65 kilometres from Shillong. This small village was the summer capital of the Jaintia kings. My first stop here was the Durga Temple. The original structure of the temple was similar to a typical Khasi house, with a thatched roof over a central wooden pillar. Later the thatch was replaced by a corrugated tin roof. It had been further modified and reconstructed by Ramakrishna Mission of Cherrapunjee in the year 1987 to preserve, protect and encourage the tradition, faith and culture of the people.

The temple stands today, nondescript, to tell the tale of Hindu heritage of the Jaintia kingdom which dates back to around 1446 A.D. This 500 year old Durga temple is one of the "Shakti Peethas" of Hindu Mythology. Although Shakti Peetas are well known all over, this particular one is an exception.
Shakti Peetha : Legend has it that King Daksha never liked his son-in-law Lord Shiva who is dressed in leopard skin, snakes entwined his neck, body smeared with ash, matted hair and went around begging for alms. But he had to bow down to his daughter Sati's wish to be Shiva's wife. Soon after the marriage King Daksha went to pay his daughter and son-in-law a visit. It was at noon while Lord Shiva was taking a siesta. His attendants had refused to wake Shiva up. Daksha felt utterly humiliated thinking Shiva did it purposefully. Daksha disliked Shiva more now and waited for his opportunity to take revenge.

Daksha's opportunity to settle score came soon. He arranged for an elaborate performance of holy sacrificial ritual (Yajna). All important people were invited to the holy ceremony. All except Lord Shiva. Despite Shiva's forbiddance, Sati went to attend the holy ceremony. After all, Sati thought, she did not need an invitation to attend a function at her own father's home.

Daksha ridiculed Sati and belittled Lord Shiva in front of the guests as soon as Sati arrived. Unable to withstand the insult, Sati jumped into the sacrificial fire before the very eyes of the entire gathering that stood watching in utter disbelief. Shiva was mad with rage when the news reached him. He held Sati's body up and started the "Tandava Nritya". Carrying the body of Sati he travelled from place to place, crossing hills, valleys and rivers. The world shook under Lord Shiva's fury. Frightened, the God's went to Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu released his "Sudarshana Chakra" which sliced parts of Sati's body. Gradually Shiva calmed down. The places where parts of Sati's body fell are known as 'Shakti Peetha". Temples are built on these spots and worshiped with great devotion.