The Tetris Koti Dev Mandir, which was constructed and opened to the public in 1973, now lies in a shambles. Thanks to the apathy of the administration, today this one-of-a-kind temple in Guwahati is almost oblivious to the world when it could have boosted religious tourism in the state.
The Tetris Kouti Dev Mandir is situated near the Assam State Electricity Board powerhouse at Kahilipara- 8 kilometres from the popular Ganesh Mandir.
The temple needs more attention and proper development as it is the only temple in the state where we can find the idols of 33 types of God in one place.
The hilltop where the temple is located used to be a dense forest half a decade ago. These idols were discovered by two locals suddenly when they went to the forest to collect firewood.
Locals said that while collecting firewood, the duo saw a bat entering a cave situated below two huge stones. When they chased the bat into the cave, one of them stumbled upon a stone and fell down to the ground.
"On closer inspection, the two discovered it was an idol of Lord Shiva," Bolen Deka, a local, explained.
"They brought the idol out, and the discovery of an idol spread like wildfire in the area. Soon, more people gathered, and they decided to explore the cave. Upon exploration, they found a total of 33 idols of the 33 types of God, " Deka added.
It's believed that these idols were carved out of the same stone under the orders of Narakasura, the king of erstwhile Pragjyotishpur.
Gopal Rabha said, "After discovering the idols, instead of informing the authorities, many people kept them for themselves, locked in trunks and bags,"
"Soon after the discovery of these idols, many people began to fall sick, and most of them died because of cholera. An entire village was wiped out, " he further added.
"At the same time, a strange thing happened. Those who took the idols complained of hearing strange noises coming from the bags and trunks where the idols were locked. After consultations, they decided to give away the idols and construct the temple," Rabha added.
However, with time, many idols were stolen, and some were destroyed by wind and rain. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the authorities of the Assam State Museum brought the preservation of these idols under their supervision and shifted the idols to the museum.
Now what remains on the hilltop is just a shadow of its past. Though people have taken the initiative to build 33 different temples for the same number of gods, there is still a lot to do.
The modern human habitat has destroyed the beauty of the place. The door of the cave where the idols were discovered is now completely closed by shrubs and soil. All that remains of a big freshwater stream, just near the cave, is a gutter carrying sewage that flows in from the nearby houses.
The temple comes alive during the Mahashivratri festival, and for the remaining part of the year, it languishes in the dark.
So far, we have submitted several memorandums to the local MLA for reviving the temple and its premise. However, no step has been initiated so far. We would like to appeal to Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to look into this matter and develop Tetris Koti Dev Mandir as a hotspot of religious tourism in the region," Rabha emphasized.
Partha Prawal (Goswami) is a Guwahati-based journalist who loves to write about entertainment, sports, and social and civic issues among others. He is also a published author.