It is a very old temple and is rich in heritage. Durga Puja which is observed every year in this temple is over 1000 years old. It is unbelievable, but true. It gets this name because of the fact that the
Malla dynasty used to rule then and it was under their governance that this temple came up. It is the oldest Durga Puja in Bengal and it still beholds its rich culture, in an undiluted way.
Raghunath was crowned as the first king of Malla dynasty at Pradamnapur. King Jagat Malla shifted his capital from Pradamnapur to Bishnupur because of the latter’s better positioning with respect to safety. Bishnupur is mostly famous for its terracotta tradition, but it also proudly is the place where the oldest Durga Puja of the state happens.
King Jagat Malla established the Mrinmoyee temple in 997 AD. Actually, Jagat Malla was ordered by Maa Mrinmoyee to build this temple, in his dreams. The idol is made of Ganga clay. The 57th generation of the Malla dynasty is there at present.
The Durgotsab in Mrinmoyee mandir commences with the setting up of Ghat (Clay Pot). The old ghat is used every year; legend has that one of the artisans died while making a ghat and after that no new ghats are made.
A day after “Dwityaashtami” the festivity begins with the worship of “Baro thakurini”. Mejo thakurini comes under the disguise of Kola Bou on the day of Cahturthi and she again reappears on the day of Saptami, along with Choto thakurini. And with this the gates open for the general public. On Maha Ashtami, the most number of people gather round the mandir; even many foreigner s can be seen. The youth of Mahadanda Community takes the Canon to the “Mochchha Hill”, just adjacent to the “Pathor Dorja”.The canon is fired during the moment of Sandishan. Then the sacrifice takes part. As per law and order no animals are sacrificed these days, only vegetables are used for the same. On Maha Navami, every person of Bishnupur gets an invitation to the mandir.
From Dwitiya to Sasthi, khichuri(rice-pulse mixture) is cooked and on the first three days of the puja, plain rice is cooked.
The existing members of the Malla dynasty perform the ‘Mahamaarir Puja’ on the night of Navami . They pray to Maa to save them from endemic. On the day of Bijaya Dashami, Maa takes stale rice. The people of “Nuley community” of Rautkhand village come to Raajbari with “Tyaskhan Pakhi” (Neelkantha Bird) and the local fishermen offer ‘curd’ and ‘Chang fish’ to the goddess. The bird is freed and the fish is kept in the pot, filled with curd. Immersion of the idol is forbidden. At the end of the yatra, flowers and leaves are immersed in the near by pond.
The temple is 146 KM from Netaji Subhash International airport, Kolkata. It is 3.6 KM from Bishnupur Railway Station and 2.3 KM from Bishnupur Bus Stand.
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