The country’s oldest Durga Puja ritual was performed at the Durga Mandir in Nartiang that started during the rule of King Dhan Manik in the 16th century.
The Durga Mandir in Nartiang is 600 years old is made of stones and wood with a tin roofing and has a poignancy that is unlike Hindu temples across the country. Nartiang is in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya.
According to The Shillong Times the centuries old untold stories of Nartiang Durga Mandir have missed the attention of the Government who has done little to promote it. INTACH had proposed heritage status for the temple but the office of the Director of Urban Affairs says that the temple was not on the list of possible heritage sites submitted by INTACH to the state Government.
The 16th century temple is one of the 51 shakti peethas or site of divine power in the country. It is believed that the Goddess’s left thigh fell in Nartiang. Durga is here known by the name Jainteshwari.
In 2008, the Central Puja Committe, Shillong took up the task of renovating the temple and providing facilities for the priest and his family.
Nartiang is more famous for its Monolith Park, than Durga temple. The Myndtu river flows nearby. The priest says that there is no help from the state Government for the maintenance and the temple survives on the donations from the devotees.
The name Jaintia is a Hindu name Jayantia. But with time it became Jaintia. The British did not stop the puja at Durga temple except for human sacrifice