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What’s on goddess’s menu at Raghu Dakat’s Kali temple? A roasted fish

The human sacrifice which was once an indispensable part of the ritual was miraculously stopped by the divine mother herself, locals said.

Statesman News Service | Hooghly |

The Kali Puja started by Raghu Dakat 500 years’ ago at Basudebpur in Bansberia has stuck to its tradition age-old tradition of serving a roasted fish as a sacrificial offering to the goddess. Thousands of devotees from far and near wait patiently in long queues to get prasad of roasted fish in faith and belief that teh prasad would cure them of all their ailments and erase misfortnes of life.

The human sacrifice which was once an indispensable part of the ritual was miraculously stopped by the divine mother herself, locals said. The present priest of the temple said: “My forefathers have also served as the priest of this temple for generations.” The lore says Bidhu Bhusan Ghosh and his brother Raghu Ghosh of Jaipur in Baghati installed the present deity of goddess kali five century ago. Both the brothers who earned their livelyhood as daily wagers at fall of night transformed themselves into dacoits. Before venturing out to commit dacoity, they offered human sacrifice and roasted fish as an offering to the deity to please the divine mother and have her blessings for all success in the act.

Both the brother and their group of men were feared as ‘Raghu dakater dal.’ It was a customary practice of both the dacoit brothers to pre-inform the owners of the house about the imminent dacoity in their house. Raghu dacoit did not force the women to give him valuables but waited till they they themselves handed over jewelleries and ornaments to them. Amidst the thick forest, stood the temple of the goddess and the dread of the Raghu dakat prevailed among the then zamindars and rajas.

Raghu Dakat was worshiped as a demigod in human form by the poor due to his love for the poor. Raghu Dakat created a great panic among the people. In the fear of being caught up by the gang of dacoits, none dared to step in and around the temple. However, Ram Prasad a well know ardent devotee of goddess kali happened to pass by the way of the Kali temple, dacoits chained Ram Prasad and kept him for offering to the goddess as sarifice. Ram Prasad pleaded to Raghu dakat to unbound him and allow him to sing a last hymn in praise of goddess kali before being killed.

Raghu dakat also an ardent devotee of kali promptly agreed to the last wishes of Ram Prasad. The entire gang of dacoits of Raghu were spell bound to hear Ram Prasad sing. Raghu Dakat to his amazement had a vision of the divine mother waiting herself for being sacrificed with her neck well placed in the trident. Raghu dakat submitted to the divine mother and begged forv her forgiveness and promised tostop human sacrifice. Thereafter Raghu Dakat became an ardent follower of Ram Prasad.