Sivasagar Sivadol Sivasagar
About Sivasagar Sivadol
The original Kolosi (Kalasha) or vase-like structure at the top of the Sivadol was made of pure gold. It was too meaningless a use of the valuable gold for the British. So, they eventually brought that down. I am not sure how they did it or what they did with that (I remember a story from childhood that mentioned that they fired at it to bring it down but can’t verify it). Actually, the present gold-plated replica works fine as an ornamental topping unless someone tells you this story and kills the aura. On hindsight, probably I should not have disclosed this factoid but since I have, let’s just deal with it and move on.
After the somewhat middling trip to Charaideu, I just had half a day to cover all the remaining riches of Sivasagar (also spelt Sibsagar). I woke up early, determined not to let this trip turn into a failure. Eventually, I did manage to cover most of them but that is a long story. As today is Mahashivratri, I am quickly sharing the sights of Sivadol.
So, I came out as early as possible. It was a bright day and it was going to be too bright for photography so I decided to make the most of the soft morning light. It was a brisk 15 mins walk from my dilapidated hotel near the bus stand. I first reached the Bor Pukhuri(Grand Pond) which is also called Sivasagar (Sea of Shiva). It is a large man-made lake and actually, both the city and the district of Sivasagar are named after it. The temples were visible from a distance but the morning haze made the photograph unsatisfactory.
I kept walking and finally reached the temple complex. Being a live temple, it was already open at 7.30 am for devotees. The complex actually has three temples. Apart from the aforementioned Sivadol, there are two smaller ones called Vishnu Dol and Devi Dol flanking the main structure. They look similar but much smaller. What is more interesting is that they represent two opposing faiths. The Vishnu Dol is dedicated to Neo-Vaishnavite traditions and it does not have any statue of gods or goddesses inside. On the other hand, the Devi Dol is dedicated to the Devi Shakta traditions. There was a period of schism in Assam when there was a severe conflict between the two sects. But this was probably an effort at reconciliation that came after a period of bitter infighting. The differences still exist although they no longer fight.
The closest airports to reach Sivasagar are Jorhat and Dibrugarh, located at 40 kilometers and 80 kilometers respectively from the main city of Sivasagar. This city has a railway station also. The Dibrugarh - Yesvantpur Express connects Sivasagar railway station. There is good service provided by Assam State Transport Corporation's (ASTC) buses which connect the city with other part of Assam
Jakaishuk Shiva Mandir
The Sivadol or Shiva temple, built in the Shikhara architecture (more specifically Ahom temple architecture), has a central tower which is said to be the tallest tower in India at a height of 104 feet (32 m). The base of the temple measures 195 ft (59 m) in circumference. The temple is built with stone and bricks. Inside the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorium), the Shiva Linga (aniconic symbol of Shiva) is deified, which is in a reverse setting. The Shikhara or Vimana (temple tower), which rises above the sanctum sanctorium, has a four-tiered, 8 feet (2.4 m) mastakaand is crowned by a kalasha made of gold. Sivadol is surrounded by two subsidiary temples Visnudol (in the east) and Devidol which are architecturally similar to the larger Shiva temple. Vishnudol is dedicated to the God Vishnu; Devidol, also known as Joidol, is a Durga temple. While the Vishnu temple's tower has a honeycomb design with an ornamental criss-cross framework, the Durga temple's tower is designed, in its vertical elevation, with an undulating pattern.
Every year, during the Mahashivaratri, a huge mela (fair) is organized in the Shiva temple and pilgrims visit from all parts of India to offer puja. During the Hindu month of Sawan (August September), Hare Krishna kirtan, chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, is conducted all through the night, a major attraction to the devotees. The Dol Yatra and Rath Yatra are two annual festivals celebrated at Vishnu Dol. Durga Puja is celebrated every year with great fervour during September–October at Devidol.