Whale backbone is worshipped in Machhi-Mata Mandir

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Surat, Sep 1 (UNI) Among the numerous temples in India, unique either for their architechture or their method of worship or the mythology behind them, one is situated in Magod-Dungri village in Valsad district, where backbone of a giant whale is being worshipped by villagers for last several years before they start any work.

The temple known as ''Machhi-Mata Mandir'' is situated 12 km from Valsad. The uniqueness of the temple is that except backbone of a whale, no other idol is placed inside. Tandel family (known as Machhi-Mata Parivar), which lives nearby, manages all the affairs of the temple.

It is believed that forefathers of this 'parivar' established the backbone at the place and built a temple upon it.

The bone is of a massive whale, which is said to have swam to the village beach around 350 years back, according to a villager Pochha Tandel.

The villagers believe that all their woes will end, if they faithfully worship the bone. First, the temple was established in a small shed after which, the local villagers developed it into a permanent structure.

A huge fair is organised near the temple on the eighth day of Navratri every year, in which people of neighbouring villages and cities come to the temple to offer puja.

''Few years back, there was an epidemic of Chicken-pox in the village, in which many villagers lost their lives. Despite making all the efforts, the disease couldn't be controlled, after which a collective prayer was offered in the temple. The epidemic got eradicated within a week and no more deaths occurred. There are many such instances related to this temple and this is the reason why it is held in high regard,'' Dalpat Tandel, a villager said.

UNI XR/PVN SR SP PM1750

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