Holy site on a hill


It is a “holy site” for Hindus that was discovered six decades ago by farmers who were grazing their livestock.

What the farmers saw on top of the hill amazed them and even made some of them to start praying.

The place is now being visited often by Hindus from around Fiji, with some from overseas also going there to offer prayers when visiting the country.

For many, offering prayers at the place has brought them either good luck or solved problems they faced in life.

Since the place was first discovered by nearby residents, a lot of developments have taken place there as people flock to offer prayers to one of the many gods for Hindus — Lord Shiva.

There is a temple now on top of the hill at Taganikula, which is an hour’s drive from Labasa Town.

When the place was first discovered, there were three rocks coming out of the ground, all next to one another.

The three rocks are believed by Hindus to be the embodiment of Lord Shiva, his wife Goddess Parvati and their son Lord Ganesha.

They have become the stuff of reverence and worship, resulting in devotees building the Taganikula Shiv Temple on top of the hill to house the three revered rocks.

The once nameless hill is now known to devotees as the Shiv Kailash Parbat.

It is likened to Kailash Parbat in the Himalayas, which is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva.

While people have been unable to reach the top of Kailash Parbat because of the treacherous paths and for other reasons not known to mankind, those in Fiji are lucky to find their way up to the Shiv Kailash Parbat.

At one time, people had to walk up to the Shiv Kailash Parbat in Taganikula to offer prayers, even though it took them a long time and some breaks in between to rest.

But now, only four-wheel-drive vehicles can go right up to the hilltop to allow devotees to offer their prayers to one of the most famous gods for Hindus.

The Shiva Linga depicts Lord Shiva and next to it are the rocks that are said to be Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha.

In an interview yesterday, the temple’s assistant treasurer Satish Chand said the temple had gained popularity with devotees of Lord Shiva over the years.

Mr Chand said that when the biggest of the rocks, known as the Shiva Linga, which is the embodiment of Lord Shiva was discovered it was a mere eight inches tall.

“It’s amazing how the rocks has now grown to about three feet and it continues to do so as our faith in its sacredness continues,” he said.

“The Shiva Linga which represents the Hindu deity, Shiva, is used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. In traditional Indian society, the Linga is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself.

“The Lingam is often represented alongside the Yoni (which is a Sanskrit term for the womb), a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy.”

Mr Chand said the union of Linga and Yoni represents the indivisible two in oneness of male and female, from which all life originates.

“The amazing thing about the three rocks in the Taganikula Shiv Temple is that they represent the holy trinity of the family of Lord Shiva,” he said.

“The bigger rock of the three represents Lord Shiva, the one which is protected by the head of a rearing cobra is the embodiment of Lord Ganesha while the third rock represents the Goddess Parvati who is the wife of Lord Shiva.

“I think in the entire world this is one of those very few instances where we have the three god heads in one place.”

The former president of the temple’s trust, Hemant Kumar, said the temple has been visited by bus loads of people every now and then.

“We have bus loads of people and those visiting from overseas paying homage at the temple,” he said.

“The temple is normally visited by devotees during the major Hindu festivals such as the Shivratri, Parvatirati and the Ganesh Ustav.

“Ram Naumi and other major Hindu holy celebrations are also held at the temple.”

Mr Kumar said in the past when people started praying to the rocks someone had struck the head of the Shiva Linga with an axe leaving marks on the rock.

“Those marks have remained to this day even while the rock is still growing,” he said.

“People who try to explain the growth of the rock have no real explanation as to how the rock has developed to be this large.

“People continue to pay homage at the temple every year especially during Hindu festivals.”

Like the snake temple or Naag Mandir in Nagigi, outside Labasa Town, the Shiva Linga is also expected to grow further in years to come.

Source: Fiji Times