Courier services almost always charge you a sum for delivering goods. But here is a unique and indigenous courier service in India that relies, not on sophisticated delivery networks or money, but entirely on faith.
Situated amongst the thick Sal forests on NH 215, around 45 kms from Keonjhar in Ghatagaon,Odisha, is the Maa Tarini Temple. This temple receives close to twenty thousand coconuts every day, going up to a lakh on festive days. The temple is highly revered and the devotees of the Goddess Maa Tarini consider her to be all powerful. So how does a temple such as this manage to get its large number of coconuts on a daily basis?
As a devotee of the temple, here is what you could do. Stand on any highway in Odisha with your coconut offering, wrapped in a red cloth, and the next bus or truck that passes by would stop to pick it up and reach it to their destination- the Maa Tarini temple at Ghatagaon. And in case the driver isn’t headed towards Ghatagaon, all he does is pass it over to another who would be headed in the direction. It works similar to the passing of a baton in a relay race. The drivers finally drop them off at numerous collection boxes placed at Ghatagoan, from where the entire lot of coconuts are offered by the priest, to the Goddess Maa Tarini.
No driver would seek money for this service nor do they refuse. The belief is that those who refuse or fail to deliver the coconuts would have to face the wrath of the Goddess and would incur great misfortune in life. This voluntary service works seamlessly, free of cost, to ensure every coconut offered from across the state, reach the temple of Maa Tarini.
So, the next time you are travelling in Odisha, don’t be surprised to find a pile of coconuts stacked behind the driver’s seat!
Have you witnessed any such unique practice in a place of worship? Do share it with me.
This is a part of my journey exploring 26 lesser known shades of a country called India, with the #AtoZChallenge 2016!!!