What strikes your mind when you hear the words “black magic”? Wizards and witches practising witchcraft? Or rather a chill down your spine? Be it either of those, the stories of sorcery of Mayong district of Assam can’t fail to make you reconsider your decisions…
The Mysterious Land Even The Mughals Feared:-
Mayong [aka Mayang] is a district in Assam, about 45 km east of Guwahati, is a hub of black magic and witchcraft and is infamous worldwide for the same. People here don’t use science for their day-to-day living, instead, practice and promote witchcraft. Like, for example, you would usually pay a visit to a doctor if you have any ailment or a police station for registering a complaint of a theft. But in Mayong, you would rather visit an Ojha, i.e. a witch doctor or a wizard for the purpose. Isn’t it surprisingly weird, or… well, scary? Not only this, but these practioners have said to be mastered the miraculous posibilties of the future, like teleportation! People say that in olden days, people could move to other places using the ‘Udan mantra’. How surreal!
This land has so many scary stories to tell, even the Mughal general Raja Ram Singh was too intimidated to enter Mayong. He had the then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s orders to conquer the Ahom kingdom of Assam. The general was more afraid of Mayang’s black magic than the army of Ahom.
The Scary Sorcery:-
Mayong has scary air even in its name’s origin. Mayong was derived by the Sanskrit word “Maya” which means ‘illusion’. People here don’t educate their children by schooling, rather choose to teach them witchcraft and black magic. Many dedicated witch doctors and wizards often have an opinion that witchcraft is the ultimate truth and they believe in it despite what science has to say and offer. Their treatments include some insanely bizarre techniques which you can’t help but disagree if you’re a firm believer of science. One of those techniques is the cure for back pain. The treatment consists of placing a copper plate on the back of the person who is sitting upright and chanting mantras to relieve the pain. The most surprising factor is the plate doesn’t fall from the upright posture and that it can even tell whether the person really suffers from back pain!
Mayong is some of the most spooky places in India. Almost every household has an Ojha as a member. Not only males but even females also practice black magic. They are believed to attract men towards them using black magic. There are several mantras for it, for example, the ‘Mohini mantra’ and the ‘Bokhikaran mantra’.
The New Generation Of Mayong:-
With scientific knowledge being widespread, the new generation doesn’t believe much into black magic. And even if black magic is more or less still exists in Mayong, it’s not as prevalent as it was once. Yet, many say that there still might be super scary witches and wizards practising witchcraft in the depths of the forest, no one has confirmed any of such cases.
Be it an illusion or black magic, Mayong has a spectacular and magical history right from the medieval ages. Even today, many stories leave people as white as a ghost…
Amarnath temple is one of the 18 Maha Shakti peethas. It is a holy Hindu place where pilgrims travel the hardest path get the darshan of Lord Shiva. Amaranth is a cave which is located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is a cave situated at an altitude of 3888 m, which is about 141 km from Srinagar which is the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Most of the year the cave is covered by the snow. Amarnath cave is surrounded by mountains of snow and is open only for a short period of time in a year during summer for pilgrims to visit. Hundreds and thousands of Hindu devotees take up this yatra passing through challenging mountains.
The cave from inside is 40 m high where the Shiva linga resides. The lingam is formed during the period of May to August when the snow above the cave melts and falls down on the floor forming the lingam. However, according to the Hindu beliefs the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon and this is the place where Lord Shiva explained Parvati about the secret of life and eternity.
The yatra starts with the trek of 43 kms mountain from the camps based at Pahalgam. More than 6 lakh pilgrims take this yatra every year to the Amaranth caves situated above 3888 m in the Himalayas.
The journey starts from Srinagar or from Pahalgam on foot which takes almost 5 days. There is also regular transportation provided from Jammu to Pahalgam. There is another northern shorter route which is about 16km long but has a steep gradient and is difficult to climb. Through the northern route, one can see the river Amaravati throughout the way.
Through the trek, many non-profit organisations have arranged for food supply and tents to rest for the pilgrims for free. Helicopter services are also available to the pilgrims from the base camp to Panjtarni.
This place is protected with central armed forces and state police providing security and helping the pilgrims. One needs to be physically fit and healthy to take this trek as the trek is too high elevation and oxygen levels above the Himalayas are very low. Deaths here take place due to lack of physical fitness or road accidents.
The yatra is organised by the government with Shree Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). They provide all the facilities required by the pilgrims from food, water, telecommunication services, tents, power supply, and fair shops along the way of the yatra. The pilgrims visiting this holy place has been constantly increasing in numbers despite the dangerous trek to be taken to reach the Amarnath cave and seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
As we know that sanitization plays an important role not only in India all over the world. It seems that especially in a rural area there are no particular toilets for the women in their own homes, they have to go outside and due to this, they become vulnerable to many diseases. Not only the diseases, but many accidents can also take place with them. The government have taken many initiatives regarding this problem and has also tried to provide the toilet to every home. But success stories are less.
“Toilet Ek Prem Katha” movie directed by Shri Narayan Singh is all about the sanitization and to make aware the audience about in how many ways women suffer from not having toilets in their homes. This movie gives a strong message to every citizen. The government has started advertising each and everywhere about sanitization so the people can be aware of it. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is also one of the byproducts of this thinking. This museum is one of the most popular as well as a most visited museum in the World’s history. “Oh My God Ye Mera India” have also telecasted a show on Sulabh International Museum of Toilets.
So, What Sulabh International Museum of Toilets Is All About?
You may have visited many museums in Delhi but this is the only museum which represents the concern of the sanitation sector in the country. It is one of the craziest museums in the world which is dedicated to the global history of sanitation and toilets. According to Time magazine, this museum has also made its name in “10 weirdest museums around the world” list.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is known as a founder and the guiding light of this museum, who is also a sociologist. Being known for his relentless service towards environmental sanitation and equal promotion of human rights, the activist wanted to bring the real scenario of sanitation towards the public. This museum represents the whole history of toilets is such as the shift in technology, the evolving of social habits from then to now, the legal framework and the etiquettes that changed with the coming of time. Not only the chamber pots, privies, toilet furniture, Victorian toilet seats are put on display but also the water closets and bidets that belonged to the 1145 AD till date are exhibited. The main objective to establish this museum was to address the problems of the sanitation sector in the country, considering the efforts made in various parts of the world.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets was the winner of the ‘Trip Expert Choice Award’ of 2018. The award was based on over 1 million reviews from 85 publications and recognizes the best attractions around the world.
The museum is divided into three main sections – Ancient, Medieval and Modern
The W.C. toilet at Mohenjo-Daro of 2,500 B.C. is acknowledged as a championing work in the field of sanitation. It is displayed here in one section. Simultaneously, the Sulabh International museum also displays sanitation arrangements of other ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Crete, Jerusalem, Greece, and Rome.
In this section, one can also see table-top toilet of England, costly stones studded bided of Queen Victoria, highly decorated commodes from Austria and other cross-stools of that period in Europe.
This section of the museum is known as the most interesting section because this section is related to cartoons, photographs of toilets from the catalogs of reputed sanitary ware manufacturing companies toilets of different countries and toilet jokes. The visitors in this section can also see the toy-commode, mobile toilet, electric toilet, etc.
Other Attractions and Amusing Objects You Will Find in the Museum –
- A) A reproduction of a commode in the form of a treasure chest of the medieval period.
- B) A reproduction of the supposed toilet of King Louis XIV which have been used by the king to defecate while holding court.
- C) A toilet in the form of a bookcase.
- D) Display boards with comics, jokes, and cartoons related toilets.
- E) Toilet pots made of gold and silver which was used by the Roman emperors and information about flush pot designed in 1596 by Sir John Harington during Queen Elizabeth I’s regime.
What Can One Expect On Visiting this Museum?
A) Firstly, he/she can expect to click lots of photographs in the museum.
B) Secondly, he/she can expect to get important information from history to the modern time period that how the change took place in sanitation and how the people started adopting it.
So if you have ever wondered what a museum dedicated entirely to the history of toilets would be like? Do visit here and check out yourself!