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Lord Narayan Gosain Singhapur Yatra - Odisha Deity That Remains Underwater

The idol of Lord Narayan Gosain at Singapur Village near Rasulpur in Jajpur District of Orissa is kept underwater, except for three days in a year. People in large number gather on these three days to have a glimpse of the God. And the unique annual ceremony is known as Singhapur yatra (January 14 to January 17). This has been a practice here for more than four centuries.

The idol of Lord Narayan Gosain remains in a pond near the temple, Madhuritha Khetra, dedicated to Him. The idol is brought out on Pana Sankranti day (March – April) for three days and on the fourth day the idol is again immersed in the pond.

So, why is the idol kept underwater? There is some history involved. In the 16th century, Kalapahad, a Muslim invader, after destroying numerous temples and Hindu idols reached the region. The then King of Madhupur Garh, to save the idol from Kalapahad, hid it in the pond.

But people and the King were unhappy as the idol remained underwater. A few days later, Lord Narayan Gosain appeared in the dream of the King and asked him to take the idol out of the pond and worship and then to be kept back safely. This happened during Maha Bisuba Sankranti or Pana Sankranti period.

Since then annually, the idol is taken out of the pond on the Pana Sankranti day and worshiped for three days.

The idol that is made of black granite has been in a pond in for the past 443 years.

It is widely believed that worshipping Lord Narayan Gosain fulfils all wishes made during this three-day ceremony. Lakhs of devotees from across the state and elsewhere throng Singapur to offer their prayers.
“Every year Singhapur yatra is celebrated with much fanfare in our villages. People from over 100 nearby villages turn vegetarian during the three-day yatra. Non-vegetarian dishes are completely banned during the yatra,” said Antaryami Rout, secretary of the yatra committee. 
No one instructs local people to become vegetarian during the yatra. They do so of their own volition, added Rout. Both the beginning and concluding days see a huge crowd participating in the procession carrying the idol and singing hymns.

“According to tradition, first the King of Madhupurgarh, Aparna Dhirsingh Bharadwaj comes and offers prayers to the lord on the bank of the pond as Narayan Gosain is the presiding deity of the king. After the king’s puja, thousands of devotees take part in the ceremony every year: the idol is taken out from underwater and worshipped in the nearby temple,” said Sukadev Pati, chief priest to the Madhupurgarh royal family.