Hajo - the ancient pilgrimage centre for Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims | #OKTravel

The entrance of Hayagriva Madhava Temple in Hajo, Assam
Hajo - is one of the most interesting places in Assam and perhaps the only place in the state where one may find shrines and temples dedicated to Vishnu, Siva, Durga, the Buddha and a Muslim saint. It is the confluence of three major religious orders of the world - Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. People belonging to each of the three religious orders consider Hajo as a sacred place.

Hajo was the capital of the Koch Dynasty Raghudev, the son of the legendary Koch hero Chilarai and the nephew of king Naranarayana of Kochbehar, established a separate Koch Kingdom with Hajo as its capital during the 16th century.

In the 11th century AD , Hajo was described in the Kalika Purans as Apurnabhava and Manikuta. In the 14th Century AD Hajo is called Bishnupuskar as described in the Yoginitantra, while in the 18th century is was described as Manikutgram as found in the Darang Rangbonshabali by one Surjyakhari Daivajna. During the Ahom period, Hajo was known in its present name.

The Hayagriva Madhava Mandir (or Hyagreeva Madhav Temple, or Hayagriba Madhav) is the most famous temple of Hajo. The present temple structure was constructed by the King Raghudeva Narayan in 1583. According to some historians the King of Pala dynasty constructed it in 6th century. It is a stone temple and it enshrines an image of Hayagriva Madhava.

Many Buddhists believe that the Hayagriva Madhava Temple, best known in the group of Hindu temples, is where the Buddha attained Nirvana. People professing Buddhism also often tend to believe that Gautama Buddha died in Hajo. His death pained his disciples, who in their painful ecstasy said "Ha-ju', meaning the setting of the Sun.

The Kedareswara Temple, a Shiva temple, has inscription on the temple showing that it is of Rajeswar Singha period.

According to Hindu mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in Hajo during their agyatvas or during the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) during this agyatvas.

Hajo is also a Muslim pilgrimage centre. The Muslim shrine, Poa-Mecca or Powa-Mecca is the most famous Muslim pilgrimage spot in Assam and is noted as the tomb of Pir Giasuddin Auliya, who was the pioneer of Islam in this part of the world. It is also known as Poa-Mecca because it is supposed to be one fourth in sanctity to Mecca. It is believed that Poa-Mecca was constructed from the soil that was brought from the city of Mecca itself (Mecca is the holiest city for the Muslims and is located in the Saudi Arabia). It is located at the Garurachal Hill in Hajo and is dedicated to Pir Giasuddin Auliya. It was built by Mohammed Shah in 1657 AD. The shrine of Poa - Mecca is looked upon as a holy pilgrimage for the people following Islam. Poa - Mecca comes from the popular belief that visiting this shrine brings one fourth of the spiritual enhancement and blessings that one might have been bestowed with on a single visit to Mecca.

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