Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Laban Naam Ghar Shillong( estd.1935).

  DURGAPUJA is celebrated in a big but simple way in Shillong at our LABAN NAAM GHAR...a NAAM-GHAR is a community prayer hall .This naam ghar was established in 1935,my family tells me that as long as they remember Durga-Puja is always observed here by the Assamese community .Shillong is a Christian dominant area with a population comprising of people from different states and religion......people from all other community too participate in this festival with equal enthusiasm.This is a view of Laban naam ghar ....this place holds a very special place in my heart as this is the place where i learnt a lot about Assamese culture and its people.....i was accepted,loved,blessed in a very special way right here.

Attached to it there is a newly built Shiva and Ganesha Temple.....built by the naam ghar committee after raising public donation combined with naam ghar fund..
This is the prayer hall where women sing naam(prayers),it is divided into two sides left and right.During Puja starting from the sixth day(SASTHI) we gather here two times a day once in the morning another in the evening for aarti.This photo was taken very early when the crowd was minimal....the reason we go early is so that we can lite sakis(diyas or lamps)before the rush hour and at the same time help in making BOLOY(a holy wrist band made with yellow cloth and rice grains,mustard seeds,aparajeeta leaves,durva)which is distributed amongst all the devotees on Dashami(tenth day).....the lady looking down is my favorite" plum aunty"or Sharma aunty as lovingly i call her because when the first time i met her she gave me a bag full of plums from her garden,sitting behind are our aunt,ma and my sister-in -law.As you must have noticed we wear either white or off white preferably during morning hours.
Its too early and all the priest are too gearing up for the different rituals.....we have a permanent sthapana or the stage for MA DURGA'S idol.Every year a devotee family sponsors the cost of idol and to get this honor there is a long waiting list,we booked for it three years back,our turn will come on 2012.The naam ghar is a busy place now with growing crowd,chants,sound of taal and dhool.This group comes here every year ...they play taal and dhool for five days long celebrations.In my next post i will share few more of my experiences with you friends...till than take care.


  1. The Laban Naam Ghar building is beautiful, Kavita. Looks serene. I have noticed that Bengalis and Keralites have a lot in common, in wearing white or off white sarees, during poojas and functions and lot other rituals. Yours too resemble Bengali customs.

    The shiva Ganesha temple's architecture is interesting. I have seen other temples too in your blog, which are built in raised places.

    It is very interesting to know so many things about Shillong/Assam, Kavita.

  2. Your photos are very nice, Kavita. Koreans wear white at funerals. American brides wear white at weddings. Interesting to note where white is worn and when.

  3. It must be such a blessing that you felt so accepted and loved in that very special place ... the building is beautiful!

    Lovely pictures, Kavita.

    Thanks for the wonderful sharing again.
    I really enjoyed this post.


  4. enjoying finding out more of your country's culture. we too wear all white in our temple ceremonies to symbolize purity.

  5. The richness and beauty of forms
    united to untroubled devotion of the people: if this happens with truth, simplicity and joy, the road is strewn with petals...

    Many thanks, a beautiful post.

  6. This is very interesting information and so informative. I learned a lot just reading your post. Thanks for the lesson. Your photos are beautiful as is the Laban Naam Ghar building.

  7. Great to know about this puja in Shillong. I thought the Shillong also have a fair number of Bengalees predominantly the ones who migrated from the Sylett district of East Bengal (now Bangladesh)
    But puja in the Northeast of Indai has a great flavor, something which is only felt in that part!

  8. wow loved the description, the pictures of plum aunty, are you wearing a mekhola? you are in the picture arent you? waiting for the next post..

  9. Wow loved this post and the pics as well!!

  10. This is simply beautiful.
    The Puja seems to have a homey feeling.
    Waiting for the next posts.

  11. This is a very nice set of photographs. I appreciate being able to see your culture which is so different from mine.

  12. simply beautiful post indeed. felt good to read...cheers

  13. Thanks for the beautiful description....In Kerala too mostly people wear kinda off white dresses to temple .

  14. @Sandhya...yes many regions of India are similar in their customs...before i was married wearing bright colors especially red,maroons,oranges was encouraged during navratris,i wear whites in the morning but dress up in bright colors in the evening(customs or no customs).Thanks for liking the post.

    @Gigi...in Kumauon (my origin),we wear a lot of bright colors,white is not appreciated much there.

    @Margie....yes,i do feel blessed.Thanks Margie.

    @Lin...you are right white does symbolize purity.

  15. @Amatamari...oh!what a beautiful quote.

    @Dellgirl..Thanks,i am happy your time is not wasted when you visit us here...i love sharing all this with friends like you.

    @Sumandebray...yes,you are right,we always had and still have Bengali tenants at our Shillong house and they treat me with extra special neeramish torkaris like potol-dalna,ponneer,baigun-bhaja while for rest of the family its maccher-kolia.
    Yes,puja in NE is special.Thanks,Suman.

    @Sujata...plum aunt is a very active and affectionate lady.Sujata,i am the one with the camera so like always not in the frame.Thanks for liking the post.


    @Aparna...the puja here is very simple but this homely environment is its best feature.Thanks.

  16. I cant believe you have so beautiful surroundings in your Shillong house.
    You feel so close to god when you are so close to the nature!!

  17. @Subhash....next time plan a longer visit,Diva and Yagya would love our Shillong house,its fun running over a wooden floor and we have more than 50 pigeons ,they can feed them grains...its fun.Show this post to Mitu too.

  18. Wonderful temple structure kavitha.I loved the goddess durga idol,i wish i could go there :)

  19. Thank you Saritha....if ever you plan a visit to NE ,do it on this time of the year,the structure of the complex is a very simple one but the activities that take place there are a big attraction.

  20. Nostalgia...

    Lived in Laban way back in 60s and 70s, played cricket on Assamese Girls' School ground next door after the school closed in the afternoon. We always visited this Naamghar during Durga Puja.

    Live in Mumbai now.

    Miss my Shillong.

    My children don't realise what quality of life as a child we had in Shillong. Serene beauty all around but very much connected to the world at the same time.

    I will never forget the State Central Library where I used read cricket stories in Daily Telegraph, Times London and other papers from abroad available in about 3 days from the date of publication.

    Thanks, Kavita for the post and the photos.

    But Laban Naamghar has also changed a lot.