A tradition beyond the religious identifications

Under prolonged the Muslim reign and pre-existing Hindu culture in Odisha, eighteenth-century experimented with composite cultural relations amidst communities. A relatively strange ritual ‘Satya Pir’ puja is observed, which is in fact the alternate name for ‘Satya Narayana’ Puja. The origin of the ritual in Odisha, however, traces back to the tale of Gajapati Ramachandra Dev and Sufi saint Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari.

17KPNot at a very far distance from Khurda town, falls Kaipadar’s popular Bukhari Baba Dargha. The earlier known monument was established in mid 18th century whereas reconstructed in the late 90s. The Dargha enshrines anthill shaped tomb of the mystic.

1KPJalaluddin Shah Bukhari was a Sufi saint who migrated from Bokhara of Uzbekistan to Odisha. Wandering various places throughout India, he reached Khurda. The then King Ramachandra Dev II used to reside in Khurda Gada acknowledged his presence in own state and erected an Ashram for him. People from both Hindu and Muslim communities used to assemble in the Ashram to receive his teachings.

Saint poked the ground with a iron-rod for water

Folklore says, while meditating with one of his disciples, termite hill kind of structure started to form around Baba. Being informed of the situation, his disciples congregated in the large numbers seeking his last darshan. The mound grew as long as it can conceal the mystic from the public and ceased growing further. Adjoining to that, there’s a relatively smaller elevation, which is believed as his Hindu disciple along whom he was meditating. He was considered as a living Pir and thus King Ramachandra Dev introduced the ‘Satya Pir’ ritual to be observed across the Odisha to regard the omniest ideology of the Pir. Later the Dargha was built and the King appointed land and authorities for the service.

Confectionery made of  jaggery and grated coconut

Still subsisting the communal amity, the Kaipadar Dargha can be treated as a notable institution where both Hindus and Muslims coexist. A Khadim worships the tomb with Islamic rites whereas all other services are provided by Hindus. A special sweet, namely ‘Sirni’, is prepared by Hindu Gudias, who were assigned by the King. A Hindu family prepares a paste of sandal and scarpings for the worship. Irrespective of the religion one is attributed, when he visits the shrine, the priest prays Urdu hymns and blesses the person with a peacock brush.

Naturally scented clay

On a regular basis, Hindus congregate to perform Satyanarayan Pala within the Dargah premises. Hindu deity SatyaNarayan’s peacock tail is kept within the shrine. From the nearby village, as instructed by the Sufi Saint, a specific kind of clay is brought from a Hindu’s courtyard, which is widely known for its healing properties and distinct sandalwood alike fragrance.


Pairs of green and saffron flags hoisted throughout the compound give subtle essense of communal harmony. As another tradition odd from the Muslim rituals, Ngara is beaten by the khadim during the offering of Bhoga.

The prime festivity of the shrine takes place on the 24th day of Ramzan month. Once a year on that day, canopy over the tomb gets replaced along with the Naam Sankirtan by Hindus and recitation of Quaran by Muslims simultaneously. Isn’t this incredible? Devotees beyond the sects participate in this annual observance.

Although Satya Pir Puja was initially practiced by Hindus, it was shared by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist communities in a later period. The Puja consists of worship of Satyanārāṇaya. Sirini is offered as bhoga along with chants of SatyaNarayana. After the rituals are over, the Satyanarayana brata katha is read out in the form of Pala and all present within the Dargha compound listen.

Many theories are coined how the age-old SatyaNarayan ritual, which has mentions even in the Skanda Purana, was changed to SatyaPir Puja in the Bengal Province. Some scholars opine Islamic oppression led to this conversion while another lot opines worshipping SatyaNarayan was later converted to the worship of a pious Pir. It’s ought to mention that Orissa was conquered by the Muslims way too late whereas by the fourteenth century the Islamic invaders had ascertained their position in northern states (where the name of the ritual is not converted) and even in the neighboring state Bengal. In the late 16th century, Afghan sultanate extended their Bengal administration due to the political rivalry with the then ruler of Odisha. The later period gave rise to the emergence of Bhoi dynasty by RamachandraDev I and Ramachandra Dev II as his 6th successor fought with all vigour against the Nizam’s invasion. Thus, there’s huge possibility that the said ritual emerged in Odisha can’t be counted as a consequence of terror, but a voluntary tradition evolved from the synthesis of sects.

Days when communal hatred is being fueled all over the country, Khurda, the land of heroes, where the very last rebellion against the Islamic invasion was held, preserve a proud instance of consonance.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a complex history! I read your post with interest. I believe many people wish for peace and cooperation in the world. Happy New Year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s