Mysteries Of Chogan Near Mandla In Madhya Pradesh


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Mysteries Of Chogan Near Mandla

by  Voyager - Sandy N Vyjay


As soon as we stepped into the threshold of a small courtyard, we were introduced to the mysteries of Chogan. A woman prostrated herself before a wizened old man who sat inside the door of a darkened room. The old man stroked her back with a Chimta (Tongs) which had small chains attached to it, and with a feather broom. He then gave her a pinch of ash. This is a typical scene played out in the sacred and charismatic Chogan temple of Madhya Pradesh.

Chaugan Village
Chaugan Village

The woman, apparently satisfied with the results of her benediction, turned her attention to her baby, who lay whimpering by the side. She was there powered by her faith in what is a revered and sacred place of worship for the tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and other states.

The Enduring Mysteries Of Chogan | Chogan Mandla

Mysteries Of Chogan Near Mandla In Madhya Pradesh

The woman, a mother of two, was at the Chogan temple to pray and seek the blessing of the deity for her husband, who was undergoing surgery in Nagpur, Maharashtra, more than 200 kilometres away. As we spoke to the woman, enquiring about her husband, the wizened old man dressed in white who was the officiating priest at the temple, interjected, "these children are also on account of the blessings of the deity," he said.

A few minutes later, the woman was all smiles, she had just received a phone call from Nagpur, informing her that her husband's operation was a success, and he was fine. The relief on her face was palpable and the worried expression on her face had vanished to be replaced by a dazzling smile.

What and where is Chogan? What are the mysteries of Chogan? Why is Chogan such a sacred place for the tribals? Read on to know more about the mysteries of Chogan and the enigmatic stairway to heaven.

Mysteries Of Chogan And The Power Of Faith | Chaugan Temple

Chogan Mandla
Priest at Chogan Mandla

"It is all a matter of faith and belief, I don't know any mantras, I just bless the people who come here, and the rest is done by Devi Maa." says the wizened old man, whose name is Ramesh Parthi. He is dressed in white with a white cloth rolled like a turban covering his head. A yellow cloth hangs from his shoulders like a garland. He is the priest of this strange-looking temple.

Chains at Chougan Temple
Chains at Chougan Temple

There are small rooms around a central room in which the priest officiates. There is also a roofed enclosure without walls within the courtyard, where chains hang ominously. We learn that people who are, "possessed," and display aggressive and violent behaviour are chained here for their own safety as well as that of others.

Ramesh Parthi who is the fourth generation in a line of priests who officiate at the Chogan temple, says that he learned whatever he has from his father, who in turn had learned from his father, and so on. He says, that after him, his son will take over the duties. He also informs that a committee (Samiti) has been formed in the village for the upkeep and maintenance of the temple.

Mysteries Of Chogan

People continue to come and prostrate before him. He blesses them with the tongs and the feather broom and gives them a pinch of ash, which is from the flame that is burning in the darkroom in which he sits. The flame has been kept burning for as far as he can recollect.

Ramesh Parthi then goes on to explain, that he had learnt from his father and his ancestors that in their Gond community, in ancient times, they did not worship images and hence a ladder was made that embodied and represented the force of Goddess Kali. He then moves towards a towering ladder that rises to the skies.

The Stairway To Heaven - Mysteries Of Chogan

Chogan Temple
Stairway at Chogan Temple

The ladder in many ways a connection to God or the supernatural. It may be dubbed as the stairway to heaven or ladder to heaven. It is worshipped ritualistically by Ramesh Parthi and others as the Devi, Kalimata, with full faith and reverence.

Priest offering prayers to the ladder at Chaugan Temple
Priest offering prayers to the ladder at Chaugan Temple

Ramesh Parthi lights incense sticks before the ladder and breaks a coconut and offers it to the ladder. Then with folded hands, he prays to Kali for her protection. " I do exactly what my father used to do before me," says Ramesh Parthi.

People from far and wide come to the Chogan temple with their problems, pray and get blessed by the priest, and once their problems are solved, they come back to thank the deity and the priest. Childless couples, people with different physical ailments, and many with mental illnesses or those deemed to be, "possessed," by evil spirits, make the pilgrimage to Chogan.

Stairway To Heaven - Mysteries of Chogan
Stairway To Heaven

Mondays are the days that are reserved for the patients to appear before the priest, who listens to their woes and gives his advice and takes necessary action by way of ritualistic worship. The patients are allotted dates in advance and just like in a court, they appear at the temple on the day of their, "hearing."

"People come here, become alright, and then go, I cannot count how many have got cured," says Ramesh Parthi nonchalantly. He goes on to add that every Monday, people come from Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, Chhatisgarh, and other places, and there is usually a crowd of people here. During the festival of Navratri, there are large crowds here.

The Village Of Chogan Mandla | Chaugan Village | Chaugan Mandla

Stairway To Heaven - Mysteries of Chogan

"Chogan is a village ( Chaugan Village ) with a population of around 2,000. Gonds, Baigas, Pradhans, Lohars, and Ahirs stay in Chogan, spread over around 300 houses." informs the Sarpanch of the village, Sravankumar Pardhi. People are engaged in agriculture or labour work. Chogan Mandla is a Shaktisthal, where the Goddess Kali resides, people come here with their problems from far and wide. The village is approximately about 40 kilometres from Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and about 15 kilometres from Moti Mahal, the citadel of the last Gond King, Hridayshah, in Ramnagar, Madhya Pradesh.

Chaugan Mandla
Chaugan Mandla

As we leave the precincts of the Chogan temple ( ????? ), we see a faithful, take the ash given by the priest and fling it with fervent devotion towards the stairway to heaven. That act stays etched in memory as a symbol of the faith of the people who flock to it in search of solace and remedies to their ailment.

Images Of Chougan Temple In Madhya Pradesh

Images of Chougan Temple in MP
Images of Chougan Temple in MP

We visited Chogan on a tribal trail with Times Passion Trails in association with Madhya Pradesh Tourism.

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Mysteries Of Chogan Near Mandla In Madhya Pradesh

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