Orissa News

The Great Courier Service

Maa Tarini resides not only in her temple at Ghatgaon but in the hearts of her millions of devotees. This is more so evident in the unique “Distribution system of coconuts” that has developed solely on faith and love for the Maa. The temple receives 15000 coconuts everyday for its rituals from far flung areas of the state and even from neighboring states of West Bengal and Bihar. This unique distribution system relies on a network of collection boxes on roads and other temples, passenger buses and devotees simply carrying the fruit to the temple, thereby creating the world’s largest voluntary courier system that thrives not on money but on pure on faith. In fact it is a religious courier service without any parallel in the entire world.

Coconut offerings made to Maa TariniCoconuts are used extensively in the rites and rituals of the temple. And devotes who stay in far flung areas send coconut to the Mother as a token of their devotion. They may drop their coconut in the collection box meant for the Mother’s temple at Ghatagaon or give the same to any bus or truck driver and they ensure that the coconut reach their destination. It is the bus drivers in fact who are the back bone tp this indigenous courier system. Bus drivers pick up coconuts all over the state .Hold a coconut in your hand on a highway in Orissa and the next bus will surely stop to pick it up to take it to the temple in Ghatgaon in Keonjhar district. The drivers' faith in the goddess Maa Tarini is complete - it is common to find the space behind their seats stacked with coconuts. Even if the bus is on a different route, the driver will make sure to drop the coconuts in a collection box en route or pass them on to a bus headed for Ghatgaon. Thus just like the passing of batons in relay races, the coconuts keep changing buses and drivers until they reach their final destination at the feet of the Mother.

Devotee handing over a coconut to a bus driver The drivers believe that carrying the coconuts to the deity ensures a safe journey apart from the blessings of the Mother. The buses usually dump their coconuts in collection boxes across the state, from where other buses or devotees headed to the temple pick up them up on their final journey. Temple officials avouch of coconuts landing up from neighboring states of West Bengal and Bihar through this amazing network. Its really amazing to see the level of devotion for the Mother in her disciples. Rightly so there is no precedence of any thing so spectacular with any other deity in the entire country. Amazingly the number of coconuts meant for Maa Tarini can average 15000 daily can go up to as much as 1,00,000 on festival days, are religiously delivered to the temple of Maa Tarini at Ghatagaon without fail.

The ever increasing devotion of the Mother has sustained the coconut courier without any outside help. Apart from this, the number of Tarini temples in Orissa is increasing. An estimate puts the number at over 1,000.These temples serve as collection point for the nuts headed to the main temple. Non believers point that it is this network of temple and the bus drivers that has sustained the great coconut courier. But without devotion and faith in the Mother even thinking of sending a single coconut to Ghatagaon would have been impossible.