In this unique place fragrance of attar mingles with joss stick’s aroma. It comes alive every day with chanting of dhikr (ritual prayer or litany practiced by Muslims) and ululation (a ritual for Hindus).
The unique co-existence of Puran Bazar Jam-e-Masjid and Kalibari Central Temple in Kalibari area of the Lalmonirhat town presents a picture of religious harmony amid the growing religious insensitivity and intolerance across the globe.
The two institutions central to religious practice of Islam and Hinduism have completed yet another year of their iconic existence as the Hindu worshippers in the area just celebrated their biggest Durga puja festival in an environment of peace and harmony.
According to locals, in 1836 the Temple of Hindu goddess Kali was established in the area. In the meantime some traders travelling from different parts of the country built a makeshift house to perform their daily prayers at the Puran Bazar area, adjacent to the temple. With the passage of time, the house took the name as Puran Bazar Jam-e-Masjid.
Since then the two religious institutions have been the tradition of a euphony which is quite rare in this part of the globe.
People from any religion and classes are welcome to visit both the temple and the mosque here. Anyone can witness the unbroken decades-long religious co-existence and learn from us
Every year before the holy Durga puja, mosque and temple executive committees hold a meeting to schedule their daily programmes.
Both communities take pride in the fact that no religious strife has occurred in this area.
When the Azan for Fazr prayers ends, the Hindu devotees gather at the temple to hold their rituals. In this way the two communities show respect to each other’s religious practices in an environment of tolerance.
People from far and away come every day to visit this temple-mosque harmony in Lalmonirhat. Even many foreign envoys also paid visit to witness this rare co-existence of the mosque and the temple and their activities.
This area was named after the Kalibari temple and later a market had grown centering it which necessitated building a mosque for the Muslim traders. This is the history that we know and people of both the religions respect each other here
Some local visitors told news agency UNB, “This is really something we take pride in - an excellent example of religious harmony in Lalmonirhat that has sustained for decades.”
Puran Bazar Jam-e-Masjid Imam Mohammad Alauddin said the temple was built way before the mosque and now “our address is in the same yard.”
”People from any religion and classes are welcome to visit both the temple and the mosque here. Anyone can witness the unbroken decades-long religious co-existence and learn from us,” he said.
President of Kalibari temple and its head priest Shankar Chakraborty said since his birth he has seen the two institutions co-existing with peace and performing their activities on the same premises.
“This area was named after the Kalibari temple and later a market had grown centering it which necessitated building a mosque for the Muslim traders. This is the history that we know and people of both the religions respect each other here,” said Shankar Chakraborty.
Lalmonirhat district commissioner Abu Zafar said this week Deputy Chief of Mission of Nepal in Bangladesh Kumar Rai visited the temple and the mosque.
“People here believe in living with peace and compassion regardless of their religion. The Temple-Mosque proudly upholds our view as a tradition,” he said.