Dargah of Hazrat Shah Kamal Baba

The town of Tura has few religious places including the famous Dargah of Hazrat Shah Kamal Baba. This Dargah is located around 80 kilometres from the town of Tura in the state of Meghalaya. Situated on the Indo-Bangladesh border, alongside the Dalu-Mahendraganj-Mankachar road, this Dargah is also known as Pristhan. It is located in a small hillock in the West Garo Hills district and is a symbol of communal harmony and religious entity.

Significance


It is believed that the shrine was built in 16th century and was built in one night’s time. The structure of the shrine is similar to the Mughal architecture outlay. This history of this Dargah dates back to about 700 years when Raja Mahendranarayan was ruling this region. During his reign, this place was occupied by a demon that created lot of trouble. One day Shah Kamal Baba visited this place and seeing the trouble of the people and the king, he drove the demon away from the place.

Raja Mahendranarayan was so pleased that he donated 240 acres of land. The Dargah is thought to be a place where all prayers are answered. Every year there is a "Mela" is held during the month of April or May and thousands of devotees come to Pristhan for the annual prayers.

The Dargah is characterized by the continuous traditional annual Urs (prayer fair) that went on for years starting from the pre-partition of East Bengal. Every year devotees from across Meghalaya and neighboring states come to seek blessings from the Peer Baba at this shrine. The Pristhan is also known for the presence of a stone believed to be of Devi Kamakhya of Mankachar, Assam. A big Kamakhya temple is situated in Mankachar in Assam about 25 kms away from the Pristhan.


Though there are a large number of devotees visiting the shrine every year, there are however, people who are unhappy with the way the shrine is placed. As the Dargah falls in the Indo-Bangladesh border, it often becomes a cause of conflict and arising issues. The Indo-Bangladesh border fencing earlier passed encircling the shrine. In the phase I of the fencing construction, the Dargah fell outside the fencing as it was located within 50 yards from the zero lines. However, in 2009, the Dargah was taken inside India by constructing the fencing within 50 yards.

Several flag meetings were then conducted by both nations to fix the issues caused by this and there was strong opposition from Bangladesh. The movement of people from Bangladesh during the ‘Dargah Mela’ has been restricted since 2007 due to the heavy influx and the difficulty in guaranteeing of their return. Currently, the Dargah is inside India. There are still flag meetings conducted at times to solve this use. The WAQF Board of Meghalaya has developed the place in the year 2008-2009 and made it a place of interest for the tourists. Due to this, the Dargah has gained popularity over the years and people from different places across the country come to this Dargah for the blessings of the saint.

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