SHAH KAMAL DURGAH – DURGAH SHARIF

After a few minutes drive from Mahendraganj four kilometers to the north on the Kalaichar road it is common experience to see people getting down from their vehicles and ad­vance a few steps to pay homage to Peer Shah Kamal and drop a few coins through the opening of a tubular Iron chest embedded by the side of the road. There is a Durgah (Sacred Place) known as Shah Kamal Durgah. This is the burial place of the last remains of Shah Kamal and his Garo wife.

 

 

Shah Kamal Durgah Shah Kamal Durgah
Entrance Shah Kamal Durgah

 

There are two versions of lore and legend related to the Durgah. One of the leg­ends is that during the rule of Raja Mahendra Narayan (Zamindar of Karaibari) a demon was creating havoc to his riots killing and devouring them. The Peer Shah Kamal, by dint of his Super natural power, drove away the demon and restored peace in his kingdom.

The Raja as a token of gratitude donates 1280 bighas of land including the present hillock, the seat of the Durgah, as a gift to the peer. This is still known as Pirpal Baklai estate.

The other story goes that the king Rengtha was an ardent worshipper of goddess Kali being a follower of Hinduism. To appease this goddess he used to sacrifice a person every night from each household of his subjects. Once a lot fell on a widow and her daughter and they were very sad arguing who would go on that night replace him in their place on that night, so that he could use his inner strength and medicinal power over that goddess or evil spirit. On that night as midnight approached, that evil spirit came and tried to suck the blood of Shah Kamal and had to fight with him severely. Shah Kamal used all his strength both physical, medicinal and killed it ultimately and became the winner in the fight. To show him respect and gratefulness, the widow Nakatchi gave away her daughter to be his wife. After that fight there was no fear of evil spirit and any more killing or sacrifice.

After the death of Shah Kamal and his Garo wife, this burial place was constructed overlooking Bangladesh, still the graves of the couple can be seen on this Durgah. This is maintained by the Fakir Sawayat worshippers. After the British occupation of this district, these lands were treated as rent-free land which was called Peerpal Baklai Estate. It is overlooking the Bangladesh region on the top of a hill where every year Muslims, Hindus and Garos assemble to celebrate the occasion as an annual mela.

To show his respect and love for Shah Kamal, the king Agani excavated a big water tank two kilometers Far from the Durgah. It is called Katta Beel or "Chimite" which means water God and spreads over eighty bigha of land. The plain land is being used for growing paddy by the local people there. It was also believed that the Katta Beel of Shah Kamal was associated with some supernatural events. Drinking of water from this tank was forbidden or else the pollution of the water brought some misfortune. Milk and other offerings placed on the bank of this tank used to flow into the middle of the tank and the containers used to return to the bank empty. This big water tank was encircled with weeds and trees. At present those surrounding trees are being cut by the farmers for use of the land for cultivation. One such tree was cut down and it started flowing like blood which continued for more than six months and it was seen by the villagers. Hindus still offer milk and other gifts to this tank. Garos believed that Sangkni or water serpent lived here. It was very clean water except on the banks.