Thawe: The temple dedicated to Goddess Durga at Thawe, 6 km from Gopalganj, is held in great reverence by the people from far and near. Devotees in large numbers throng the temple, especially on Mondays and Friday.
Locals believe the goddess at Thawe is none other than Goddess Kamakhya from Assam. Legend has it that in the 14th Century, there was Chero king, Raja Manan Singh, who was a Durga devoteebut extremely arrogant and intolerant of saints and other religious persons. Rahashu, another Durga devotee who lived near the king’s fort at Hathwa, offered prayers and propitiated the goddess when the area was hit by a devastating famine. But the ruler continued to extract taxes from the famine-hit people.
Pleased with Rahashu’s devotion, Goddess Kamakhya is said to have appeared in his dreams. Riding a chariot driven by seven lions, she is said to have asked this devotee to cut grass from the fields for paying obeisance to her. He obeyed the goddess who, in turn, gave him rice every morning which he distributed among the hungry.
Raja Manan, on hearing about the goddess’ benevolence in response to response to Rahashu’s prayers, became jealous and angry and asked him to call the goddess or face death. the devotee had no option but to invoke Goddess Kamakya. In response, the goddess sitting on seven lions commenced her journey from Kamrupa (Assam), where she is known as Kamakhya Devi, to Thawe.
Rahashu, in the meantime, again requested the king to let him go, but the king insisted that he call the goddess. Goddess Kamakhya, on the way, appeared in Vindhyachal where she was called Maa Vindhyavasini Devi and Kalighat in Kolkata where she was called Maa Kalka Devi. She also stayed at Patna for a while and was called Patan Devi while in Aami and Ghodaghat, she was called Ambika Bhawani and Ghod Devi respectively.
When she finally arrived at her destination, a thunder struck Thawe as a result of which the king’s palace was razed to the ground. Panic-stricken locals started praying when the four-armed goddess, sitting on her lions, made an appearance. She blessed the land and the people, and disappeared. Thawe’s is a shrine dedicated to her.
Gathwa became the hub of a prosperous estate, now erstwhile, at the turn of the 19th Century. It was Chatterdhari Sahi who, in early 1800s, established a palace and a fort and surrounded them by a moat.
The Raj Kutchery was also impressibe apart from the bungalows of the estate’s managers, the HathwaEden School, the post office, the Raj dispensary and the popular Gopal Temple of Radha and Krishna.
Famous for its prop to traditional education, Hathwa Raj sponsored as many as 44 such institutions. In Ratanchak, it established the Hathwa Eden School which was named after Sir Ashley Eden, secretary to the government of Bengal, in appreciation of his initiatives to promote English education.