King Gadapani Konwar, one of the prominent Ahom Kings of Assam, constructed this holy pilgrimage in 1681. He was the husband of Sati Joymoti, one of the bravest freedom fighters of India. This Naamghar or temple is a very popular pilgrimage spot and attracts a lot of devotees every year. This simple and elegant temple is famous for its eight kuris and derives its name from the same. The eight kuris or khels represent the eight families of the hermitage. These eight families represented eight clans. ‘Ath’ means eight and ‘kuri’ or ‘khel’ means clan in the Assamese language. Hence, it is known as Athkhelia Naamghar.
The eight kuris of Athkhelia Naamghar are:
1. Bochakuri– The King specially selected members of this clan for various purposes.
2. Bairagikuri – This clan acted as messengers of the King to foreign dignitaries.
3. Brahmankuri – The members of this clan were mostly Brahman employed to perform religious ceremonies although, non-brahmans were also included.
4. Nangalkuri – The members of this clan were responsible for cultivation of land.
5. Solalkuri – The members of this clan were intelligent and well educated people who could guide the villagers.
6. Kacharikuri – This clan was formed by a person called Kachari.
7. Borahikuri – The members of this clan were people from the Borahi tribe, who converted to Vaishnavism.
8. Kakatikuri – The members of this clan were responsible in keeping accounts of land and its production.
The Athkhelia Naamghar is an important site for tourists and pilgrims. Every year, around 20 to 25 lakh devotees visit this beautiful place of worship. This temple was originally known as Sri Sri Athkhelia Hori Mandir before 1970 but eventually due to the influence of Vaishnavism in Assam, it was renamed as Sri Sri Athkhelia Naamghar. The people belonging to these eight clans have been associated with a lot of religious and developmental work. Each of these kuris built a hut around this temple and ever since, eight parts of offerings are made to Lord Vishnu before the prayer commences in the temple everyday.
The best time to visit this temple is from September to May. This enchanting Naamghar is located in Bosa Gaon, in the Golaghat district of Assam. It is well connected by road, rail and air. It is located at a distance of 20 kms from Golaghat town. Buses and taxis are available from Golaghat to Bosa Gaon and also from Guwahati to Golaghat. The nearest railway station is Forkating, which is around 12.8 kms from the temple. The nearest airport is Jorhat Airport, which is around 60 kms away. The nearest place of accommodation is the town of Golaghat where many decent hotels can be found for a pleasant stay.
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