BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
TANOT ( JAISALMER), 11 SEPTEMBER 2022
Union home minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone and performed the bhoomi pujan of the Rs.17.67 crores development project of Incredible India’s symbol of religious harmony and the Temple of
Miracles – Goddess Tanot Rai Mata Temple situated in the Indo- Pak border area of western Rajasthan.
The union tourism ministry under the inspiration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken an ambitious plan for the Border Tourism Development Project in Jaisalmer at Goddess Tanot Rai Mata Temple Complex.
It will not only boost the local economy but also open new vistas in border tourism. Tanot is its nearby site, Longewala, is famous for battlefields, but so far normal tourists were not allowed to visit these highly protected border heritage sites.
The union tourism department has planned to set up an interpretation centre, amphitheatre, cafeteria, children’s activity area, solar-powered street lighting, surveillance system, signage, and many other infrastructural upgrades in Goddess Tanot Rai Mata Temple Complex of Jaisalmer district.
The Border Security Force (BSF), entrusted with guarding the border area of the country is also entrusted in maintaining and running the temple and will also organise exhibitions and other events for the tourists.
There have been a number of past histories of war in the western border region of Rajasthan , the Indo -Pak war in Tanot in 1965 and the Indo – Pak War in Longewala in 1971. The Battle of Longewala from 4 to 7 December 1971 is the most significant war fought ever since independence and India defeated Pakistan.
The famous Bollywood movie ,‘Border’, released in 1997, starring Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty etc has been depicted from the war story of Longewala in 1971.
The folklore is that the credit for both the wins of Indian Army and BSF troops goes to the about 1200 year old Goddess Tanot Rai Mata Temple . Over 450 bombs and sheels dropped here by Pak soldiers did not explode and still are preserved in an almirah inside the temple.
After the 1971 war a Vijay Stambh (memorial) was erected outside the temple. Inside the temple is small war museum with the seized shells and bombs ( Mateswari Tanot Rai ki chamatkar). The entire history is scripted on the wall.
“With this project, border areas of Tanot and Jaisalmer will be developed and employment opportunities will increase for local youth, which will stop migration and will also strengthen security of the area,”said Mr. Amit Shah.
In the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, many bomb shells were dropped by Pakistan on the Shri Tanot Rai Mata temple complex, but none of the shells detonated through the miracle of Tanot Mata
The Border Security Force looks after this temple through a trust and every morning and evening Mata ki Aarti and Bhajan Sandhya are organized in which thousands of devotees from different parts of the country take part.
Many dignitaries including the Director General, Border Security Force, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Additional Director General, Western Command, Inspector General, Rajasthan Frontier, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Tourism, were present on the occasion.
In the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, many bomb shells were dropped by Pakistan on the Shri Tanot Rai Mata temple complex, but none of the shells detonated by the miracle of Tanot Mata. Since 1965, the Border Security Force looking after this temple. The Border Security Force operates the temple through a trust and every morning and evening Mata ki Aarti and Bhajan Sandhya are organized in which thousands of
devotees from different parts of the country take part.It is a known fact from history, that during the Battle of Longewala during the1971 Indo-Pakistan War, brave soldiers of the Border Security Force played an important and decisive role at Longewala Post.
Border tourism is not a new concept in India or even globally . Several areas around Leh are being developed for border tourism. Banaskantha district in the state of Gujarat’s northern part was added to India’s border tourism destination list only in April 2022. Wagah Border, perhaps, is the most famous border tourism place in India. There the tourists visit in high numbers to witness the Retreat Ceremony. This is one of the borders (the Wagah-Attari Border) India shares with Pakistan and tourists have to first go to Amritsar in order to visit it.
The Goddess Tanot Rai Mata Temple is situated about 125 kilometres west of district headquarters of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
As per the oldest Charan literature Tanot Mata is the divine Goddess of Hinglaj Mata , and hails from shakti peeth in Balochistan of Pakistan.