Choki Wangmo

USERNA— In a small village at the Pemathang- Martshala junction road, a discovery has ignited a sense of divinity among its inhabitants. For more than a month, 74 households in Userna have been rejoicing over an unassuming rock that, for centuries, lay idle near their village.

This rock, they say, bears an uncanny resemblance to a sleeping elephant, Lord Ganesh—a revered deity among both Hindus and Buddhists.

The revelation came to light last month when Lama Tashi Wangchuk, from the retreat house in Pemathang in Samdrupjongkhar, shared about the find. Recognising the cultural and religious significance of the resemblance, the lama, along with a local Hindu priest, conducted a special prayer ceremony and hoisted prayer flags to honour the discovery.

In the Hindu tradition, Lord Ganesh is venerated as the remover of obstacles and the harbinger of auspicious beginnings, while in Buddhism, he is known as Lhachen Tshogda—a protective deity.

The rock’s contours are said to embody the image of an elephant, complete with its distinctive features, including eyes, trunk, tusks, and ears. Lama Tashi Wangchuk interprets the elephant’s peaceful sleeping posture as a symbol of tranquility and blessings of well-being and harmony for the region and its people, extending even to The King and the country.

As Userna does not yet have a monastery, this find has infused the lives of its residents with a sense of divinity. On the auspicious occasion of the First Sermon of the Buddha, locals gathered at the site to offer prayers and paint along the contour lines of the rock—a practice inspired by the rock’s otherworldly resemblance.

“The resemblance has sparked an unparalleled devotion among the villagers,” shares Tashi Norbu, one of the residents, captivated by the spiritual significance of the discovery.

Looking to the future, plans are underway to hold a grand prayer ceremony, drawing devotees from the gewog, and consecrate an idol of Lord Ganesha in the coming winter. The villagers hope to transform Pemathang Gewog into a sought-after destination for devotees and worshippers, seeking to bask in the blessings of this divine manifestation.

Renowned for its exquisite rice delicacy, khamtey, Pemathang takes pride in its fertile soil, with extensive cultivation spread across 588.56 acres of wetland.

The region’s allure lies in its stunning landscapes, characterised by hanging plateaus and gently sloping terrains leading down to the lush Assam plains.

Additional information by Indra Lal Acharja