"An earthen lamp has been kept alight for 17 years in Chattisgarh's Lendhra Village in the belief that unnatural deaths will be kept at bay."
Kept at the rear of the main village temple that adjoins Radha Madhav Sankirtan Aashram, around 50 kilometers from Raigarh in Chattisgarh state of India, the lamp is revered for its perceived supernatural powers.
"I come here every year and try to bring my family also. This earthen lamp has been burning ever since I came here for the first time over 14 years ago. I love coming here," says Bharat Pandey, a devotee.
The daily expenses for keeping the lamp alight are borne by the villagers and through donations. according to Mukesh Kumar, the temple priest, the mustard oil-lit earthen lamp has been kept aglow by devotees from across Chattisgarh.
"For the past 17 years, this earthen lamp has been on. The villagers and all those who come from outside donate money for the work done in the temple. We have a free meal arrangement for the visitors," said Kumar.
The villagers have also employed two persons to take care of the earthen lamp.
A large number of people belonging to other villages also join the villagers of Lendhra Village to pay their respect to the lamp.
"Perhaps decades ago, on the auspicious day of Ram Navami the worship of lamp was started. Devotees claim to experience a sense of divinity and contentment every time they visit this temple and bow before the lamp. People chant hymns in the praise of the Almighty," said Shayam Lal, a temple staffer.
Most visitors believe that it is due to the grace of the earthen lamp that not one unnatural death has been reported in 17 years.
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