We all know that India is a country of diversities. Our cultures, traditions and customs have been diverse since ancient times. Many of these customs in some rural areas may sound weird but they have been followed with utmost devotion for aeons. We are here to tell you about one such traditional custom that is carried out in the village of Naurangiya in Bagaha of West Champaran district in Bihar.

Just like Lord Rama was in exile in the forest for 14 years according to the epic Ramayan, the people in this village exile themselves for 12 hours every year on the Navami day of Baisakh. This tradition was started generations back by the forefathers of the villagers and is still being religiously followed.

The people in the Tharu-dominated village vacate the entire village for a day. On the Navami date of Baisakh, people go to the forest outside the village for 12 hours. They do not even leave behind their cattle. For years, they have believed that by doing so, they get rid of the wrath of the Goddess.

Local legends say that many years ago, the village was prone to epidemics and natural disasters. There was even an outbreak of smallpox and cholera, coupled with frequent fires as well. It was then that a sadhu, known as Baba Paramhans, dreamt of the Mother Goddess, who asked him to take the entire village into exile on Navami.

The villagers followed that and the village got spared all the calamities. This custom has been followed annually since and on Navami, people vacate their homes and spend the whole day in Bhajani Kutti located in Valmiki Tiger Reserve, worshipping Goddess Durga there. Reportedly, the forest administration has tried to stop such a huge gathering in the forest on this day in the past but has given up after failed attempts.

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