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Mayapore, referred also as Mayapore Village,[3] was a village in Pankot, India. A rural farming community, the administrative and political matters were run by a Chieftain, and the town's spiritual matters were handled by a Shaman. The town was located in the northwest section of India and primarily built up with clay block houses. The village was several days' journey from New Delhi, when traveling by elephant.

In the center of the town was a large boulder with a carved grotto that served as the resting place for the town's sacred stone, the Shiva Linga, one of the Sankara Stones. The shaman's house was across the town commons from the shrine.



Formerly a place of pilgrimage,[4] the Mayapore village[5] in the Mayapore hills[1] was first established in the 1850s, soon after the British destroyed the Kali Thuggee cultists operating out of Pankot. Some among the faithful of Shiva believed the god inspired his worshippers to found the village so that they could watch for any further resurgence of Kali's power. Mayapore was once part of the Principality of Pankot, though that had become largely a matter of academic interest after the Principality effectively ceased to exist as a political entity in 1850.[3]

Mayapore was situated near the base of the Pindari Glacier, northwest of Nepal.[3] The area was mostly untraveled wilderness[2] and the village was approximately 190 miles northeast of Delhi, several days journey by caravan or elephant.[3]

A shrine to Shiva dominates the center of the village, where the Shiva Linga (one of the Sankara Stones) resided.[2]

The Thuggee siege[]

"Marhan: You are defiling ground sacred to Lord Shiva. You will leave now, or suffer for your blasphemy!"

Mola Ram: "Lord Shiva's power is nothing compared to Kali Ma. When time is at an end, and even Shiva and Brahma are gone, Kali Ma will be there, ruling all!""

Marhan confronts Mola Ram over the dessacration of the village.[src]
Mola Ram

Mola Ram, the Thuggee leader who defiled the Mayapore Shrine.

Before the recent rise of the Thuggee in the Province, life in Mayapore had not changed for generations. The first warning of the impending disaster came[3] in 1935[6] when Sajnu, one of the few local members of the warrior caste, noticed smoke rising from the village and heard shots and sounds of fighting. He immediately ran back to his home, grabbed his rifle and knife, and rushed to join the men gathering to defend the village. One of the other warriors told Sajnu that bandits were attacking the shrine. The attackers were numerous and armed with well-made bows and swords, as well as a few old firearms. By the time Sajnu arrived, the fighting between the invaders and several of the village's warriors had already begun. The attackers fought with much more determination than that of average bandits, seemmingly almost fanatical. In addition, they outnumbered the villagers by an immense margin. Several of the village's defenders lay sprawled on the ground, but only one of the invaders had fallen so far. Fierce fighting, mostly hand-to-hand, raged for almost half an hour. Suddenly and seemingly without reason, the invaders turned and retreated from the village, maintaining the conflict only as a delaying action for their escape. At the shrine a man,[3] the Bengal Thuggee priest[4] Mola Ram approached the Shiva Linga, one of the five Sankara Stones. As he reached out for the Linga, a burst of flame engulfed two of his guards and they ran off screaming. Mola Ram spun around to find himself facing the village shaman. His prophecy spoken, he began chanting. Marhan felt a sharp pain in his chest and began his own chant, and the pain slowly abated. Now protected from Mola Ram's incantation, Marhan focused his gaze on the Kali priest and prayed to Shiva for assistance. Mola Ram's robes started to smolder. After what seemed like hours to the two men, Mola Ram was hurled back in a blast of heat. Marhan looked down at the man and repeated his warning. Mola Ram laughed as he stood and confidently walked away. When Marhan turned back to the shrine, he found that the Linga was missing. Sajnu fired at one of the attackers who was about to shoot an arrow at Marhan. Going to the shaman's side, Sajnu was shocked to hear him say that the attackers had stolen the Shiva Linga. [3]

Marhan told Sajnu to assemble all of the able-bodied men and to go after the raiders and recover the stone and to make the raiders pay for their blasphemous act. Sajnu quickly gathered the strongest of the village men. They armed themselves with whatever weapons they could find and set after the raiders. The raiders had set up an elaborate plan, however. Several miles outside the village, another 20 men waited. These fresh men ambushed the village force as it reached the bottom of a slight rise. Sajnu and the other villagers fought fiercely, and eventually killed all of the reserve raider force. Unfortunately, the time it took to defeat the new group had given Mola Ram and the initial attackers enough time to escape with the stone. Sajnu and the other villagers made no haste in returning to the village once they realized they could not recover the sacred relic. Back at Mayapore, the village warriors learned from Marhan that Mola Ram was definitely a priest of Kali, and a powerful one at that.[3] To Marhan this meant that the evil power of Kali had returned and was growing in the area.[2]

For the next week, despite the spiritual drain from losing the stone, life in Mayapore went on as it had for the last century. After several days,[3] the well at the center of the village started to dry out.[2] The villagers grew worried as their only source of water died. Within a few days, the well was barely giving enough water to provide for the needs of the village's people. There was no water to provide irrigation for the fields or drinking. As the soil grew more and more arid, the crops withered and died. The villagers did what they could to slow or reverse the death of the plants, but their efforts proved fruitless. With seemingly supernatural speed, the fields became completely barren. The livestock expired next, their desiccated bodies lying in the midst of their dried-out grazing lands. As the days ground on, the villagers had to scrounge for food, sending out hunting parties and foragers. The village hovered on the edge of starvation, and the people started to believe that Shiva had cursed the village for allowing the Linga to be stolen.[3]

One day, a rather well-dressed man,[3] Prime Minister of Pankot Chattar Lal,[2] arrived in the village, escorted by a large number of armed men. He claimed to be an emissary of Mola Ram and explained that if the people of Mayapore would turn to the worship of Kali, then Mola Ram would see to it that no villager suffered from lack of food or water. He was told to leave the village, and never to return, and this he did, smiling as he went. As the days turned into weeks, the situation grew more desperate. The hunters and foragers could barely bring in enough food for the village's population. Every few days, another emissary from Mola Ram would arrive, with continued offers of assistance.[3] They were also turned away,[2] sometimes with violence.[3]

Some villagers began to speak of leaving, of setting up homes somewhere far from the cursed area of Pankot. Marhan told the villagers to persevere, saying that although things would become far worse, eventually Shiva would see to it that the people of Mayapore were rewarded for their faith. A month after the theft,[3] a fire broke out in the fields during the nigth.[2] The conflagration spread rapidly,[3] and it took all of the men of Mayapore to stop it from consuming the entire village.[2] Despite the handicap of a limited water supply, the men managed to extinguish the fire after a long battle. Returning from the fields, the exhausted men were shocked to find their wives and sisters sobbing. While the fire raged,[3] raiders had taken all of the village's young children[2] - a diversion to remove the men from the village so that the children could be kidnapped without a fight[3] and sent to work as slaves in the diamond mines under Pankot Palace.[2] A few days after the mass abduction, an other emissary arrived and claimed that Kali protected all of her "children," as long as they offer her worship. The emissary went on to say that all of the recent problems Mayapore suffered would be solved if the villagers ac knowledged Mola Ram as their priest, and Kali as their deity. Less than five minutes after the emissary's ultimatum, Marhan personally sent the man to meet Kali in hell. It was becoming obvious to everyone in the village that something had to change, and soon. Marhan told the villagers that Shiva had granted him a vision:[3] a man would be sent from the sky and would help the people of Mayapore recover the Shiva Linga, as well as their children.[2] The people of Mayapore held to their faith, no matter how unlikely the prophecy seemed..[3]

Liberation by Shiva[]

Several days after Marhan made his statement, the people of Mayapore met Indiana Jones and his friends Short Round and Willie Scott.[3] who had rafting down the Yamuna River after surviving a ill-fated plane travel over the Himalayas. They had been found by Marhan, and brought to the town, where the villagers pleaded for help. Over a feast of the town's meager food resources, Marhan and the Chieftain explained their situation to Jones and his companions, believing they were the ones to retrieve the stolen stone and rescue the children. While Jones was more interested in the value of the stone, eventually the arrival of an escaped village child convinced him to help the village.[2]


Life returned to Mayapore with the retrieval of Shiva Linga.

The three left Mayapore on elephants next morning with some local guides, led by Sajnu, to take them to Pankot Palace.[2]

When Jones stopped the Thuggee cult at the Temple of Doom, and the children were liberated, they returned to Mayapore, where the villagers welcomed Jones, Scott, and Short Round as heroes. The jubilant townspeople, reunited with their children, gave Jones and his companions several gifts before they left,[2] including a neem leaf from the children that they call Yeppam that Indy kept in his journal.[7]

The rebirth of Mayapore[]

In the months that followed the fall of Mola Ram, the people of Mayapore rebuilt their lives. With the return of the Shiva Linga, the well flowed freely and bountifully,[3] and the fields became fertile.[2] With Shiva's renewed blessing, it took only a few weeks for the village to finally stand on its own again. Already, the first crops to grow since the Thuggee attack were being harvested in the fields. Animals, obtained in trade from a nearby village, were starting to graze again in the fields. Sajnu and some of the village men had to fight off a small group of bandits who had heard of Mayapore's distress and hoped to profit from it. Rather than weak ness, however, they found a strength born of the trials created by Mola Ram. The surviving bandits spread the word that Mayapore was by no means an easy mark, nor was it on the brink of death as some had said. Trade had dropped off when the Thuggee cult made again now that the cult had been defeated.[3]

Some travelers arrived from a village to the north. They brought metal farming implements which they traded to the people of Mayapore in exchange for food, another sign that India was returning to the ways it had known for thousands of years. Since Indiana Jones returned the Shiva Linga to the village, the Shrine was under careful guard by the villagers.[3]

In recent times more and more people begun to consider Mayapore to be a holy site of Shiva, in recognition of the events that occurred there and of its rapid recovery from its hardships.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

The name Mayapore is fictional and was likely taken from Paul Scott's 1966 novel The Jewel in the Crown, which is set in a city of the same name during the Japanese invasion of British India in 1942. Unlike in Temple of Doom, the Mayapore of the novel is not a small village but one of the major cities in its province, which is also fictional but never given a name; due to its geographic characteristics and names of people and places it's generally assumed to be located somewhere in Northern India, between Punjab and Bengal. The Jewel in the Crown is followed by three sequels that together make the so called "Raj Quartet". In the first of these sequels, The Day of the Scorpion (1968), there is also a middle-size town named Pankot that serves as headquarters of the British-Indian Army in the region.

The now defunct Marshall College database erroneously named Mayapore as "Madripoor". Madripoor is a fictional, Southeast Asian island state in Marvel Comics' superhero universe.[8]



Notes and references[]