Weird and strange things have happened at this cane-farming settlement.
Naria - situated on hilly terrain overlooking the scenic Malake Island and the Bligh Waters - is steeped in dark history from the early days of the girmit era.
From voodoo, unsolved murders to missing people, it has become infamous. It is Rakiraki's haunting ground since colonial days.
When Rakiraki celebrates the Hindu Festival of Lights, one family goes without the celebrations.
The day is a dark reminder of a daughter who disappeared on Diwali. AVINESH GOPAL reports on one of Naria's mysteries. This is Part 2 of a four-part series on the missing girls of Naria.
IT was about 4pm on Thursday, October 31, 2002, when Vandhana Pritika Jeet got off the bus at Naria.
She did not live there but had gone with her form mate and friend, Ashika Sherin Lata who lived there.
The two girls were in Form Six at Penang Sangam High School.
Ashika's sisters - Renuka Roshni Lata and Radhika Roshni Lata who attended Rakiraki Public High School - also got off the bus near their home.
Vandhana lived in Madhuvani, which is further up from Naria towards Tailevu.
The two friends had plans to go to their school carnival that night and Vandhana later spending the night at the three sisters' home.
This was only revealed to Vandhana's mother Phul Kuar at the Rakiraki bus stand earlier that afternoon.
Mrs Kuar said she was very reluctant to send Vandhana with her friend but she allowed her to go after assurances from Ashika.
She said she allowed Vandhana, for the first time and with a heavy heart, to spend the night outside of home.
It's a decision she regrets to this day.
As the girls got off in Naria, they walked up to the sisters' home, which overlooks Malake Island and the Bligh Waters.
Ashika's father, Vijendra Kumar, said after arriving at his home, the girls stayed inside the bedroom for some time.
Later they had their bath and dinner.
"I went up to the hill to get firewood some time after they arrived home and I returned and started putting gauze on the windows," he said.
"The girls were inside the room and it was about 6:30pm when Vandhana came to me and said she wanted to take Ashika to their school carnival.
"Vandhana said she taught a dance to the other students and because of this she had to go to the carnival.
"I asked her how she would go and she told me that a master from her school would come and pick them up.
"I then asked her where will the master come and pick her from and she said the master knew the shop near our house."
Mr Kumar said he told Vandhana that he would not allow her and Ashika to go unless they were picked up from his home.
"Vandhana said 'don't worry' and that they would be back home by 9pm. I said OK because she and Ashika were form mates and friends.
"I told them I would wait for them to be back home by 9pm.
"The power went off a few minutes after they had left home to wait near the shop for the master to pick them up.
"I went inside the house to set the lights and after 10 minutes or so, Ashika came running and I asked her what happened.
"Ashika said a car came and stopped near the shop and someone from inside called Vandhana's name.
"She said Vandhana took the torch from her hand and went away in the car."
Mr Kumar said electricity supply came back on about 15 minutes after Ashika had returned home.
"Thinking that Vandhana had gone with the master whom she was talking about and that she would return a bit later, I waited until 11pm.
"I went to bed after 11pm when she didn't return.
"The next morning, which was Friday, Ashika ironed Vandhana's school uniform as it had been washed the previous night and hung to dry, thinking that she will come soon.
"Ashika and my other two daughters left for school after waiting for Vandhana for some time."
Mr Kumar said while leaving for work that morning, he gave $1 to his wife Maureen Lata for Vandhana's bus fare in case she got back home.
He said Vandhana's parents came to his place later that day looking for her. The search for Vandhana started when she failed to return home on Friday afternoon, November 1, 2002, which was a day before the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali.
Vandhana had left her home in Madhuvani on the morning of October 31, 2002, for school but her parents were unaware of the carnival plans.
Mrs Kuar and her husband Dharam Jeet went to Rakiraki Town later that day to buy some items for Diwali.
"I met her at the bus stand and she was with Ashika and Ashika's two sisters and Ashika persuaded me to send Vandhana with her," she said.
"Ashika told me 'not to worry aunty' and after much reluctance and with a heavy heart, I agreed to let Vandhana go with her.
"Vandhana was supposed to return home in the last school bus the next day but when she didn't get off at the junction, we got worried.
"The next day (Saturday, November 2, 2002) was Diwali and we had planned to make sweets on that Friday night.
"We started searching for her and the first place we went to was Ashika's house in Naria because we knew that Vandhana had gone with her after school on Thursday."
Mrs Kuar said she did not have any money with her to go to Naria but an iTaukei woman who owed her gave her some cash.
She and her husband then found their way to Ashika's house.
"Ashika's mother told me that Vandhana was not there and she had gone to another friend's house some distance away," she claimed.
"I went to that place to check but Vandhana wasn't there and I went back to Ashika's house.
"But her mother made me run around and then told me that Ashika went in a car on Thursday night. She gave me different colours for the car," she claimed.
However, Maureen Lata denied giving the run-around to Mrs Kuar. She said she had no knowledge about Vandhana's whereabouts.
Mrs Kuar said after searching for Vandhana at the places she was allegedly told to go, she reported the matter at the Rakiraki Police Station and returned home at about 5:30am on Saturday - Diwali day.
She said the whole family stayed home on Saturday and her other children who were working in Tailevu were also home by then after learning about Vandhana's disappearance.
"It was Diwali but there was darkness in our lives because of the disappearance of my most beautiful child," she said.
"We just held each other, cried, prayed and hoped that Vandhana will come back home or someone will tell us about her whereabouts.
"Apart from prayers, there was no Diwali celebration for us and we have never celebrated this important festival ever since Vandhana disappeared."
Mrs Kuar said she had been looking for her daughter since November 1, 2002, running to police, priests and even witchdoctors with the hope of locating Vandhana.
"The priests and witchdoctors I went to see to seek information about Vandhana's whereabouts then and even until now told me that she is alive but somewhere very far," she said.
"I've also had dreams of her and I've seen her sitting at an unknown place with some small children and some men.
"Someone also told me recently that he could see Vandhana in a house on a hill on an island with a man on guard outside.
"A few days ago, I dreamt of her dressed up in masi and telling me 'mummy, please take me away from here'."
Mrs Kuar said the family believes that Vandhana is alive and as such they have not done her final rites.
She said the final rites could not be done because Vandhana's body had not been found.
"If she had died, then we would have felt her presence in the house doing something because we haven't done the final prayers for her soul to rest in peace.
"For Hindus, the spirit of any person who has died and for whom the final prayers for peace have not been done always wanders around.
"But we haven't felt the presence of my angel in the house at any time since she disappeared and as such we think she's alive somewhere."
Mrs Kuar said she and her family members had often mistakenly stopped other girls on the streets, thinking they were Vandhana.
"I've been searching for my daughter since she disappeared and I will continue to do so until my last breath.
"My soul won't rest peacefully if I die without finding Vandhana or even without knowing her whereabouts and that she's safe," she said.
While the Jeet family is quietly searching for Vandhana since she disappeared, the home where she was last at would later suffer the pain.
It was the morning of June 26, 2005, when Vandhana's friend - Ashika and Ashika's sisters Renuka and Radhika - were last seen alive by their family members.
There was more to Vandhana's disappearance.