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ॐl|l░Temples of Bengal░l|lॐ

About the Temples of Bengal: Temple architecturein Bengal is illustrative of the architecture of the region.
The Kali Templeat Kalighatin Calcutta is a well visited one and is considered to be one of the Shakti Peetha shrines of India.
The Ekteswartemple near Bankura is a unique one enshrining Ekapaada Murthy - a manifestation of Shiva.The Tarakeshwar Templenear Calcutta is a site of great festivity during Shivratri and in the month of Chaitra.The Syamaleshwartemple at Dantan, near Bengal's border with Orissa, shows a marked influence of the temple culture of Orissa.
TheKaalitemple at Dakshineswarnear Calcutta is closely associated with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Guru of the spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda.The following is a pointer, to the several temples that line the landscape of West Bengal.Ganga Sagar- at the confluence of theGanga with the ocean is an ancient pilgrimage siteassociated with Kapilamuni.
Temples of Bengal
Kalighatis located in the city of Calcutta on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi). The nameCalcuttais said to have been derived from the word Kalighat.
Kaaliis regarded as one of the principal deities of Bengal. There are other temples to Kaali -SahasrabhujaKaali, Sarvamangala, Tarasundari andSimhavaahini. Kaali is regarded as the destroyer or liberator and is depicted in a fearful form. Despite the terrifying form, she is considered to deliver bliss to worshippers. The Kalighat temple attracts numerous devotees throughout the year.
Kalighatis regarded as one of the52 Shakti Peethamsof India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva'sRudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell. (see Daksha Yagna).
The Temple:The Kalighat temple in its present form iis only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to inMansar Bhasancomposed in the 15th century, and inKavi Kankan Chandiof the 17th century.
Legendhas it that a devotee discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi river bed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Syayambhu Lingam ofNakuleshwar Bhairavnearby, and started worshipping Kaali in the midst of a thick jungle. This shrine grew to its present form over a period of time, thanks in particular tothe Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Bengal.
This family is also said to have built theChitreswari Kaalitemple at Chitpur. It is believed that there was a pathway through the jungle between Chitpur and Kalighat, and this pathway is said to have become the Chitpur road of Calcutta.
Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kaali by a Dasanami Monk by nameChowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.
The Dakshineswar Kaali temple across from the river, near Belur Math, bears an image of Kaali worshipped by the spiritual leaderRamakrishna Paramahamsa,guruofSwami Vivekananda
Temples of Bengal
Ekteshwarenshrines a temple to Shiva, in the village of Ekteshwar near Bankura.
Ekteshwarenshrines Shiva in the form of Ekapaadamurthy, with one foot and two hands.
Legend has it that that there was a lot of rivalry between two local rulers Samantabhuma and Mallabhuma over the border between their kingdoms. It is said that Shiva appeared in the form of animage of Ekapadamurthy at a point between their kingdoms thereby resolving the border dispute.
The temple seen today is a result of renovation and restoration over a period of time. The original laterite structure has brick and sandstone additions. In structure, it represents the architectural style of Orissa, bereft of a spire. In addition, there are a series of brick arches in front of the temple. The sanctum is reached after descending through a flight of steps. The temple looks like an abrupt upright structure, devoid of major sculptural work.
Fairs in the month of Chaitra, as well as Mondays each week, see a large turnout of pilgrims.
Temples of Bengal
Tarakeshwaris one of the prominent pilgrimage centers in Bengal. Tarakeshwar is located near Serampore near Calcutta in Bengal.
This temple dates back to the 18th century.Legendhas it that a devotee by name Vishnu Das emigrated with his clan from Oude (Ayodhya) and was viewed with suspicion by the locals. It is believed that he proved his innocence by holding in his hand a red hot iron bar. Later, his brother discovered a site in the nearby jungle, where cattle discharged the contents of their udders at a particular spot each day. Upon investigation, they discovered a Shivalingam. A dream is said to haverevealed to them that this Shivalingam was a manifestation ofTarakeshwar- Shiva. A temple was built at this spot, and was renovated in subsequent years.
This temple is typical ofBengalitemples, with a sanctum and a porch in front of it. The four sided porch hasthree arched openings railings on its roof. In front of the porch is the convregational hall.
Mondays attract scores of pilgrims. A fair - mela commemoratesShivratriin the month of February - March. Also celebrated in a grand manner here is theChaitra Sankrantior the Bengali new year.
Temples of Bengal
Syamaleshwaris located inDantan, south ofKharagpur, on the south bound railroad to Orissa. It is located very close to the border and the temple displays a profound Oriyaninfluence.
Dantan is said to have been an active center of trade, on the pilgrim route to Puri from Bengal, attracting a lot of travellers. Although Dantan was a thriving center during the period of Chaitanya, it is locally said that the religious leader halted here on his way to Puri and brushed his teeth here, hence the name Dantan.
In this village are two tanks, the Vidyadhar and the Sarasankha tank. The Vidyadhar tank is said to have been created by the minister of the ruler Pratapa Rudra of Warangal.
The temple is representative of the Oriyan temple culture. Facing the temple is a large Nandi, now in a damaged state.
Temples of Bengal
Dakshineshwarin Hooghly district is known for itsKaalitemple, made famous through its association with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the spiritual Guru of the religious leader Swami Vivekananda. Located in Calcutta, nearby is the well known Kalighattemple also dedicated to Kaali.
TheKaalitemple is of fairly recent origin (1847), and it is representativeof Bangla temple architecture, with a cluster of towers, with a central dome towering above the rest, with a two layered roof - one superimposed on the other, with four domes in four corners of each, with a corridor with a curvilinear roof in between each pair of domes.
Across the Hooghly river from Dakshineshwar, on its west bank, is Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission. Following Ramakrishna's passing in 1886, Swami Vivekananda founded the mission.

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