Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Bangladesh
Dhakeshwari Temple, Bangladesh
Dhakeshwari National Temple (Bengali: ঢাকেশ্বরী জাতীয় মন্দির Ðhakeshshori Jatio Mondir) is a Hindu temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh's 'National Temple'. The name "Dhakeshwari" (ঢাকেশ্বরী Ðhakeshshori) means "Goddess of Dhaka". Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir in 1971 by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh.
HistoryThe Dhakeshwari temple was built in the 12th century by Ballal Sen, a king of the Sena dynasty, and many say the city was named after this temple. The current architectural style of the temple cannot be dated to that period because of the numerous repairs, renovations and rebuilding which have taken place over time. It is considered an essential part of Dhaka's cultural heritage. Many researchers say that the temple is also one of the Shakti Peethas, where the jewel from the crown of the Goddess had fallen. Although there is not enough historical context to establish this as a fact, researchers were directed to this site while trying to locate the particular Shakti Peetha. Since ages, the temple has been held in great importance. The original 800-year old statue was taken to Kumartuli, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. There remains the replica of original idol in Dhaka. The temple was further damaged during the Muslim mob attacks of 1989–90.
It is widely believed that the Queen, wife of King Bijoy Sen went to Langolbond for bathing. While coming back she gave birth to a son, known to historians as Ballal Sen. After ascending to the throne, Ballal Sen built this temple to glorify his birthplace. Legends say that Ballal Sen once dreamt of the deity covered under the jungle. Ballal Sen uncovered the deity from there and built a temple, named for Dhakeswari. Whatever the legends describe, Hindu religious consider Dhakeswari to be the presiding deity of Dhaka.
Declaration as National Temple of BangladeshIn 1996, Dhakeshwari Temple was renamed Dhakeshwari Jatiya Mandir (National Temple) reflecting its position as the center of Hindu culture and worship in Bangladesh. This was the culmination of a major campaign by Bangladeshi Hindu groups who had been demanding official recognition for the primary Hindu place of worship
Religious and socio-cultural activitiesDhakeshwari Temple is a hub of socio-cultural as well as religious activity. Each year, the largest celebration of Durga Puja (the most important event in the Bengali Hindu calendar) in Dhaka is held at the National Temple, and a stream of dignitaries (such as the Bangladeshi President, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament and media celebrities) come to felicitate the Bangladeshi Hindu community from the temple premises. Several thousand worshippers and onlookers (including Muslims) stream through the premises where they are offered prasad (food - usually rice and lentils). A Bijaya Sammelani (cultural program following Durga Puja) takes place in the adjoining parade ground a few days after Durga Puja is complete, and is also a major cultural event in the Dhaka calendar, regularly attracting some of the top performers from the Dhaka music and film industry.
One of the most important events of the year is the Janmashthami procession which starts from Dhakeshwari temple and then proceeds through the streets of Old Dhaka; this occurs on the day of Lord Krishna's birthday, which is also a national holiday in Bangladesh and second only to Durga Puja in importance in the Bengali Hindu calendar. The procession dates back to 1902 but was stopped in 1948 following the establishment of Pakistan and subsequent attacks by Muslim mobs in Dhaka. The procession was resumed in 1989.
Concerts and charity drives (such as flood relief) are also a regular fixture within the temple throughout the year. Each year, Dhakeshwari Temple hosts major blood drives and inoculation programs which are open to all residents of Dhaka city.
At the old time festivals happened on the month of Chaitra in temple complex of Dhakeswari. This place was crowded by various colored shops. Peoples-virtuous comes to visit the temple to gather religious merit and get back to their home. Millions of Hindu religious peoples taking bath at Langolbondon the month of choitra on sukla ostomi time to rid of their sins. People comes to dhakeswari temple by on foot from different roads to be blessed by the deity Durga like a row of ants. It was the best moment of their whole year. With great hope they come out from their home and it’s reflected on their faces, to getting rid of their sins they worship to the Deity with exclusive devotion by bowing their head to mediation of Bhagaban. They forget about everything hunger, sleep, restless everything, they just believe that they will be blessed and they step up for the temple. All those peoples divided into small groups, each groups has ten to twenty. Every one of those group members are women, only one man is there to taking care of them who is the elders of the village. They have comes from very long distance by forming groups. Old peoples, skinny peoples and the oldest are also gathered to this group. Young people from the nearest city to the temple volunteering for the people come from long distance to be blessed by the Deity. With a great concentration, eagerness to the worship of the Deity and often bowing by shouting “Oom Dhaka eswari”.
In present days, each year, the largest celebration of Durga puja(the most important event in the Bengali Hindu calendar) in Dhaka is held at the National Temple, and a stream of dignitaries come to felicitate the Bangladeshi Hindu community from the temple premises. Several thousand worshippers and onlookers (including Muslims) stream through the premises where they are offered prasad(food - usually rice and lentils). A Bijaya Sammelani (cultural program following Durga Puja) takes place in the adjoining parade ground a few days after Durga Puja is complete, and is also a major cultural event in the Dhaka calendar.
Kantajew Temple, Bangladesh
Kantojiu Temple (Bengali: কান্তজীউ মন্দির) at Kantanagar, is a late-medieval Hindu temple in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Built by Maharaja Pran Nath, its construction started in 1702 CE and ended in 1752 CE, during the reign of his son Maharaja Ramnath. It boasts one of the greatest examples on Terracotta architecture in Bangladesh and once had nine spires, but all were destroyed in an earthquake that took place in 1897
The temple was built in a navaratna (nine-spired) style before the destruction caused by the earthquake of 1897.
Chandranath Temple, Bangladesh
Historical referencesThe Rajmala states that about 800 years ago, Raja Biswambhar Sur, a descendant of the famous Adisur of Gaur, tried to reach Chandranath by sea. The Nigamkalpataru refers to the poet Jayadev living for a time in Chandranath. By the time of Dhanya Manikya, ruler of Tripura, Chandranath received numerous endowments. Dhanya Manikya attempted to remove the idol of Shiva from the temple to his kingdom but failed.
LegendSati, was the first wife of Shiva as the first incarnation of Parvati. She was the daughter of King Daksha and Queen (the daughter of Brahma). She committed self immolation at the sacrificial fire of a yagna performed by her father Daksha as she felt seriously distraught by her father’s insult of her husband and also to her by not inviting both of them for the yagna. Shiva was so grieved after hearing of the death of his wife that he danced around the world in a Tandav Nritya (“devastating penance” or dance of destruction) carrying Sati's dead body over his shoulders. Perturbed by this situation and in order to bring Shiv to a state of normalcy, it was then Vishnu who decided to used his Sudarshan Chakra (the rotating knife s carried on his finger tip). He dismembered Sati’s body with the chakra into several pieces and wherever her body fell on the earth, the place was consecrated as a divine shrine oo Shakthi Peeth with deities of Sati (Parvati) and Shiva. These locations have become famous pilgrimage places as Pithas or Shakthi Pithas, and are found scattered all over the subcontinent including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, apart from India. Sati is also known as Devi or Shakthi, and with blessinggs of Vishnu she was reborn as the daughter of Himavat or Himalayas and hence named as Parvati (daughter of mountains). She was born on the 14th day of the bright half of the month of Mrigashīrsha, which marks the Shivarathri (Shiva’s night) festival
Adinath Temple, Bangladesh
Adinath Temple, located on the summit of the Mainak Hill on Maheshkhali Island off the coast of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, is dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva, who is worshipped as Adinath. The temple is famous for the annual fair held at the foot of the Mainak Hill in the month of Phalgun as per the Bengali calendar. The fair, which lasts 13 days, draws thousands of Hindus from across Bangladesh.
Bhabanipur Shaktipeeth, Bangladesh
Bhabanipur (Bengali: ভবানীপুর) is a sacred site around Karatoyatat located about 28 kilometres (17 mi) from Sherpur Upazila of Bogra District, Rajshahi Division, Bangladesh. It is one of the Shakti Peethas of the Indian subcontinent
DeityThe Bhabanipur Shaktipeeth is a place of worship consecrated to the Goddess Maa Bhabani. The Shakti devi here is called Arpana and the Bhairava is Vaman. As to which part of "Sati" Maa Tara's body fell at Bhabanipur, there are various versions. It could be left anklet (ornament), ribs of left chest, right eye, or bedding (according to various sources).
SignificanceAccording to the Mahabharata, in the Satya Yuga, King Daksha arranged a ritual called Yagna in which her daughter Goddess Sati and Her husband Lord Shiva was not invited. Still Goddess Sati attended the function. Unable to bear the insult towards Her husband Lord Shiva, Goddess Sati protested by sacrificing Herself into the fire of the Yagna. Enraged with grief, Lord Shiva started the dance of destruction across the Universe with the corpse of Goddess Sati on His shoulder. To stop this, Lord Vishnu cut the corpse of Goddess Sati with the Sudharshan Chakra and as a result the various pieces of Goddess Sati's body and Her ornaments fell at various places of the Indian subcontinent. These places are now known as Shakti Peethas.
Being a Shakti Peeth, Bhabanipur is a historic place of pilgrimage for the followers of Hinduism. There are numerous temples at this Shakti-peeth premises which are visited by pilgrims from all over the country and abroad, irrespective of sectarian differences.
LegendThere is a legend saying that while once a conch-bangles dealer was passing by the side of a lonely pond in a dense jungle near the then Bhabanipur temple, a little girl with a tip of vermilion on her forehead approached him and told him that she was the daughter of the Natore Rajbari (Palace). She bought a pair of conch-bangles from him and requested him to collect the price of that bangles from the then Maharani Bhabani from a basket kept in the Rajbari at a specified place. Her appearance and polite words overwhelmed the conch-dealer. The Maharani (Queen) rushed to the place/site with her men and the conch-dealer as soon as she heard this from him. On the earnest prayer by the conch-dealer, Ma Bhabani raised from that pond showing her two wrists with the conch-bangles worn. The Maharani and the men present there were surprised, and the divinity of Mother Bhabani spread throughout this subcontinent. This is that sacred "Shakha-Pukur" (conch-bangles pond) where the devotees take their holy bath when they go there.
TemplesSurrounded by a boundary wall, the Temple comprises about an area of four acres (12 bighas) - Main Temple, Belbaran Tala, 4 Shiva Temples, Patal Bhairava Shiva Temple, Gopal Temple, Bashudev Temple and Nat Mandir. On the north side, there is a Sheba Angan, Holy Shakha-Pukur (conch-bangles pond), 2 bathing ghats, 4 Shiva Temples outside the boundary wall and a Panchamunda Asana.
Worship, rituals and festivalsPravati and Balya Bhog worship and Anna Bhog at noon, and Arati and Bhog at evening. Devotees can offer Bhog to the divine mother "Tara" (Ma Bhabani) every day and take Prasad later.
Every year, festivals take place at the Bhabanipur Temple premises on auspicious occasions. They are:
- Maghi Purnima in the Bengali month of Magh/Falgun
- Ram Nabomi in the month of Chaitra/Baishakh
- Durgotshov in autumn
- Dipannita Shyama Puja
- Nabanna in the month of Aghrahoyon
Location and communicationDevotees can go to Bhabanipur from Dhaka via Jamuna Bridge and after passing Chandaikona in Sirajganj District, they can reach Ghoga Bot-tola bus stoppage on the same highway from where they can reach the Bhabanipur Temple premises by availing themselves of van or scooter. Pilgrims from the districts located to the North of Bogra can reach the Bhabanipur Temple premises by passing through Sherpur, Mirzapur and Ghoga Bot-tola (bus stoppage) of Bogra district.
akta-pitha in Bangladesh The Mahapithanirupana identified seven pithas in Bangladesh. The Shivacharita mentioned the temple of Jossoreshwarikali of Ishwaripur village of Satkhira district as one of upa-pithas. It is said that the name of the town of Jossore (Jessore) evolved from the goddess of the same name. The temple of Kanyasharm in the suburb of Chittagong city is one of the pithas, but by and large only the local people support this opinion because the Benimadhab Shiler Phul Panjika refers to this name in connection with a different village in Rajasthan state, India. Since the British period, two temples have kept the ritual relationship with the family members of the local royalty and the landlords. The temple of Ma-Bhabani of Bhabanipur village of bogra district prospered under the patronage of the Natore Raj during the 18th century. The temple was given the name of the well-known benevolent queen of Natore, Rani Bhabani.
After the abolition of the zamindari system, the descendants of the Rajah's family migrated to India and the title to the private estate of the Raj was transferred to the office of the estate manager. At the time of the annual festival the family members living in Calcutta still sent offerings for the altar. However, the ritual of the Bhabani temple is now under the supervision of a caretaker (nayeb) who is appointed by the estate manager of Natore. The legendary king of Pratapaditya of sundarbans is supposed to be the founder of the temple of Jossoreshwarikali in Satkhira. Ishwaripur village is regarded as the capital of this legendary kingdom. There are some ruins of the old capital around the area. The landed Chattarjee family built the present temple - a splendid two-story building - at the site of the ruin. It has come down through oral tradition that the Chatterjee family migrated to this part of the country during the time of Raja Pratapaditya and served as this family's priests. The family members living in Dhaka still undertake the management of the annual festival. The other temples are managed by temple committees. The temple of Bamjyanga Baurubhag village of Kanaighat thana of Sylhet district was famous in the 18th century and was under the patronage of the Khasiya Raj.
After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, most members of the royal family migrated to the Megalaya state of India. Local Hindus organised the temple committee for management of the temple festivals and the debottar. The temple building and surrounding wall with its fine Terracotta in the village bears witness to their former splendour. The temple of Mahalakshmi near the town of Sylhet was also under the patronage of the local zamindar during the British period. After their migration to India, local Hindus organised a committee in 1960 to manage the affairs of the temple.
The sacred place of Sitakunda has a more ancient historical background. The place is indeed a huge religious complex with many temples, sacred ponds, and other facilities for the pilgrimage, and is surrounded by hilly country with a waterfall. It is sometimes mentioned as the oldest Hindu sacred places in Bengal. During the Buddhist period this place was also popular as a sacred place. The Buddhist monastery here was believed to have received Buddha's ashes from the Arakani Raj (c 1785). The Tripura Raja of Dharmamanikya was the founder of the present Hindu temple at Sitakunda. During 1423, Shyakka Raja Dharmamanikya constructed the temple buildings and donated debottar land of more than 400 acres, including neighbouring hilly lands. Since the medieval period, Sitakunda has been famous as a pilgrimage centre for Buddhists as well as for Hindus. Every spring festival at the end of the lunar month of Chaitra, thousands of ordinary pilgrims and ascetics (sadhu) come to visit the place from all over the subcontinent. However, the temple management faces continuous conflict over the numerous properties and the proceeds from the concessions provided by the visitors.
In its own way, each temple in Bengal seems to have prospered as a sakta-pitha under the strong patronage of local Rajahs and landlords. However, there are many pithas that are older than any members of the local power structure. Some pithas such as those of Sitakunda and Tamluk go as far back as the Buddhist era. In some cases, these famous pithas were recognised as religious centres by the surrounding community and attracted local rulers and landlords, who hoped to legitimise their power through donation of land and construction of temples. In Bangladesh, nowadays, it is not the private donations of the local elite but the voluntary efforts of ordinary people that make it possible to maintain the temple management of the sakta-pitha. [Masahiko Togawa]
Ramna Kali Mandir, Bangladesh
The temple was bulldozed by the Pakistan Army on 27 March 1971 as it commenced its genocide during the Bangladesh Liberation War
Inn the Ramna area of Dhaka was the primary Hindu temple of East Bengal but was destroyed by the West Pakistan Army in March 1971.
HistoryCommon lore holds it that the temple was established by a Nepalese devotee of the Goddess Kali who had come to Bengal from the Himalayas. The major development of the temple occurred under the patronage of Rani Bilashmoni Debi of Bhawal estate.
The temple was one of Dhaka city's most prominent landmarks, its tower visible for miles around at a time when Dhaka had yet to embrace the highrise culture. In front of the temple was a large dighi (pond) which was a popular place for both worshippers and visitors to the park to take a dip and cool down. The architecture of the temple reflected the different styles the many centuries over which it was built.The tower was usually called "shikhara" which should not be confused with minerate of mosque.
Next to the temple was Ma Anandamoyee Ashram (Bengali: মা আনন্দময়ী আশ্রম), another place of worship with a residential complex and sanitation facility. The entire temple complex spanned almost 2.25 acres (9,100 m2) and was situated on the south side of Ramna Park, opposite the Bangla Academy.
The Ramna Kali Mandir is clearly seen in the pictures of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's famous address of 7 March 1971, probably the last time it was photographed by mass media.
There are now several temples in the boundary of Ramna Kali Mandir and Ma Anandamoyi Asram- Ramna Kali Mandir,Ma Durga Mandir,Radha Krisna Mandir are in almost full shape. There are some other ongoing Temples to be built e.g. Baba Loknath Temple, Ma Anandamoyi Temple, Shiva Temple, Temple of Sri Harichad Thakur etc
Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple, Bangladesh
Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple (Bengali: যশোরেশ্বরী কালী মন্দির) is a famous Hindu temple in Bangladesh, dedicated to the goddess Kali. The temple is located in Ishwaripur, a village in Shyamnagar upazilla of Satkhira. The name "Jeshoreshwari" means "Goddess of Jeshore".
LegendJeshoreshwari is regarded as one of the 51 Peeth of Sati; according to the belief, it is where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Jeshoreshwari represents the site where the palm of Sati fell. Legend says that the General of Maharaja Pratapaditya discovered a luminant ray of light coming from the bushes, and came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human palm. Later, Pratapaditya started worshiping Kali, building the Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple. As to be the "Goddess of Jessore", it was named after Jessore.
HistoryIt is believed to have created by a brahman named Anari. He created a 100-door temple for the Jeshoreshwari Peeth. But the timeline is not to be known. Later it has been renovated by Laxman Sen and Pratapaditya in their reigning periods.
Worship and ritualsThe temple is visited by pilgrims from all over, irrespective of sectarian differences. Worship is done by the priest every Saturday and Tuesday at noon time. But before 1971, there was daily routine of worship. Every year on the day of Kali puja, the present Caretakers of the temple conduct a ceremony. There is also a Mela taking place around the temple compound.
'Natmondir' and architectureA large rectangular covered platform called Natmondir has been erected adjacent to the main temple, from where the face of goddess can be seen. This was renovated by Laxman Sen in the late 13th century, but the builders are not known. After 1971, it crumbled. Now only the pillars can be seen.
Kal Bhairab Temple, Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh
Kal Bhairab Temple (Bengali: কালভৈরব মন্দির) is a Hindu temple, dedicated to the God Shiva, located in Medda in the Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh. The temple is famed for the giant Shivalinga, a 28-feet tall Shiva statue assumed to be the largest in the world. Though the Hindu Lord Shiva, who is called the Kal Bhairab is the main attraction, Goddess Kali is also worshipped there. The statue of Kali is situated on the right side of the Kal Bhairab and the statue of the Goddess Saraswati is placed on the left. The temple is a major pilgrimage place for Shaivites in Bangladesh.
HistoryThe temple dates back to the 19th century. It is said that approximately 200 years ago a sculptor named Durgacharan Acharjee saw a dream which motivated and influenced him to make preparations to build the statue from soil. Noor Muhammad, the famous landlord of Sarail donated the land to build this temple.
LocationBefore the Brahmanbaria city was established, Medda was the market located beside the famous Titas river. This market is almost 300 years old. Durgacharan first built this statue by the bank of the river with soil. Regular prayers were held by the local fans until 1971.
The Damage and at PresentDuring the Bangladesh Liberation War the Pakistani soldiers damaged and looted a lot of Hindu temples in Bangladesh. This temple was one of the damaged temples. The soldiers damaged the parts of this statue using dynamite. Later the statue was made again. It took four years to build this statue again but it reached the height of 24 feet. The current statue is made of stone.[
Prayers and ManagementBoth regular and annual prayers are held. People from different regions come to visit this temple. This place is also referred as one of the tourist attractions of the Brahmanbaria district. There are management committees to look after the temple. The giant statue of the Shiva is mostly locked for maintenance issues. The Government of Bangladesh looks after the charges for maintenance
Puthia Temple Complex, Bangladesh
The Puthia Raj family was established by a holy man named Bhatsacharya, who lived in the 16th century. Raja Man Singh, governor of the Mughal emperor Akbar, confiscated the Jagir of the refractory pathan jagirdar of Rajshahi named Lashker Khan and bestowed the Zamindary on the saintly Bhatsacharya for his learning, but he declined. However, his son Pitambar was granted the Lashkarpur estate permanently. On his death, his son Nilambar received the title of Raja from Emperor Jahangir. The Puthia Royal Family estate was the second largest zamindary and the wealthiest in British Bengal. After India's partition, the then Pakistani government abolished the zamindary system and confiscated all Hindu properties. The Royal Family migrated to India shortly afterwards.
Pancharatna Gobinda TempleThis grand temple of Puthia, the Govinda Temple was erected in mid-nineteenth century by the queen of Puthia. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, as the Puthia royal family were converted to Vaishnavism by Radhamohana Thakura. The temple has exquisite terracotta ornamentation depicting the divine romance between Krishna and Radha. The temple's survival is threatened by the newly established college nearby and the lack of conservation efforts.
Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )