Our Temples and Tourism (Part-II)
In ‘Our temples and tourism (Part-I)’ I focused on the Shakti Peethas of Bangladesh. Here, I would like to uphold some famous Sanatan Hindu temples of Bangladesh. These temples can be divided into four categories – Shakta temples, Shaiva temples, Vaishnava temples and temples of other Hindu sects. I’ll try to talk about the famous temples of the country as per these categories though many of these temples are used to worship different deities together.
Dhakeshwari Temple: Dhakeshwari temple is located in old Dhaka. The name ‘Dhakeshwari’ means ‘Goddess Dhaka’. She is considered the guardian deity of Dhaka city according to Sanatan Hindu belief. Dhakeshwari temple is given the distinction of Bangladesh’s ‘National Temple’.
Ramna Kali Mandir (temple): Ramna Kali Mandir (temple), also known as Ramna Kalibari, is one of the famous Hindu temples of the Indian Sub-continent. Many Shakta devotees believe that the temple was founded by the devotees of Goddess Kali. They also believe that those devotees came to Bengal from the Himalayas, the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali or Parvati. Though the temple had stood for centuries, it was largely developed in the early 20th century under the patronage of Rani Vilasmani Devi, wife of Rajendra Narayan (1882-1913).
Joy Kali Temple: Joy Kali temple is situated between Thathari Bazar and wari of Dhaka city. This temple is devoted to Goddess Kali. It was established in the Bengali year 1001 (the reign of Nawabs). Tulsi Narayan Ghosh and Nabh Narayan Ghosh, two Dewans of Nawabs, established this temple with the inspection of Bancharam Saint.
Siddheshwari Kali Temple: Siddheshwari Kali temple, another famous temple of Dhaka, is located at Siddheshwari Lane of the city. It is assumed that a Sanatan Hindu devotee named Chand Rai established this temple. But it is unknown how and when the temple was established.
Boro Kali Bari Temple: Boro Kali Bari is one of the oldest temples of the country. It is located in the city of Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Kalipuja , one of the biggest festivals of Sanatan Hindus, is celebrated here every year. It is one of the important holy places for the Sanatan Shakta sects. Durga Bari temple and Shiva temples are also very famous temples of the city.
Chandimura Temple: Chandimura temple, Comilla is one of the oldest temples in Bangladesh. It was established in 7th century by Prabhavati Devi, wife of a Buddhist king Devkharag Chandimura. Sanatan Hindu devotees from home and abroad visit this beautiful temple all the year round.
The Temple of King Kangsa Narayan: This Temple is one of the famous temples of Bangladesh. It is situated in Tahirpur of Rajshahi district. It is said that Durga Puja, the biggest Bangalee Hindu festival, was celebrated here for the first time in the Indian subcontinent.
Jora (twin) Kali/Shiva Temples: Jora Kali/Shiva temples in Jessore, Bangladesh are famous temples. These temples are located at Bakchar, Jessore. These were established by King Pratapaditya in 17th century.
Dashamahavidya Temple: Dashamahavidya temple of Jessore, Bangladesh is actually a ruin of an old famous temple. It is located at Chanchra, Jessore. It was established in 1729.
Adinath Temple: It is located on the top of the Mainak Hill of Maheshkhali island of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped here as Adinath. The temple is famous for its annual fair. According to the local Hindu believers, this temple was erected more than three thousand years ago. Many devotees also believe that the King of Tripura built five important temples in five corners of the world. Adinath temple is one of them. The four others are Chandranath temple, Vishvanath temple, Bhutnath temple and Pashupatinath temple. So it is easily understood that this temple is very important to the devotees. Thousands of Sanatan Hindu devotees from different parts of Bangladesh and the neighbouring countries visit this famous temple.
Vishvanath Temple: Vishvanath temple is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Vishvanath (Shiva). It is located in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. The temple is unique because of its pagoda-like architecture. It attracts the Shiva devotees all the year round.
Eleven Shiva Temple Complex: Eleven Shiva temple Complex in Abhaynagar upazila of Jessore district, Bangladesh is actually ruins of eleven old Shiva temples. These were dedicated to Lord Shiva. In eighteenth century Nilkantha Ray (1745-64), Zamindar of Chanchra, Jessore, ordered a person named Hariram Mitra of Abhaynagar to build these temples by the side of the river Bhairab. It is mentionable that Abhaynagar upazila was named after the Princess Abhaya.
Chanchra Shiva Temple: Chanchra Shiva temple is located at Chanchra (suburb of Jessore town) beside Dhaka-Khulna highway. It is a beautiful terracotta temple.
Baro(twelve) Shivalay Temples: It is a unique temple complex located beside the Chhoto Jamuna river of Bel-Amla village which is around 4kms apart from Jaypurhat district of Bangladesh. These temples were built at the beginning of 19th century by a rich Hindu person named Rajiblochon Mondol.
Tin (three) Shiva Temple: Tin Shiva temple is located outside the Rajbari of Muktagacha in Mymensingh. The temple was constructed in 1830 by Rani Bimala Devi, the mother of Maharaja Shashikanta Acharya Chowdhury, the then Zamindar of Muktagacha, Mymensingh.
Kal Bhairav Temple: Kal Bhairav is another name of Lord Shiva. Kal Bhairav temple, situated in Medda of the Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is famous for a 28 feet tall Shiva statue (Shivalinga).
Sonarang Twin Temples: Sonarang Twin temples are located in Sonarang village under Tongibari upazila of Munshiganj district, Bangladesh. Two temples stand side by side on a single masonry platform. Of the two, the western one is a Kali temple and the eastern one is a Shiva temple. The temples attract Sanatan Hindu devotees all the year round.
Ramgopal Temple: This old temple is situated in Shailakupa upazila of Jhenaidah district, Bangladesh.
Kantajew Temple: Kantajew temple, commonly known as Kantaji temple at Kantanagar is a late-medieval Hindu temple in Dinajpur district, Bangladesh. It is the biggest terracotta temple in Bangladesh. A month long Raasa mela (a fair on the occasion of Raasa festival) is arranged here every year.
Kaliya Jew Temple: It is another famous temple of Dinajpur, Bangladesh. This temple is located to the west side of Dinajpur Rajbari. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Jagannath Temple, Comilla: Jagannath temple of Comilla, Bangladesh is an old temple. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. This temple is also known as Sateroratna Mandir or Seventeen Jewel Temple. It was established in 16th century by Shree Shreejukta Maharaj Radha Kishor Manikya Bahadur, the King of Tripura. The deities of Lord Jagannath, Valabhadra and Subhadra were originally installed in a temple in Tripura from where they were subsequently brought to this temple. Its terracotta brick work is in the typical Bengal style of temple.
Jagannath Temple, Pabna: This temple is also dedicated to Lord Jagannath. It is locally known as Handial Mandir. It was established between 1300 and 1400 CE. The temple is famous for its terracotta sculptures.
Puthia Temple Complex: Puthia temple complex consists of a cluster of notable old Hindu temples located 23 kms to the east of Rajshahi city. It is the largest number of historic temples in Bangladesh. The temples were built By Hindu Zamindars of the Puthia. Puthia temple complex includes fourteen ancient Hindu temples (Govinda temple, Shiva temple, Boro Ahnik temple, Chhoto Ahnik temple etc) of different architectural styles. The terracotta sculptures of the temples attract the devotees and tourists all the year round. It is mentionable here that Chhoto Ahnik temple of this complex is the smallest terracotta temple of Bangladesh.
Naldanga Temple Complex: It consisted of eight temples (Siddeshwari temple, Kalimata temple, Laxmi temple, Ganesh temple, Durga temple, Taramoni temple, Vishnu temple and Rajeshwari temple) of different deities. At least six out of eight templese still stand. Maharaj Indranaryan Devroy built the Siddeshwari temple in 1656. Later the rest of the temples were built by successive different rulers. The complex is located in Kaliganj upazila of Jhenidah district, Bangladesh.
Buno Mar Bari : Buno Mar Bari is actually a Shitala temple dedicated to goddess Shitala. It is located in Abhaynagar upazila of Jessore district, Bangladesh. It is one of the old famous Shitala temples of Bangladesh. A month long mela (fair) is arranged here in the Bengali month, Baishakh.
The temples described above are frequently visited by the devotees and tourists round the year. There are many other old and archaeological temples scattered in different corners of the country. But all of them cannot be included in the same article. I’ve tried only to talk about those which are important to all for ages.