Jessoreshwari Kali Temple-A Famous Shakti Peeth

Jessoreshwari Kali Temple is a famous Shakti Peeth in Bangladesh. This Shakti Peeth is located in Ishwaripur village of Shyamnagar upazila, Satkhira. The name Jessoreshwari means “Goddess of Jessore”. It is a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindu devotees.

Shakti Peeth

Jessoreshwari Kali Temple is a very important place for the Sanatan Shakti devotees. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of the world. Many followers of Sanatan Hindu religion from home and abroad visit Jessoreshwari Kali Temple in Shyamnagar, Bangladesh every year and worship there for the satisfaction of the Goddess. Apart from the followers of Sanatan Hindu religion, many people visit this Kali temple at different times due to its historical significance.

Shakti Peeths are related to a well-known Hindu mythological story. In Hindu mythology, King Prajapati Daksha, the son of Lord Brahma, had a daughter named Sati. When Sati grew older, she performed intense penance to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. As Daksha was performing a Yajna, he invited all the gods and goddesses except Lord Shiva and his consort, Sati. Sati insisted on attending the function despite the disapproval of Lord Shiva.

When Sati entered Daksha’s palace, King Daksha insulted her. He said that his other daughters were more distinguished and worthy of honour than Shiva and Sati. Sati could not bear Daksha’s insulting words for her husband. She threw herself in glowing sacred fire of Yajna and Daksha Yajna was deserted. When the news reached Lord Shiva, he was enraged. He created a fierce giant named Veerbhadra from his hair and ordered him (Veerbhadra) to go and destroy the Yajna of Daksha. Veerbhadra rushed to the sacrificial area and severed the head of Daksha. However, it was proclaimed that the Yajna should not be left incomplete. So, a head of goat was placed to restore his life. Sad Lord began to wander carrying the dead body of Sati. He started Pralay Nritya (dance of destruction of universe). In order to save the universe and break this attachment of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshana Chakra (the whirling knife on his finger tip) cut Sati’s body into pieces. Sati’s body pieces fell at 51 different places of the world and these are called Shakti Peeths. Among them seven Shakti Peeths are located at different areas of Bangladesh. Of the 51 Shakti Peeths, the temple at Ishwaripur is the place where the palms and soles of feet of Goddess Sati fell and the Goddess resides there in the form of Devi Jessoreshwari and Lord Shiva appears as Chanda.

It is believed that the temple was built by a Brahmin named Anari. He built 100 doors of this Jessoreshwari Shakti Peeth. But it is not known when the temple was built. It was later renovated by Lakshman Sen and Raja Pratapaditya during their reign. Later, Pratapaditya started worshipping Goddess Kali and built this Kali temple. In the name of Kali Darshan, Man Singh took the design of Pratapaditya’s fort. Later the Mughals attacked and won it. With the idol of Kali, Pratapaditya and his general and mentor Shankar Chattopadhyay were captured by Man Singh. The zamindar was located inside the house. The then zamindar Babu donated about 200 bighas of land in his mother’s name. But today the influential land grabbers are occupying all the lands of this renowned temple by creating fake documents. Today the brick wall of the temple is falling down.

Shakti Devi and BhairabTantrachuramani says:
‘Jessore Panipadma Devta Jessoreswari, / Chandashcha bhairab yatra tatra siddha na sansaya. ‘
[Sati’s Panipadma or Karakamal had fallen in Jessore. The name of the goddess is Jessoreswari, Bhairab is Chanda. It is a common belief that the minds of the devotees are fulfilled if they worship in this Sati Peeth.]

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Jessoreswari mother is very beautiful. Only the face of the mother’s idol on the temple-altar is visible but her hands and feet are not visible. The idol is covered with velvet. There is a gorgeous red canopy over mother’s head, blood-red garland and various ornaments on the throat, and gold crown on the head. Goddess Jessoreshwari bears some resemblance to the face of Jagrat Zahura Kalimata in Malda, India. She seems to be the last word of the absolute shelter of the devotees.

Devotees who gather at the mother’s puja bring flowers, fruits and various sweets. In front of the mother’s idol, offerings are arranged in layers on beautiful bronze dishes and earthenwares. The worship of Jessoreshwari is done following Tantrism. Every year Shyama Puja is performed in the temple with great pomp. Thousands of devotees worship at this temple on the occasion of Shyama Puja. An annual fair is also held in front of the temple for three days.

In the past, a large stage mandapa called Natmandir was built adjacent to the temple from where the face of the goddess could be seen. It was built by Lakshman Sen or Maharaja Pratapaditya. It collapsed after 1971. There is nothing left today of that lovely, long and wide huge theater. Now only the pillars are visible. One or two pillars have somehow stood as silent witnesses for hundreds of years. Once there was a high wall around the temple. Except for the main temple, everything else is gone today. The nave of the temple is now in ruins. The temple needs radical renovation as soon as possible.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited and offered his prayers at the centuries-old Jessoreshwari Kali Temple at Ishwaripur village of Shyamnagar in Satkhira on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Prominent people welcomed the royal guest there. He then entered the temple on foot. At that time, the local worshippers welcomed Modi with beats of traditional drum, uluddhani and blowing of conch shells. After entering the temple, the Indian Prime Minister crowned the Goddess. Then he completed the donation of clothes to the Goddess. After laying a wreath to the Goddess, he recited the mantra, offered his prayers and circumambulated the Goddess. At the end of the puja, he exchanged greetings with the local worshippers.

Jay Ma Jessoreshwari

Talker: Krishna Das

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