Shaktipeeth in Bangladesh
“Shakti” means the goddess Dakshayani, or various forms of Mahamaya Parvati who is worshipped everywhere, and “Peeth” means the sacred place. Therefore, Shaktipeeth refers to the sacred place where various parts or ornaments of the body of Goddess Sati fell after being cut by the Sudarshana Chakra (the whirling knife) of Sri Vishnu and the temples were established.
Shakti Peetha is one of the holiest pilgrimages in Hinduism. According to Hindu scriptures, in the shrines named Shaktipeeth, various parts of the body of Goddess Dakshayani Sati are preserved in stone. Although there are generally 51 Shakti Peeths, there is disagreement in the scriptures about the number and position of the Peeths. LThe number of Shakti Peeths in Peethanirnaya Tantra is 51. These Shaktipeeths are located in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. The total number of Shaktipeeths in different parts of Bangladesh is seven. Let’s see the locations and mythological stories behind these 7 Shaktipeeths in Bangladesh.
Story of Shaktipeeth
Shaktipeeths are related to a well-known Hindu mythological story. According to the story, there was a king named Daksha whose daughter was Goddess 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 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, Shiva. She threw herself in glowing sacred fire and Daksha Yajna was deserted. When 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 Daksha’s life. Sad Lord began to wander carrying the dead body of Sati. He started Pralay Nritya (the dance of destruction of universe.) In order to save universe and break this attachment of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshana Chakra cut Satis body into pieces. Sati’s body pieces fell at 51 different places of the world and these are called Shakti peeths. Among them five Shakti peeths are located at different areas of Bangladesh. These are Bhavanipur Shaktipeeth, Chattala Shaktipeeth, Jessoreshwari Shaktipeeth, Sri Shail Shaktipeeth, Sugandha peetha and Dhaleshwari Shaktipeeth.
It is a famous Shaktipeeth. The temple of this holy place is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is located in the village of Ishwaripuri under Shyamnagar Upazila of Satkhira district, Bangladesh. The name ‘Jeshoreshwari’ means ‘Goddess of Jessore’. According to Sanatan Hindu mythology, the palm of Goddess Sati fell here. It is believed that the temple was built by a Brahmin named Anari. He built 100 doors of this Jessoreshwari Shaktipeeth. 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. The Goddess is addressed here as ‘Jessoreshwari’ and Lord Shiva as ‘Chanda’. Now the temple is known as Jessoreshwari Kali Temple.
This Shaktipeeth is located in Shikarpur, few kilometers north of Barisal in Bangladesh. It lies down on the bank of the river Sunanda. The Goddess is called here ‘Sunanda’ and Lord Shiva is worshipped as ‘Traimvak’.
Among the Sanatan Hindu sacred places of Bangladesh, Shaktipeeths and the temples of Goddess are very important to the Shakta sect of Hindu devotees. As these sanctuaries have both mythological and archaeological importance, tourists from home and abroad feel a great attraction for them.
Jayanti Shaktipeeth is located at Baurbhaga village near Jayantiya hill, Sylhet, Bangladesh. The old name of this place was Bamur. It is said that the left thigh of Goddess Sati fell here. Devi is known here as Jayanti and Lord Shiva is called as Kramdishwar.
Sri Shail Shaktipeeth
Sri Shail Shaktipeeth is located at Jainpur village, Dhakshin Surma near Gotatikar, 3 kilometers north-east of Sylhet town, Bangladesh. It is believed that the neck of Goddess Sati fell here. The Goddess is worshipped here as ‘Mahalakshmi’ and Lord Shiva as ‘Samvaranand’.
Bhavanipur Shaktipeeth is located about 28 kilometres from Sherpur Upazila of Bogra District, Bangladesh. As per Hindu sacred texts, the part of Goddess Sati’s body fell at Bhavanipur could be left anklet (ornament), ribs of left chest, right eye or bedding (according to various sources). There are numerous temples at this Shaktipeeth premises which are visited by pilgrims round the year. The Goddess is addressed here as ‘Aparna’ and Lord Shiva as ‘Vamana’.
Chattala Shaktipeeth is identified with Devi Bhavani temple in Chandranath, Sitakunda, in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh. According to Sanatan Hindu sacred texts the right arm of Goddess Sati fell on this place. So, Chandranath is a holy place for the Shakta sect of Hinduism. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Chandranath. Chandranath Temple is located on top of the 350 metres high Chandranath hill. Each year Shiva Chaturdashi festival is held here.
Dhakeswari Shaktipeeth or Dhakeswari Temple is a historical Hindu shrine located in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The word Dhakeswari literally means ‘Goddess of Dhaka’. Again, many think that Dhaka is named after this temple. It is believed that the crown jewel of Goddess Sati fell over here. Lord Shiva is also worshipped in the temple premises.
The temple was built in the 12th century by King Ballal Sen of the Sen dynasty. However, the architecture of the Dhakeswari temple does not match with the construction style of the architecture at that time. So, according to historians, the original design of the temple has undergone such a change as a result of continuous renovations. During the war of liberation in 1971, Dhakeswari temple was damaged by Pakistani forces. After the independence of Bangladesh, the temple was rebuilt according to the original design. Now it is the national temple of Bangladesh.
By Krishna Das