Shiva shrine in Bangladesh
Shiva shrines are very important to the Shivites (Hindu devotees of Lord Shiva). Bangladesh is a small country but there are many famous Shiva shrines throughout the country. Most of these shrines or temples are very old and some of which are in a ruinous state. The Shiva devotees from home and abroad visit these holy places all the year round. I have tried to describe some of these temples below.
Chandranath Temple: Chandranath Temple or Chandranath Dham is located on the top of the Chandranath Hill (1,020 feet above sea level), Sitakundu, Chattrogram, Bangladesh. It is a Shakti Peetha. As per Hindu mythology, the right arm of Goddess Sati fell here. Chandranath temple is a famous pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees.
Adinath Temple: Adinath Temple is situated on the summit of Mainak Hill of Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. According to a legend, Adinath Temple was erected more than 3000 years ago in honour of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Adinath. This temple is a centre of pilgrimage for the Hindu devotees.
Puthia Shiva Temple: Puthia Shiva Temple is the largest Shiva temple in Bangladesh. In fact, it is located at Puthia Temple Complex. It is 23 kilometers to the east of Rajshahi city. The temple is also known as Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple. It was built in 1823-1830 A.D. by Rani Bhubonmoyee Devi, the widow of Raja Jagat Narayan Roy. Puthia Shiva Temple is a beautiful temple.
Fegnasar Shiva Temple: Fegnasar Shiva Temple is located in Munshiganj, Bangladesh. It was built by King Ballal Sen in 12th century. According to another conception, it was built by King Raj Ballav in 18th century. There is a large Shiva Lingam (Phallus) inside the temple.
KalBhairab Temple: KalBhairab Temple is a famous Shiva temple. It is located in Medda in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh. KalBhairab Temple is famous for its giant Shiva lingam (28 feet long). Though this temple is dedicated for Lord Shiva, goddess Kali and Saraswati are also worshipped here.
Shiva Temple in Jhenaidah: This Shiva temple along with a Dol temple was built over 500 years ago. These temples are located in Maheshpur upazila of Jhenaidah district, Bangladesh. Now they are on the verge of collapse due to lack of maintenance and renovation.
Shri Shri Anandamoyee Shiva and Kali Mata Mandir: Shri Shri Anandamoyee Shiva and Kali Mata Mandir (temple) are located in Muktagachaupazila of Mymensingh district, Bangladesh. Its architectural beauty attracts the devotees. It was built in 1820 by Shreemoti Bimala Devi, mother of Zamindar Maharaja Shashikanta Acharya Chowdhury.
Vishyanath Temple: Vishyanath Temple is located in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. It is a notable Shiva temple in Bangladesh. This temple is famous for its Pagoda-like architecture.
Sreebari Shiva Temple: Sreebari Shiva Temple is an old Shiva temple. It is located at Sreebari village under Ghior upazila of Manikganj, Bangladesh. It was built in 1847 by a local Zamindar. At present, it is completely in a ruinous state.
Chandravati Shiva Temple: Chandravati (the first female poet in Bengali literature) Shiva Temple is located in Kishoreganj, Bangladesh. Actually, there are two Shiva temples. It is believed that these temples were built in 16th century, contemporary to the poet’s birth.
Tapoban Shiva Temple: Tapoban Shiva Temple is situated in Chattoram, Bangladesh. It is a branch temple of Tapoban Ashram. Tapoban Shiva temple is a beautiful temple.
Vatodara Shiva Mandir: Vatodara Shiva Mandir (temple) is located in Dighapatia near Dighapatia Rajbari, Natore, Bangladesh. This temple was built about 100 years ago.
Dhamrai Shiva Temple: Dhamrai Shiva temple is located in Dhamrai, Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is a beautiful Shiva temple.
Kapileshwar Twin Temples: Kalileshwar Twin Temples are very old Shiva temples. These temples are located in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj district, Bangladesh. These temples were built in 1630-35AD. These temples were decorated very beautifully with terracotta plaques. But the temples are in a ruinous state now.
Chaygharee Shiva Temple: Chaygharee Shiva Temple is located in Shylhet, Bangladesh. The location has a natural atmosphere, surrounded by trees and jungle. Being isolated from the village Chaygharee, it remains quiet and peaceful all the time. Therefore, the temple always comprises a feeling of holiness, peace and tranquility all the time.
Shri Shri Shiva and Chandimura Temple: Shri Shri Shiva and Chandimura Temples are located on the summit of Lalmai Hill in Barura upazila of Comilla, Bangladesh. In fact, these are two different temples. The Shiva temple is located beside the Chandimura Temple which was built in 7th century.
Chanchra Shiva Temple: Chanchra Shiva Temple is located in Jessore Sadar Upazila of Jessore, Bangladesh. It is an eighteenth century temple. The temple is built in the Bengal style with a two-tier vaulted roof crowning its arched brick walls lined with intricate terracotta panels.
Murali Jora (twin) Mandir (temple):These temples are located at Murali, Sadar upazila, Jessore, Bangladesh. The arch of the doorway of the first temple is engraved in repetitive motifs and a little above it lies engraved head of a mythical creature, with its head shaped like an elephant and teeth like that of a crocodile. These motifs are very unique and impressive to the devotees.
Bhawal Shmashan(burning-ground)Temple: Bhawal Shmashan Temples are located in Joydevpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh. The temples were built by Kalinarayan, also known as the Bhawal Raja. These temples were first built to serve only the royal family. After their deaths, these were opened to the public.
Twin Shiva Mandir: Twin Shiva Mandir or Temples are situated at Teacher Student Centre (TSC), Dhaka University, Bangladesh. The temples are similar to the common types of 19th century temples and appear to have been inspired by the spires of the European churches initiated in the Gothic Cathedrals.
Tarakeshwar Shiva Temple: Tarakeshwar Shiva Temple is located in Natore Rajbari, Natore, Bangladesh. It was built by Tara Sundari, daughter of Rani Bhabani. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Tarakeshwar.
Grouped Shiva Temples: Some grouped Shiva temples are seen in Bangladesh. These temples are very old but they constitute an important part of Bengal temple architecture. These temples are identical in size and pattern and they are grouped together. They are arranged in a particular geometrical pattern. These grouped Shiva temples are described below –
4-Shiva Temples: These temples are located at Dhakeshwari Temple (the national temple of Bangladesh) Complex in old Dhaka. The name Dhakeshwari means ‘Goddess of Dhaka.’ It is said that king Ballal Sen built the temple in the 12th century. Later Subedar Maan Singh rebuilt temple in the 16th century. 4-Shiva temples are arranged in straight line pattern.
11–Shiva Temple Complex: 11-Shiva Temple Complex is a grouped temple complex located at Abhaynagar, Jessore, Bangladesh. Raja Nilkantha Roy, a Zamindar of Chanchra Raj, Jessore, built these temples for his widow daughter named Devi Abhaya. These temples are arranged in rectangular in pattern. They are adorned with beautiful terracotta plaques. Raja Nilkantha Roy built another separate temples for different deities at different locations in Abhaynagar including a 12–Shiva grouped Temple Complex which was washed away later in the river Bhairab.
Budhhata 12-Shiva Temple Complex: It is another grouped Shiva temple complex in Bangladesh. It is located at Budhhata village in Assasuni upazila of Satkhira district of Bangladesh. Zamindar Rajbonghsi Mitra built the temples in 18th century. The temples are built in aat-chala (eight-roofed) structure which are very uncommon in Bangladesh. Budhhata 12- Shiva temples are arranged in two parallel straight line pattern.
Baro Shivaloy Mandir (12-Shiva Temple): This grouped temple complex is situated beside the ChhotoJamuna river of Bel-Amla village. It is about 4 kilometers apart from Joypurhat district of Bangladesh. The temple compound has twelve Shiva temples which are identical in size and structure. A rich Hindu devotee named Rijiblochon Mondol built these unique temples in the 19thcentury. The temples are arranged in square pattern.
Kalashkathi Temples: Kalashkathi grouped temple complex is located in Kalashkathi of Bakerganj, Barisal, Bangladesh.Shiva temple is a part of this grouped temple complex. There are some other temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses.Zamindar Janaki Ballav established an estate here more than 350 years ago by taking lease of land from the Nawabs of Bengal. There were 13 landlord families at Kalashkathi of Bakerganj who constructed palaces, these temples and monuments in memories of the Zamindars. It is assumed that these temples were built in 16th or 17th century.
Shiva shrines or temples in Bangladesh are visited by Hindu Shiva devotees from home and abroad frequently. So, these holy places need proper maintenance. Besides, the old temples which are in ruinous state can be repaired. The authorities concerned should take immediate steps regarding the matter.
Talker: Bidyut Biswas