A beautiful nabaratna (nine pinnacled) temple, like that of the famous Dakshineswar Temple is situated in Talpukur area of the subdivisional town of North 24 Parganas – Barrackpore just by the sides of the Ganges. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Annapurna.
The main entrance to the temple is from the eastern side. Once you enter through the gate the nabaratna temple will fall on your right and the naatmandir towards the left. The entire temple complex along with six aatchala (eight roofed) Shiva temples covers around 55 bighas of land and has a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
The construction of this brick-made temple began roughly in 1870 and it took five years to complete. The temple is in a raised platform and there are staircase on the western, northern and southern side. The first floor contains four ratnas while the second floor has five which when sums up comes to nine ratnas or nabaratna. The inauguration took place on 30th Chaitra, 1281, which according to Gregorian calendar was 12th April, 1875; almost two decades after the opening of the Dakshineswar Temple. Ramakrishna Paramahansadev was present not only on the day of inauguration of Annapurna Temple but also on the day of selection of the land for the temple. It was said that previously Serampore on the other side of the Ganges was selected as the place for the temple but finally Chanak (the old name of Barrackpore) was finalised for the construction of this beautiful nabaratna temple. Annapurna Temple was built by the youngest daughter of Rani Rashmoni – Jagatdamba and wife of Mathur Mohan Biswas.
Inside the temple sanctum lies the idols of Devi Annapurna and Lord Shiva. The place (bedi) on which the throne stands is made of white stone and the throne (singhasan) is made of silver. The idol of Goddess Annapurna is made of astodhatu (an alloy of eight metals) while that of Lord Mahadev is made of silver.
On the back side of the temple and opposite to the Ganges ghat (locally known as Rashmoni Ghat) there are a total of six aatchala Shiv mandir – three on each side of the iron gate that leads to the ghat. The six Shiva temples are dedicated to Kalyaneswar, Kambeswar, Kinnoreswar, Kedereswar, Kailesheswar and Kapileswar. A flight of stairs will lead you to the Shiva temples. Just on the back of these aatchala temples on the left and on the right is two nahabatkhana; but now they are in a deserted condition.
According to the priest, Shri Tapan Chakraborty, mangal arati began daily at around 5:15 am. The bhog comprises of rice, bhaja, two types of vegetable curry (tarkari), pulses (dal), fish, chutney, sweet curd, payesh and pan. After the afternoon bhog is over the temple is closed and again it opens in the evening for Sandhya arati which is normally over by 7:00 pm. During the time of Sandhya arati, bhaja, suji, sweets, milk, laddu and bode are given to Devi Annapurna. Annapurna puja is celebrated every year with pomp and gaeity. Apart from the daily worship, special puja is held on Astami tithi of Sukla paksha (the period from full moon to new moon) when apart from puja hom is also performed.
Going to the temple:
The temple can be reached both by train and bus route. The nearest railway station is Barrackpore. From here one can hire an auto and came to Talpukur; cross the Barrackpore Trunk Road and it’s just a few minutes walk. Alternately take any bus from Shyambazar five point crossing going towards Barrackpore. Get down at Talpukur stoppage and take the left side road and you will reach the temple.
I am thankful to Sri Tapan Chakraborty, priest of the temple.
Date of posting: 5th May, 2019.