Mahanad, a village about 13 kilometers from Tribeni in Chinsurah sub division of Hooghly district of West Bengal has a historical importance. Apart from the famous Mahanad Kali Mandir, there is another Shiva Temple dedicated to Jateswara Shiva. The god of Nath sect of Mahanad is Jateswara Shiv. It is not known as to when the Jateswara Shiva Temple was built; but considering the temple architecture it is assumed that it was built in the middle of the eighteenth century; though later the temple was renovated by Tarak Chandra Saha.
The temple is “outside regular classification”. The temple follows rekha type “with anomalous cornices”. It has a “widely ridged type with curved cornice.” The temple is east facing and has similarity with Jagannath Temple of Mahesh, Serampore.
I visited Mahanad more than two years back on a hot sunny morning. At that time I found none near the temple. It was pretty hot and humid. On the same day I visited Mahanad Kali Mandir, a little away from Jateswara Shiv Mandir. At the Kali Temple, I found a number of people; most of whom have come to offer puja to the goddess. I managed to get a photograph of Jateswara Shiva with my mobile phone as the iron gate leading to the inner sanctum was closed. It seemed to me that the priest has already performed the daily worship in the morning as the Shiva lingam was beautifully decorated with flowers. I could even see an ox made of black stone on the left. The floor is made of white marble, possibly renovated much later with white tiles on the back.
Mahanad was once an important centre of Shiva-Shakti sect. It was said that Mahanad was famous during the age of the Palas in the ninth and tenth century AD. There are a number of temples dedicated to other gods and goddessess including Lord Shiva. Apart from these there is a very old iron stick (lauha danda) known as Mahakal or Kalbhairav which has been worshipped on a daily basis from a very long time. There are also a number of very old idols like Bhatuk Bhairav under a Neem tree.
During Shivaratri, a big month-long fair is organised where people come from far off places.
To visit Jateswara Shiva Temple, the nearest railway station is Pandua on Howrah-Barddhaman main line. Pandua is about 61 kms from Howrah. From Pandua, you have to hire an auto or a toto to reach the temple. It will be better to cover Mahanad Kali Mandir on the same trip.
1. Paschim Banglar Tirtha by Prolay Sen
2. Hooghly Jelar Purakirti by Narendranath Bhattacharjee
3. Brick Temples of Bengal by David McCutchion.
Date of Posting: 28th March, 2020.