A beautiful pancharatna temple by the side of the Ganges at Agarpara in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal will immediately draw your attention.
This beautiful white-coloured five pinnacled temple was built by Giribala Dasi wife of Gopal Krishna Das on 18th Jaistha, 1318 Bangabda (June 1911). Giribala Devi was the great granddaughter of Rani Rashmoni of Janbazar.
This south-facing temple along with the adjoining ghat was built by Giribala Das.
The temple compound comprises of a pancharatna temple dedicated to Radha Gobinda Jiu, six aatchala Shiva temples and a natmandir in front of the main temple. The main temple along with the Shiv mandir are placed on a raised platform. There are three Shiva temples each on both sides of the main entrance. A flight of stairs will lead you to the Shiv mandir. There are two stairs on the southern and northern sides.
Each Shiva lingam has a distinct name. From the southern side they are as follows – Rameswar, Rajeswar and Gopeswar; and from the northern side they are Tarakeswar, Bhuvaneswar and Giriswar. One can find beautiful stucco works not only in Radha Gobinda temple but also at the top of each entrance of the Shiva temples. It showed the exquisite craftsmanship of the artisans.
When I visited the temple last month on a Sunday afternoon, the temple was closed for which I could not see the Radha Gobinda idol. The temple compound is well kept. There is a big natmandir just in front of the temple. The ceiling of the natmandir rests on a number of beautiful pillars. The floor of the same is made of white marble.
I have been told that daily worship is performed here. The festivals which are celebrated here with great pomp and splendour are Rashyatra, Dolyatra, Janmastami apart from other festivals. From 1985 these temples are maintained by the Bholagiri Ashram of Agarpara.
To visit the temple:
The easiest way is to board any local train of Sealdah-Barrackpore section and get down at Agarpara. Take any auto or toto and reach Giribala ghat. The temple can be seen from a distance. Else from Shyambazar take any bus going to Barrackpore. Get down at Agarpara stoppage. From there either take toto or rickshaw to reach the temple. The temple is closed in the afternoon.
Rani Rashmonir Antohin Jeevanbritya (4th volume) by Dr. Shisutosh Samanta.
I am also grateful to Shri Kiriti Mondal.
Date of posting: 16th February, 2021.