A nabaratna temple dedicated to Goddess Bhabatarini along with two aatchala Shiva temples of 2/2A, Balaram Ghosh Street in North Kolkata deserves mention. It is a Grade – I heritage structure as per Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s “Graded List of Heritage Buildings”.
On one autumn evening last year when I was passing by the nearby road, I noticed the pinnacles of this temple amidst a large number of trees. I entered the complex and the place was very quiet and being an afternoon the temple was closed for which I could not take the photographs of the deities. But I took some photos of the temple from outside. I found none from whom should I know more about this temple. I was very much eager to know its history. Some months later in January this year I again paid a visit to this temple and, this time as it was late evening I found it open and also met the priest who was preparing for Sandhya Arati. I found a number of people there mostly locals who have come either to offer puja or to witness Sandhya Arati or both.
According to a stone plaque on the left while entering the complex I came to know that this temple was founded on 5th Baisakh, 1295 (which according to Gregorian calendar was 19th April, 1888). Apart from the presiding deity Maa Bhabatarini there were two Shiva lingas namely Hareswar and Haraprassana housed in two aatchala temples on both sides of the main temple.
Like most temple complex this also has a natmandir. Now coming to the history. The goddess is prepared from kasthipathar and is worshipped along with Radha Krishna, Nandadulal and Sridhar salagramshila. It was said that Haraprasad Ghosh son of Bhabaniprasad Ghosh got a divine order to build the temple. Accordingly he started building the temple but could not complete the same as he died prematurely. The temple was completed by his wife Dayamayee Ghosh. Haraprasad Ghosh installed the deity of Goddess Bhabatarini. Dayamayee Ghosh founded the two aatchala Shiva temples.
The stairs of the white coloured nabaratna mandir has beautiful railings of cast iron which adds beauty to the temple. This temple together with the natmandir got crowded with devotees during the time of the puja. Apart from daily worship, special puja is held on the foundation day in April; falaharini kali puja (held in the Bengali month of Jaistha); dipanita amavasha (held in Kartick); ratanti kali puja (held in Magh). That apart special puja is held in every amavasha tithi (new moon).
As the complex has two Shiva temples so we presume that many devotees visit the temple during the Mondays and especially on the Mondays of the Bengali month of Shravana (July-August) dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shivaratri, Nil and Chaitra Sankranti are also held here. The temple remains open on all days of the week during the morning and in the evenings. It is better to visit the temple within 10:30 in the morning and from 6:30 to 8:30 in the evening. The temple can be reached by road. The nearest metro station is Shyambazar. Less than five minutes walk from the Shyambazar metro station will land you to this 134 year old temple.
Date of posting: 28th May, 2022.
1. Kolikata Street Directory – 1915
2. Kolkatar 51 Kalibari by Arun Mukhopadhyay
3. Kolkatar Mandir-Maszid by Tarapada Santra
4. Graded List of Heritage Buildings (Volume – XI) of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.