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Hindu Books > Temples And Legends of India > Temples And Legends of Bengal


An attempt to cover comprehensively the temples of a highly developed and cultured area like Bengal demands some knowledge of the cultures of the different population groups in Bengal along with those of the neighbouring regions.

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Author : Shri P. C. Roy Chaudhury

Graduating with honors in English and topping the list in History, in the M.A. examination, P. C. Roy Chaudhury, M.A.B.L. (born February, 10, 1903, at Cuttack, Orissa), has served in various posts under the Government of Bihar.

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Kulapati's Preface

The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - that Institute of Indian Culture in Bombay-needed a Book University, a series of books which, if read, would serve the purpose ofproviding higher education. Particular emphasis, however, was to be put on such literature as revealed the deeper impulsions of India.

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The district of 24 Parganas adjoins Calcutta and covers an ancient area. Large number of very old bricks and pieces of pottery, rectangular copper coins and terra cotta have been found which definitely suggest the possibility of more early antiquities if excavations are done.

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The present Bankura district is the heart of the ancient Summha area of Mahabharat or Rarh or Larh of the old Jain Acharanga-Sutra.

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Temples of baked mud bricks are a particular feature in Bengal. The deft fingered potters in various parts of Bengal like Bankura, Krishnanagar etc., turn out fine specimens of pottery pieces, many of which are now exported, to foreign countries.

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Bolpur is 99 miles from Howrah by road and 24 miles by train from Khana junction of the Eastern Railway. Bolpur was noted from before as a big trade center. It is in the midst of an area, which has a big, traditional past. Supur, the neighboring village of Bolpur has a temple of Suratheshwar Siva, which is said to have been regularly worshipped by the legendary Surath Raja.

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In the British times the nomenclature of many places got anglicized. Thus Mathura became Muttra, Varanasi was Benaras and Kalikata became Calcutta. In the same manner Burdwan was substituted for Bardhaman. Bardhaman or Burdwan historically a very important district from before the British days adjoins the Santal Paragons and Dhanbad districts in Bihar and Purulia, Bankura, Hooghly, Nadia, Murshidabad and Birbhum districts in Bengal.

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There is Chinese Temple at village Achipur in Hooghly district, which recalls past history. The village is situated 15 miles south-west of Alipur in Calcutta and 6 miles south-west of Budge with which it is connected by the Orissa Trunk Road.

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The cult of Saivism has a deep hold on Bengal. Temples dedicated to Lord Siva are very common. Almost every village in Bengal has Saivaities, Shaktas and Vaishnavas but the number of Sivatemples is by far the largest.

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The district of Hooghly has the district of Burdwan on the north, the River Hooghly on the east, the district of Howrah on thesouth and the districts of Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan on the west. Hooghly district is mainly the product of its rivers.

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Kalighat Temple in the city of Calcutta is well known throughout India. Foreign tourists in Calcutta also usually visit this temple. There is a theory that the name Kalikata anglicized into Calcutta is derived from the temple at Kalighat.

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A pilgrimage to the Sagar Island near Diamond Harbor has a hoary past. Sagar Island is situated about 77 miles away from Calcutta and 40 miles from Diamond Harbour.

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Temples also have their periods of glory and decay. This is often the fate of those temples that are set up by and propped up ruling chiefs or an aristocrat landlord. The decline of the family with whose prestige, wealth and power the temple is intimately associated means the decline of the temple also.

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The district of Midnapore has a very high place for her contribution to the past history and cultures of Bengal and as such plays a significant role for the future. The physiographical location of the district is on the boarders of Orissa and Bihar and the district has great affinities with the districts of Chotanagpur and Santal Parganas in Bihar.

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The district of Purulia in Bengal was once a great centre of Jainism. The area of this district was the connecting link with Orissa and Bihar. Jainism as a religious creed had a great hold on Orissa and there is no wonder that there should be a considerable impact of Jainism one the adjoining Purulia district.

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Ramakrishna Mission

The, human and universal aspects of the life of Shri Ramakrishna, great saint of Bengal and of his famous disciple Shri Vivekananda have been chronicled in a number of wellknown books.

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Bhotbagan is a part of Ghusuri in Howrah City adjoining Calcutta. The name means a Tibetan garden. There is an old Tibetan temple or monastery called the Bhot - Mandir or Bhot-Math, which has given the name to the area.

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Published on: 2003-02-12 (15771 reads)

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