Jogadya shakti peeth

Jogadya shakti peeth
Jogadya shakti peeth

Nestled within the Katwa subdivision of Purba(East) Burdwan district, West Bengal rests Jogadya Temple dedicated to goddess Shakti. This temple is considered one of fifty-one Shakti-Peethas and contains two temples devoted to ‘Jogadya’ (i.e., an old or main temple and a new one). Additionally, you can find Kshireshwara’s otherwise known as Kshirkantha or Ksheerkantak Shiva Temple positioned beyond Kshirdighi’s sacred waters that house Jogadya’s newly constructed sanctuary beneath it. Along with the goddess ‘Jogadya, many big fishes are there in that tank. Here the old or main temple stands with several legendaries behind it.

Beyond the mythical beliefs, a renowned fable exists in ‘Shakta Purana’, as well other tales such as ‘Devi Bhagavata Purana’ and ‘Kalika Purana’. Folklores of several regions are also aware of this story. Daksha (one of Brahma’s Prajapatis) once organized an yajna to settle his grievances toward Lord Shiva which arose during Brahma’s own yajna. Daksha’s yajna was similar to Brahma’s and he invited all the gods, Prajapatis and kings of the world – except for his younger daughter Sati, along with her beloved husband Shiva – as a demeaning gesture. Despite being excluded from the invitation list, Sati persevered in asking her partner to attend. Bhagoban Shiva adamantly refused her request; however much effort he put into discouraging her from participating in that event.

In spite of Sati’s disapproval, Bhagoban Shiva allowed her to attend the yajna with companions including Nandi. She attempted fervently to engage in conversation with her family and sister, but Daksha consistently rebuked and degraded her in front of everyone present at the ceremony. His inappropriate words towards his son-in-law were uncalled for; however, despite it all, Sati maintained composure while Daksha failed to keep control over himself.

Sati was overcome by sorrow and cursed her father before self-immolating in the sacrificial fire. Although those present attempted to rescue her, their efforts were futile; Nandi along with Sati’s friends then castigated Daksha before departing from the gathering. The other invitees followed suit, including sage Dadhichi who brought an end to this dismal affair.

Shiva was filled with sorrow upon hearing the horrible news and it quickly transformed into an overwhelming fury. He became ‘Virabhadra’, a terrifyingly fierce version of himself, then sent Virabhadra, Bhadrakali(Rudrakali), and Bhutaganas to wreak havoc on the yajna site. Sage Bhrigu attempted in vain to repel them but all gods, sages and Prajapatis were met with brutality as Daksha was eventually beheaded by Shiva’s wrathful army. Brahma and Vishnu then implored Shiva to put an end to his rage. They pleaded with him for mercy, explained the potentially destructive consequences of failing to complete the yajna, until finally he consented and absolved Daksha. His heart too broken from being apart from Sati however; he took her corpse onto his shoulder before embarking on a sorrowful Tandava that shook every corner of space-time.

Consequently, the world was on the brink of destruction. To save it from devastation and peril, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshana chakra to cut apart Sati’s body without revealing himself. It is believed that her right toe fell at Kshirgram resulting in its recognition as one of 51 Shakti Peethas.

In the 11th century, a massive brick temple was erected and surrounded by an immense wall. Commonly known as “Maa-er Baari” (house of mother) amongst devotees and locals, it contained ‘Nat Mandir’, ‘Bhog Ghar’ ,and ‘Bhandar Ghar’. Unfortunately, this holy site met its demise in 1760 due to Islamic aggression led by Kalapahar – a former Muslim general loyal to the Bengal Sultanate. Subsequently, the king, ‘Kirti Chandra Barbarua'(an Ahom noble), rebuilt the Southern surface of the temple between the years 1770-1780.

In 2005, an exquisite marble temple called ‘Kshirdighi’ was built in the middle of a pond. Its venerated idol ‘Jogadya’ had been crafted by Hanuman himself and placed underwater. Upon re-excavation of Kshirdighi in 2011, another ancient representation of Devi Jogadya surfaced; and shortly afterwards on December 31st, it was ensconced at the newly erected red stone fane. This new temple is decorated with ‘Bhog Ghar’, ‘Bhandar Ghar’ and a ‘Nat Mandir’ for the convenience of tourists, as well as an adjacent guesthouse. It has also been encased within a large boundary wall. Both statues are made from remarkably durable Kashti Stones that give them an appearance similar to goddess Durga. Archaeologists have estimated their ages: the newer one at 180 years old, while the older statue’s age may potentially reach up to 600!

People consider the deity to be permanently inhabiting Kshirdighi’s depths. Nevertheless, on special days like Baishakh Sankranti, Devi ascends from underwater and visits her temple. Thousands pour in from every corner of the planet during this sacred ceremony to take part joyfully in the festivities that always accompany it annually. Baishakh Sankranti, Ashar-Nabami(3rd month of Bengali calendar), Bijaya Dashami(last day of Durga festival), 15th Poush (9th month of Bengali calendar) and Makar Sankranti are celebrated with majestic enthusiasm in this area. On every single one of these sacred occasions, Devi exits her house to enjoy the festivities before returning home – underneath Kshirdighi’s waters – the very next morning.

On the right-hand side of Khshirdighi, famously known as ‘Sagardighi’, lies another tank that is part of a temple. This site marks where Devi Jogadya wore her Sankha for the first time–a symbol which stands for Bengali women’s marital status and is represented by two white bangles made from conch and coral. Each year on the day of Devi Jogadya worshipping, local women visit this temple to honor tradition by presenting their own Sankhas before wearing them once again.

The temple of Devi Jogadya is resplendent with an old, diminutive Shiva temple and Bhairava (a savage manifestation of Lord Shiva connected to ruin, represented by a dog). Herein Lord Shiva is venerated as ‘Kshireshwara’, ‘Kshirkantha’ and ‘Ksheerkantak’ Bhairava. The idol of the lord stands around 20-30 feet above ground level to watch over goddess Jogadya from behind her. It has been said that in times past Kalapahar destroyed this shrine making a mark on the head of the deity’s statue. Ascending up a set of stairs leads one closer to its powerful presence. However, this fane was reconstructed by “Kshirdighi Par Jogadyamata Unnayan Committee” in the year 2017.

The temple of Jogadya is situated at an ancient village named Kshirgram, which is about 22kms away from Katwa by bus. From Burdwan, it maintains a distance of about 40kms by bus. By train, the tourists have to stop their journey at Kaichar railway station of about 150kms from Howrah railway junction, Kolkata. From Kaichar railway station, tourists can avail themselves a rickshaw or a bus to cover the distance of 4kms to get to their destination.

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