Published On: Sat, Feb 25th, 2017

Mahashivaratri: Why this Bengal temple attracts devotees from all over India – India Today

Mahashivaratri Puja is one of the biggest festivals that is celebrated with much fanfare and which could be noticed by any outsider – second only to Durga Puja – in West Bengal.

The pilgrims go every year to Tarakeshwar to perform the rituals as they worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri that is being celebrated today.

This festival has seen most of unusual and spiritual happening going around this year. Hundreds of thousands of devotees visited the Tarakeshwar temple this year.

Mahashivaratri at Tarkeshwar Temple: Things to Know
  1. The Tarkeshwar temple, situated in Hooghly district of West Bengal, is 288-year-old. A fair is organised at Raj Bari- a place adjacent to the Tarakeshwar temple- on the occasion of Mahashivaratri.
  2. On Mahashivaratri, this temple remains open throughout the night. Mahashivaratri is the only occasion when the temple doors are kept open the whole night.
  3. The chief priest of the temple, referred to as Maharaj, said, “People from different parts of the country come here to worship. Many people come here and temple has provided them with facilities. The temple door remains open the entire night and it will get closed in the wee hours.”
  4. Another priest Sanjib Chakrabarty said, “Huge number of devotees come to this temple. The temple is crowded today. This is the only temple in West Bengal devoted to Lord Shiva where people from all parts of the country visit to offer prayer. On this day the temple remains open the entire night for the devotees to perform their rituals.”
  5. The number of devotees this year seems to be higher than previous years much against the anticipation of low turnout due to demonetisation.
  6. The local administration has tightened the security at the Tarkeshwar temple for Mahashivaratri. Every single person is being thoroughly checked before being allowed to enter the temple. “We have our duties here. It is Shivaratri today, so we will check each and every person and then we will let them enter,” said a civil cop.
  7. The temple management is happy with the security arrangements. “This year security has been tightened and it is really good that the security is strong this time,” said Khagendranath Chatterjee, a priest at the Tarkeshwar temple.
  8. Arijit Chakraborty, a devotee, said, “I have visited many temples but I find this temple the best. Here the temple of Baba Tarkesh is very much lively. If you visit this temple with an honest heart then whatever you wish it will come true.”
  9. There is a story about how the temple was built. In 1720s, a devotee saw Lord Shiva in his dream. He followed the trail of the dream and stopped at the place, where Tarakeshwar temple is standing today.
  10. Devotees believe that Lord Shiva visits this temple every year to fulfill the wishes of people. “I have got more than my expectations. All my wishes have been fulfilled. After worshiping here I feel very relaxed.” said Tapati Chakrabarty, another devotee.

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