No matter whether you are a devotee of Goddess Kali or not, if you are in West Bengal, a visit to Adyapith should be definitely on your cards. It is situated in Dakshineswar, close to the famous Dakshineswar temple in West Bengal.
The history behind building Adyapith
Like the other religious places where famous Devi temples are erected, Adyapith also has quite an interesting story behind it. It began with the visions experienced by a great ayurvedic doctor of Bengal belonging to the early 20th century named Annada Charan Bhattacharya who was very pious in nature and was a devotee of Maa Kali and Saint Ramakrishna(a great nineteenth-century Saint). He was a well-known person in his field and even had a patent of 7 medicines. Later he came to be known as Annada Thakur. In his dreams, he was directed by Saint Ramakrishna to shave his head and take bath in the holy Ganges and visit Eden Gardens. At a specific place as mentioned in his dream, Annada Thakur and his companions found the idol of The Goddess Kali, whose this specific form is known as AdyaShakti. That idol was about a foot and a little in height, built in black marble, had jewels in her eyes and without any blemish.
After bringing the idol to his home, Annada had dreams in which the Goddess requested and commanded him to immerse her image in the Ganges. She gave numerous reasons for that wish and expressed that she wants to be worshipped in a non-scriptural manner. A whole-hearted simple offering of food, clothes and praying to her in a simple manner in every household is the type of worship she desires. Following Adya Maa’s orders, Annada Thakur rowed in the mid-Ganges in Dakshineswar and immersed her there where she is believed to be resting till-date.
About the temple:
Adya Maa also gave the Adyastotram to Annada Thakur which is to be recited during her worship and whoever recites it with full devotion will be bestowed with her blessings. Later Annada Thakur erected the Adyapith where a replica of the original idol of Adya Maa built with eight metals was established. The temple is built with white marble and the three segments,i.e. a temple dedicated to Ramakrishna, one of AdyaShakti and one of Radha-Krishna overlaps in its structure and gives a staircase-like view. Various small temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are also present on the premises.
At the top of the structure, there is a trident, a moon, and star, a hand-fan and also cross erected which represents symbols of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. It is a reminder of “God is one” belief and humanity above all.
Millions of people come from all across the world to witness the Puja. The temple door opens during Arati and Bhog offerings in specific times of the day. One may avail the Bhog and have Annobhog(food made with rice served along with various side dishes)in a separate building located in the temple ground, dedicated to feeding people.
Works of the Temple society:
Adyapith Sangha undertook a lot of charitable works. It runs separate boys and girls orphanage, charitable hospital, separate schools for boys and girls, a school where basic Sanskrit is taught, a retirement home and a free clinic for the poor and needy. Special houses are there for unsupported widows who wish to lead a spiritual life. Apart from that Sadhaks and Sadhika also resides in the Adyapith Ashram who have dedicated their life to helping others and worshipping to God.
Around 1000 needy people are fed each day by the temple society as it is of their belief that guests are a form of God himself and thus should not go hungry. The charitable works also expand to Bangladesh. Adyapith temple is one unique temple in India which aims in serving all, irrespective of one’s caste, religion, and religious beliefs.
Featured Photo by Chobist