Chakla Dham is considered one of the most visited pilgrimage or religious place after Dakkhineshwar and Kalighat. It is located near Basirhat few miles away from Barasat, North 24 parganas of West Bengal.Having the main attraction of Baba Lokenath temple the village has nothing except it still is able to attract a lot of religious people wither for offering puja or simply as tourist. People here come from different corner of India to offer puja and tie a dhaga near the temple to fulfil their wish or to just show their devotion to Him.Even the villagers grew economically well just because of this tourist attraction and earn their living through them which is another very important aspect of Chakla.
What makes Chakla Famous
- Chakla is the birthplace of Baba Lokenath, which makes Chakla one of the popular religious place in west Bengal and also a lot of followers of Him come together almost throughout the year.
- Lokenath Brahmachari or Baba Lokenath was one of the most popular Hindu yogi in the eighteen century of Bengal. Baba Lokenath was born in the year of 1730 in the place presently known as Chakla of the Barasat district in North Kolkata.
- His parents Shrimati Kamaladevi and Shri Ramnarayan Ghosal, both were conservative Hindu devotees of God and were truly religious in sense. His father had a wish to devote one of his son to the path of God and send him to the spiritual world to be a Sanyasi and his mother was also initially agreed to him, however when the time came she was not able to throw her child like that and eventually ended up disagreeing with her husband. Finally after having three children, at the time of fourth one she somehow realized that this time she is going to give birth to a divine child and hence she would be able to fulfil her husband’s wish and then Lokenath baba was born.
- More than 2 acres of land has been allotted to the Lokenath temple along with Chakla Sevasram Sangha which is a wellknown religious group and one of a kind religious NGO.
- The Sevasram Sangha is dedicatedly helping the poor and challenged people from all casts and communities through all means and devoted to the development of the entire human race, they also offer puja thrice a day religiously without fail which is one of the main attractions for the tourist here.
- All the devotees in the Sangha helped all communities and casts even from educational aspects of lives as well as economical and socio economical perspective as well, not only this but also they serve free food every day twice to the financially challenged people as a part of their religious faith.
The objects followed by the Ashram
- To follow the path shown by Baba Lokenath, which is serving people in need and deed also called asthe way to God.
- To provide service to everyone but not see the religions or casts or communities.
- To render a place to have all sort of lost religious activities like Kirtana, Puja, and Yagnas etc.
- To help everyone in need especially the sick and aged people byarranging charitable clinics like eyes, sugar, heart check-up etc. for all poor people.
- To also provide education to numerous needy people to help build a better society.
The major Festivals of Chakla Temple
- Janmoutsav–Every year on 10th of August on the auspicious birth day of Lokenath babaa huge number of people gathered here just to see the puja of Baba Lokenath along with the Nandotsav.
- “Ontordhan” of Baba Loknath –In Bengali calendar month of jaishtho, on 19th day while mediating Baba left his material body and got his eternal soul free from the earth at the age of 160. On this auspicious day millions of Bengalis offer puja at their home or come in Chakla to offer prayer with Puja which becomes a huge religious festival of Bengal now.
- The other major festivals are:
- The 1st day of January.
- Poush Shankranti.
- Mokor Shankranti.
- Saraswati Puja.
- Poila Boishakh.
- Astami in Durga Puja.
- Kali Puja.
- Lakshmi Puja.
The Birth place controversy
Though a huge controversy is there about Baba Lokenath’s birthplace whether it is Chakla Dham or the Kachua Dham, as far as the gathering is concerned Chakla dham takes over the Kochua dham. However, Nityagopal Saha lodged a case for this in court during the early twentieth Century ended up winning the case for Kachua Dham. From that time, Kachua Dham is legally regarded as the original birthplace of Baba Lokenath. There are many historians later discovered a script which indicates this reality.
Baba Lokenath is one of the most significant religious saint or guru for Bengalis and become a God in their faith and believes. He remains almost in every house Mandirs where people offer puja at their home on a daily basis; He is in the heart and soul of Bengali Hindus everywhere. This is the reason why the birth place of Him has become so important and popular; millions of people have been seen coming here throughout the year just to offer pray and puja to get their wish fulfilled. The popularity for this place increased to an unimaginable limit by the years passed and during the festive time this becomes highly congested, lots of religious functions and meals are being arranged for this also, end number of food stalls have been placed during this time just to earn a few rupees from the pilgrimages. These provide Chakla as lot of socio economic welfare aspects which is undeniable for the local residents, not only they get benefited financially but also be a part of one of the most sacred and holy festivals for Bengali. Though the infrastructure and standard of living of this place still has a lot to improve however with the birthplace of the greatest saint of Bengal Chakla will still be counted as one of the significant religious pilgrimage for all Bengali’s surely for another few centuries.