There are numerous temples in India which are a marvel in architecture. Some are known to many and yet there are some which are known only to locals. There are several such temples in West Bengals which may not have received the limelight but once you visit them, you would be awed by the design and technicality revealed in these works of the artists. The Hangseswari Temple in Banshberia is one such temple with a unique design which is typically not seen in the temples of these regions.
It is Located in the Hooghly district of West Bengal.
Story Behind building the temple:
Hangseswari temple was built in the early 19th century. Although King Nrisingha Dev Rai started the construction he passed away before the completion of the structure. His wife Rani Shankari carried forward the work and temple building was completed in 1814. It is said that King Nrisingha Dev Rai dreamt of Goddess Hanseswari, a form of Goddess Kali and decided to build the temple. Lord Shiva is indicated by the word “Hong” and “S-a-a” represents Shiva and Maa Shakti. Thus the main deity who is worshipped is a manifestation of Shiva and Shakti. King Nrisingha learned about Kundalini or the six chakras of the human body and built the temple based on these concepts.
About the temple:
A massive sum of 1 lakh rupees was spent at that time for the marble works in the temple. It was derived from Chunar, a place near Varanasi. The artists and craftsmen are also said to have been brought from Chunar.
The temple has 6 floors and a height of 90 ft. It consists of 13 lotus-shaped towers and the inner design of these towers follows the Six Chakra concept in its design. The central tower has a magnificent idol of Surya Dev, with all his bright halo and rays.
On top, there is a structure of 8 petalled red lotus flower, on a thousand-petalled blue lotus. White Lord Shiva image rests on a marble. Hangseswari Devi stands on top on a red Lotus who arises from Lord Shiva.
Idol of Maa Hanseswari is made with neem-wood and is blue in color. Her four hands depict 4 mudras representing blessings for all, protection, fearlessness and her power to fight demons with a sword.
The temple ground has nice green lawns. The complex also has a famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, called Ananta Basudev temple. Another goddess Kali temple is also located nearby known as the Swanbhaba Kali temple. Both these temples have admirable delicate terracotta carvings.
How to reach:
You may catch a train in the Howrah-Katwa main line and get down on Tribeni station. There are several rickshaws and autos readily available outside the station who commute to this temple.
Alternatively you a go for a two-hour drive from Kolkata to visit the Hangseswari temple, which is now a heritage site under the Archaeological Survey of India.