Tarakeswar is a significant religious destination in West Bengal, renowned for its rich history and beliefs. The place greatly emphasizes morality, devotion, and piousness, with numerous religious programs occurring throughout the year, particularly during the Bengali month of Shravan. In today’s internet age, obtaining detailed information about Tarakeswar is easy.
My trip to Tarakeswar on 23rd June 2023
During my recent visit, I not only offered Puja to Bholay Baba, symbolizing Lord Shiva but also took the opportunity to delve into the history and myths surrounding the temple. The legend of the place captivated my attention.
Once we finished the traditional worship, I requested Tarak Chandra Roy, our priest, to enlighten me with some knowledge of the temple’s history and myths.
The temple’s fascinating history and myths
Photo of the priest Tarak Chandra Roy: Photographer: Shubhonkar Santra. Priest Tarak Chandra Roy’s contact number:9932605535. Y
Roy’s family has been priests for generations, with knowledge of temple rituals and mythology.
“It was a complete jungle here. Nobody was living here. There was a rock in the jungle. The top of the rock has a hole. How the rock came up in the jungle is mystically unknown.
It has been passed down from generation to generation, but no one knows how it happened. Bholay Baba’s myth has its roots in this mystic rock. The temple’s mythology is rooted in the rock,” said the priest Tarak Chandra Roy.
“The miraculousness of the rock begins with the story of Kapila, ‘the magical cow,’ whose milk production decreases after she starts grazing in the jungle, i.e., the present location of the temple, said priest Tarak Chandra Roy.
Tarak Chandra Roy shed light on this issue by offering me two slim Bengali books that told the tale of the Kapila cow, the mysterious rock, and Ramnagar, a village adjacent to Tarakeswar’., “The Rajput ruler, Rao Bharamalla lived here,” says the priest Tarak Chandra Roy.
Following a dispute with the Nawab of Ayodhya, Kesav Hazare, ‘Bharamalla’s father,’ left his village near Varanasi with his two sons and moved to Ramnagar here. Through tax collection from the locals, they gained authority in Ramnagar, which angered the then-ruler, the Nawab of Murshidabad. The Nawab sent his generals to give the Hazare family a warning.
The generals took Kesav’s sons, Bharamalla and Vishnu Das, to the Nawab for treaty/ negotiations. However, the Nawab imprisoned the brothers upon seeing their strength and virility.
Vishnu Das was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu and declined food from the young man. The Nawab tested Vishnu Das’s divine power, and Vishnu Das displayed his toughness by holding a flaming iron plate.
The Nawab, impressed by Vishnu Das and his brother Bharamalla, released them from imprisonment and put them in charge of revenue collection. ‘Raja’ and ‘Rao’ titles have been bestowed upon Vishnu Das and Bharamalla.
The priest Tarak Chandra Roy claims Ramnagar is now a defunct town.
The owner of a vast cowshed in Ramnagar, Raja (Rao) Bharamalla, had a Kapila cow that produced a remarkable quantity of milk. Cowherd Mukunda Ghosh noticed Kapila cow’s milk production had dwindled, but he eventually found out why. Kapila cow was giving her milk to a hidden hole in a rock in the nearby forest.
While seeing a miracle, Raja (Rao) Bharamalla came across a monk named Mayagiri looking after a dead horse. The Raja dared the monk to ride the lifeless horse. To everyone’s surprise, the disciple, Mannukund Giri, lay down lifeless, and the dead horse stood firm. The monk who was riding the horse disappeared into the forest. And got back safely.
The horse passed away again, and Mannukund Giri sprang back to life. The monk’s actions took aback the Raja, and he sought his forgiveness.
The Raja (Rao) Bharamalla wanted to reinstall the rock in his Ramnagar Fort. For twelve days, excavation work continued in vain, as the rock foundation could not be located, preventing the stone from being removed.
One night Raja (Rao) Bharamalla saw Baba Taraknath ascetic saying, “Forbid digging of rock.” After the order of this dream, Raja (Rao) Bharamalla woke up. He told the monk about the dream. The forest was cleared under the monk’s instruction, and the temple of today’s Tarakeswar was established without disturbing the stone.
According to the belief, Lord Shiva has infused the rock with divine power. If you keep your vows with reverence and devotion, Bhole Baba will honor your words.
A remarkable occurrence while on set for a movie shoot.
Image Courtesy: Youtube & Sonam Rockstar Entertainment
Priest Tarak Chandra Roy said that if you have faith in Bholay Baba and work hard honestly, Baba will definitely listen to your prayers. He also shared an intriguing episode. The shooting of the film Bholay Baba Taraknath happened here decades ago. According to his information, the team took photographs inside the temple without prior permission. The two cameramen lost their vision. It was restored after they offered puja here as a sign of repentance.
My inclination towards exploration and learning.
After worshipping at the temple, I learned about the hole in the middle of the stone. So, this escaped my notice when I was offering puja at the temple. The hole has a silver cover on it, as told by Priest Tarak Chandra Roy. Every morning during puja, the silver cover is removed to reveal the original idol (Adi Murti in Bengali.)
That the original king here, Bharamalla and Vishnu Das, was Rajput made me wonder about something else. There is a possibility that Tarakeswar is a descendant of this Rajput. As far as he knows, priest Tarak Chandra Roy says the Rajput lineage has become nearly extinct in this area.
The of the pond. Image credit goes to The Times of India.
Next to the temple lies a pond. Despite the absence of written records, it has a history and myths. So, stay tuned for my next story, where I’ll share more about that.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Tarakeswar temple from a unique perspective, contact Priest Tarak Chandra Roy. He is knowledgeable about the temple and can be reached at his mobile number, 9932605535 if you ever visit Tarakeswar.