12 Renowned Temples in West Bengal That Every Spiritual Traveler Must Visit (2021)
West Bengal is such a state in India where people from different religions live in harmony. Even though monuments and religious institutions belong to different religions in this state, today we will talk about the famous temples in West Bengal. These temples in West Bengal are mostly dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses and are incredibly significant to India’s Hindu community. The spiritualism of these temples attracts pilgrims and tourists from West Bengal and India and different countries in the world.
If you are a religious person, you will find these temples too sacred and overwhelming. But that does not mean that these sites are not for you if you are not interested in religion. The architecture and grandeur of these temples in West Bengal make them perfect for every category of tourists. Some of these sites are listed under UNESCO World Heritage sites due to their breathtakingly beautiful design and magnanimous nature. Moreover, the towns where these temples are located have distinct characteristics. Each of these Bengali cities is unique in their ways.
Many of these temples are located in the City of Joy, Kolkata, while the others are located in important cities of West Bengal, like Bishnupur, Mayapur, Purulia, and others. In this blog, you will gain a lot of information regarding these mesmerizing structures and their significances. Reaching West Bengal is relatively easy. The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata is responsible for connecting rest of the world to West Bengal. You can easily find flights to reach there. So, without wasting any more time, let us delve into the history of the famous temples in West Bengal.
12 Renowned Temples in West Bengal That Every Spiritual Traveler Must Visit
The temples mentioned in the following part of this blog are significant to the Hindu community of India. As they are quite popular, reaching the sites will not be a significant problem for you.
1. Birla Mandir
Constructed over a span of 26 tedious years, Birla Mandir is the pride of Kolkata. Famous spiritual leader Swami Chidananda Maharaj did the “PranPrathistha” ritual for the first time during the temple’s inauguration in 1996. With mesmerizingly beautiful architecture, Kolkata Birla Mandir garners a lot of tourists and pilgrims throughout the year. If you explore the site closely, you will notice the scenes from Bhagwad Gita carved into its interior walls. Many carvings also depict different hymns and Shlokas from the sacred Gita.
Visually stunning chandeliers decorate every ceiling of this construction. The most notable feature of Birla Mandir is its majestic size. With a height of 160 feet, this temple can be located from a long-distance pretty quickly. While exploring this site, you will notice that it has a resemblance to the famous Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneshwar. The cream-coloured sandstones make the entire site immensely beautiful.
This Hindu religious site is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Radha Krishna and even Goddess Durga. These important Hindu deities make this site even more important for the Hindu community of West Bengal. The architectural integrity and the breathtakingly beautiful carvings of this site make it famous among every category of tourists.
Location: 29, Ashutosh Chowdary Ave, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019.
Entry Timings: 5.30 am to 11 am and 4.30 pm to 9 pm (Monday to Sunday.)
2. Hangseswari Temple
Located in the Hoogly district of West Bengal, Hangseswari temple is quite significant to the region’s history. This site is located in a town named Bansberia, and it is dedicated to Goddess Kali. You will be surprised to know that this site was constructed in 1814. It took more than 13 years to be constructed entirely. Raja Nrisinga Deb was the then ruler of the area. He commissioned the construction of this site. Even though he started the project in 1801, due to different difficulties, the construction work for delayed and ultimately the final work was completed by his widowed wife in 1814 after his death.
The architecture of this beautiful temple is quite different from the other Hindu temples in West Bengal. It is one of the few temples in India where “TantrikSatchakrabhed” is represented gloriously. If you ever visit Bansberia, do not forget to observe the structure of this site closely. You will quickly notice the different human body parts that are depicted on its exterior walls. Even though this sacred structure is dedicated to Goddess Kali, she is worshipped as Goddess Hanseswari. Apart from this site, this temple complex has the famous Ananta Basudeba temple as well.
Location: Bansberia Road, Bansberia, Mithapukur More, West Bengal 712502.
Entry Timings: 9 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 8.30 pm.
3. Kalighat Kali Temple
When people talk about the famous temple in Kolkata, they often mention Kalighat temple’s name. This temple’s popularity lies in the fact that it is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths in India. If you do not know what Shakti Peeths are, you must know that according to Hindu mythology, Goddess Sati’s body parts fell across different parts of the world. Lord Shiva’s Tandava was responsible for the said incident. Like the other Shakti Peeths, Kalighat is also famous for acquiring some body parts of Ma Sati. According to Hindu Mythology, the toes of the Goddess’s right foot fell in the sacred temples of Kalighat.
The construction of this majestic temple in Kolkatawas completed in 1809 under the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family’s patronage. Different parts of this structure are all equally important to the Hindu community of India. While exploring the temple, you should visit its adjacent parts like Natmandir, Shosti Tala, Harkath Tala, Kundupukur, and others.
Location: Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700026.
Entry Timings: 5 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10.30 pm.
4. Shyam Ray Temple
One of the most magnificent architecture pieces, the Shyam Ray temple is one of the best temples in West Bengal. This site is located in the Bishnupur that is situated in the Bankura district of the state. Commissioned by the famous King Raghunath Singha from the Malla dynasty in 1643, this site is spectacular due to its beautiful design. The terracotta decorations of this temple set it apart from the other temples in West Bengal.
Constructed only by using brunt bricks, this temple’s beauty does not lie on its grandeur or expenditure. Instead, it lies on the talents of the excellent artisans who created this phenomenal structure. When you go there, try observing the exterior and interior walls of the temple closely. You will notice that the walls are beautiful carved with scriptures and scenes from Indian epics like the Mahabharata, The Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita. You will also notice the presence of Lord Krishna on the carvings of the walls of this site. Different scenarios from the deity’s life will be quite evident to you while exploring the monument.
Location: Rajdarbar, Dalmadal Para, Bishnupur, West Bengal 722122.
Entry Fee: INR 10.
5. Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali temple is one of the most famous temples in India. This structure is located near Kolkata and is exceptionally famous in West Bengal. Commissioned by the fearless philanthropist, Rani Rashmoni in 1855, this site is an excellent example of architectural beauty. Even though this site is dedicated to Goddess Kali, its popularity lies with its association with RamkrishnaParamhansa and his wife, Ma Sarada Devi. There are nine different temples located inside the complex, and all of them are equally beautiful. Apart from Goddess Kali, this site is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. You will notice that there are twelve separate shrines of Lord Shiva located over there if you visit there.
The history behind this temple’s construction is pretty fascinating. Rani Rashmoni got the idea to create this fantastic temple by visiting Kashi to worship her deity. When she understood how much effort the people of Bengal had to put to worship and pay tribute to their Gods and Goddesses, she started constructing this structure by buying some a plot of land by the Englishman Jake Hastie. Even though Rani was only alive for five short years after completing this site, she died peacefully knowing she helped in the creation of one of the most majestic religious sites in India.
Entry Timings: 6 am to 12.30 pm and 3 pm to 8.30 pm (October to March.) 6 am to 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm to 9 pm (April to September.)
6. Bahulara Siddheshwara
Heavily influenced by the Kalinga architecture, the Siddheshwara temple at Bahulara is unique in West Bengal. This temple is located not that far away from Bishnupur and is another addition to the rich cultural heritage of Bankura. Originally dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is a fine example of the famous Deul temples of Bengal. Constructed between 8th to 11th century, the famous Pala rulers of Bengal commissioned this site. Apart from the Lingam of Lord Shiva, idols of Ganesha, Mahisasurmardini, and even Jain TirthankarParshvsanatha have also been found inside the temple.
At the height of 62 feet, the temple is quite visible and visually stunning. Throughout the outer walls of the structure, you will notice cut-brick architectural style pretty quickly. This category of architecture is commonly known as Deul-architecture of Bengal. The carvings that can be seen in the exterior walls of this structure are magnificent and genuinely admirable.
Location: Ondagram, Bankura, West Bengal.
Entry Timings: This site is open always.
7. Agni Mandir
We have talked about the Hindu temples in West Bengal, but now let us talk about the only Parsi temple in the region. Agni Mandir is the only Parsi temple in the state, and it is located in Kolkata. You might be wondering why there is a temple for the Parsi community in the city of Joy. Your confusion is pretty justified given there are meagre population of Parsi people in the city. This temple’s history goes back to the 7th century when the Muslims evicted the Samaniya royal family from Persia. A large part of that family first came to Gujarat and then started living in different parts of India, including Bengal.
Some of the said people from the Parsi community started living in the Ezra street area of Kolkata and constructed a fire temple in 1839. RustamjiKawasaji commissioned the structure. If you ever visit this site, you will be pretty enthralled by its beauty. Created with milky marble stones, and designed beautifully, Agni Mandir does not seem to have aged a day. Although you are not from the Parsi community, you will not be able to enter the site’s premises. You can enter the Agni Mandir located in Metcalfe lane and see the eternal flame that is sacred to the Parsi people.
Location: Esplanade, Chandni Chawk, Bowbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700072.
Entry Timings: It is always open.
8. Tarapith Temple
Located in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, Tarapith temple is one of India’s most famous temples. The village Tarapith is hugely famous among religious people and tourists due to the sacred temple’s presence. Even though this site’s original name is Chandipur, Tarapith Temple turned its name Tarapith due to its immense popularity.
There are different mythologies associated with this temple. One influential legend is related to sage Vashisht. According to folklore, Maa Tara appeared in front of Sage Vashisht due to his ardent devotion to the Goddess. It is believed that the Goddess appeared at the same spot where the temple stands upright.
Another popular legend related to this temple is that Tarapith is believed to be one of the 52 Shakti Peeths in India. People believe Goddess Sati’s eyeballs fell into the grounds of the village Chandipur. Apart from the said legends, Tarapith is quite sacred due to the presence of Saint Bama Khepa. It is believed that due to his immense devotion to Maa Tara, the Goddess appeared in his dreams. He used to perform Tantric rituals in the site’s premises and cure people’s illness, and other distress. In this site’s interior part, you will see different idols of Maa Tara, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Sati. It is believed, this temple was constructed in 1225.
Location: Birbhum, West Bengal.
Entry Timings: 6 am to 9 pm.
9. Belur Math
Established in 1938, Belur Math is one of the most beautiful temples in West Bengal. Commissioned by Swami Vivekananda, this site was constructed to pay tribute to his spiritual Guru, RamkrishnaParamahamsa. Apart from dedicating this site to his Guru, Swami Vivekanda wanted to garner harmony among different religion in West Bengal by creating this temple. Spread over an area of 40 acres, the temple is magnificent. With spectacularly manicured lawns and magnificent architectural beauty, Belur Math is famous among every category of tourists.
To celebrate India’s secular nature, signs of different religions are carved on the exterior walls of the temple. Moreover, this site’s architecture also bears a resemblance to Islamic, Hindu, Christian, Jain, and Buddhist architecture at the same time. With a height of 112 feet, the temple is massive and breathtakingly beautiful. You will also see shreds of resemblance to the Ajanta temple in this site. Inside this temple complex, there are buildings and temples dedicated to RamkrishnaParamhansa, Maa Sarada, and Swami Vivekananda. Spending an entire day in Belur Math will genuinely provide some perspective to your life.
Location: Belur, Howrah, West Bengal 711202.
Entry Timings: 9 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 6 pm.
Commissioned by a wealthy resident, Shankar Ghosh in 1803, ThanthaniaKalibari is one of the most famous temples in West Bengal. Even though this site’s design might not impress you, it is immensely sacred to the people of the Hindu community in India. Dedicated to Goddess Kali, this temple garners high amount of crowd throughout the year. As this site is located at the College Street area of Kolkata, it is almost unmissable.
If you plan to visit there, it would be better for you to avoid the Tuesdays and Saturdays due to extensive crowd. It is always better to go there in the afternoon to worship the sacred Goddess in peace.
Location: Bidhan Sarani, Road, College Street Market, College Street, Kolkata, West Bengal 700006.
Entry Timings: 6 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 10 pm.
11. Radhamadhab Temple
Amid the rich history and cultural heritage of Bishnupur, lies the sacred Radha Madhav Temple. This site was constructed in 1737, and its beauty is famous all across India. If you are enthusiastic about history, this site will genuinely please you. The Mall rulers commissioned it and its Ek-Ratha architectural style simple sets it apart from the rest of this list’s temples.
With three-arched entrance ways and beautiful pillars, the Radha Madhav temple in Bishnupur will transport you to another era. If you observe the interior and exterior walls of this terracotta temple closely, you will notice scenes from Indian epics like Krishna Lila, Mahabharata, and others. Due to the preservation of India’s Archaeological Survey, the temple still looks relatively new despite its immense age.
Location: Dalmadal Para, Bishnupur, West Bengal 722122.
Entry Timings: It is always open.
12. Pareshnath Jain Temple
Commonly known as Calcutta Jain temple, Pareshnath Jain temple is one of India’s largest Jain temples. This site was constructed in 1867 and was commissioned by Rai BadridasMookim, a renowned Jain person. There are four different parts of this temple complex: Chandraprabhu Ji Temple, Mahavir Swami Temple, Shitalnath Ji Temple, and Dadawadi. This site was primarily dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankar, Parshwanath and is extremely important to the Jain community of Bengal.
The lavish decoration of the entire temple makes it one of the most picturesque and famous sites in Kolkata. You will notice the massive architecture of this temple complex is decorated by marbles. With several chandeliers and intricate designs on the floor, Pareshnath temple is genuinely mesmerizing. Even if you are not a Jain person, you will find this temple extremely enchanting.
Location: 36, Badridas Temple St, Manicktala, Garpar, Machuabazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700004.
Entry Timings: 6 am to 11 am and 3 pm to 7 pm.
The temples that we mentioned in this blog are incredibly famous and vital to the history and cultural heritage of West Bengal. Apart from the said temples, some more sites are quite beautiful and religiously significant in West Bengal. Even though they are not as popular as the provided temples, they make up for great tourist sites. Some of them include Icchai Ghosh Deul Temple, ISCKON Temple, Rasmancha, Sri Radha Govinda Temple, and others. We hope by studying this blog, you got a lot of crucial information regarding West Bengal’s temples.