Tarakeshwar is one of the prominent
pilgrimage centers in Bengal. Tarakeshwar is located near Serampore near Calcutta in
This temple dates back to the 18th century. Legend
has it that a devotee by name Vishnu Das emigrated with his clan from Oude (Ayodhya) and
was viewed with suspicion by the locals. It is believed that he proved his innocence by
holding in his hand a red hot iron bar. Later, his brother discovered a site in the nearby
jungle, where cattle discharged the contents of their udders at a particular spot each
day. Upon investigation, they discovered a Shivalingam.
A dream is said to have revealed to them that this Shivalingam was a manifestation of Tarakeshwar
- Shiva. A temple was built at this spot, and was renovated in subsequent years.
This temple is typical of Bengali
temples, with a sanctum and a porch in front of it. The four sided porch has three arched
openings railings on its roof. In front of the porch is the convregational hall.
Mondays attract scores of pilgrims. A fair - mela
commemorates Shivratri in the month of February - March. Also celebrated
in a grand manner here is the Chaitra Sankranti or the Bengali new year.