Ekteswar, the Unifier Shiva

The dry bed of Darakeswar river
The dry bed of Darakeswar river
The Ekteswar Shiva Lingam
The Ekteswar Shiva Lingam
The facade of the main temple (a later addition)
The facade of the main temple (a later addition)
One of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple (6-armed Krishna)
One of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple (6-armed Krishna)
Terracotta panel on the facade of the main temple
Terracotta panel on the facade of the main temple
Another  of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple (Nouka Jatra or Boat ride of Lord Krishna)
Another of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple (Nouka Jatra or Boat ride of Lord Krishna)
Another  of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple  (Krisna with associates)
Another of the terracotta figures on the facade of the main temple (Krisna with associates)
Ratha or angular projection on the main temple
Ratha or angular projection on the main temple
Ratha or angular projections on the main temple : another view
Ratha or angular projections on the main temple : another view
A stone curving on the main temple (this is ancient art work)
A stone curving on the main temple (this is ancient art work)
The facade of the main temple : another view
The facade of the main temple : another view
The main temple of Lord Ekteswar
The main temple of Lord Ekteswar
The Pancha Ratna (5 pinnacled) temple of Nandy the holy Bull
The Pancha Ratna (5 pinnacled) temple of Nandy the holy Bull
Two idols of Nandi the holy Bull
Two idols of Nandi the holy Bull
3 temples, on the fore ground the Char Chala Tara temple (omn the left) & the Pancha Ratna Nandi temple (on the right) ; on the background the main temple of Ekteswar
3 temples, on the foreground the Char Chala Tara temple (omn the left) & the Pancha Ratna Nandi temple (on the right) ; on the background the main temple of Ekteswar
 the Pancha Ratna Nandi temple
the Pancha Ratna Nandi temple
The Aat Chala Voirab temple
The Aat Chala Voirab temple
The main temple of Ekteswar
The main temple of Ekteswar
The main entrance
The main entrance
Decorative facade of the main gate
Decorative facade of the main gate

                                                    Ekteswar, the Unifier  Shiva

The town of Bankura , West Bengal, India is famous for an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva , worshiped here as Ekteswar  or Ekpadeswar. Situated about 3 km from the town of Bankura,  on the bank of river Darakeswar, this comparatively less known temple is unique in many respects.

First of all, The Shiva Lingam (the Phallic form of Lord Shiva)  is not at all phallic in shape or position. Rather, it is like the shape of a human foot, lying horizontally instead of standing upright like the common Lingams.

Secondly, the temple of Lord Ekteswar/Ekpadeswar is built in an atypical PIRHA (one of the two classical Nagara or North Indian temple architectural styles, the  other being Shikhara/Rekh ) pattern.

Thirdly, the temple complex contains examples of several types of temple architectural designs, viz. Classical Nagara (North Indian) style (PIRHA variety), Chala type of Bengal temple style (with 2 sub-varieties Aat Chala & Char Chala),  Ratna type  of Bengal temple style (Pancha Ratna or 5 pinnacled) & a Dalan type (of Bengal school) Naat Mandir.

 The main temple of Ekteswar /Ekpadeswar

This huge temple , built of stone (mainly Laterite but plastered all over) has an atypical PIRHA or pyramidal architectural pattern, with a huge AMLOK SHILA on top. The main body (Gandi) of the temple has deep angular projections (Ratha). This portion of the temple is much more older than the front portion which is made of brick & has some terracotta works of the traditional Bankura style.

The sanctum sanctorum has a 7 feet deep well with the foot-shaped Lingam at the base. This well is connected to the nearby Darakeswar river, the water of which sometimes enter into the temple well as if to bath the Lingam.

The temple has a colorful history. One mythological story  says that the temple was established by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata fame, & the temple was constructed by Viswakarma the celestial architect.  Another states that the Lingam of  presiding deity of  Lord Ekteswar was brought here by SUKRACHARYA, the Guru of the Demons. On a more modern version, this temple was established by the Malla kings of Vishnupur. But the most accepted version is that the Malla Kings renovated a  pre-existing ancient temple, & added some newer portions to the existing structure.

Even the name of the presiding deity bears  some controversy. One theory goes that the name is EKPADESWAR (The Lord with one Foot) since the Lingam is shaped like a human foot.

Another more historical story says  that the name is EKTESWAR, which is derived from EKATA- ISWAR (the Lord of Unity), as the Lord Shiva here once mediated between the fighting ruling clans of Mallabhum & Samantabhum over territorial disputes, & founded their unity.

The temple complex is surrounded by a high wall with a beautiful entrance gate with lovely decorations of images of Hindu deities.

Other temples in the complex:

Maha Vishnu temple :  This small temple has one of the most beautiful idol of Lord Vishnu with the seven-hooded serpent Sapta Naga over His head.

The temple of the Holy Bull Nandi : Situated in front of the main temple & facing it, is the Pancha  Ratna (5 pinnacled) temple of Nandi, the Holy Bull. Actually, there are two bulls, built of stone, both beautifully  curved.

Bhoirab Temple : This temple is built in AAT CHALA  (eight –roofed)pattern of Bengal temple architecture, but the Chala/roof is somewhat atypical when compared with the standard Aat Chala temples seen elsewhere.

Tara temple :  This small Char Chala ( 4 roofed) temple in front of the main temple has two deities, a small Shiva Lingam which  is comparatively  new & an ancient idol of goddess TARA ( a form of Goddess Kali).

The terracotta works of the main temple :

The front portion of the main temple (which is a later addition by the Malla Kings & is brick-built) has some terracotta figures of different gods & goddesses of the Hinduism, mainly Krishna, Shiva & Ganesha.  However, the quality of the terracotta art works is  just ordinary. Moreover, these are coated with some plaster & painted with colors, thereby looking  somewhat cheaper than their famous cousins in the temples of Vishnupur or other places nearby. 

More by this Author

  • Chitrakoot Dham : Part V :Other places of interest
    0

    Chitrakoot Dham, where Lord Rama spent long eleven & half years, is dotted with many places associated with Him, Sita Devi, Lakshman & Bharat. Devotees spend a lot of time to all these places.

  • Taptapani : where the goddess Kandhuni Mata oozes hot water
    1

    Taptapani is one of the popular hot springs in the state of Odisha, India. Situated in a densely forested hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghat mountains in the Ganjam district, this place is famous for its hot spring,...

  • Temples of Khardah, West Bengal
    1

    Temples of Khardah Khardah is a small town in the district of North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. It is on the eastern bank of the sacred river Ganges, about 25 km from Kolkata. Khardah is an important place for the...


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working