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Mahaanaad : forgotten history

Updated on June 14, 2011
Huge GAURIPATTA (symbol of Goddess Durga) without the customary Shiva Lingam
Huge GAURIPATTA (symbol of Goddess Durga) without the customary Shiva Lingam
Small temple of BATUK BHAIRAV
Small temple of BATUK BHAIRAV
MAKARA, the mythical Vahana of Goddess Ganga
MAKARA, the mythical Vahana of Goddess Ganga
Two ancient stone Shiva Lingams
Two ancient stone Shiva Lingams
Ancient Shiva Lingam with Gauripatta
Ancient Shiva Lingam with Gauripatta
The temple complex, with the main temple on left (white pinnacled)
The temple complex, with the main temple on left (white pinnacled)
The Ekratna temple of Har-Parvati
The Ekratna temple of Har-Parvati
Front view of Annapurna atemple
Front view of Annapurna atemple
Side view of Annapurna temple (the Jor Bangla pattern is clearly seen)
Side view of Annapurna temple (the Jor Bangla pattern is clearly seen)
Themain temple of Jateswar Shiva
Themain temple of Jateswar Shiva
The pinnacle of the main temple. Though looks like a PIRHA type of temple, note the curved roof on which the pinnacle is constructed (resemblance more with Ekratna temple)
The pinnacle of the main temple. Though looks like a PIRHA type of temple, note the curved roof on which the pinnacle is constructed (resemblance more with Ekratna temple)
Stucco work on the main temple 1
Stucco work on the main temple 1
Main temple : side view
Main temple : side view
Stucco work on the main temple 2
Stucco work on the main temple 2
The Ek Ratna temple of Har-Parvati & the small cave -like temple of Shiva
The Ek Ratna temple of Har-Parvati & the small cave -like temple of Shiva
the small cave -like temple of Shiva
the small cave -like temple of Shiva
The Shiva resembling the Shiva of Gupta period. Note the conical shape of the Lingam & the absence of Gauripatta.
The Shiva resembling the Shiva of Gupta period. Note the conical shape of the Lingam & the absence of Gauripatta.
Stone idols of Ek Pada Bhairav & Makara
Stone idols of Ek Pada Bhairav & Makara
The stone idol of EK Pada Bhairav
The stone idol of EK Pada Bhairav
Stone idols of Ekpada Bhairav & Makara beneath a Neem tree
Stone idols of Ekpada Bhairav & Makara beneath a Neem tree
Broken stone idols from a bygone ancient  era
Broken stone idols from a bygone ancient era
Two pigeons in the temple
Two pigeons in the temple
Jiyot Kund in the foreground with Basisth Ganga in the background
Jiyot Kund in the foreground with Basisth Ganga in the background
Basisth Ganga
Basisth Ganga
Ducks in Basisth Ganga
Ducks in Basisth Ganga
Mukt Kund
Mukt Kund
The idol of Bramhamoyee Kali in the Bramhamoyee temple
The idol of Bramhamoyee Kali in the Bramhamoyee temple
The nine pinnacled  (Nava Ratna) top of the Bramhamoyee temple
The nine pinnacled (Nava Ratna) top of the Bramhamoyee temple
A mystical Yoga symbol on the Bramhamoyee temple
A mystical Yoga symbol on the Bramhamoyee temple
Stucco work on the Bramhamoyee temple
Stucco work on the Bramhamoyee temple
The front view of Bramhamoyee temple (1829 A.D.)
The front view of Bramhamoyee temple (1829 A.D.)


Mahaanaad is a small village about 30 km from Chuchura, the district headquarters of Hooghly district, West Bengal, India. Now a very ordinary Bengal village, the place was once the busiest centre in Eastern India for the Nath Yogis, a sect of Shaivites & followers of Gorakhnath & other great Nath Yogis.

Even today, the members of this particular sect assemble here once a year to celebrate certain occasions & a big fair is held here (called “Manader Jaat” in the local dialect).

On the northern end of the village there is a huge temple complex with a big temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, known here as JATESWAR Shiva.

The temple of Jateswar Shiva is a tall one, with a mixed temple pattern. Though the tall pinnacle gives an impression of a PIRHA type of temple (according to the classical North Indian or Nagara style), a close scrutiny reveals a curved roof on which the pinnacle is constructed, thereby giving it more semblance to a modified EKRATNA type of Bengal style.

In front of the temple there is a DALAN type NATMANDIR.

Inside, there is a Shiva Lingam & few other deities.

In front of this main temple , there are a number of secondary temples, with some distinction of their own.

1) Annapurna temple, dedicated to Goddess Annapurna , is a JORBANGLA type of temple with a beautiful idol of the Goddess made of black touch stone inside.

2) A small EKRATNA type of temple with Har-Parvati (i.e. Lord Shiva & Goddess Durga) inside. The pinnacle or RATNA of this temple covers almost whole of the roof.

3) A small cave like temple with a conical Shiva Lingam similar to the Shiva Lingams of the Gupta period (3rd-4th century AD).

4) A small new temple of Goddess Kali.

Besides these temples, the other most interesting objects to be seen here are :

1) A very big (more than 10 feet long) Gouripatta ( the symbol of Goddess

Durga). One just gapes in awe thinking about the size of the Shiva Lingam it once held. (sadly, no one knows about that Lingam!).

2) Two Stone idols of Bhairab known as Batuk Bhairab & Ekpada bhairab, below a huge Neem (Margosa) tree.

5) A stone idol of Makara, a mythical aquatic animal like a crocodile, which is considered as the Vahana (vehicle) of the Goddess Ganga.

6) A large number of broken stone idols of different deities.

7) Another interesting & equally mysterious thing to observe is an iron rod in front of the temple complex, the lower end of which is so deep that, as per local talk, no one, even the British could not uproot the rod by force. The iron rod is regarded as a form of Lord Shiva’s companion & is called Maha Bhairav.

Another interesting thing to be seen here is a huge pond, known as Basistha Ganga, & several smaller ones known as Kunds ( two of tem are still there – the JIYOT Kund & the MUKTI Kund, though the former is dry now). It is said that the water of Jiyot Kund once in the remote past had miraculous power of resurrecting the dead!

The second temple complex at Mahaanaad is the temple of Bramhamoyee Kali. Situated at the southern end of the village , this 85 feet tall three – storied Navaratna type of temple was constructed in 1829 by the local landlord Neogies. This temple houses a beautiful idol of the Goddess Kali & 5 stone-made Shiva Lingams, 4 black ones at the 4 corners of the ground floor, & the 5th one (white in color & known as Hangseswar Shiva)) at the top of the temple.

The most depressing thing that one feels after visiting this place is the neglect of the people about the historical importance of this place. Nobody gives any importance to the place & the ancient treasures it holds. Even the West Bengal Government is indifferent to this very important piece of the ancient history of us & our state. Time , the most cruel & impartial form of the natural forces, quietly flows by this priceless treasure of our land, gradually crumbling everything in its relentless march.

I only hope that someone with right frame of mind & right connections see this hub.

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    • profile image

      monisha khatun 3 years ago

      Some metirials are missing.

    • ravi1991 profile image

      Ashutosh Tiwari 4 years ago from Lucknow, India

      A Great HUB. Sir indeed the ASI should look into the resurrections of the mythological complex.

    • profile image

      Dr. P.K.Bandyopadhyay 6 years ago

      Yes , I want to add that in 1934-35 there was an experimental excavation by the Archaeological Department of the then Govt. of India.This has been mentioned in the Reports of the Department. A number of 'finds' have been preserved in the National Museum, New Delhi and other museums of Kolkata. I have mentioned this in my book entitled 'Natha Cult and Mahanad -- A Study in Syncretism' published in 1992 from New Delhi. The necessary Signboard of the Archaeological Department is there near the Jateswarnath Temple.

    • profile image

      Dr. P.K.Bandyopadhyay 6 years ago

      Excellent. Vigorous efforts should be made to include Mahanad as a major tourist attraction. It is also a place of cultural syncretism . Apart from being a centre of Natha cult with a number of temples, there is a 'mazar' of Qazimon Fakir, which is over seven hundred years old.

    • profile image

      avijit das 6 years ago

      Pls. visit the blog

      www.jateswarnath.blogspot.in

      www.mahanad2012.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      subhendu bagchi 7 years ago

      this is really stunning... Nice work...

    • profile image

      dipankar 7 years ago

      Nice.

    • profile image

      Santanu Mitra 7 years ago

      I loved the story and the pictures.

      Good show and good luck.

      Santanu

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