One of the most revered temples of the Shakti cult, the Maa Tara Temple in Tarapith is also known as Mahapith Tarapith. This is one of the temples in West Bengal that the devotees considered to be very powerful. Furthermore the history and relevance of this temple goes back to the historical period. There is a lot to know and learn about the Tarapith Mandir Temple. If you are planning a trip to Tarapith to pay your visit and offer your prayers to this fierce form of Goddess then this article is going to be very helpful for you. Keep on reading this article as I will mention everything about Tarapith Temple here. I will also mention all the things that you need to know before you make a visit to this powerful Shakti Temple. So keep on reading.
|Location||Rampurhat Subdivision, Birbhum district, West Bengal|
|Tarapith temple timings||5:30 am to 10 pm|
How to reach
The Kolkata to Tarapith train is by far the easiest way to reach Tarapith. You can get theHowrah to Tarapith train like Mayurakshi Express, Ganadevta Express, Howrah RPH Express, Kulik Express, Kaviguru Express and more.
Tarapith nearest railway station: The Tarapith Road is the nearest railway station to the temple. But if we talk about the nearest major railway stations to reach Tarapith then they are Rampurhat, Asansol and Burdwan. From there you can take either buses or cars to reach the temple.
While travelling in a car you will have to travel via the Panagarh Morgram Expressway. You can reach Rampurhat as well and then travel to Tarapith from there. Buses are available from Kolkata and other nearby districts. You can also take your personal vehicle and drive your way to Tarapith.
Distance of Tarapith Temple from nearby places:
Kolkata to Tarapith distance is 220 km. Further Rampurhat to Tarapith distance is 8.5 km. If you are travelling from Tarapith to Bakreswar distance is 49 km. From Deoghar the distance to Tarapith is 138 km and from Santiniketan it is 61 km
The summer months in Tarapith can be really hot and humid. From April to June the temperature reaches almost 40 degrees. It would not be comfortable to visit there during that time of the year. Furthermore the monsoon season from July to September is not a good time either as during this time the incessant rainfall can dampen the spirit of visiting and exploring the place. The winters can be called the ideal time to visit here. During the time between October to February the temperature ranges between 9 degrees to 24 degrees. It is a comfortable temperature to explore the whole place at that point of the time. So plan your visit accordingly.
About Tarapith Temple
The Tarapith Temple is basically a small village temple but the relevance and importance of this temple lies in the devotion of its followers. On the banks of the Dwarka River, the Tarapith Temple is considered as one of the auspicious temples amongst the Hindu community. Furthermore the temple is dedicated to the fierce form of Goddess Durga that is Maa Kali. The Goddess here is called as Maa Tara, Kalika, Bhadra Kali and Mahakali as well. A lot of legends, stories, mythological relevance and historical importance is attached to this temple which makes it one of the most interesting places to explore. Further the Goddess here is worshipped following the Tantra or Tantric rituals.
According to many the temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth while there is a debate about that too. Nevertheless the devotees and followers of Maa Tara visit here and offer their heartfelt devotion to the goddess and makes the deity even more powerful and important. Also among all the Peethas the Tarapith is known as the Siddha peeth. This means that by visiting here you can get granted with siddhis or supernatural powers along with wisdom, enlightenment and happiness. Devi Tara is the second of the 10 great Wisdoms of Dasa Mahavidyas or the 10 forms of the Goddess.
Story behind Tarapith Temple
According to legends there are many variations about the Temple and the presiding deity. Some say that when Devi Sati was asked by Lord Shiva to not go and attend the Yagna conducted by her father, she did not listen to him. She was adamant and left to attend the Pooja but was badly humiliated by her father. Not just that, even her husband Lord Shiva was humiliated badly. Devi Sati could not bear the shame and humiliation and therefore she sacrificed herself into the Yagna fire.
Unable to bear the loss Lord Shiva carried the corpse of Devi Sati and did the dance of destruction. In order to stop him from destroying the whole world, Lord Vishnu started cutting the body of Devi Sati and her body parts started falling off. The places where her body parts fell the Shakti Peethas were created. According to legends the eyeball of the third eye of Devi Sati fell here. In Bengali eyeball is called Tara and so the Tarapith Temple was formed here.
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Furthermore, another legend depicts that once Lord Shiva had drunk all the poison that was churned from the ocean. To ease the intense burning of his throat Sati took the form of Tara or Mother Goddess and breast fed Lord Shiva to transfer the effect of poison from his throat to her own body.
Another legend also says that sage Vashishtha once tried to master the Tantric rituals but failed every time. So he went to Buddha and he asked him to go to Tarapith and worship Devi Tara. There Vashishtha recited Tara mantra 300,000 times. Furthermore Devi Tara was pleased seeing his effort and therefore Vasishtha appealed to the Goddess to appear in the same form of breastfeeding Lord Shiva. The Goddess granted his wish and appeared in the same Mother Goddess form and turned into a stone. From that time the same form is being worshipped in Tarapith.
Architecture of Tarapith Temple
The main structure of the Tarapith Temple is a marble structure with all four sides covered with a curved roof. This model of structure is known as the Dochala form. You can notice a distinct terracotta style of architecture in the construction of the temple as well. Furthermore the walls of the bricks are thick and made of red bricks. In total there are three archways that lead to the main sanctum sanctorum. The double door of the sanctum is beautifully ornate with motifs of hibiscus flowers and portraits of Lord Shiva and Devi Tara. The main sanctum has the image of Maa Tara. The main deity here is of the Mother suckling Lord Shiva. However that form is further camouflaged with the fierce form of the Goddess which is 3 meters in height. This metal image is the one that the devotees usually worship.
The deity here is seen in her fierce form with four hands and tongue sticking out. Furthermore she is seen wearing a garland of skulls and crowned with a silver crown on her head. Further she is wrapped in saree and decked with flowers. The forehead of the Goddess is smeared in Vermillion. Also vermillion is smeared around her mouth to give the essence of blood. The devotees take the vermillion and apply it on their forehead as a symbol of the blessing from the Goddess. Also you can see a silver umbrella above her head as well.
Tarapith Temple and Bamakhepa
Further the popularity of the Tarapith Temple among the people happened through Sadhak Bamakhepa. He was a tantric saint who dedicated his whole life in the worship of Goddess Tara. Basically he was referred to as a mad saint as Khepa means mad. He was a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa as well. At a very young age he came under the guidance of a Tantric Saint Kailashpati Baba and mastered the Tantric mode of worship. Bamakhepa used to live in the cremation ground beside the temple and lived there till he died.
Other special attractions in Tarapith Temple
Cremation Ground or Maha Samsaan
Other than the Maa Tara temple, you can visit the cremation ground which is also considered as one of the integral parts of the temple. It is also believed that the shadow of the Goddess is seen here drinking the blood of the goats sacrificed here in order to calm her anger down. Furthermore according to tantric rituals it is believed that the Goddess favors this place as her residence as she is attracted to bones and skulls. Therefore many sadhus and Tantrics permanently reside here and perform their Tantra Sadhana.
Shrine of Bamakhepa
Bamakhepa the ardent devotee of Goddess Tara died in 1911. He was buried near the entrance of the burning ground in a seated cross legged posture. At present there is a large Samadhi at the same position, people offer their prayer and worship here with burning candles and incense sticks. Also towards the entrance in the main road there is a bright pink coloured temple dedicated to Bamakhepa. The temple is called the Shri Bamdev Smriti Mandir. There is a white statue of the saint sitting in a cross legged position. Furthermore there is a white Shiva Lingam here as well along with some old paintings that depict various stages of Bamakhepa’s life.
You can get a good number of hotels in Tarapith depending on your budget. From Tarapith hotel under 500 rupees to premium hotels you can get everything here. Some of the popular hotels here are Hotel Srinivas, Hotel Yashoda International, Hotel Tara, Hotel Parichay, Bam Tara Hotel and Restaurant, Hotel Sonar Bangla Tarapith etc.
Sonar Bangla Hotel Tarapith is one of the good quality hotels in Tarapith that you can surely check out. Room tariff starts from Rs. 3500 and it is just at a walking distance from the temple as well. They have both AC and Non AC Deluxe rooms. Along with that they have a swimming pool and parking facilities as well.
Interesting facts about the Tarapith Temple
For the whole year the deity of Goddess Tara is placed at such a position that she only faces northward. But during the annual Festival the whole structure is placed at a nearby temple which is close to the original temple. Here the deity is placed in such a way that she faces towards the west that is towards the cremation ground.
The goddess in Tarapith Temple is offered alcohol as an offering on a daily basis known as Karan Sudha. This is like an offering to the deity along with meat and fish as well as Prasad which is a significant part of Tantric ritual of worship.
Tarapith is one of the sacred places with a sacred water body inside the complex which is considered holy by the devotees.
The Sacred tank or Jivita Kund inside the premise is considered to have healing properties in it. Furthermore it is also believed by many that the water of the tank can even bring back life to the dead. Many devotees take a holy bath here before entering the temple and worship.
Sacrifices of goats are like a regular norm here and this is one part of the Tantric cult of worship. The goats are bathed in the holy water before they are butchered in one single stroke using a special sword. Later a little quantity of the same blood is offered to the deity as an offering.
Temples like the Tarapith Mandir Temple hold a lot of significance and importance attached to it. These are not merely temples but the belief that the devotees hold for their deity is very precious. If you are ever visiting Birbhum then you must make a visit to this temple. Do let me know if this particular article was helpful for you in planning a trip to this temple. Also do let me know if there is anything else that you would like to know about the temple.