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Fri, 26/08/2016 - 15:54
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Bakreshwar Temple of West Bengal lies on the banks of the Paaphra River in the district of Birbhum. Inside the temple complex are the Mahishmardini and the Vakranath temple. The temple is renowned for its Oriya-style of architecture.

History

The portion between Devi Sati’s eyebrows- symbolic of her mind – is said to have fallen in this region when Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan chakra on her burnt corpse. A shrine was erected later and was consecrated to the worship of Shaivaite forces. Said to be one of the most powerful Shakti poets has, Bakreshwar (also called Vakreshwar) , the idol worshipped is Devi Mahishmardini (destroyer of Mahishasur) who is protected by the Bhairav Vagrant. The Phaphra River is said to be the Remover of Sins. This region is known particularly for its scenic beauty.

There are seven hot springs surrounding the region- Agni Kund, Brahma Kund, Surya Kund, Saubhagya Kund, Amrita Kund, Kheer Kund, Jibat Kund and Vairav Kund, and each is associated with a ShivLinga. The ShivLingas can be found close to every spring. The Mahamuni Ashtabhakta is said to have found enlightenment here after bathing in the Phaphra. There is a popular myth surrounding how the place got its present name. It is said that once two renowned munis or sages called Subrita and Lomas received an invitation to participate in the swayamvar of goddess Lakshmi. When Rishi Lomas was received first, Rishi Subrita was ferocious with anger: an anger that ultimately ended up twisting his nerves into eight folds, which eventually earned him the name of Ashtabakra.

Sculpture

On the instructions of the Supreme Lord, Vishwakarma – the architect of the gods – constructed a beautiful temple in honour of the sage. This temple came to be known as the Bakreshwar Shakti Peetha and abounds in legends of the stage. Mahishmardini or Devi Mahishasurmardini is depicted as a ten-handed mother, seated on a ferocious lion, slaying Mahishasur –the buffalo demon. In honour of this form of Devi Durga, a hymn called the ‘Mahishasur Mardini Stotram’ is sung every day at the temple after the Prabhat and Sandy Arts, the words to which are:

Map

Bakreswar Temple West Bengal

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Temple Legend

There is a popular myth surrounding how the place got its present name. It is said that once two renowned munis or sages called Subrita and Lomas received an invitation to participate in the swayamvar of goddess Lakshmi. When Rishi Lomas was received first, Rishi Subrita was ferocious with anger: an anger that ultimately ended up twisting his nerves into eight folds, which eventually earned him the name of Ashtabakra. Disfigured and disillusioned, Rishi Ashtabakra decided to perform penance for his sin – sages were supposed to overcome weakening emotions like anger- and proceeded to Kashi to pray to Lord Shiva.

On reaching Kashi, he was informed that he would have to travel eastwards to a place called Gupt Kashi and then begin meditating. Rishi Ashtabakra did so and eventually landed in Bakreshwar where he meditated and chanted prayers in praise of Shiva for ten thousand years. Pleased by his dedication and repentance, Lord Shiva granted him the boon that Rishi Ashtabakra would be worshipped before Lord Shiva to gain Shiva’s love.

Timings and Events
Events

On Shivratri, a grand fair is organised around the Bakreshwar Shakti peeth by the management committee. Girls fast the entire day to attain a husband like Shiva and end the fast with an offering of fruits, sweets, milk and bel leaves to the Lord. The fair has recreational activities like rides for children along with devotional music concerts and storytelling.

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