Jogadya Temple, dedicated to goddess Shakti, is situated at Katwa subdivision of Purba(East) Burdwan district of West Bengal. This temple is believed to be one of the Fifty-one Shakti-Peethas. There are two temples of the goddess ‘Jogadya'( one is the old or main temple, and the other one is the new temple), a temple of Lord Shiva(known as ‘Kshireshwara’, ‘Kshirkantha’, ‘Ksheerkantak’), a little ahead of Kshirdighi(Kshir Tank) which houses the new temple of goddess ‘Jogadya’ underneath of it. Along with the goddess ‘Jogadya, many big fishes are there in that tank. Here the old or main temple stands with several legendaries behind it.
‘The Ramayana’, one of the revered books in Hinduism, tells us that once Mahi Ravana(a fearsome demon and the dynast of Lanka) had taken hostage of two brothers, Bhagoban Rama and his younger brother Laxmana to a place where he used to worship goddess Bhadrakali. Eventually, Bhagoban(Lord) Hanuman(beloved son of Bhagoban Vayu and the nymph, Anjana) appeared there to rescue Bhagoban Rama and his adored younger brother, Laxmana. Hanuman accomplished his motto of slaying that demon, Mahi Ravana and returned with Rama and Laxmana along with the idol of Devi Bhadrakali to the earth. And it is folklore that Hanuman vindicated that idol of goddess ‘Bhadrakali’ at the village of Kshirgram. Gradually this goddess had been altered by Her name ‘Jogadya’ by the locals.
It is a rumour, an idol of goddess Bhadrakali, shaped in the main temple by a famed architect after the demise of Mahi Ravana. Nabinchandra of Daihat after his realisation of that actual idol of Bhadrakali was disappeared, or another byword was spread over for the eras like that renowned architect had set up the idol of Bhadrakali in the main temple after his failure of having the Buddhist idol Mahajan in Kshirdighi.
On the other hand, Puranas informs us that Lord Hanuman himself had solicited the goddess Bhadrakali. Another source tells us that a well-known erector, Nabin Bhaskar of Dainhat, had rebuilt the idol of goddess Jogadya when it was found broken. All the expenses on behalf of this were carried away by the Maharaja of Burdwan.
It is said that initially, there was not an idol or not even a picture of the goddess in the main temple. But the puja(worshipping) and a fair oriented to it was held there at that time. However, one night, the king of Kshirgram, Haridutta, dreamt of the goddess in an Ugra-Chandi form. He later collected a ready stone image of the ten-armed Singhabahini goddess. Over time, he established Her in the temple.
Apart from all the mythological beliefs mentioned above, a fascinating fabled anecdote is there in ‘Shakta Purana’ like ‘Devi Bhagavata Purana’, ‘Kalika Purana’ and the folklores of various regions are more cognizant to all. Daksha(one of the Prajapatis, son of Brahma) once organised a yajna(sacrifice) to meet the grudge towards Bhagoban Shiva grew during Brahma’s yajna. Daksha also arranged a yajna like that of Brahma had and invited all the gods, Prajapatis and kings of the world to be presented in the yajna except his younger daughter, ‘Sati’ and Her beloved husband Shiva to show merely the humiliation to them. Despite being invited, ‘Sati’ persisted to her beloved to join the yajna. Bhagoban Shiva refused her proposal and tried his best to deter her from not attending the yajna.
Nevertheless, ‘Sati’ disagreed with Him. Then being very compelled, Bhagoban Shiva let her appear in the yajna with companions, including ‘Nandi’. Being there, Sati tried heart and soul to interact with her parents and elder sister. But her father repeatedly scolded and humiliated her in front of all the conspicuous personalities presented in that auspicious ceremony. Nay Daksha used a lot of unseemly words towards his son-in-law. Despite all these, Sati kept her patience, whereas Daksha did not control his tongue.
At last, it was too hard for Sati to digest. Hence, she cursed her father and immolated Herself, jumping into the sacrificial fire. Invitees tried to rescue her earthy body, but it was too late. Her companions, including ‘Nandi’, cursed Daksha and left the ceremonial place. The invitees followed them, and sage Dadhichi did the same.
Shiva came to know the saddest incidence and his grief transformed into horrifying, destructive anger. Shiva then took his extremely fierce and fearsome form of ‘Virabhadra’ and sent Virabhadra, Bhadrakali(Rudrakali), and Bhutaganas to disrupt the yajna spot, and they did as directed. Sage Bhrigu tried in vain to fight back them. All the gods, sages and Prajapatis were brutally beaten, and Daksha was beheaded. Gods Brahma and Vishnu then recoursed to Shiva. They showed their sympathies to him, requested earnestly to control his anger, urged him for mercy, and tried their best to make him understand that unsuccessful yajna may cause harm to the creation. Shiva agreed with them, gave His permission to complete the yajna, and forgave Daksha. But he could not control himself being separated from his beloved ‘Sati’, so he carried the body of ‘Sati’ on his shoulder and started his Tandava(Celestial dance) throughout the Galaxy.
As a consequence, the creation was in massive danger. Then the Bhagoban Vishnu took the assistance of his Sudarshana chakra to disjoint the Sati’s corpse, keeping himself hidden. It is a belief that the right toe of ‘Sati’ fell here(Kshirgram), and hence this temple had enlisted itself in 51 Shakti Peethas.
History describes the main temple in a little bit different way. In the 11th century, the foundation was laid down for a giant brick temple that was established encompassed with a colossal wall. Usually, it is called “Maa-er Baari”(house of mother) by the locals, devotees. It houses ‘Nat Mandir’, ‘Bhog Ghar’, ‘Bhandar Ghar’ etc. But unfortunately, Islamic aggression was committed to the main temple of Mata and destroyed by Kalapahar(A converted Muslim General of Bengal Sultanate) in the year 1760. Subsequently, the king, ‘Kirti Chandra Barbarua'(an Ahom noble), rebuilt the Southern surface of the temple between the years 1770-1780.
In 2005, a new temple of white marble had been set up in the middle of the pond, ‘Kshirdighi’ by name. The statue of ‘Jogadya’ was kept underwater because this statue was innovated by Hanuman first in the netherworld. But there was the re-excavation of ‘Kshirdighi’, and another primal idol of Devi Jogadya was found. On 31/12/2011, a further new fane of red stones had been installed, and the new idol extracted from the re-boring of the said tank was sedentarised there. This new temple is also adorned with ‘Bhog Ghar’, ‘Bhandar Ghar’, ‘Nat Mandir’, and a guest house for food and lodgings of the tourists and is encircled with a large boundary wall. Eventually, both the statues are made of ‘Kashti Stones'(a touchstone is a small tablet of dark stone such as slate or Luddites, used for assaying precious metal alloy) and looks like the goddess’s Durga. According to the archaeologists, the newer idol completes its age of 180 years. In contrast, the older idol is assumed around 600 years old.
It is believed that the deity resides underwater of Kshirdighi throughout the year. On some special occasions, such as Baishakh(first month of Bengali calendar) Sankranti(last day), Devi comes out of the water to the temple. The vast crowd come here from the remotest place to be part of this auspicious ceremony and enjoy the fair is held here during the puja every year. Aside from Baishakh Sankranti, Ashar-Nabami(3rd month of Bengali calendar), Bijaya Dashami(last day of Durga festival), 15th Poush(9th month of Bengali calendar), Makar Sankranti(last day of the Bengali month, Poush) are also celebrated here with grandeur. Devi comes out of her abode on each of these auspicious occasions. The very next day returns to Her residence, i.e. underwater of Kshirdighi.
Another tank is located there in the temple at the right-hand side of Khshirdighi, popularly known as ‘Sagardighi’, where Devi Jogadya first touched and wore Her Sankha(a symbol of marriage of Bengali woman). The two white bangles made from the conch and coral bangles symbolise a Bengali married woman. Methodically the local women present Sankhas in the temple and wear their Sankhas every year on the day of the occasion of Devi Jogadya worshipping.
This temple houses Devi Jogadya and is ornamented with an old tiny Shiva temple, Bhairava (a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with destruction and whose medium is a dog). Here Lord Shiva is considered as ‘Kshireshwara’, ‘Kshirkantha’ and ‘Ksheerkantak’ Bhairava. Shiva is sedentarised at the height of about 20 or 30 feet from the ground level as the utmost caring guardian of goddess Jogadya just behind her, crossing with a fleet of stairs. History tells us that Kalapahar demolished this shrine and made a scar mark on the head of the lord’s idol. However, this fane was reconstructed by “Kshirdighi Par Jogadyamata Unnayan Committee” in the year 2017.
No particular dress code is assigned for the devotees of the said temple at all. However, they are expected to wear clean and traditional dress while visiting the temple. Alcoholic drinks, smoking, taking any other objects of intoxication are strictly prohibited here.
The temple is open for its devotees and tourists at 6:00 a.m. and closes its door for the day at 9:00 p.m daily.
Devi Jogadya is offered fish curry and Payesh(confection) daily and is distributed to the tourists and devotees as bhog.
Postal Address: Jogadya temple, Kshirgram Shakti Peeth, Kshirgram, Dist: East Burdwan, West Bengal, India, Pincode: 713143.
Contact Number: +919434674101.
Website Address: www.jogadyama.com
The temple of Jogadya is situated at an ancient village named Kshirgram, which is about 22kms away from Katwa by bus. From Burdwan, it maintains a distance of about 40kms by bus. By train, the tourists have to stop their journey at Kaichar railway station of about 150kms from Howrah railway junction, Kolkata. From Kaichar railway station, tourists can avail themselves a rickshaw or a bus to cover the distance of 4kms to get to their destination.
Kshirgram has no hotels. There is an ordinary guest house of the temple authority to provide food and lodgings to the tourists. But there are some hotels like ‘H Nirala’, ‘H Satyam’ available at a reasonable rate at Katwa bus stand and railway station.
Image Courtesy: Arka Pal