Mousumi Das, Santipur: A Legend of Rural Bengal.”Jaleshwar Shiva Temple” of Santipur in Nadia is one of the oldest “Shaivatirtha” of Bengal. The temple’s Shiva Linga is placed on an elevated pedestal.The month of Sharava is very pious for the devotees of Shiva,it is believed that devotees who offer water to the Lord on the last Monday of the month of Shravana all their wishes are fulfilled.The MLA of Santipur, Arindam Bhattacharya was also found worshiping the deity in the ancient “Jaleshwar Temple ” wearing traditional garments.
When asked about the religious heritage, Mr Bhattacharya said,”I am a believer of our religious traditions. And religious history is Santipur’s heritage. We are able to traditionally uphold this religious heritage till date. I want that, not only India but the entire world comes to know about our rich religious heritage. With the help of regular contact with the United Nations and it’s various organisations, I had an exclusive discussion with some international organisations like WMF regarding the ancient temples of Santipur and the preservation of the shrines”.
About the ‘sacred abode of Lord Siva’
The ‘Jaleswar Temple’, it is a south facing temple with slanting roof of four edges having two doors to the east and south. On the upper part of the entrance door different forms of Lord Shiva are engraved. An epitome of peace in the delta of the Ganges, has been ‘home’ to persons like Ancient poet Krittibas (who translated Ramayana in Bengali) & Adwaitacharya (the spiritual mentor of Shri Chaitanya Mohaprabhu) for many years. Not only a holy place of pilgrimage for Vaishnavs, the two cults of Shakti and Shiva also thrived from this holy soil.
With so many temples of different cults, Jaleswar Temple, the Shiva temple, as the ‘God of Water’ has been here to protect the purity and serenity of the soil.The height of the visible Shiva linga, made of black basalt, is 0.92 metre but considering the underneath structure of the Linga, it is said that Jaleswar Shiva Linga is the tallest one on earth.
Some similarities of the temple is found with the “Rudreshwara Temple” of Matiyari and “Raghaveshwara Temple” of Dignagar.
According to the “Nadia Gazetteer”, the temple was built by the then king of Nadia, Raghava Roy (1632-1683 AD approx). Once upon a time this Shiva Linga was called the “Rani’s Shiva” or “Rudrakant”. But it has a different story behind the derivation of its name.
Myth about Jaleswar Temple
According to legends, the temple derives its name from an anecdote which says that during heavy drought the villagers poured pails of water on the Lingam resulting in a heavy downpour.Since then the name “JALESHWAR “- the god of water is prevailing.The Jaleswar Temple is unique in the sense that it is not only one of the authentic specimens of traditional temple architecture of Bengal but also stands out as a treasure of its exquisite terracotta motifs. The subjects of the motifs cover a diverse range of mythological legends of Krishna, the arrow bed of Bhisma, tales of the Ramayana even Europeans with gun, warriors, tradesmen etc. This is how the name Jaleswar, God of Water, was derived.
Significance of worshiping ‘Shiva’ in the pious month of ‘Sawan’
According to the Hindu mythology the devotees who offer water on the Shiva Linga on the last Monday of Sawan or Shravana, the sacred month for all the devotees of Lord Shiva, all their wishes are fulfilled by the grace of all powerful ‘Mahadev’. As per legends mentioned in Hindu Vedas and Puranas, the holy month of Shravan is dedicated to worshiping Lord Shiva for success, marriage and prosperity. This year also devotees across Bengal visited the Jaleswar Temple. This temple also have a long tradition of miracles happening with the worshipers.
But a question,that have been raised by many, remained unanswered down the ages- Is Jaleswar the Shiva Linga of ‘Shambhu’, had evolve miraculously?