A Glimpse of our Hindu Temples: Today’s temple round-up: Dhakeshwari Temple, Bangladesh
Bangladesh April 22, 2014: Dhakeshwari National Temple is a Hindu temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh's 'National Temple'. The name "Dhakeshwari" means "Goddess of Dhaka". Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir in 1971 by the Pakistan Army during theBangladesh Liberation War, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh.
The Dhakeshwari temple was built in the 12th century by Ballal Sen, a king of the Sena dynasty, and many say the city was named after this temple. The current architectural style of the temple cannot be dated to that period because of the numerous repairs, renovations and rebuilding which have taken place over time. It is considered an essential part of Dhaka's cultural heritage. Many researchers say that the temple is also one of the Shakti Peethas, where the jewel from the crown of the Goddess had fallen. Although there is not enough historical context to establish this as a fact, researchers were directed to this site while trying to locate the particular Shakti Peetha. Since ages, the temple has been held in great importance. The original 800-year old statue was taken to Kumartuli, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. There remains the replica of original idol in Dhaka. The temple was further damaged during the Muslim mob attacks of 1989–90.
It is widely believed that the Queen, wife of King Bijoy Sen went to Langolbond for bathing. While coming back she gave birth to a son, known to historians as Ballal Sen. After ascending to the throne, Ballal Sen built this temple to glorify his birthplace. Legends say that Ballal Sen once dreamt of the deity covered under the jungle. Ballal Sen uncovered the deity from there and built a temple, named for Dhakeswari. Whatever the legends describe, Hindu religious consider Dhakeswari to be the presiding deity of Dhaka, which is an incarnation or form of Goddess Durga the Adi Shakti.
Dhakeshwari Temple is a hub of socio-cultural as well as religious activity. Each year, the largest celebration of Durga Puja (the most important event in the Bengali Hindu calendar) in Dhaka is held at the National Temple, and a stream of dignitaries (such as the Bangladeshi President, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament and media celebrities) come to felicitate the Bangladeshi Hindu community from the temple premises. Several thousand worshippers and onlookers (including Muslims) stream through the premises where they are offered prasad (food - usually rice and lentils). A Bijaya Sammelani (cultural program following Durga Puja) takes place in the adjoining parade ground a few days after Durga Puja is complete, and is also a major cultural event in the Dhaka calendar, regularly attracting some of the top performers from the Dhaka music and film industry.