The Abode of Shiva in West Bengal

Tarakeswar Mandir

Also Known as “Baba Dham” or “The city of Shiva”

Abstract :

Tarakeswar, known as “Baba Dham” or “The city of Shiva,” is a prominent municipality located in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. This sacred city, nestled 58 kilometers away from Kolkata, the state capital, holds immense importance in the hearts of devotees of Lord Shiva. In this research article, we explore the geographical and historical aspects of Tarakeswar, its significance as a place of pilgrimage, and its multifaceted role in the economic and educational landscape of the region.

Introduction :

Tarakeswar, often referred to as the “City of Shiva,” is a municipality in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. It holds a revered place in the hearts of devotees of Lord Shiva, making it a significant religious and cultural center. This research article embarks on a journey to uncover the geographical attributes, historical evolution, and the role of Tarakeswar in the broader socio-economic and educational landscape of the region.

Geography :

Located at 22.89°N and 88.02°E, Tarakeswar sits at an average elevation of 18 meters (59 feet). It is strategically placed in the Chandannagore sub-division of the Hooghly district. The town enjoys excellent connectivity through both railways and state highways. Situated 48 kilometers from Chinsurah, the district headquarters, 45 kilometers from Chandannagore, the sub-divisional headquarters, and 58 kilometers from Kolkata, Tarakeswar’s location makes it accessible to residents and pilgrims alike. It is also well-connected to neighboring urban centers through motorable roads.

Climate and Pollution :

Tarakeswar experiences a tropical wet and dry climate according to the Köppen climate classification. In terms of air quality, the city has earned the distinction of being the least polluted city in Central and South Asia, consistently meeting WHO Guidelines for annual PM2.5 concentrations in 2022. The PM2.5 level was recorded at an impressively low 0.9.

Administrative Set Up and Demographics :

The Tarakeswar Municipality encompasses an area of 3.88 square kilometers, divided into 15 wards for administrative purposes. The town finds itself situated in the center of Tarakeswar Block, surrounded by four Gram Panchayats: Bhanjipur in the north, Ramnagar in the south, Baligori (1) in the east, and Santoshpur in the west.

Demographically, as per the 2011 Census of India, Tarakeswar had a population of 30,947, with a literacy rate of 83.90% among individuals over 6 years old. The population comprises a diverse mix of religions, with 93.22% being Hindu, 4.97% Muslim, and other religious beliefs and atheism making up the rest.

Economy :

Agriculture stands as the primary occupation for the residents of Tarakeswar. Trade and commerce also play a crucial role in the city’s economic activities. It’s notable that approximately 32 lakh people commute to Kolkata for work from Tarakeswar, making it an important hub for labor movements. The well-established railway network in the region facilitates this daily migration, with 38 trains carrying commuters from 21 railway stations within the Howrah-Tarakeswar section .

Taraknath Temple :

The Taraknath Temple, a renowned Hindu shrine in Tarakeswar, enshrines a Shayambhu linga of Lord Shiva. Constructed in 1729 AD by Raja Bharamalla Rao, this temple plays a central role in the religious life of the city. Interestingly, the temple’s name, Taraknath, is derived from Tarakeswara, a form of Lord Shiva. The temple’s architectural style follows the ‘Atchala’ structure of Bengal temple architecture and includes a ‘natmandir’ in front. It features four roofs above the sanctum and extended galleries for the congregation of devotees. Dudhpukur pond, located north of the temple, is believed to fulfill the prayers of those taking a dip in it. The temple also claims the distinction of being one of the Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva.

Pilgrims throng to the Taraknath Temple throughout the year, with a significant influx on Mondays. The annual Tarakeswar Yatra, which takes place between July and August, sees nearly 10 million devotees from all over India coming to offer holy water from the Ganges to Lord Shiva. It is one of the longest and largest Melas in West Bengal, stretching over 39 kilometers and featuring a line of saffron-clad devotees .

Education :

Tarakeswar boasts several educational institutions, including three higher secondary schools, one secondary school, and 14 primary schools. These schools, both government-sanctioned and private, cater to the educational needs of the town’s residents. Tarakeswar Mahavidyalaya (H.S. unit), an undergraduate college affiliated with the University of Burdwan, provides higher education opportunities for the youth of the region.

Transport :

The town is well-connected by both road and rail. State Highway 15 and State Highway 2 pass through Tarakeswar, with a comprehensive road network. The largest bus terminus in Hooghly district is located in Tarakeswar, serving as a crucial transportation hub. The Howrah-Tarakeswar railway line is an essential lifeline, with frequent train services catering to the daily commute of people working in Kolkata .

Communication :

The Champadanga area Telephone Exchange, with a dialing code of 03212, serves Tarakeswar and its surrounding areas. Besides landline telephony, WCDMA and LTE networks are also available, ensuring that residents stay connected with the world.

Conclusion :

Tarakeswar, the sacred city of Shiva, represents a unique blend of spirituality, heritage, and progress. With its serene environment, historical temples, and significant role in the economic and educational sectors, Tarakeswar is a vibrant and harmonious part of West Bengal’s cultural landscape. Its pollution-free air, thriving agriculture, and rich religious traditions make it a city where tradition meets modernity and faith meets the future.

Editor – Kaalchakra Team

[ Note – Before Concluding anything as a Finale, Please Go through Original Scriptures of Vaidik Literature Written in Sanskrit and Also with Meaning of That time of Language. Because English is a Limited language to Explaining the Deeper Knowledge of Vaidik Kaal. ]