With a healthy Hindu minority and close historical ties with India, Bangladesh is no stranger to Hindu shrines. Many of these are listed as the national heritage and hold a place of pride in the hearts of the entire Bangladeshi populace. Many of these temples dating way back in time, are now popular tourist attractions and offer lots of opportunity to any history enthusiast to take a peek into the story of these beautiful structures.
The Dhakeshwari Temple – located in the national capital, Dakshineshwari which literally means “the Goddess of Dhaka” is the national temple of Bangladesh. This temple is the heart of all the socio-cultural activities and hosts the biggest Durga pooja of the year. Though it is one of the most ancient temples in Bangladesh, it no more has that ancient look thanks to all the renovation and restoration activities. Spread over a large area, this temple also houses four identical structures dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Kantejew Temple – built in the 18th century by Maharaja Prannath and completed by his adopted son, Maharaja Ramnath of dinajpur. Also known as the Knatanagar Temple, this is one terracotta architectural marvel. Walled all over with beautiful terracotta tiles, a visitor will be mesmerized by the intricate designs and pictorial stories. This Krishna temple also had another beauty to boast, it had nine spires which were unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in 1897.
Temples of Bhatpara – Another relic is the 11 temples of Bhatpara, a small village in the heart of abhayanagar. This complex though now is in a state of neglect, it still has the mystic aura of adventure and explore. Build by Raja Nikontho Rai this temple complex was supposed to be the home of the king’s daughter, Abhaya and her husband, Lord Shiv. It is believed, that the king being childless prayed to lord shiva for a daughter and promised to give her hand in marriage to the lord if his wish was fulfilled. The king was soon blessed with a daughter and kept his promise and build this complex of 11 temples for the newlyweds. Even now one can see the remains of terracotta tiles that once adorned these walls.
Buddha Dhatu Jadi – located in the Bandar ban hill district, this is one of the oldest Buddhist temples of Bangladesh and house the second largest statue in Bangladesh of Buddha. Boasting of Arkanese architecture a close relative of South-East Asian style, this temple is an absolute treat to any visitor. The elegance of metal structures adoring the temple are eye catching and the pious aura soothing to the soul.