On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the Jashoreshwari temple in Satkhira district in the Khulna Division of Bangladesh.
In a video shared by DD News, PM Modi was seen being welcomed with aarti, and tilak. As he proceeded towards the premises of the temple, the Indian Prime Minister was greeted with saankhodhoni (blowing of conch shells) and ulludhoni. He then adorned the idol of Goddess Kali with a crown, a shawl and a garland of flowers. Later, PM Modi sat down to recite sacred hymns and bowed his head to the deity. The Prime Minister was at the Jeshoreshwari temple for over 15 minutes.
The history behind the Jeshoreshwari temple in Sathkira in Bangladesh where PM Modi offered prayers
“SHAKTI: 51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess” book published by Rupa Publications and authored by Dr Alka Pande narrates the rich history and legacy of the iconic Jashoreshwari temple. Chapter 9 of the book reads:
“Part of pre-partition Bengal, certain areas of Bangladesh have a deep devotion to the Great Goddess. A small town complete with its bustling street markets, narrow winding streets, road-side stalls of street food and Kirana shops, Jessore— or as it is colloquially known, Joshor—is the quintessential Picture of Bangla life. Jessore is not the sort of town that can be mistaken for a tourist favourite; it is however a transit point between Khulna and the Indian border at Benapole.
The town self offers quaint geography to explore and a fine sampling of HS local proletariat culture. Most visitors who come to Jessore enjoy the many archaeological sites here, including the remnants of Chanchara Rajbari, the Kali Mandir and the Dargah OF Ghazi Kalu. Among the more interesting relics within the regions are the remnants of King Mukut Roys palace, dating back to the 12th century and Nawab Mir Julma’s residence, which in, comparison, is slightly younger, having been built around the 17th century.
While each of these sights provides an experience of the many faiths, rulers and communities which had their impact on the culture of Bangla, many visit this part of the country for the Jashoreshwari Devi Shakti Peetha. It is in the village of Ishwaripur in Shyamnagar of Satkhira and is believed to be the Peetha which is believed to be where the left palm of the Devi lies.
The Jashoreshwari temple is an ancient site built in the 15th century under the patronage of the ruler of Jessore, Maharaja Pratapaditya. If legends are to be believed, it is said that one day when Maharaja Pratapaditya was out surveying his kingdom, as was the practice among the royal heads at that time to understand the problems, trials and tribulations of their people, he discovered a luminous ray of light emanating from a woodland bush. When the Maharaja went to discover the source of the light, he found a piece of stone carved in the form of a human palm.
The Maharaja’s advisors told him to create a shrine for the engraved stone since it had to be Devi’s blessing for him to find. Maharaja Pratapaditya, who was a worshipper of Goddess Kali, built the Jashoreshwari Devi temple. Ever since Jashoreshwari Kali has been known as the Goddess of Jessore and the town was named after her.An ode to the Mahakali form of the Divine Goddess or Shakti, the temple was built by the Brahmin architect Anari. He built a 100-door temple for the Jashoreshwari Shakti Peetha.
In time, it was modified by both Laxman Sen and Pratapaditya. In the late 13th century, Laxman Sen made a few changes to the structure. After the war and civil unrest in the year 1971, large parts of the temple crumbled. Now when one visits the Jashoreshwari Peetha, the most prominent structures of its architecture are the pillars. A notable part of the remaining structure is the large rectangular, covered platform that forms the Nathmandir and has been erected adjacent to the main temple where the shrine rests. It is from this point that the face of the Goddess can be seen.
The Jashoreshwari Peetha has been described as the Goddess lotus-like hand; the Bhairava protecting her is Chanda. Since this is the spot where the Devi’s hand is placed, it is believed to be a place of immense spiritual power for it is with her hand that the Goddess bestows her gifts. It is through the Abhaya mudra of her hand that she removes all fears and darkness. There is regular puja held on Saturdays and Tuesdays in the temple, which is, usually done in the midst of a local gathering of devotees from the nearby villages and towns.
Jashoreshwari Shakti Peetha is open to all, despite the many sectarian divisions in the faith. Each year the temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims who congregate from all around Bangladesh and beyond, from the Indian subcontinent. The temple has an annual Kali Puja which is celebrated with much pomp and reverence. The Kali Mata worshipped at the temple is known to absolve the ego of her devotees, rid them of their sins, and the maya or illusion of their existence, and grant them the ultimate goal of salvation or enlightenment.
The form of Kali worshipped here is unique; her fierce form, her fire, is directed inwards, burning the ego and the impurities of the mind. It is the peetha that’s representative of the spiritual journey of the atman to the parmatman. Jashoreshwari Devi, who is the ‘all bearing’, the ‘all producing’, provides us with the unshakeable foundation upon which to build our enlightenment. The Kali Puja is held in the months of Navratri in the Ashwija Mas, or the month of October.
There is also a rather popular mela or fair that is held annually in the temple complex in celebration of the benevolence of the Goddess. Families, pilgrims, and tourists alike gather from everywhere, dressed in their finest to celebrate the Goddess, to bring to her feet their sincerest prayers and to, as is hoped, return with her blessing and guidance.”