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Jan 12,2024

In the month of Shravan , thousands of devotees walk together to Baba temple . Fasting without a drop of water , they walk sleepless as well as barefoot , with pots of Ganga jal tied to the end of long bamboo poles slung over their shoulders . With  unwavering faith , the devout undertake this yatra to the Tarakeshwar Temple , to pour the holy waters of the Ganga over the swayambhu linga of Baba Taraknath , as Lord Shiva is fondly called here . Legend goes that the medicant brother of Raja Vishnu Das who moved to Bengal in early 18th century , discovered the linga in the jungles near Tarakeshwar after he was led to it by a dream . Other stories narrate that he found the linga after he noticed cows enter the jungle with udders full of milk , only to discharge them upon a linga with a deep hollow . A temple was built , and later renovated , on the same spot where the linga , which was a big , wide dent on the top , was found . Built in 1729 the Tarakeshwar Temple features a typical Bengal style aatchalla, curved like a hut with an eight sided round roof in two tiers . Close to the temple entrance , the chief mahant (priest ) lives in a rambling , decrepit , two -storeyed structure with a courtyard thats an architectural delight . This was onece the grand residence of the zamindar , Sri Bharamallah , who contributed considerably to the construction of the temple . The dark and dingy temple office is housed in one of this buildings numerous rooms . 

Things to See and Do : Usually , the  visit to Tarakeshwar is a day trip from kolkata except for those who wish to perform the yatra on foot .

Tarakeshwar Temple  : The shrine consists of two parts , the sanctum and the porch in front of it . The foursided porch has a roof with three arched raillings . The marbel tiled floor is continuously wet and muddy , which makes it slippery . Facing this porch is a large open hall with a roof supported by pillars and a floor paved with marble . At the temple gates , pandas pursue and harangue pilgrims . The unsuspecting devotee may be required to part with Rs 500 for the purna sankalpa for a breathless half minute darshan of the Shivalinga . Devotees bring Shivas favourite flowers such as dhuttura or angles throat garland without which worship is considered incomplete . Rituals late in the evening serenade the lords retirement for the night along with his consort Sati .  

Where to Stay and Eat : Visitors wishing to spend the night  or have a meal on order may opt for the government run Tarakeshwar Tourists Lodge which has a car park and is close to the temple . The nearby Municipal Guest House is for budget travellers . Cheap and wholesome snacks and meals can be found in the narrow lanes that lead to the temples .  Popular shops for Bengali sweets as well as savouries , are Sri Hari and Gouranga . The business is brisk and the fare , though simple , is fresh . The municipal Guest House offers basic meals .

Location : In Hooghly District , 58km from Kolkata .Air kolkata Rail Tarakeshwar .