An esteemed temple town of West Bengal Tarapith is located some 10 kilometers from Rampurhat in Birbhum district. It is the temple of Goddess Tara who is believed to be an avatar of Sati in Hinduism. The village rests amidst the dense vegetation. There are many legends associated with the origin of this temple. It is considered as one of the famed Siddhapeeths of Bengal.
The most prominent of all is that of Sage Vasishtha, who chose this place to worship Goddess Tara as he knew she was an avatar of Sati residing there. It is said that Vasishtha had undergone severe stern practices to satisfy the Goddess but was unsuccessful. Finally, after divine intervention and under the instruction of Lord Buddha in Tibet, Vasishtha worshipped Tara with left-handed tantric ritual making the use of five forbidden things like wine, meat, blood, etc. The Goddess at last pleased by Vasisthas hard penance appeared before him and blessed him. Vasishtha requested the Goddess specifically to appear in the avatar of a mother suckling Shiva on her breast, the form which Buddha had seen in his divine vision. The Goddess accepted his request willingly and thus manifested in the said form into a stone idol. Tarapith is also famous for the great saint Bama Khepa (1837 AD – 1911 AD) popularly known as the “mad saint” who performed Tantric sadhana (worship), that made him the spiritual head of Tarapith.
At one point of time, Tarapith used to be known as Chandipur and it served as a devotional place for many hermits. Soon it became the holy place for large number of hermits and it was then that a temple was constructed. The first temple was constructed by a rich businessman of the period named Joy Dutta Saudagar. This temple became dilapidated and it was replaced by another temple built by Jagannath Rahi of Mollarpur. It’s destruction lead Raja Ram Jeevan to construct another temple in 1720. The temple standing now is a reconstructed temple by the King of Nator.
The temple is considered extremely sacred and people belonging to varied religions come here to receive the Goddess’s blessings. It is believed to be a wish – fulfilling temple since legends have that no one goes empty handed from the doors of this temple. This is why millions of devotees assemble here every year to offer their reverence, puja and obeisance to the Goddess.
At one point of time, Tarapith used to be known as Chandipur and it served as a devotional place for many hermits. Soon it became the holy place for large number of hermits and it was then that a temple was constructed. The first temple was constructed by a rich businessman of the period named Joy Dutta Saudagar. This temple became dilapidated and it was replaced by another temple built by Jagannath Rahi of Mollarpur. It’s destruction lead Raja Ram Jeevan to construct another temple in 1720. The temple standing now is a reconstructed temple by the king of Nator.
Places to see at Tarapith: The main and primary attraction in Tarapith is the Temple of Goddess Tara and the adjacent cremation ground. Apart from these, the greenery around Tarapith and the meandering DwarkaRiver is a feast to the eyes. The samadhi of the famous saint Bama Khepa is also located near the temple near the cremation ground.
Nearby attractions from Tarapith: The temple town of Tarapith is surrounded by many ancient shrines of Bengal which are equally significant and prominent for their historical and mythical past like Shaktipith in Nalhati and the birthplace of Byamakhapa in Atla village and nearby Gonpur forest. Some chief shrines spots among them are as follows:
Located 10 km away from Tarapith, Birchandrapur is the birth place of Nityananda Swami, who was one of the co-founders of the Gouriya Vaishnavism religion along with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The town has been named after Birbhadra Goswami – the son of Nityananda. According to legends, this holy town was said to have been inhabited by the Pandavas once during the Mahabharata era. The ‘Akali Mandir’ at Akalipur is unique for its hexagonal design and is more than 300 years old. There is also a beautiful ISKCON temple situated here.
It is one of the oldest shrines of Birbhum district that was built in 1192 AD by the Hindu King Malla Raj. The Shiva temple is surrounded by 21 temples with a sacred tank in its eastern flank. It is about 10 kms away from Tarapith.
This temple of Goddess Lakshmi is said to have been built 500 years ago by a Hindu saint called Saint Kamdev Bramacharya. He built the idol of the Goddess himself with neem tree wood and Ganga soil. The temple is a very revered spot and is visited by many devotees. It is about 12 km from Tarapith.
Maluti Temples –
Located in the nearby state of Jharkhand, it is considered to be a world heritage site due to its terracotta temples. Maluti has a total of 110 temples that were built during the 17th and 19th centuries by Basant Rai of the Mala dynasty. These temples are workmanship of exquisite terracotta architectural design. However, presently there are only 58 temples left.
Things to do at Tarapith: Other than temple hopping and doing some puja, you can take a stroll around the paddy field and enjoy the serene ambiance. Plus, visiting some of the above mentioned nearby places can also be a great idea.
Best time to visit Tarapith: The period between October and March is the best season to visit this temple town and its nearby attractions. The temple can always be visited throughout the year. However, summers are very hot and humid here with the temperatures soaring as high as 40 Degree C. Winter is the best time for sightseeing sprees around the temple city.
How to go ?
Tarapith is well accessible by road and railway. It is about three and half hours by train from Kolkata city. The nearest railway station near Tarapith is Rampurhat which is about 9 km from Tarapith temple. Tarapith is also well connected by bus routes with other districts of West Bengal. Tarapith is about 294 km from Kolkata, 116 km from Durgapur, 205 km from Mayapur and 96 km from Santiniketan.
Where to stay ?
There are two different types of accommodation options available at Tarapith. There are hotels with all modern facilities near the temple and there are resorts with lots of greenery, open spaces around 2 km from the temple. It all depends on your preferences, where you want to stay.
Some options are:
Hotel White House: 03461-253120 / 8016511055 / 9732098058
Hotel Yashoda International: 03461-253281/ 253111/(+91)9051211000
Hotel Sonar Bangla: (+91) 33 4006 0787, (+91) 33 4006 5773, (+91) 33 3950 2563
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.