God of Water: Myth about 'Jaleswar' temple of rural Bengal
Kolkata, Feb 21: The legendary 'Jaleshwar Shiv Temple' of West Bengal, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiv situated in Santipur, Nadia district. It is one of the oldest temples of rural Bengal.
In this unique temple, the Shiv Linga is placed on an elevated pedestal.
It is believed that devotees who offer water to the Lord on the last Monday of the month of Shravana all their wishes are fulfilled.
The 'Jaleswar Temple' is a south-facing temple with the slanting roof of four edges having two doors to the east and south.
It is believed from the ancient times that the Jaleswar Temple, which represents Lord Shiv as the 'God of Water' is to protect the purity and serenity of the soil.
The height of the visible Shiv linga, made of black basalt, is 0.92 metre but considering the underneath structure of the Linga, it is said that Jaleswar Shiv Linga is the tallest one on earth.
On the upper part of the entrance door, different forms of Lord Shiva are engraved. An epitome of peace in the delta of the Ganges has been 'home' to persons like Ancient poet Krittibas (who translated Ramayana in Bengali) and Adwaitacharya (the spiritual mentor of Shri Chaitanya Mohaprabhu) for many years. Not only a holy place of pilgrimage for Vaishnavs, the two cults of Shakti and Shiv also thrived from this holy soil.
With so many temples of different cults, it is said that Jaleswar Shiv Linga is the tallest one on earth.
Some similarities of the temple are found with the 'Rudreshwara Temple' of Matiyari and 'Raghaveshwara Temple' of Dignagar.
According to the 'Nadia Gazetteer', the temple was built by the then king of Nadia, Raghava Roy (1632-1683 AD approx). Once upon a time, this Shiv Linga was called the 'Rani's Shiva' or 'Rudrakant'. But it has a different story behind the derivation of its name.
The myth about Jaleswar Temple
According to legends, the temple derives its name from an anecdote which says that during heavy drought the villagers poured pails of water on the Lingam resulting in a heavy downpour. Since then the name 'Jaleswar'- the god of water is prevailing.
The Jaleswar Temple is unique in the sense that it is not only one of the authentic specimens of traditional temple architecture of Bengal but also stands out as a treasure of its exquisite terracotta motifs. The subjects of the motifs cover a diverse range of mythological legends of Krishna, the arrow bed of Bhisma, tales of the Ramayana even Europeans with the gun, warriors, tradesmen, etc.
This is how the name Jaleswar, God of Water, was derived.
A question, that has been raised by many, remained unanswered down the ages- Has the 'Jaleswar Shiv Linga' of 'Shambhu' evolved miraculously?
Though the emerging of the Linga of Lord Shiva has raised many questions but this mystery attracts the devotees to throng to this place for worshiping 'Jaleswar'- the 'God of Water'.