Volume 2 Issue 55 | April 11 , 2009 |


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From Jhenidah

The Naldanga Rajbari Temples

Azibor Rahman

THE ancient temples at Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah are turning into ruins because of the lack of efforts for restoration and preservation work. Kaliganj in Jhenidah district is famous for its archaeological treasures which includes eight temples. Now though, seven out of eight temples still stand.

Over time, the Naldanga palace and the history of the Raj has gotten lost in oblivion. Crops are produced on this site and all the furniture has been auctioned off. Had the Archaeology Department taken renovation initiatives, the site might have been an invaluable asset. The palace is located 18 kilometers from district town Jhenidah.

Siddeshwari Mandir was first built in 1656. Later, the rest
of the temples were built by successive different rulers. Now they stand on the verge of ruination along the Begbati river in Jhenidah. The temples are the Siddeshwari, the Kalimata Mandir, the Laxmi Mandir, the Ganesh Mandir, the Durga Mandir, the Taramoni Mandir, the Vishnu Mandir and the Rajeshwari Mandir. They are all in pretty bad shape. There are eight temples in the same area. Five of them need to be renovated urgently.

Naldanga has had different kings over three hundred years. In 1870 Raja Indu Bhusan died of bronchitis and his adopted son Raja Bahadur Promoth Bhusan Debrai took over. It was he who built these temples that are now almost ruined. One of the temples is now pretty much buried under ground.

In the 2006-07 financial year, the Zila Parishad allotted only Tk 65 thousand for renovation work on all seven of these temples. Needless to say, this is not enough. There is a two-storied temple here named Vishnu Mandir, it is also known as Pancha Debota Mondir because of its puja rituals. It is about 60 feet high. The other ones are 35-40 feet. The walls are 3.5 to 4 feet thick.

Right now there are no clear boundaries for the temple area. Cattle come in and mar the beauty of the place. This should not be the case in a spot like this.

After the fall of the Naldanga Raj in 1955, their land went to the government. Nobody looked after the place anymore. Raja Promoth Bhusan Debrai passed away in Kashi, India.

Atul Adhikari, secretary of the local temple renovation committee said in the 2006-07 financial year, Tk 75 thousand was allotted for the renovation of the Sri Sri Laxmi Debi Mandir by the government. Later, renovation work was done on Sri Sri Siddeshwari Mandir, Kalimata Mandir, Tara Mandir, and the two-storied Vishnu Mandir.

Shimul Chakrabarti of the Shiva Mandir said that it would probably take several crores to properly renovate all these temples. Shihab Uddin Md. Akbar, Director of the Archaeological Department of Khulna said Jhenidah Zila Parishad has taken the responsibility for the renovations.


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