Chandernagore’s Neelkantheshwar Temple

Heritage & People of Chandernagore Team

1Chandernagore is a place dotted with temples most of which holds immense amount of historical value. Our visit to Neelkantheshwar temple revealed the untold secrets behind it. On interviewing Sampa Bannerjee, one of the present owners of the temple, was revealed the account of the place.

Mrs Bannerjee told us the temple was originally owned by Shibnath Mukherjee and his wife Sarat Kumari Devi. It was this childless Sarat kumari Devi who dreamt of constructing the temple. It is said goddess Kali ordered her to curve an idol of goddess kali and worship her as her daughter. It is this dream that led to the formation of the Neelkantheshwar temple. According to the dream a stone was found in the Rose garden in the premises of the house which was curved in Italy by Bhaskar De. Sampa Bannerjee told us, it took three to four years with a total expenditure Rs.90,000 to construct the temple. Finally, it was established on 7th of July 1913 according to Bengali calendar it was Saptami Tithi after the festival of Rathayatra. To our utter surprise the idol in the temple resembled an eight year old girl standing on the Shiva and the mystery behind it was said that Goddess kali wished to be worshiped as Sarat kumari’s daughter thus the peculiar change in the idol.

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After the sudden death of Sarat Kumari Devi, the responsibility was passed on to nephew Anadi Nath Bannerjee and his wife Jayabati devi. Later Anadi Nath Bannerjee bought the house and later it was passed on to his eldest son Prakash Chandra Bannerjee who renovated the temple. It was Prakash Chandra who came up with the idea to construct shops around the area to generate income for the expenditure of the temple. Finally, after his death on 24th July, the responsibility of the temple was taken over by the his maternal brother– Rabindranath Bhattacharya . On denouncing domestic life soon Rabindranath was unable to perform the daily rituals of the temple thereby passing it over to Anadi nath’s younger son Biswanath Bannerjee. It is from then on ward that Biswanath Bannerjee along with Akshay Bannerjee (son of Prakash Chandra Bannerjee )and his wife Sampa Bannerjee have taken up the responsibility. The glory of the hundred year old temple is presently striving to fight the erosion of time but the Bannerjees still maintain their responsibility of the annual celebrations of kali puja and the saptami tithi.

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