Bardhaman 108 Shiva Temple, Nababhat

108 Shiva Temple of Bardhaman

An unique temple complex at Bardhaman Town

Also see: Weekend family trip to Bhalki Machan

Aat Chala (four sloped roofs) Shiva Temples are an integral part of Bengal landscape. They often appear in clusters 2 to 108. West Bengal houses two such clusters of 108 Shiva Temples.

108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman

108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman

The temple town of Ambika Kalna, in Purba Bardhman houses a spectacular complex of 108 Shiva Temple Complex. The only other 108 Shiva Temple complex is also located in Purba Bardhaman district and is housed in Bardhaman Town.

Plan of 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Plan of 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

The temple in Ambika Kalna or Simply Kalna, is arranged in circular formation consisting of two concentric circles. The outer circle consists of 74 temples and the inner circle consists of 34 temples, thus making a total of 108.

Gate of 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Gate of 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Bardhaman

The one in Bardhaman town is located in the Nababhat area and are arranged in a rectangular format.

Both the 108 temple complexes have been inspired by the 108 beads of a rosary or by the 108 rudrakashya necklace.

The 108 Siva Temple complex of Nababhat in Bardhaman Town was constructed in 1788 by Maharani Bishnu Kumari Devi wife of Tilak Chandra Bahadur of Bardhaman royal family

The temples were in a crumbling stage until it was restored (or rather rebuilt) by the Birla Jana Kalyan Trust in 1965. A marble plaque on the left of the entrance mentions about the restoration. Strangely the plaque also mentions the complex has 109 temples.

Devotees at 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Devotees at 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Presently the temple complex is under the 108 Shiv Mandir Trust Board, who have taken the initiative of construction a guest house for devotees visiting the temple.

Octagonal corner temple, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Octagonal corner temple, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Bardhaman

In 2013 a fund from the West Bengal Tourism Department lead to a construction of a parking lot in front of the temple complex.

The funds were also used for the beautification of the complex along with construction of picnic spot next to the complex.

Sadly unscientific restoration over the years have robbed the temples of its grace, beauty and antiquity.

Today the 108 Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman Town is an important pilgrimage and attracts devotees from far and wide.

The entry to the complex is through the western gate, the other gate on the eastern side is always kept under lock and key.

The parking lot is in front of the operating gate and shoes can be left next to the gate for a nominal payment. The complex houses the 108 temples centred round two large ponds.

Black & white Nandi bulls, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Black & white Nandi bulls, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

On either side of the entrance are two temples (marked A & B on map) which are slightly bigger than the other temples. There are similar two temples in front of the locked eastern gate (marked C & D on map).

A pavilion 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

A pavilion, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Just beyond the entrance temples are the north west (NW) block on left and south west (SW) block on right. Each block has 18 temples each.

The southern temple of the north west block (NW) and the northern temple of south west (SW) block have silver plated gateways.

The south east (SE) block north east (NE) block follows similar patterns with 18 temples each but none of the temples have silver plated doorways.

The northern block and the southern block have 14 temples each. All the temples of the block are of aat chala (eight sloped roof style) but the 4 corner temples (marked E, F, G & H on map) are octagonal. Each of the 108 Shiva temples houses black Shiva Linga. Sadly all the 108 temples of the complex  are devoid of any terracotta ornamentation.

108 bells, 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

108 bells, 108 Shiva Temple, Bardhaman

There have been several private donations and marble plaques on the floor in front of the temples mentions the name of the downers.

The complex is beautifully decorated with tree lined pathways and gardens centred round two large ponds.

Flight of stairs lead to the water of both the ponds in the complex along devotes to was their hands.

The complex also houses a few other structures including a pavilion. Located near the entrance the pavilion topped with a spire, provides shade to devotees and pilgrims. In front of the closed eastern gate a raised platform house two black and white marble statues of Nandi bulls.

Pond with 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

Pond with 108 Shiva Temple Complex, Nababhat, Bardhaman

But the most crowd pulling structure of the 108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman Town is a set of 108 bells. There are 5 twin rows of bells. The first first 4 rows contain 11 X 2 = 22 bells each. The fifth and the last row contains 10 X 2 = 20 bells. Making a total of (22 X 4) + 20 = 108 bells.

Note: The trip to the 108 Siva Temple Complex of Nababhat, Bardhaman Town was part of a family weekend trip to Bhalki Machan.

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  1. January 28, 2021 at 3:33 PM

    Very nice and informative article. photos are also good.

  2. January 29, 2021 at 12:18 PM

    Well written. But please invest in a grammar checking tool.

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