West Bengal : Khirgram

 

About 167 km away destination from Kolkata is Khirgram, one of the 51 Pithas of Hindu communities. It is mainly popular for the Jogadya Devi temple. The temple has a black stone idol of Mahishamardini (A form of the Goddess Jogadya or Durga). It is believed that the Deity lives in the water of Khirdighi, the adjoining pond and comes out in every Sankranti (Last day) of the Bengali month Baishakh to reside in the temple. A lot of devotees come from distance to see the pooja (Worship) of Jogadya Devi and also the Mela (Fair).
 
Apart from the Sankranti of the month of Baisakh, Ashar-Nabami, Bijaya Dasami, 15th poush, Makar Sankranti (occasions are given according to the Bengali convention) are other occasions when the Deity is worshipped. On the very next day of every auspicious occasion Devi goes back to her home, into the water of Khirdighi. According to the spiritual conventions of Khirgram, animals’ sacrifices are carried out in connection with the worship of Shakti but it is said that long time back, there used to be human sacrifices done here too.
 
You can also visit the big Sagardighi, a pond at the right hand side of Khirdighi where Devi took her Sankha (a symbol of marriage) and Bhairab Khirkhandak Shiva temple. According to the Bengali culture, every married woman of Khirgram takes her Sakha on the occasion of Devi pooja every year.
 
Arguably, Nabinchandra, the architect of Daihat, had built the idol in the main temple after the death of Ravana, when he realized the actual idol of Bhadra Kali was missing. According to the Hindu mythology Devi Bhadra Kali was worshipped by Hanu. Another opinion says Nabinchandra had formed the idol when he was unsuccessful of getting the Buddhist idol Mahajan in Khirdighi. When the old temple was destroyed by Kalapahar, the king Kirti Chandra decided to build a south facet temple in 1770-80.
 
How to reach: You can reach Khirgram by bus from katwa. Katwa can be accessed both by railways and by road. If you come by train from Howrah railway station, Kolkata you have to get down at Kaichar railway station which is 36 km away from Bardhaman. Khirgram is just 4 km away from Kaichar. You can travel this distance by hiring a rickshaw.
 
Where to stay: You will not get many hotels here if you plan to stay; only one ordinary guest house of the temple authority is in Khirgram. It is advisable to stay at katwa. Hotels like H Nirala, H Satyam etc are available in reasonable rates in the area of Katwa bus stand and railway station.

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