While the Hindus all over the world await the inauguration of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, in eager anticipation, in fulfilment of their cherished desires, another Mandir (temple), which is of utmost religious significance to them, is under serious threat from the progenitors of the desert cultists. The temple under question is the Chandranath Mandir located atop the Chandranath Hill, in Chittagong, currently in Bangladesh.
The Chandranath Mandir is located 37 km to the north of Chittagong and 3.5 km east off the Dacca – Chittagong National Highway. One of the most revered religious places of the Hindus, the Chandranath Hill is well known for it’s picturesque landscape, replete with greenery all around, on either side of a pristine rivulet flowing down the hill. The chirping of birds amidst the peace and quiet, despite bearing the footfall of lakhs of devotees, causes one to lose oneself in nature’s own music and beauty. It seems as if our Ishwar has blessed his own abode with all the beauty and abundance that befits him and his bhakts. The temple is skilfully made of marble and intricate artworks adorn it’s walls. There is an ancient chariot in place here, known for it’s woodwork.
The religious significance of the Chandranath Mandir stems from the fact that it is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of Mata Sati, the reincarnation of Maa Durga. It is believed that the right arm of Mata Sati fell at the spot, while Bhagwan Shivji was performing Tandav with Mata Sati’s body on his shoulders and Bhagwan Sri Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra to cut Mata Sati’s body into pieces to stop Shivji from annihilating the world with his Tandav. The legend goes that a king of Nepal was instructed in his dream to built five temples dedicated to Bhagwan Shivji, in five corners of the world. These are the Pashupatinath in Nepal, Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, Bhutnath in current Pakistan, Adinath in Maheshkhali and Chandranath in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
It is also believed that the great Hindu Sage, Rishi Bhargav lived at Chandranath during the era of Sri Ramchandra. The great sage, by virtue of his divine clairvoyance, was aware that Sri Ramchandra would be visiting Chandranath along with Sita Mata and Lakshmanji, during his exile period. Hence he built three pools or kunds for them to bathe. Sita Mata did bathe in one of those, which came to be known as Sita Kund. Though, a few rationalists try hard to debunk this tale citing geographical reasons as they feel that Sri Ram need not have travelled Eastwards to reach Chitrakoot from Ayodhya to serve his exile period. Yet, it is difficult in the current ers to ascertain the reason why it was required to travel to Chandranath en route to Chitrakoot, from Ayodhya. The pools or ‘kunds’ have now dried up.
With an ensemble of Hindu Deities in the Chandranath Hills, its importance and reverence, as far as the Hindus are concerned, is unparalleled. It is not without any reason that the devotees travel a distance of 310 m (1020 feet) above sea level, climbing more than 2000 stairs, each stair around 1 foot in height, to reach the hill top and offer puja to Shivji, residing in the Chandranath Temple, where he is worshipped as Chandrasekhar – the God with the moon crescent on his forehead and Maa Durga as Maa Bhavani. The devotees believe that here is the place where all their heartfelt wishes come true. All they need is to reach up to Shivji or Chandranath or Chandrasekhar and speak to him about all their challenges and needs. Bhagwan Shivji would certainly help them sail through. It is this strong belief in the divine that aids them in climbing up the tough terrain, which is rocky in certain places and slippery in others. Fully aware of the risks involved, lakhs of Hindu devotees from Bangladesh India, Nepal and Myanmar traverse the steep terrain to offer their puja at the feet of Shivji and Mata Bhavani.
According to the Rajmala, around 800 years ago, Raja Biswambhar Sur of the Adisur dynasty, had tried to reach Chandranath by sea. Mahakavi Jaydev, the composer of Geet Govind, is also believed to have stayed here for sometime. When the Raja of Tripura, Dhanya Manikya was reigning, the temple had started receiving endowments. Dhanya Manikya had attempted to remove the murti of Shivji to his kingdom of Tripura, but failed.
The Chandranath Hill is also of importance to the Buddhist community since a Buddha temple is located there too, which bears the footprint of Bhagwan Buddha.
However, as has been the case of so many of our Hindu temples for a thousand years or so, the Chandranath Mandir too, is facing the threat of vandalism and destruction from the bigoted Religious Majority of Bangladesh. Several videos and Social Media posts have come to light in the recent past, to substantiate the same. Many Bangladeshi bloggers/youtubers are constantly voicing their fears with regard to the danger facing the revered Chandranath Mandir.
Despite the fact that Bangladesh was liberated only with Indian help and several Hindus fought alongside the Bengali speaking Muslims of East Pakistan as ‘Muktijoddhas’, to liberate Bangladesh, often sacrificing their lives for the cause, what we observe that Bangladeshis have an abject hatred for India and the Hindus. The extremely objectionable and abusive language that they have been constantly using against the Indians in social media, is not news to anyone. Very recently, their celebration at India’s loss in the World Cup finals and their aggressive retort that they would support even a banana tree against India, caught everyone’s attention all over India leading to a huge meltdown against Bangladesh. Though several voices of sanity in that nation comprising of journalists, social media bloggers, celebrities, including a hindu actor, expressed regret at the Bangladeshi reaction to the Indian loss, claiming that they were not representative of the majority opinion of Bangladesh, the instant incident has created a permanent dent into Bangladesh’s image in Indian minds. While India witnesses an influx of Bangladeshis on this side of the border for treatment as well as education, the Bangladeshi response towards India’s woes, only brands them as extremely ungrateful.
India is grappling with illegal Bangladeshi infiltration on one hand, posing a serious threat to her demography and a constantly depleting hindu population in Bangladesh, facing religious persecution since inception. Bangladesh was created on the basis of the aspirations of a linguistic community, viz Bengali and with a commitment to remain secular. But, with the assassination of it’s first Prime Minister, Sk. Mujibur Rehman, Bangladesh became an Islamic nation and the abject torment of the Hindus and Buddhists have never stopped since then. The Hindu population of Bangladesh has substantially decreased from 20% in 1971 to 8% (approx.) during 2022, on account of ethnic cleansing by the zealots of that nation, causing the community members to either be killed or to flee.
Neither the incumbent ruling part of Bangladesh, the Awami League, led by Prime Minister, Sk. Hasina, daughter of Sk. Mujibur Rehman nor the country’s opposition, specifically the Khaleda Zia led BNP, have shown much effort towards curbing the fundamentalist attacks on the hapless Bangladeshi hindus. The opposition, viz. the BNP has faired much worse than the Awami League in supporting the country’s hindu populace, being infamous as fundamentalists themselves. One of the worst instances of Hindu torment and massacre came to light in October, 2021 when during the Durga Puja celebrations, when several Puja pandals were vandalized, hindus were butchered and women, including a mere ten year old was gang raped. The ISKCON and Ramkrishna Mission establishments were attacked too and the devotees and seers were murdered in cold blood by the religious butchers. The mini genocide led to worldwide protests by the hindus, yet the persecution has continued unabated to this day.
The religious vultures now have the Chandranath Mandir in their sight. For more than a year or so, they have been gathering there to disrupt the pilgrimage and torment the hindu devotees. They even planned to hoist their religious flag on the spot and attacked the hindu devotees chanting their sinister slogans. The authorities nabbed them in time but that did not dampen their spirits since they are aware that they are a majority in that nation and follow the state religion, besides being united in their destructive cause. Very recently, a social media post has emerged, where one Raihan Riad has created an event for a ‘Beef Barbeque Party’ at thr Chandranath Hills. It is obvious that the instant event was created to irritate the hindus since the Hindus don’t consume beef and consider the cow as sacred. Yet no action has been initiated against the blogger, Riad. According to a host of Bangladeshi bloggers/youtubers, particularly the popular, Asad Noor, it is the intention of the religious fundamentalists to covert the Chandranath Hills into a picnic spot and also to build a structure there, in keeping with their religion – a practice mastered by their marauding forefathers. (https://fb.watch/pi6ht8c9be/?mibextid=Nif5oz).
The world, meanwhile, is watching silently, the immense persecution of the Bangladeshi Hindus in particular and other religious minorities too in the nation where they are valid citizens. We have seen and heard foreign journals, private organizations and even certain UN bodies express ‘concern’ over a mythical persecution of religious minorities in India, though they could never provide any evidence of such persecution, clearly implying that this is nothing but a figment of their imagination. Yet these same organizations are mysteriously quiet at the torment of the Bangladeshi hindus in the hands of the religious bigots of that nation, despite the existence of innumerable evidence to that effect. Such discrimination makes one wonder if it is indeed an agenda of theirs to take sides of one religious community at the cost of the other. In the case of the Chandranath Mandir, a place of historical interest, intrinsic to the culture and heritage of the place is involved.
The Hindus meanwhile, have no choice but to stay together and put pressure on the government in place to take necessary steps to protect the temple and its surroundings. It goes without saying that the government earns a mammoth sum as tourist revenue on account of devotees visiting the Chandranath Mandir, particularly during Shivratri, in February or March. If the nature and demographics of the place is altered in order to pacify the religious bigots, the government stands to lose out on those revenues. Hence it is in the interest of both the hindus & the government to stop this religious jealousy driven madness and work together in protecting the site which accords a semblance of importance to Bangladesh in the religious / spiritual map.
i) Chandranath Temple : A centre of attraction for devotees and pilgrims by Chinmay Prasun Biswas – Daily Sun dated 7th July, 2023.
ii) Feature by ‘Prothom Kolkata’ dated 30th December, 2023.
iii) Asad Noor
iv) Temple Purohit
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