Tuesday Jun 18, 2024

Darjeeling Mahakal Temple, West Bengal

Address

Darjeeling Mahakal Temple, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101

Diety

Shiva, Buddha

Introduction

The Mahakal Temple or Mahakal Mandir is a sacred temple located in Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, India dedicated to the god Shiva, the third god in the Triumvirate. The Temple was built in 1782 by Lama Dorjey Rinzing and is perched atop the Observatory Hill in Darjeeling and is an amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist religions. It is a unique religious site where both religions coexist harmoniously. Mahakal Temple is located behind the Chowrasta and encircled by the Mall Road on the ridge of Darjeeling town.

Puranic Significance

Mahakal Temple stands as a historical edifice on the spot where a Buddhist Monastery named ‘Dorje-Ling’ once stood which was built by Lama Dorjey Rinzing. Prior to that it is believed that the spot was a sacred spot of the aboriginal Lepcha folks. Later a monastery was constructed on the spot and worshipped by both Lepchas and Bhutias. It was after the invasion of the Gurkha Army around 1788 that the monastery was desecrated and destroyed by the invading troops and in course of time the sacred place overwhelmingly began to represent the symbolisms of the majority Nepali community. Legend has it that three Shiva-Lingas representing Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar (Shiva) manifested themselves at the site in 1782. The monastery itself was plundered and destroyed in 1815 during the Gorkha invasion after which it was shifted to Bhutia Busty about a mile away and was called the Bhutia Busty Monastery. The Temple is a much revered and visited religious shrine of the area. Legend has it that the name Darjeeling was derived from the name of the monastery ‘Dorje-Ling’ itself.

Special Features

The main Mahakal temple is devoted to Shiva and it witness devotees from all sections of society and religions most visiting the temple for both leisure and pilgrimage. Bells and hundreds of colorful prayer flags line the up-hill and the shrine. The three gold plated Lingams inside the main temple represent Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar. There are idols of Buddha alongside the Lingams where both a priest and a Buddhist monk perform religious rituals and offer prayers simultaneously. Within the temple complex is a white ‘chorten’ (Tibetan memorial shrine) where lies the relics of Dorjey Rinzing Lama the original builder of the site. Dotted around are many other smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Goddess Kali, Goddess Durga, Saat Kanya Bhagavati Devi, Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Shirdi Sai Baba, Hanuman, Goddess Parvati, Radha and other Gods and Goddesses.

Festivals

All Shiva related festivals and Buddha related festivals are celebrated here with much fanfare.

Century/Period/Age

1782

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)- West Bengal

Nearest Bus Station

Darjeeling

Nearest Railway Station

New Jalpaiguri Station

Nearest Airport

Bagdogra

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