Dhakeshwari National Temple - Dhaka's Oldest Hindu Temple
Situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the state-owned Dhakeshwari National Temple is a great tourist attraction. The name Dhakeshwari alludes to the temple’s dedication to the Goddess of Dhaka and visitors should take care to show respect for the religious beliefs of those who frequent this large and ancient temple.
The Dhakeshwari National Temple is located right behind the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology campus. It is widely seen as being the most important Hindu place of worship in the country and so you will often see devout Hindus flocking here for worship. The 11th century temple is also the oldest Hindu temple in the city and it is situated at the point where the most ancient ramparts of the city meet with the new and vibrant city of Dhaka. No one really knows much about the origin of this temple but a popular legend says it was built by Ballal Sen in the 12th century. However researchers have found that the architectural style is not consistent with that period in history. It is also nearly impossible to get a clear idea of exactly how the original temple may have looked since it has been repaired, renovated and rebuilt extensively in the many years that it has been in existence.
Upon arriving at this aged temple, you will discover a permanent alter situated outside the main temple building. The alter is considered to be somewhat sacred and it is here that the annual Puja (worship) is paid to the goddess Durga. Once you pass the alter and make your way inside, you will find four identical structures that are all devoted to the god Shiva. This is not at all unusual for a temple in Bangladesh since Shiva is widely revered in this country. In fact more statues of the goddess can be found to the east of the main temple. There are architectural flourishes and interesting decorations everywhere. In fact, the temple is so large, old and interesting that there can be little wonder that it has been chosen to serve as the National Temple of Bangladesh. The temple continues to see regular use, including day-long prayers which are common practice in Bangladesh on national holidays and birth and death anniversaries of popular leaders. So tread lightly and make sure you don’t get in anyone’s way when you are visiting the Dhakeshwari National Temple.