Ananta Basudev Mandir (left) and Hanseshwari Mandir (right).
The Hanseshwari and Ananta Basudev Mandirs, located in Bansberia of Hooghly, are two more examples of architectural splendour from Bengal.
The principle deity of the Hanseshwari mandir is Devi Hanseshwari who is considered an incarnation of Goddess Kali and Ananta Basudev(Vasudeva) is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu or Krishna.
The Dutta zamindar family of this region, had built an array of mandirs in the Hooghly district, among which Hanseshwari is one of the finest.
Hanseshwari mandir. Among the uncommon features are its Lotus domes.
The mandir was commissioned by Raja Nrisingha Deb in 1790. But the building stopped midway with his abrupt passing away. The construction was left abandoned for a few years. After 1810, Rani Shankari, Nrisingha Deb’s widowed queen, ordered for its completion. According to some people Nrisingha Deb was a practitioner of the Tantric cult and this is why he chose this architectural pattern, which is somewhat uncommon for a mandir. It has thirteen towers levelled at five different tiers, each tapering to a lotus dome. This style of architecture maybe compared to the cathedral architectures of Russia e.g. Pokrovsky Cathedral, Moscow.
Ananta Basudev vigraha in Ananta Basudev mandir.
It is heard that Nrisingha Deb’s mother was also named Hanseshwari. The Hanseshwari murthy is made of neem wood and is painted blue. Apart from the Hanseshwari mandir, the temple complex consists of a beautiful landscaped garden and a terracotta mandir of Ananta Basudev. They’re both live temple, hence regular prayers are offered to both the deities. One can see the ruins of the once majestic Dutta residence behind the temple complex.
Devi Hanseswari vigraha inside Hanseshwari mandir.
Images: Various sources, collected from Google (no copyright infringement intended)