Dhakeshwari National Temple (Dhakeshshori Jatio Mondir) is a Hindu temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh’s ‘National Temple’.
The name “Dhakeshwari” means “Goddess of Dhaka”. Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir in 1971 by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh.
Location and structure:
The temple is located in Old Dhaka, behind the campus of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, on Orphanage Road near Bakshi Bazar area. There is a permanent altar outside the main temple premises. It hosts the Annual Puja (worship) of Goddess Durga, the greatest Bengali Hindu festival held in October.
Inside the main temple premises, there are four identical structures devoted to Lord Shiva. To the east of these is the main temple, which hosts the statue of the Goddess.
The Dhakeshwari temple was built in the 12th century by Ballal Sen, a king of the Sena dynasty, and many say the name of the city was coined after this temple. The current architectural style of the temple cannot be dated to that period because of numerous repairs, renovations and rebuilding that took place over time. It is considered an essential part of Dhaka’s cultural heritage.
Many researchers say that the temple is also one of the Shakti Peethas, where the jewel from the crown of the Goddess had fallen. Although there is not enough historical context in order to establish this as a fact, researchers were directed to this site while trying to locate the particular Shakti Peetha. Since ages, the temple has been held in great importance. The original 800-year old statue was destroyed during the 1971 War of Independence by the invading Pakistani army. The temple was further damaged during the Muslim mob attacks of 1989–90.