Dhakeshwari Temple

Sthapattya O Nirman
November 5, 2023
Dhakeshwari  Temple

Architect Nishi Shaymoon

Hindu temples are places of worship for Hindu gods and goddesses. ‘Temple’ or ‘temple’ means 'house of the gods' A 'temple' is a building or place built to bring people and gods together, inspired by Hindu ideals and religious symbols.

The symbol and structure of the Hindu temple is rooted in the Vedic tradition. The structure of the temple should be described in cultural architectural essays (e.g., Brihatsanghita, Bastushastra, etc.). The design, decoration, planning and construction style of the temple reflects the ancient customs and rituals, geometric symbolism and the beliefs and values ​​of different communities of Hinduism. The geometric structure of Hindu temples plays an important role in architecture. Like any design, the geometric structure of the temple design begins with a line, forming an angle, developing a triangle, then forming a square and evenly forming a circle which finally takes on a complex shape.  (Information: Hindu Temple Architecture - Bangla Wikipedia, collected from the free encyclopedia)

In Hindu temples there is a flame (Vimana or Spire) which is formed symmetrically above the central part of the temple. These flames come in many designs and shapes. However, all of them have mathematical accuracy and geometric symbols. A common practice of temples is to create a circle and turning square theme and to design a cube layer. The Madurai Meenakshi Temple is one of the earliest examples of the geometric features of Hindu temples. The star-shaped plans of some temples are also planned by rotation and superimposition of geometric squares. The Keshab Temple in Somnathpur is one such example.


Again the Hindu temple architecture - Wikipedia says - is specifically planned around the sanctum of the temple according to a grid planning. Which is known as vastu-purusha-mandala. Here mandala means circle, purusha means the main universal essence of Hindu tradition and vastu means Habitat structure.

Here a 1-step grid is considered a general plan - for a monk or devotee to sit and meditate or to offer yoga or offerings in front of a Vedic fire. The diagonal intersection of the second design of 4 verses has a symbolic central core and also a meditative arrangement. The 9-step design has a sacred center and is the smallest temple template. Older Hindu temples use a 9- to 49-grid plan, but in Hindu temples, the 64-grid grid is considered the holiest.

The 9x9 (81) grid-shapedParam Saik’(Absolutely psychic) design can be seen in large traditional Hindu temples. It is one of the different types of grids used in the construction of Hindu temples. This type of temple is a temple of consistent shape. Here each concentric design has special significance and the design of 5 step grids is planned. The exterior design, known as the ‘demonic step’, symbolizes demons or evil. On the other hand, the inner ‘divine step’ design is a symbol of deity or good fortune. The concentrated ‘human step’ between good and evil is a symbol of human life. Each design revolves around the ‘Brahma step’. The Brahma step is a symbol of creation. Here is the idol of the main deity of the temple. The very center of Brahma step is the 'sanctum sanctorum'. It is a symbol of Brahman in everything. (Information is collected from Hindu Temple - Bengali Wikipedia, Author - Mark.muesse, Edited - 7 August 2014)

The ancient builders of Hindu temples wrote an architectural treatise called Bastushastra (i.e., settlement science. The Sanskrit word 'bas' means to live and the word 'tu' means 'you'). This included knowledge of ecology. Such ecology spread throughout India in the 6th century AD. Ecology records housing, town-planning, and how suitable villages, towns and states can build temples, reservoirs and gardens in harmony with nature.

Although the confluence of rivers, lakes or seashores is generally considered to be a suitable place for the establishment of Hindu temples, the temple can be built in places where there is no natural reservoir as stated in the Brihatsanghita or Puranic scriptures. However, it is suggested to build an artificial pond in front of or to the left of the temple. If there is no natural or artificial water body next to the temple, then water has to be symbolically imagined while establishing the temple or deity.4

Our Bengali crop is covered with green, silt. So for the easy availability of soil, more brick temples have been built in Bengal than stones. And these brick temples have been built by the artists and artisans of the time by placing plaques of mythological, historical, folklore etc. on the temples. The temples of Bengal can be divided into four main categories: Chala, Ratna, Deul and Chandni Dalan. Among the sheds - dochala, four sheds, eight sheds, twelve sheds are significant. Again, two sheds are connected in front and back in pairs. Although there are some similarities between Chala Mandir, Chandni, Dalan, etc., the roof of Chandni and Dalan is flat, but the rice of Chala is sloping. In the case of awnings, the difference in the building is clear in terms of size. Between the shed, the canopy and the building, the simple architectural thought has been reflected, which was the unique architectural style of Bengal. In the gem-style temple, a new architectural style or style is created by placing small size deul on the roof of the Bengali shed. But there was a discipline of placing the pinnacle or gem. From here, several classes of gem architecture emerged. Such as: Ekratna, Pancharatna, Navaratna, Ayodsharatna, Saptadasaratna, Ekbingsatiratna and Panchabingsati Ratna. A maximum of twenty five peaks were placed in the Ratna Mandir. The numerous temples of the Deul style that can be seen are the modified and simplified Deul temples of the ancient Rekha and Shikhar Deul, which can be seen everywhere in rural Bengal.

The history of the Bengali nation, the social environment, etc. of the contemporary period of the temple architecture of Bengal bears witness. The temple is a place of permanent symbols. So from the influential zamindars, the kings used to build temples for the purpose of gaining merit or for the memory of their ancestors and dedicate them to their deities.


7Dhakeswari Temple The temple is located in an enclosure on the north side of Dhakeswari Road, south of the Bangladesh Engineering School dormitories in the Palashi Barracks area of Dhaka city.

The Dhakeshwari temple is a complex of several temples and ancillary buildings . The complex has an inner-quarter on the east and an outer-quarter on the west.

In the inner quarter stand the main temple, the natmandirin front of it, a Shiva mandirand a Shamadhi mandir . In the outer quarter stand a few temples, one panthashala( school)and a few rooms. To the west is an ancient lake perpendicular to the north-south, surrounded by a footpath. There is an ancient banyan tree in the south-east corner of the lake.

At the north-east corner of the lake, along the east-west, are the first four Shiva temples of the same size and in the same row. Mansingh, when he was the subedar of Bengal in three phases from 1594-1606, saw the dilapidated condition of the temple and arranged for its renovation. During this time he installed 4 Shivlings in the temple premises and also built four Shiva temples besides it. However, there is no specific evidence that Mansingh renovated the temple. The design, planning and construction style of the temple reflects ancient customs and rituals, geometric symbolism. (Source: Bengali Hindu Temple collected from Wikipedia)


Each temple has a square sanctum which is covered by a six tires of pyramidal roofs of the curvilinear Bengali style and each is crowned by a spiked kalasa enclosed within a lotus bud . The horizontal curved cornice motif in plaster is repeated at regular intervals all the way up to the receding towers . This temple is a reflection of the twin construction style of Chow-Chala and Shikhar temples in Bengal. The temple is 117'4 "long and 29'7" wide. The structure and exterior of the temples are strikingly similar. Although these four ancient temples have undergone many renovations, the old style of native Chaw-chala and North-Indian architectural style is still evident.
These four attractive Shiva temples are not the main temples of Dhakeswari temple. The main temple is located in the north-east corner of the temple premises. At the entrance of this temple there is a large archway and above it there is a hanging bell.13
The south facing main temple stands to the north of the nat-mandir.It is a three-roomed structure with a veranda having beautiful wooden doors with curving of different motifs of sculptural and floral. The rectangular veranda is entered by three slightly pointed multi-cusped arches on three heavy pillars . The central room attached to that veranda has a vaulted roof and the side rooms are covered with flat roof on wooden beams. The spandrels of the arch in the central room are decorated with six lions. Marlon decorations are placed above the curved cornice.The three rooms of the main temple are crowned with domical-sikhara roof; the sikhara over the central room is much higher and bigger than the flanking ones . The roof over each room is constructed in four gradually receding tiers, the lowest tier has a somewhat chau-chalalook, and the upper three appear to be in the shape of north-Indian canopies.16
1718Each of the two rooms on the right and left side of the central room of the main temple has a Shivling made of Kasti stone ( known as touchstone). In the central room were established a quadrilateral idol (known as Basudev) and a ten-armed idol (known as Dhakeswari Devi). At present the Dhakeswari temple does not explicitly reveal any of its original architectural features due to its long existence of reconstruction and renovation.
2122Although the ancient monuments of Bengal have been lost in the evolution of time, the preservation of the monuments shows that the practice of craftsmanship in the mosques and temples of Bengal in the Renaissance period is rare in this modern civilization. That is why these installations bear witness to history and remind us of the glorious past of Bengalis.
Architect Nishi Shaymoon
Nirnoy Upadeshta Ltd. Panthapath, Dhaka


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