If you have been fascinated by delightful and thrilling stories about religious deities tussling with one another, or find yourself intrigued by learning about ancient temples, or even have an all-around interest in mythology, and you would like to cultivate this interest further by visiting attractions that are of immense cultural importance, then there is exactly such a place for you. Indeed if, in addition to all of the above, you’ve harboured the itch to take a dip in the calming waters of a hot spring, then this place would also offer you that! This is the town of Bakreswar in West Bengal, and visiting it should be on your bucket-list, especially if you’re travelling to the state. At a distance of about 230 km from Kolkata, Bakreswar is visited by pilgrims and non-devotees alike. It is a spiritual and natural extravaganza that you cannot afford to miss.
Places to See
With its magnificent temples and wondrous natural springs, Bakreswar is not lacking in attractions:
1. Mahishamardini Temple
At a distance of about 60 km from the main area of the town, Mashishamardini Temple is a serene and marvellous place of worship that has witnessed heavy pilgrimage throughout its long history. It belongs to one of the forty-seven “Shakti Pith” temples scattered across the Indian subcontinent. This site of worship -- dedicated to a variant of goddess Durga known as Bakranath -- is steeped in mythology. The story goes that the temple is built on the point where the forehead and eyebrows of Sati fell during her immolation at the hands of Lord Vishnu’s weapon. Devotees visit this historically significant site throughout the year. Additionally, there’s more than a hundred subsidiary shrines to Shiva in the nearby area. So whether you worship the local goddess, or are not of faith and otherwise interested in mythology, this site shouldn’t be missed on your trip to Bakreswar.
2. Bakreswar Temple
Located fairly close to the Mahishamardini Temple, the local Bakreswar Temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. It has been known as a preeminent site of worship by Shiva devotees for centuries. Deriving influence from Orissan architecture, this ancient temple is quite the sight to behold and contains two different ‘lingas’ corresponding to its outer and inner sanctum. Deriving its name from the Bengali words “bakra” (meaning deformed) and “ishwar” (meaning god) the legend associated with the temple is that is the site of an ancient physically disabled sage’s millenia-spanning penance, at the end of which Lord Shiva cured him. The Bakreswar Temple has drawn heavy footfall throughout centuries and should certainly be visited.
3. Hot Springs
Bakreswar is one of the few sites of natural hot springs in India. There’s eight natural hot water pools in the region. The temperatures of these pools range from a soothing 90 to a steaming 200 degrees. Taking a dip in these therapeutic waters will make you feel relaxed, rejuvenate your spirits, undo the wear from travel, and help you look forward to whatever’s to come next. Indeed, such a calming experience can barely be gained at any place else, so it’s best advised to visit this site multiple times during your stay in Bakreswar. At a temperature of about 200 degrees, Agni Kunda is the hottest spring in Bakreswar. This particular pool is located right next to Bakreswar Temple, so you end up killing two birds with one stone in case you’re visiting the temple alongside. If you’re a lover of nature and don’t want to miss the novel experience of taking a dip in a hot spring, then you shouldn’t miss this spot.
Food and Accomodation
Bakreswar has many outlets at which you can get to experience the choicest Bengali cuisine. These can range from tiny stalls selling street food, to cafeterias and restaurants providing full-fledged meals. Your options are diverse and savory! There’s Mangsher Singara, which is essentially a samosa with keema inside of it, maach bhat, macher jhol, jhal muri, kathi roll, papdi chaat, gughni chaat are a must try at any local food outlet in Bakreswar. Those with a sweet tooth can choose to indulge in jalebis and mohan bhog.
There’s multiple places to lodge at within the town. These motels and guest houses are not only affordable but also well-equipped with various amenities like high speed internet, hot water, and ATM. Some places of lodging even offer their own cab service to and from the Kolkata airport.
Embroiled in profound mythological significance and ideal for pilgrims and non-devotees alike, Bakreswar has been a place of tourist interest throughout its history. One among the rare sites of multiple natural hot springs, the town is bound to leave you in awe of the wonders of this world.
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Best Time To Visit Bakreswar
Situated as it is in the Birbhum region of West Bengal, Bakreswar retains a moderate climate throughout the year. Yet it is most ideal to visit the place in the winter, spring, and monsoon season. During these seasons, the temperature doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rise above an endurable and pleasant 25-30 degrees, thus making navigation during daytime easier.
Tips For Visiting Bakreswar
1. Don't scribble or write or draw on the walls of any religious temple. The sites are of immense cultural importance and vandalising acts like these are prohibited. 2. It's best to carry an adequate amount of cash in case certain places in the town don't accept electronic money. 3. Do not litter at any natural site, especially the hot water springs. 4. As navigation gets difficult in some of the places, it is best to use Google Maps. 5. The hot water springs are not equipped with food stalls, so it's best to pack your own food and drinks. 6. The locals are polite, so you should extend the same courtesy to them.
How To Reach Bakreswar
Via Air: The closest airport to Bakreswar is the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata. Upon reaching the capital city's airport, one should first travel a 190 km to Birbhum in order to reach Bakreswar. Via Rail: The nearest railway station to Bakreswar is in Birbhum. This station is well-connected to most major cities and locations in India. Two popular trains opted for by tourists are the Hool Express and the Mayurakshi Express from Howrah Station. Additionally, the Eastern Railway?s Howrah-Sahibganj circle passes conveniently through the district of Birbhum. Via Road: There is an abundance of quick and affordable private as well as public transportation options for travelling to Birbhum from most major cities of West Bengal, especially Kolkata. The Panagarh-Moregram Expressway connects the Grand Trunk Road to NH 5 also passes through the district of Birbhum. Additionally, there are ample bus services plying from cities like Kolkata and Siliguri to Birbhum that one can board in order to reach Bakreswar.