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Hanseswari Temple – History

Hanseshwari Temple is an early 18th century CE temple complex in Hooghly district of West Bengal. The architecturally unique Hangseshwari temple is located at Bansberia, about 40 kilometers from Howrah. As per History, the construction was begun by Nrsimhadeva, ruler of Bansberia, in 1802. Nrsimhadeva died before its completion. His widow, Rani Sankari Dasi, took over as the regent and completed the temple in 1819 CE at a cost of 500,000 rupees. A number of masons from Benaras were employed in its construction, which probably accounts for its unmistakable Benaras style.

Nrsimhadeva Rai while staying in Varanasi during 1792 to 1798 learnt Kundalini and Six Chakras. He decided to build a temple at Bansberia based on Kundalini Yoga. The marbles for the temple was brought from Chunar near Varanasi.

The presiding deity of the temple is Hanseswari Devi, who is represented as seated on a lotus whose stalk emanates from the navel of a prostate Shiva. The murti, made of neem, is blue in color. The four-armed goddess Hanseswari is a manifestation of Goddess Kali.

On the top of thousand petals blue lotus, lies the eight petal blood-
red lotus. Murti of white Shiva lies on six triangular marbles at top the blood-red lotus.
From the navel of Shiva, a lotus stem comes out carrying twelve petals
blood-red lotus. On this, four-handed Mother Goddess Shakti is standing on her right leg - resting the left leg on her right thigh. The upper left hand is carrying a sword and the lower left hand is carrying the head of a demon. The upper right palm is posed in abhaya mudra and the lower right hand is in vara mudra posture.

The word Hong is pronounced at the time of breathing out whereas the word Saa is uttered at the time of breathing in. Hong represents Shiva and Saa represents Mother

The six-storied Hanseswari structure is seventy feet (22.5 m) high and has thirteen cupolas, eight over the verandahs and their corners, then four higher cupolas in the middle, and lastly a central tower which is also the tallest.

The peak of each tower of the temple is shaped as a lotus flower. Built according to Tantric principles, the five-storey shrine follows the structure of a human body - Ira, Pingala, Bajraksha, Sushumna and Chitrini.

Twelve ornamental arches support the south-facing verandah in front of the temple. There is a marble image of Shiva above the roof in each of the thirteen cupolas, thus making a total of fourteen images of Shiva. This accounts from the Chaturdasesvara (Bhagavan of fourteen gods) referred to in the Sanskrit inscription in the temple. The whole temple complex occupies fifteen acres and is surrounded by a moat.

Ananta Basudeba temple and Swanbhaba Kali temple (built in 1788) are two temples in the complex.