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Tarapith is a small town located near Rampurhat in Birbhum district of West Bengal. The place has a Temple of Maa Tara (Goddess Tara) where thousands of devotees visit on a daily basis to offer worship. On the contrary to the other temple here worship is offered with meat, wine and blood.
The place surrounded by lash green paddy fields, Dwarka River and dark forest.
There are many ancient legends regarding this place. Consort of Lord Shiva, goddess Sati felt insulted when her father Daksha did not invite his son-in-law Lord Shiva at the grand yagna (fire sacrifice). Humiliated by the act of her father Sati ended her life by jumping into the fire. When Lord Shiva came to know about the sequence of events, anger made him wild and furious. He put the corpse of Sati in his shoulder and started Rudra Tandav. The universe started shaking and was about to get destroyed. To pacify Lord Shiva Vishnu cut the body of the Sati into pieces with his chakra (discus), the pieces fell all over the Indian subcontinent. Each place where the pieces had fallen become a Shaktipith. It is believed the third eyeball or tara had fallen in Tarapith.
Another legend depicts that the avatar of Goddess Sati, Tara took the form the mother and breastfed Lord Shiva to give him relief from intense burning pain of poison in his throat, which was drunk by Lord Shiva. The poison came out of Samudra Manthan (churning of cosmic oceans) and would have catastrophically destructed all living being. Lord Shiva drunk the poison and kept it in this throat and thus saved the living beings.
According to another legend, Vasistha one among the seven holy sage (Saptarishi) worshiped Goddess Tara by his left hand at this place with forbidden things like wine, meat and blood under the instruction of Lord Buddha to witness the Divine form of Goddess Tara.
The present temple made out of thick red brick superstructure which has covered passages and many arches which are raising to the pinnacle with a spire. The present structure was reconstructed by king of Natore after depilation of two temples which were constructed by Joy Dutta Saudagar and Jaganath Rahi respectively.
The original stone image of goddess Tara in her fierce form with four hands, flowing hair, protruding tongue and garland of skulls breastfeeding Lord Shiva has been camouflaged by a metal idol. The metal idol is decorated with silk sari and decked with garland and flowers with an umbrella on the top. The devotees take a holy deep in the adjacent tank before worship. The tank is regarded to have healing powers and even bringing lifeless to life. It is not mandatory to offer worship in the form of forbidden things- bananas, coconut and other fruits and sweets can be offered to goddess as a worship offer.
Bama Khepa (left handed mad saint), attended his Tantric spirituality by Sadhana at Tarapith and became the head of the temple. It is believed that Bama Khepa (1837 AD – 1911 AD) also used to offer his worship with left hand and his spirituality made him to act in an unnatural way, thus he was named as Bama Khepa. The Samadhi of Bama Khepa lies near the cremation ground. You can also visit Atlagram, nearby the birth place of Bama Khepa
Tarapith is considered to be most favorable place for Tantra Sadhana and Trantrics. The cremation ground, which is located on the bank of the River Dwarka has numerous huts and hermitages of Trantrics. This atrocious place has many mud clad huts of Trantrics with thatched roofs under the banyan trees. The red painted skulls embedded on the mud walls makes the place dreaded. It is believed that goddess Tara can be seen in shadows drinking blood of goats sacrificed every day at her altar, to satiate her anger. The ash smeared Trantrics are commonly seen in and around the temple. Trantrics use good skulls to drink liquid – skulls of virgins and people who committed suicide are regarded as powerful as Atma(soul) of those skulls have not attended freedom from life cycle.
Birchnadrapur, the birth place of Nityanand Swami is 10 KM form Tarapith. Nityanand Swami was considered one of the closet disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the co-founder of Vaishnava community.
Another treasure of this religious place is Mallarpur Shiva temple, constructed in 1122 AD by the king of Malla. The Shiva temple is surrounded by 21 small temples and a sacred tank on the east of the flank. The distance of Mallarpur is 10 Km from Tarpith.
The 500 year old Laxmi Temple in Ghosh Gram (Village) is 12 KM from Tarapith built by Kamdev Bramacharya. The deity inside the temple is believed to be built by Kamdev Bramacharya himself with a neem tree and soil of Ganga River.
You can take the following trains from Howrah and reach Rampurhat station. You have to hire a private taxi to reach Tarapith from Rampurhat.