Tārāpīṭh is a small village near Rampurhat in Birbhum district of West Bengal. The Tantric temple of Tarapith is dedicated to goddess Tara, a fearsome form of the Sati. The temple stands on the bank of river Dwarka, next to a cremation ground. The temple houses two idols of goddess Tara. One is mother form and second is a fearsome form of Goddess. The stone idol is a mother some form where Lord Shiva as a child is seen in the lap of Maa Tara. The idol has two arms and is garlanded with snakes and adorned with sacred threads. Another image is a metal image wearing skull garlands and protruding tongue. The forehead of the metal idol is adorned with red vermilion. But the temple is dedicated to the destructive aspect of Shiva, which takes the form of Kali. The temple also has a water-tank where the devotees take bath before and after entering the temple. The pond is believed to have a healing power.
Regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peeths, Tarapith temple is built in Do-Chala style of Bengal Architecture. It is said that the back (pith) of the Sati was dropped at this place and hence it is known as Tara pith. The idol is consecrated inside the main sanctum. The white and red colored temple is finely decorated with terracotta art work which depicts the stories from the Puranas with the special focus on the mythological stories of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
There are few legends associated with origin and importance of this temple.
As per the well-known legend, Sati felt insulted when her father Daksha did not invite Lord Shiva to Havan. Unable to bear this humiliation, Sati immolated herself by jumping into the Havan fire. Infuriated by this tragic event, Lord Shiva carried the body of Sati and performed Tandav. To pacify Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu decimated the body of Sati with his Sudarshan Chakra. The places where the body parts fell became places of worship of the Goddess in different manifestations. It is said that the back (pitha) of Sati was dropped here and this place became one of the Shakti Peeths.
According to a legend, Sage Vashistha worshiped the goddess Sati but he couldn’t please her. He went to meet Lord Buddha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who in turn advised him to o to Tarapith and try to please goddess Tara by performing penance. Vashistha did penance by chanting Tara mantra 300,000 times. Pleased with his devotion, Goddess Tara appeared before him in a motherly form. Since then, Goddess Tara is worshiped at the Tarapith temple in motherly form.
Another legend narrates that during Samudramanthan when poison came out and nobody was willing to consume, Lord Shiva took the poison inside his throat to save the universe. To relieve the burning in his throat, Sati in the form of goddess Tara breast fed Lord Shiva to relieve him of the effect of poison. Tarapith is a Siddha Pith, which grants enlightenment, wisdom, happiness, and power.
Festivals and Celebrations
The festivals of Kali puja and Diwali are celebrated with great devotion. The devotees offer coconut, Banana and silk sarees to the goddess.
How To Reach
By Air: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport is the nearest airport.
By Train: Rampurhat is the nearest railway station.
By Road: The place is well connected by good roads with all the major towns of West Bengal. Buses are available from Tarapith bus stand.