Serampore, a city echoing with history, unfolds tales in every corner, revealing both known and unknown chapters of its past. Today, let's delve into the captivating story of Radhaballav Jew Temple, a witness to the history of Serampore.
Situated in Thakur Bari Street of Ballavpur in Serampore, Radhaballav Temple stands as a testament to the city's rich heritage. In 1764, Nayan Chand Mallik of Pathuriaghat, Kolkata, laid the foundation of this temple. Later, in 1837, his son Nimai Charan Mallik continued the legacy with unwavering devotion.
This temple holds a unique distinction as one of the largest octagonal temples in Bengal, gracing the skyline of Serampore for 439 years. The inception of Radhaballav Temple is attributed to Rudraram Pandit, who established the ancient Radhaballav deity. The famous Dol Mancha, crafted in the renowned Chhapra, was a significant feature of the temple.
The temple's present custodian, narrating its history, claims that Rudraram Pandit laid the foundation stone and that he hailed from Jessore. Initially a follower of the Shakto dynasty, Rudraram eventually embraced devotion to Lord Krishna. Legend has it that Lord Krishna himself directed Rudraram to create three idols from a stone found near Nawab's main gate.
The intriguing journey of the sacred stone unfolded when, upon inspection, it was discovered that the Nawab's head had touched the stone. With the belief that this stone carried unfavorable vibes in Hinduism, the Nawab ordered it to be taken to the Mahamantree. However, during this process, Rudraram had already performed a sacred ritual, and the stone became a divine medium to create three idols—Serampore's Radhaballav, Khardah’s Shyam Sundar, and Saibon’s Nandadulal.
The temple's patron, Nayan Chand Mallik, and later his son, Nimai Charan Mallik, played crucial roles in sustaining the sacred traditions. The temple stands as a living testament to their devotion.
Soma Chakraborty, a member of the temple family, proudly reveals that her father, Shailendra Nath Chakraborty, served the temple with the utmost dedication until his passing in 1982. Continuing the legacy, Soma actively participates in various rituals and ceremonies held at the temple.
Radhaballav Temple is not merely a place of worship; it's a hub of cultural festivities. Throughout the year, the temple's courtyard witnesses a spectrum of celebrations—flower festivals, bathing processions, Rath Yatra, communal feasts, and the grand Maghi Purnima festival.
To experience the tranquility and cultural richness, one can easily reach Serampore by train and take a short toto ride to the temple.
So, don't hesitate to embark on a journey to this vibrant and spiritually enriching haven, especially during this winter break.