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A fort that once was a Mandir

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Kurumbera (কুড়ুমবেড়া) Fort, once built as a Mandir, is situated in a remote village of Gaganeshwar off Keshiari, south Medinipur, West Bengal. History says Sri Ram Chandra & Sita Mata had spent some time nearby during their 14 yrs of exile, A Tapovan, Rameshwar ShivaLinga, ancient huge anthills… bear the testimony of our ancient times.

Inside the fort

In the 15th century, a Vaishnavite Utkal King Gajapati Kapilendra Dev built the Kurumbera Mandir. The courtyard had three huge domes with Lotus emblems, there were lined pillars which supported a lotus shaped roof. Gajapati Kapilendra Dev’s kingdom spread to Bengal’s Hoogly River. His title was Shri Shri Gajapati Gaudesvara Naba Koti Karnatotkala Kalbargesvara, where Gaudesvara means literally The King of Gauda (a part of Bengal). The Mandir had a SaptaRath Shikhar Deul (Fane) construction, The main Mandir was of 60 ft in height, there was a school, a secret tunnel and a deep well. There was also a dais in the center of the courtyard. Similar architecture can be seen in Odissa’s Raibana Fort.

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Some glimpses of the temple

Two centuries later, Aurangzeb came to Bengal. His commander Mohammad Tahir attacked the Mandir & damaged the domes & pillars. He desecrated the Mandir with Cow blood. Then he built three Masjids in the courtyard & converted the Mandir to a fort. His army damaged the huge SinghaDwar made of solid iron too.

Part of the fort

Then the Marathas came to Bengal. Bhaskar Rao Holkar and Raghuji Bhonsle took over the Mandir, they even tried to reinstate it. But once a Mandir has been desecrated by blood of Go-mata, it can never be reinstated. Islamic invaders cared nothing for Hindu Art, their bigotry destroyed Hindu structures everywhere they went.

Not many Bengalis know about this place. It has been lying abandoned since Marathas tried to revamp this place. No one visits this spot. Archeological Survey of India has done some effort to protect the structure from collapsing. But no mention of the destruction it faced on the hands of tyrant Aurangzeb!

There are no Pratimas inside the Mandir, maybe the destructive army of Mughal Badshah Aurangzeb damaged the Deities, maybe the Mandir priests could save the Deities from being destroyed, no one knows for sure. But this Mandir has witnessed the violence of a cruel & oppressive Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.


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