Kantajew Temple

 Kantajew Temple or Kantanagar Temple

Location: Dinajpur District, Rangpur Division Map

Constructed: 1702- 52


Description of Kantajew Temple

Kantajew Temple at Kantanagar is a magnificent Hindu temple in Dinajpur District, Rangpur Division of Bangladesh. Kantajew Temple was erected between 1702- 52 under orders of Maharaja Pran Nath. It is the most significant example of Terracotta architecture in Bangladesh. Initially Kantajew Temple had nine domes and nine spirals, hence giving its style navaratna (nine- spired) Unfortunately most of them were destroyed by an earthquake that hid this region of Bangladesh in 1897. You can get to Kantajew Temple by taking a bus from Dinajpur town. Ask for "Kantajew Mondir" as a direction and they will get you to Kantajew Temple.



This ancient temple is located in Kantnagar, a village on the banks of river Dhenpa, west of the Dinajpur-Tentulia highway, in Sundarpur union, 20 kilometers (12 mi) north of Dinajpur city and seven kilometers southeast of Kaharol upazila Sadar.



From the inscription on the foundation altar on the northern side of the temple, it is known that the then Maharaja zamindar of Dinajpur Prananath Roy started the construction of the temple in his late age. After his death in 1722 AD, his adopted son Maharaja Ramnath Roy completed the construction of the temple in 1752 AD as per his last wish. Initially the height of the top of the temple was 70 feet. In 1897 AD, the temple was hit by an earthquake and its pinnacles were broken. Maharaja Girijanath did extensive renovations to the temple, but the spires of the temple were not renovated.

On December 5, 2015, three cocktail bombs were hurled during a yatra in the temple premises during the 300-year-old Rasmela. At least 10 people were injured. Three were in critical condition. Six of the injured were rushed to Dinajpur Medical College and Hospital. Prior to the attack, the temple priest was threatened not to hold any religious gatherings. First American Hindu Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard condemned the incident. He requested the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Barnicutt, to visit the temple and inspect the condition of the temple. Two Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh members involved in the attack were arrested. International Hindu Commission wants severe punishment for people like them.

The people of the area formed a human chain in protest against this attack in Dinajpur. The human chain lasted from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. In Dhaka, the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Parishad and the International Society for Black Consciousness organized a human chain and protest against the attack.



The outer walls of the temple are covered with terracotta plaques inscribed with Ramayana, Mahabharata and various mythological stories. The entire temple consists of about 15,000 terracotta tiles. The temple rises up in three steps. The inner deity can be seen through all the arches around the temple. While the temple premises are rectangular, the 50 feet high temple standing on a stone foundation is square. All entrances on the ground floor have groined arches. The arches are separated by two brick pillars, the pillars are very beautiful and richly ornamented. Stairs lead upwards from the second balcony on the western side of the temple. The temple has 21 archways on the ground floor and 27 on the second floor, but only 3 on the third floor.

Pavilion at Kolkata Book Fair
At the 2017 Calcutta Book Fair, the Bangladesh government built their pavilion on the model of the Kantjiu Temple as a symbol of Bengal's own architectural style.