Dhakeshwari National Temple is a Hindu temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is state-owned, giving it the distinction of being Bangladesh's 'National Temple'. Since the destruction of Ramna Kali Mandir in 1971 by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Dhakeshwari Temple has assumed status as the most important Hindu place of worship in Bangladesh.
Location and structure :
The temple is located in Old Dhaka, behind the campus of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, on Orphanage Road near Bakshi Bazar area. There is a permanent altar outside the main temple premises. It hosts the Annual Puja (worship) of Goddess Durga, the greatest Bengali Hindu festival held in October. Inside the main temple premises, there are four identical structures devoted to Lord Shiva. To the east of these is the main temple, which hosts the statue of the Goddess.
Religious and socio-cultural activities :
Dhakeshwari Temple is a hub of socio-cultural as well as religious activity. Each year, the largest celebration of Durga Puja (the most important event in the Bengali Hindu calendar) in Dhaka is held at the National Temple, and a stream of dignitaries (such as the Bangladeshi President, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Members of Parliament and media celebrities) come to felicitate the Bangladeshi Hindu community from the temple premises.
Several thousand worshippers and onlookers (including Muslims) stream through the premises where they are offered prasad (food - usually rice and lentils). A Bijaya Sammelani (cultural program following Durga Puja) takes place in the adjoining parade ground a few days after Durga Puja is complete, and is also a major cultural event in the Dhaka calendar, regularly attracting some of the top performers from the Dhaka music and film industry.