The 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal, was built in 1809 by the Maharaja of Bardhaman, Tej Chandra Bahadur. The complex contains 108 aat–chala (eight sloping roofs) temples arranged in two concentric circles. The outer circle has 74 temples and the inner circle has 34 temples.


The 108 temples may be related to the 108 names of Lord Shiva. In Kerala, there are 108 Shiva Temples, which are believed to located in those places where Parashurama had worshiped Lord Shiva.

The number 108 has a lot of significance in Eastern Religions. It is the number of beads in a japamala (rosary). 108 is said to be the number of deities in Hinduism, and the number of virtues in Jainism. Many Buddhist temples have 108 steps representing the 108 steps to enlightenment. It is said there are 108 energy lines, or nadis, converging to form the heart chakra, and 108 marmas (pressure points) or sacred parts of the body.The distance between the Earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun.

The 108 Shiv Mandir is located opposite to the Kalna Rajbari Temple Complex, and both can be easily covered on a day trip from Kolkata.
The outer circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
The temples of the outer circle. A well-maintained garden separates the outer circle from the inner circle. Worship is still offered in these temples.
The outer circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
My son found it a bit uncomfortable to walk around barefoot in the temple complex, since we reached the temple in the afternoon and by then the sun had heated up the concete walkways.
The 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
The outer circle has alternate black and white shivalingas, while the inner circle has only white shivalingas. I am not sure of the reason behind such an arrangement of lingas.
A white shiva-linga at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
A white shiva-linga, perhaps made of marble.
The inner circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
The inner circle of 34 aat-chala (eight sloping roofs) temples.
The inner circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
The view through the doorway leading to inner circle.
The inner circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
Standing with my son inside the inner circle of temples.

A well at the center of the inner circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
At the center of the temple complex there is a well, and no central deity or temple.

The well at the center of the inner circle of temples at the 108 Shiv Mandir or Nava Kailash in Kalna, West Bengal
Perhaps, the water from this sacred well was taken out and poured on top of the shivalingas, since that is the established custom of worshiping the lingas.

The 108 Shiva Mandir of Kalna was an interesting place to visit, since you do not get to see such a concentric layout of temples anywhere else. The intent behind this style of construction is not really known, but I will not be surprised if it was based on ancient Hindu cosmology. Kalna is a little known town on the banks of the Ganges, nearly 82 kms from Kolkata, and it preserves some of the best examples of Bengal terracotta architecture.



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Bibhu Dev Misra

Independent researcher and writer on ancient mysteries, cultural connections, cosmic wisdom, religion and science. Graduate of IIT and IIM with two decades of work experience in different fields

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