Basic informationLocation (country): BangladeshLocation (city): Baradi.Location (neighbourhood): Sonargaon Upazila in Narayanganj District under Dhaka Division. The temple is 35 kilometers from Dhaka.Location (GPS coordinates): (c.f. https://www.gps-coordinates.net/)Type of religious site: (i.e. dargah, shrine, stupa etc.) : shrineReligious community(ies) attending: Hindu and MuslimNo of communities attending: 2Language(s) used for ceremonies and prayers: Bengali and Sanskrit.Approximate size of the site: (in m2) : not knownYear of construction: 1890Pilgrimage location: YesPilgrimage season: All year long, specific function around the 2nd of June.
Overview of the siteThe site is the dedicated to the cult of Lokenath Brahmachari, a Brahmin that was born circa 1825 in a small village in the North-East of Kolkata. Lokenath Brahmachari had settled in Baradi – actual Bangladesh – in 1864 as a recluse ascetic. He lived there a life of meditation and religious observances and was considered as ‘one who had attained the highest spiritual perfection’ (siddha mahapuruṣa) and he came to be worshipped as an ‘incarnation of God’. The number of his worshippers went on fast increasing and he became known as the ‘celibate ascetic’ (brahmacari) or the ‘preceptor’ (gosvāmī) of ‘Baradi’. After his death in June 1890, the owners of the ashram and his favourite disciple introduced the worship of his throne (āsana) and sandals (pādukā) as a way to perpetuate his memory. They inaugurated an annual celebration (utsava) for his death anniversary that progressively gained importance. In 1912, the partner of a wealthy firm of merchants, paid for a function that was at the time viewed unequalled in its magnificence. Since then this annual function has grown in importance over the years up to gathering thousands of people. It contributed to popularize the Hindu saint among different populations, even among Muslims who would also join in the festivities. In 1917, a temple was built and ritually consecrated before the public where for the first time a photo, was installed and worshipped. As early as 1936, disciples had founded similar ashrams in different parts of East Bengal. Today, this annual function is still held every year and attract thousands of devotees, Hindu as well as Muslims.
Bibliography pertaining to the siteBharati Brahmananda. 1903. siddha-jībanī : bābā lokanāthera siddha-jībanīra alaukika kāhinī. [Biographies spirituelle d’un saint ]Mukhopadhayay, Jamini Kumar. 1908. Dharmasāra Saṅgraha. Siddhi Mahāpuruṣa (bāradīra). śrīśrīlokanātha brahmacārībābāra jībanī saha tadīẏa upadeśābalī [Collection des pensées sur le dharma. La vie et l’enseignement de Lokenath Brahmachari de Baradi]Prakash Chandra Nag vs Subodh Chandra Nag And Ors. on 19 August, 1936 – Equivalent citations: AIR 1937 Cal 67Chaudhuri, Kanishka. 2011. The Social Organization of the Lokenath Sevashram Sangha of Chakla of North 24-Parganas: A Study in Sociology of Religion. Departement of Sociology, Calcutta University.