Sainthia is a town and a municipality in Suri Sadar subdivision of Birbhum district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town is famous for Nandikeshwari Temple, one of the Shakti Peethas in India.
Urbanization of this area gained momentum in the recent past, when construction work of the Sahibganj loop line and a bridge over the Mayurakshi River started. Construction of the Khana-Rajmahal section of Sahibganj Loop was completed in October 1859. The first train ran from Howrah to Rajmahal via Khana Junction on 4 July 1860. Construction of the Sainthia railway station was done as part of building the entire line. This large project brought people from different corners of this country to assemble and settle here. With the effort of the inhabitants of this urban locality, Sainthia has been turned into a commercial hub of the district. Now it is growing rapidly through all the development and service avenues to be a model municipality by taking good care of its inhabitants and the nature surrounding it. Sainthia Municipality has an area of 10 square kilometres.
The name Sainthia is derived from ‘Sain’, a Bengali term used to refer to an Islamic priest. Sainthia is also known as ‘Nandipur’, after the famous temple of Nandikeshwari. On July 19, 2010, the Sainthia train collision occurred at the train station here, when Bananchal express was crashed by Uttarbanga express at Sainthia Station.
Sainthia is located at 23.57°N 87.40°E. It has an average elevation of 53 metres (173 feet). The town is situated in the bank of Mayurakshi River. The soil is generally alluvial and fertile. There was a rich reservoir of groundwater but this stands somewhat depleted due to overuse. The temperature goes very high and it is terribly humid in summer and quite cold in winter.
Sainthia is one of the busiest business hubs in the middle part of West Bengal. The economy of Sainthia Municipal area is the central place of Birbhum district. The economy is based on agricultural products and their allied businesses. Rice mills, mastered oil mills, bran oil mills, fried rice mills, galvanized wire product units and other businesses run here. The hinterland of business of Sainthia spreads up to the district of Jharkhand in the west and Kandi of Murshidabad district in the east. The town is well connected to Baharampur, Siuri, Rampurhat, Bolpur, Andal, Asansol and Durgapur through high roads and railroads. That makes the town the business center of all sorts of goods distribution and transportation. Its socio-economical status is quite strong and education ratio is steadily increasing.
Sainthia is famous for its temple of Goddess Nandikeshwari. One of the 51 Shakti Peethas, the temple attracts a vast array of visitors and devotees from all over the region. The temple rests on an elevated platform, and contains many additional smaller shrines to many gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Statuettes of the Mahavidyaas are carved on the walls overlooking the main temple. Puja is offered daily to the Goddess. The name of the Goddess is derived from ‘Nandi’, the mascot and follower of Lord Shiva, and ‘Ishwari’ (Goddess), meaning ‘one who is worshiped by Nandi, the divine bull’. Wife to Lord Shiva, the Goddess is one of the many aspects of Goddess Sati or Parvati.
Situated about 179 km from Howrah and close to the Sainthia railway station, the temple is also a famous pilgrimage for visitors from Kolkata. Usually, a circular journey for the pilgrimage is undertaken by visitors and devotees from Kolkata and other major cities in the Birbhum District, starting from Shantiniketan, through Tara Pith and Nandikeshwari, and finally to Fullara Mahapith of Labhpur. Daily ‘Prasad’ is offered to the devotees in the temple. An annual festival is held during autumn.
Nandikeshwari Temple- Sainthia- West Bengal (yaha par sati mata ki bone of necline giri thi)
The temple, lies at the opposite side of the Sainthia railway station a 179 km away place from Howrah, was built in 1320 (According to the Bengali calendar). It is thought that the bone of the neckline of Sati had fallen at Sainthia, previously known as Nandipur and it became another Sakti Pitha of Hindu community. Nandini temple doesn’t pull much of a crowd now but still it is seen that devotees come here occasionally to worship the Deity. A piece of rock, placed in between the pipul and banyan tree, is worshipped by the followers. Nandikeshwar, the consort of the Devi, is also worshipped here but there is no idol as such. There are also deities of other gods and goddesses like Sri Krishna, Devi Sitala, Ganesh, Gouri and many more. It is nice to see the Rakhakali temple at the opposite side of Nandikeshwari temple. A fair is arranged once a year on the last day of Durga Puja, Bijaya Dashami.
It is located in earlier Nandipur village, which is now a part of Sainthia town, Birbhum district, West Bengal (220 K.m from Kolkata). Sainthia is known as business capital of Birbhum district and it is famous for its temple of Nandikeshwari Mata. Nandikeshwari temple is one of the 51 Shakti peethas, is only 1.5 K.m from Railway Station. The town is sanctified by the river Kopai and Maa Nandikeshwari, the Holy Goddess.
The main temple of this place is called Nandikeshwari Devi’s temple it is one of 51 Shakti Peetha (sati pitha) and it is where Sati’s neck-bone fell. The temple is near to Railway Station under a banyan tree within a boundary wall.
The main temple of the town is that of Maa Nandikeshwari’s temple. She is believed to be present in a big mounted rock, deeped with vermillion, in the shape of the back of a tortoise (kurma). She is adorned with a silver crown and three golden eyes. Festivals are held especially in The Baishakhi Purnima or the Buddha Purnima (full moon day), with yagna. Special rituals are also held on Kali Puja and on Amabasyas (new moon). And daily, Maa is offered with ‘anna-bhog’(rice ) on the noon. The temple remains opened from 6 am to 10 pm daily.
Unlike other shakti peetas, one can take snap of Devi Maa. There is a huge sacred tree where the devotees bind red and yellow threads to fulfill their wishes. In this temple compound, there lies the temple of Bhairava as Nandikeshwar. On the body of these temples, there are beautiful paintings of many Gods and Goddesses figures. Inside the temple premise there are many other temples of Dashabvataar, Lord Vishnu, Hanumanji, Ram-Sita, Nabadurga, Lord Shiva and some more.