Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-IX)


Pandua or Adina

Pandua is a ruined city in the Malda district. Pandua is now almost synonymously known as Adina, a small town located about 18 km North of Malda Town. The city was probably founded by Sams-ud-Din Firuz Shah. In 1339, Ala-ud-Din Ali Shah transferred his capital from the nearby (and now ruined) town of Lakhnauti or Gaur (32 km from Pandua) to Pandua. Later, Haji Shamsuddin Iliyas Shah, the first independent Sultan of Bengal, made the city the capital of his (unified) Bengal Sultanate. However, Pandua's glory was short-lived. In 1453, the capital was transferred back to Gaur by Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah, perhaps necessitated by a change in the course of the river on which Pandua stood.

Places to visit in Pandua or Adina:

Adina Masjid

Adina Masjid built in 1369 by Sultan Sikander Shah; the second sultan of the Ilyas dynasty.  It was one of the largest mosques in India. The Adina mosque is one of the largest mosques to be built in the subcontinent and the only hypostyle mosque in Bengal. Located twenty kilometers North of the town of Malda and along a major road leading to north Bengal, the sultan probably built it as a visual proclamation of his victory over the Delhi ruler, Firuz Shah Tughluq. The mosque is mostly in ruins today following the damages sustained during the earthquakes in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The prayer hall

Similar in plan to the Great Mosque of Damascus, it is a rectangular, hypostyle structure, with an open central courtyard. Externally it measures 524' x 322' (154.3 x 87m) with the longer side running north-south, while the courtyard measures 426'-6"x147'-7"(130 x 45m). The prayer hall is located to the west, and is divided into two symmetrical wings by a central nave (78'x 34' and 64' high) that was originally covered by a pointed barrel vault. The high central vaulted nave may be traced to Persian antecedents, Taq-i-Kisra, a pre-Muslim monument at Ctesiphon. The prayer hall is five aisles deep, while the north, south and east cloisters around the courtyard consist of triple aisles. In total, these aisles had 260 pillars and 387 domed bays. The interior of the courtyard is a continuous fa├žade of 92 arches surmounted by a parapet, beyond which the domes of the bays can be seen.

Eklakhi Mausoleum

The Eklakhi Mausoleum one of the best preserved brick-built monuments is situated in Pandua area near the Adina Mosque and was probably built in c. 1412-1415 A.D. by Raja Ganesh or Kans whose son Jadu converted to Islam faith and became the Sultan of Bengal under the name of Jalaluddin Mohammed Shah. This is a brick building, with a single lofty dome. Its interior is an octagon which is only lighted through the four small doors.
There are three graves inside. One tomb is that of Jalaluddin, and the others belong to his wife and son.

The Eklakhi Tomb at that time is known to have cost Rupees One Lakh, and hence the name "Eklakhi". 

Qutb Shahi Masjid (Mosque)


Qutub Shahi Masjid is situated in Pandua about 25 Kms. from malda Town in Malda District of West Bengal, India. It was erected in 1582 A.D. in the honor of Sufi Saint Nur- Qutub-Alam by Makhdoom Shaikh who was both a descendant and a follower of the Sufi Saint.The Masjid (Mosque) is also known locally as "Sona Masjid"(Golden Mosque) probably due to the fact that gold gilding was used in the carvings on the wall as well as on the crown of the turrets, but no evidence is visible now. It has been built using red bricks and stone slabs. Intricate carvings are still seen on the stone slabs in the walls and pillars.

More places to see in Malda:




Lord Krishna and Radha


Lord Chaitanya Temple is situated in a small village of Ramkeli about 14 Km south from Malda on the way to Gour. Ramkeli is famous for being the temporary home of Lord Sri Chaitanya, the great religious reformer of Bengal, where he had stayed for a few days on his way to Brindaban.The place still features two Kadamba and two Tamal trees, which is believed to be the meditation site of Sri Chaitanya. 

The temple where is housing the footprints of Sri Chaitanya on stone

A temple has been constructed beneath these trees, housing the footprints of Sri Chaitanya on stone. Celebrations are held at the site on every Jaishthya Sankranti (in the month of May-June) to commemorate the arrival of Sri Chaitanya. A week-long fair also starts on this day when devotees from far off places arrive to participate in the various programmes.



Maa Johura Temple

Maa Johura Temple is situated on the outskirts of Malda Town, West Bengal, India. It is surrounded by lush green fields on one side and Mango Orchards on the other side, and is very near to Bangladesh border. The original temple is stated to have been built in c1500A.D.(?),however, there is another view that the original temple was built by Raja Ballal Sen in 1159-1179 A.D. who was the third ruler of Sena Dynasty of the then Bengal .

Maa Johura

It is a renowned temple of Adishakti in Malda and the deity is represented by three faces of Goddess Kali .It is said that the three faces represent the three goddesses Maha Kali, Maha Laxmi and Maha Saraswati. The unique feature of this temple is that it opens only on Tuesdays and Saturdays when thousands of people come to offer their prayers, rest of the days the temple remains closed.

Farakka Barrage



Completed in 1974-75, the Farakkah Barrage is a dam on the Ganges River located in the Indian state of West Bengal. The dam was built to divert the Ganges River water into the Hooghly River during the dry season, from January to June, in order to flush out the accumulating silt which in the 1950s and 1960s was a problem at the major port of Kolkata on the Hooghly River. Bangladesh and India have had many debates about how the Farakka Barrage cuts off Bangladesh’s water supply. This is the longest barrage in the world and has recently been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. The barrage was constructed by the Hindustan Construction Company Limited.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Talk about India, from India with you



International Dance Day

Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening my friends, wherever you are! This 11:00pm. 29th April, 2013, Monday in India. Hope you all are doing well! After a small gap, I’m here again for you! I was quite irregular in last few weeks for some technical problems you know; so, I have decided to fresh up with a new week and I choose the beginning of this week. 

Friends, today is the International Dance Day. Let’s go for a small trip around the World of classical dances of India!

India has thousands of year old tradition of fine arts and classical and folk music and dances. Some of the world-famous dance forms that originated and evolved in India are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Odissi. All these dance forms use basically the same 'mudras' or signs of hand as a common language of expression and were originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses. They were also effective in carrying forward the various mythological stories from generation to generation while entertaining the audiences. It eventually became a part of 'Natya Shashtra', as propounded by Sage Bharata to compile and forge some rules and regulations of entertaining arts.
With time, the classical dances evolved to include the expressions and themes from social life and experiences. Lord Shiva is said to be the 'Nataraja' meaning 'King of All Dances', who is said to perform the Cosmic Dance that delicately balances life and death and all that is happening in the Universe in harmonious cycles.

Here is a small description of classical dances of India for you.



Bharatnatyam is one of the most popular classical Indian dances. Bharatnatyam is more popular in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Bharatnatyam dance is almost 2,000 years old. It is believed that Bharatnatyam was revealed by Lord Brahma to Bharata, a famous sage who then codified this sacred dance in a Sanskrit text called the Natya Shastra. The Natya Shastra is one of the fundamental treatises on Indian drama and aesthetics.


Kathak is one of the most important classical dances of India. Kathak is said to be derived from the word katha, meaning "the art of storytelling." The Kathak dance form originated in north India and was very similar to the Bharatnatyam dance form. In ancient India, there were Kathakars or bards who used to recite religious and mythological tales to the accompaniment music, mime and dance.



Kathakali is the classical dance form of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". Kathakali is known for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. In fact, the colorful and fascinating costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognized icon of Kerala. Kathakali is considered as one of the most magnificent theatres of imagination and creativity. Kathakali dance presents themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends.



Kuchipudi is one of the classical dance forms of the South India. Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. In the seventeenth century the Kuchipudi village was presented to the Brahmins, who were experts in staging dance and drama. Kuchipudi exhibits scenes from the Hindu Epics, legends and mythological tales through a combination of music, dance and acting. Like other classical dances, Kuchipudi also comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics but it is the use of speech that distinguishes Kuchipudi's presentation as dance drama.



Manipuri is one of the six major classical dances of India. Manipuri dance is indigenous to Manipur, the North eastern state of India. The Manipuri dance style is inextricably woven into the life pattern of Manipuri people. The most striking part of Manipur dance is its colorful decoration, lightness of dancing foot, delicacy of abhinaya (drama), lilting music and poetic charm. The Manipuri dance form is mostly ritualistic and draws heavily from the rich culture of the state of Manipur.


Mohiniattam is a classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniattam is derived from the words "Mohini" (meaning beautiful women) and "attam"(meaning dance). Thus, Mohiniattam dance form is a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Mohiniattam dance in Kerala developed in the tradition of Devadasi system, which later grew and developed a classical status.



Odissi is one of the famous classical Indian dances from Orissa state. The history of Odissi dance is almost two thousand years old. Odissi is a highly inspired, passionate, ecstatic and sensuous form of dance. Like most of the South Indian classical dances of India Odissi too had its origin in the Devadasi tradition. The state of Orissa has a great cultural history. 


That’s all for today! Take care of your family and yourself! Have a good day/ afternoon/evening/night! Namaskar.