Thursday, 26 September 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-XVII)


The district of West Bengal, Hooghly is just 47 km north of Kolkata and is steeped in history and heritage. Dotted with several small but important towns the district is testimony to the rule of foreign settlers- The British and Portuguese at Hooghly, The Dutch of Chinsurah , the French at Chandernagore and the Germans and Austrians at Bhadreswar. The Portuguese were the first to settle here in 1537, but were defeated by Saha Jahan in 1632. The British East India Company then followed and set up a factory here in 1651. Chadannagore (Chandernagore) was once a French colony and is still under the influence of French Language and Culture. Chinsura was a Dutch settlement from 1656 to 1825. It was later exchanged by the Dutch for British-held Indonesian island of Sumatra in 1825. The Hooghly, as the Ganga River is called here, dominates the landscape and people use ferries to cross from one town to another.

Jagaddhatri Puja

Jagaddhatri Puja is a major socio cultural event in this region. This culture was even elevated to the status of Durga Puja in Kolkata, clearly represents the Hindu custom here. The uniqueness of this Puja is the height of the idol and intricate and attractive lightings.

Makar Sankranti Fair

Makar Sankranti was another festival of equal importance. It was the traditional beliefs that the prayers of those are fulfilled who take dip in the Tribeni Sangam.  


Mahesh is the principal fair held on the occasion of "Rathajatra". Printing Machine was first established in the district in the year of 1778 and the first Bengali book (Bengali version of A Grammar of the Bengali Language) was printed here. Thus the district is the onlooker of many first establishments, hence historically significant. Moreover the buildings of Hooghly are the lively embodiments of the ancient culture and tradition.

Thus Hooghly is just after Bardhaman, which is economically and culturally affluent with a strong base of education.

Places to visit: 

Bandel Church

Bandel, (the name came from the Bengali word "bandar" which means "port") appears to have been the port of Hooghly. At the time of Portuguese and Mughals.  The only relies of the  Portuguese settlement are the Church(Basilica) and the monastery.  It is about 2 kms away from the station 'Bandel'. Bandel Church was built in 1599 by Captain Pedro Tavares. This church was established by Christians, who already outnumbered the Hindus by 1598. By the mid 16th century the Portuguese used Bandel as a port.

The original building of the church was burnt down by the Moors in 1632 during the sacking of Hooghly. Gomez De Soto built a new church on the same site in 1660. The keystone of the older church can still be seen along the eastern gate of the church. It has three altars, several tombstones, an organ and a shrine of Mary.
 In front of the Church stands a ship's mast which was presented by the captain of a vessel which had encountered a storm in Bay of Bengal and save by the grace of Virgin, the center of attraction.  There is the statue of" One lady of Happy Voyage" in the middle of the church.  The church has three altars, a small organ & several tomb stones.  



Kamarpukur village is located in the Arambagh subdivision of the Hooghly District. It is where Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was born in the year 1836. Consequently the place invested with immense religious interest. The Ramkrishna Mission has erected a memorial temple here. Jairambati, which located is close proximity to Kamarpukur, is the native land of Ma Saradamoni, the consort of Sri Ramkrishna, and in Antpur that has some beautiful terracotta temples is another principal religious site.

The village bears the sign of ancient prosperity with battered temples, old buildings, ponds and tanks. Between March and April the Manasa festival is celebrated in the Kamarpukur village. During this period devotional choral songs of Hari are sung for three days at a stretch.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Talk about India, from India with you

Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening my friends out there! This is 11:30pm., 19th September, 2013, Thursday in India. After a long time, I return back. I was going for a holiday trip last 2weeks; so, not available here. How are you my friends? I’m fine as usual! 

Lalbaugcha Raja; one of the famous Mandals in Mumbai.

We have celebrated ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ for last 10days. It is a great festival and celebrated all over in India. Today is the last day of this festival, called ‘Ganesh Visarjan’.The most exuberant parts of the Ganesh festival are the street processions and immersion (visarjan) of statues in the water.
Ganeshotsav or Ganesh-Utsav, which begins on Ganesha Chaturthi, culminates on Anant Chaturdashi. Hence Ganeshotsav is celebrated for 10 days in the month of Bhadrapada. The last day of festivity is known as Ganesha Visarjan. Ganesha Visarjan is also known as Vinayaka Nimajjanam in Telugu speaking regions.

On the eleventh day the statue of Lord Ganesha is immersed into water body, preferably in a river, lake or the sea. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and sweets, the statues of Lord Ganesha are taken to the water body through the street procession with much fanfare. Thousands of devotees join the procession and fill the whole atmosphere with chanting of Lord Ganesha. "Ganapati Bappa Morya" and "Ganesh Maharaj Ki, Jai" are few of the famous slogans which are chanted throughout the procession. 

Ganesha Visarjan in Mumbai

In Mumbai, Ganesha Visarjan is performed under the guidance of Ganpati Mandals. The street procession is accompanied with Dhol, Tasha and the other traditional instruments. Ganesha Visarjan continues throughout the night till the next morning.

Well, that’s all for today. Have a great weekend and please take care of your family and yourself. Have a good day/ afternoon/evening/night! Namaskar.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-XVI)



One of the oldest districts of West Bengal and the ancient Sanskrit learning centre, Nadia is an important part of the religious and cultural history of the state. The traditional city of Krishnanaagar is the headquarters of Nadia District. Apart from tourism, agriculture is another main source of revenue for the district. Ancient temples, mosques historic forts and magnificent handcrafts make Nadia District a great tourist destination. Nadia has gained as a tourist destination from the advent of Bhakti movement and Sri Chaitanya.
The geographical boundary of Nadia district comprises Bangladesh in the  East,Bardhaman and Hugli district on the West,Murshidabad district on the North and North West and North 24 Parganas towards South and South East. Situated on the main rail route connecting Howrah/Kolkata and New Jalpaiguri(NJP) including parts of North Eastern states, the Nadia district can easily be accessed by rail. The major railway stations are Nabadwip Dham,Ranaghat and others with regular trains to Kolkata/Howrah/NJP/Guwahati. The proposed International Rail Link connecting India and Bangladesh will pass through Nadia District with Gende as the last railway station at Indian Border. Bifurcated by National Highway-34 on the North and East, the district can also be accessed by road from other parts of the country.

Places to visit: 




Sri Chaitanya Gouriya Math

Nabadwip lies on the western side of the river Bhagirathi at a distance of about 20 K.M. from Krishnagar and it is associated with birth of  Lord Sri. Chaitanya and the advent of the Vaishnab religion in Bengal. Sri. Chaitanya was not only a religious leader preaching Vaishnab ideas and Bhakti cult but also a social reformer in the 16th Century. Nabadwip was the capital of Lakshman Sena, the famous ruler of Sena dynasty, who ruled from 1179 to 1203. There are a number of temples and pilgrimage centres. Dwadas Shib Mandir built in 1835 with the exquisite floral designs attracts a large number of pilgrims. The images and idols of Lord Sri. Chaitanaya in a few other places are also regarded with reverence.


The ISKCON Temple

 Mayapur is situated on the opposite of Nabadwip across the river Bhagirathi. Some Schools of thought claim this place to be the actual birth place of Lord Sri Chaitanya
The ISKCON temple of A.C.Bhaktivedanta, the Saraswat Adwaita Math and the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math are the important temples at Mayapur. During Holi (DOL) festival Rashyatra Mayapur presents itself as a center of harmony, amity, fraternity and festivity.


In the land of Looms

Shantipur had been a seat of Sanskrit learning and literature, Vedic texts and scriptures since ninth century. It is located in the Ranaghat Sub-division of the district and is about 18 K.M. away from Krishnagar. The Topkhana Mosque was built by Fauzder Gazi Mohammad Yaar Khan in 1703 – 1704 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This mosque consists of a big dome and eight minars.
The Shayam Chand Temple built in traditional "Aatchala" manner, the Jaleswar Temple with its exquisite terracotta designs and the Adwaita Prabhu Temple are the noteworthy temples of Shantipur. The weavers of Shantipur have made themselves famous throughout India by their professional aptitude in making "Tant Saree". Fulia a township very close to Shantipur, is the birth place of  Poet Krittibas, composer of Bangla Ramayan.



Palashi is a place of great historical interest. It is situated at a distance of about 50 K.M. from Krishnanagar. The famous Battle of Plassey was fought here on 23rd June, 1757 between the last independent ruler of Bengal, Nawab Siraj Ud-Daula (1756-1757) and the British forces under the command  of Lord Clive.

This battle marked the advent of the British rule in the erstwhile Bengal and in India as a whole. A memorial stone to mark the victory of the British was erected here in 1883. The structure which stands even today was built at a later period of Lord Curzon.


The gate of the Palace

Krishnanagar is the district headquarters situated on the bank of river Jalangi. Krishnanagar is named after Raja Krishna Chandra Rai (1728 – 1782). The Rajbari built here during the reign of Raja Krishna Chandra Rai is a prominent place of tourist attraction though the remnants of the past glory have been eroded  and only a dilapidated structure of the exquisite places with carving on its inner walls exists today. 

Clay models of Ghurni

Krishnanagar was the birth place of the noted Poet, Composer and Playwright Shri. Dwijendra Lal Roy (1863 – 1913) whose contribution to Bengali Literature needs no mention. The Christian Missionaries attached much importance to Krishnanagar. The Protestant Church was built here during 1840s . The Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in 1898. The origin of famous clay models of Krishnanagar is Ghurni. The clay model artists of Ghurni have won international repute and fame for their excellence in clay modelling.




A forest covering about 67 Hectares is located at Bethuadahari which is situated at a distance of about 22 K.M. from Krishnanagar. This forest is actually an extended Deer Park. The forest was established in 1980 to preserve the bio-diversity of the central  Gangetic alluvial zone. A census of 1998 reveals a population of 295 deer in this forest and other wild life includes Python, Jungle Cat, Porcupine, Monitor Lizard, Snake and a variety of birds (around 50 species).

Ballal Dhipi


Ballal Dhipi is located near Bamanpukur Bazar on way to Mayapur at a distance of about 25 K.M. from Krishnanagar. The excavation work was started here by the Archaeological Survey of India in the early 1980s, It revealed a unique structural complex covering nearly 13,000 Sq. meters. Centering around a mound (Dhipi) having a height of 9 metres.
This complex identifies itself with the Vikramsila Vihar. Experts say that this side of Stupa (Vihar) of eighth / ninth century was perhaps a seat of learning and pilgrimage up to the eleventh century.

 Image Courtesy: