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.

** Friends, here is a great offer for you from "The Nature's Co."
     See the deal, you can gift it to your near and dear in coming Durga Puja festival. 

1 comment: