Dasghara ~ Terracotta & Clock Tower
Do you spent your next Sunday walking through a huge Victorian styled arched gateway and past towering clock tower to a landscaped garden complete with colonial styled marble statues.
Sadly it has been overgrown with weeds and a few dilapidated marble statues are all that remains of the landscape garden. The clock atop the tower has long stopped functioning and the arched gateway has long lost its beauty and grace.
But don’t be disheartened the colonial ruins along with some of the finest and well preserved terracotta works can well turn Dasghara into your next Sunday outing spot and can double up as a pilgrimage to the temple of Tarekeshwar.
Located 12 km north of the pilgrim town of Tarakeshwar the history of Dasghara dates back to the early 18th century. Gopinath Temple with is intricately curved terracotta panels is the oldest temple in Dasghara. Built in 1729 by the Sadananda Biswas the temple is remarkably well preserved. Today the temple still stands along with a Durga Dalan, Rash & Dol Mancha and the huge Biswas’ Mansion.
For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the morning Tarakeshwar local and in little over one and half hours you will be in Tarakeshwar. Take a bus and head for Dasghara.
Soon you will be out of the crowded pilgrim town and the fresh air will refresh you for the long walks ahead. In less than half an hour you will in Dasghara and get down at the Bazar Para. Walk along the Burdwan road towards Biswas para. After about 20 minutes of walk take the dirt road to the right and in five minutes you will reach the Biswas house complex.
Head straight for the Gopinath Temple. Built in 1729 the Pancha – ratna (Five Spire) temple has some of the finest terracotta curving in West Bengal. Once three sides of the temple were covered with intricate terracotta works but sadly only the panels on the front face have survived the test of time, and happens to be one of the most preserved terracotta works of West Bengal. Scenes ranging from epic of Ramayana to those of royal court and from band of musicians to those of day to day life activities, including erotic scenes, are curved out with the utmost details.
The complex also contains an octagonal Rashmanch with slender pillar and nine spires (One each at the eight corners and one at the centre) and a square Dolmancha. The huge mansion is modified and has lost its former beauty and glory.
But the architecture splendors of Dasghara are not restricted to the Biswas family only. The arched gateway, the clock tower and the landscaped gardens were all creations of Bipinkrishna Roy, a stevedore of Calcutta port from 1851 – 1911, who made a fortune by loading & un-loding ships. Bipinkrishna also built a Shiv temple and a dispensary.
Retrace your steps back to the main road and continue on the other side along a similar dirt road. Soon the towering clock tower rising above the trees will attract your attention. Within five minutes you will be at the base of the tower, crowned with a Victorian style statue. The octagonal tower has clock dials on four sides and arched windows on the remaining four. Next to the tower stands the arched gateway resembling the gateways of Governor’s House of Calcutta. There are several other gates crowned with statues of lion.
Only a small portion of the house is maintained and it houses the Bipinkrishna’s dispensary, which runs to this day. The Shiv temple, with is towering spire, still stands as a mute witness of the glorious days of Dasgahara.
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