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Amadpur, A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

May 18, 2017 2 comments

Amadpur, Memari, Bardhman

A Royal Home Stay in Terracotta Country

Villages dotted with terracotta temples is nothing uncommon in the Gangatic Bengal region, but Amadpur, near Memari, in Bardhaman District, offers a unique combination of terracotta temples along with a heritage home stay in a renovated zamindar mansion.

Temple Complex with Dol Mancha, in front of Baithakkhana Amadpur, Amadpur, Memaari

Temple Complex with Dol Mancha, in front of Baithakkhana Amadpur, Amadpur, Memaari

At first glance Amadpur, located about 8 km north of Memari on Howrah – Bardhman main line, appears to be a typical Bengal village, but a closer inspection revels several mansions, most of which are in dilapidated conditions.

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Jatar Deul and finally the Horse Race

May 3, 2017 1 comment

Horse Race at Jatar Deul

Kankandighi, Raidighi, 24 Parganas (South)

Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race

It was the second day of the Bengali new year 1420 (16 April 2011), my friend Amitabha Gupta and I headed for the Jatar Deul to witness the horse race. After a 4 + hour journey via train, auto and motor van we finally made it to Jatar Deul only to be informed that the horse race has been postponed to 25 Baikash (9 May) because of Elections.

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Galloping past cheering crowd, horse race at Jatar Deul

Amitabha and I decided to retrace out steps back to Jatar Deul for the illusive horse race. On 9thMay we repeated our 5 hours long journey only to be informed that the race was called off due to unofficial reasons. (Also see: Jatar Deul and the Illusive Horse Race)

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Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

December 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

Hooghly, West Bengal

Triben generally refers to the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the illusive Saraswati near Allahabad. But the Hooghly district of West Bengal also houses another Tribeni, where the Bhagarati or Hooghly River disintegrates into three branches. The three branches are Hooghly, Sarswati and Jamuna (Kanchrapara Khal).

tribeni-1

Zafar Khan Gazi Masjid, Tribeni, Hooghly

So like the Prayag near Allabahad the Tribeni of Hooghly has also attracte pilgrims for centuries and is mentioned in ancient Bengali literature like the Mansamangal and Chandimangal.

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Hanseswari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple, Bansberia, Hooghly

September 18, 2016 4 comments

Hanseswari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple

Bansberia, Hooghly

The history of Bansberia dates back to the days of Shah Jahan. In 1656, the Mughal emperor appointed Raghab Dattaroy of Patuli as the zamindar of an area that includes the present-day Bansberia. Legend has it that Raghab’s son Rameshwar cleared a bamboo grove to build a fort, inspiring the name Bansberia.

L: Ananta Basudev Temple & R: Hanseswari Temple, Bansberia, Hooghly

L: Ananta Basudev Temple & R: Hanseswari Temple, Bansberia, Hooghly

Bansberia was also one of the important villages of the Saptagram (a unit of seven villages), an important port town in medieval Bengal. Its importance in pre-Muslim Bengal was religious, owing to its location at the Tribeni or confluence of three rivers.

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Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

August 28, 2016 2 comments

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

A towering rekh deul temple

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

Lakshmi Janardhan Temple, Debipur

The nondescript village of Debipur, located on the Howrah – Bardhman main line has a distinction of housing a towering temple.

For the most comfortable journey it is best to take the Bardhman Local (Main) from Howrah. It takes about one and half hour to reach Debipur.

A short bus or trekker ride from Debipur station takes you to Shivtala, where the towering Lakshmi Janardhan Temple (Lakshmi Janardan Temple) is located.

Before reaching the Lakshmi Kanardhan Temple the visitors will be welcomed by a unique structure at the Shivtala bus stop.

This structure consists of three connected structures built on a single raised platform. The structures on the side are aat – chal (8 sloped roof) shiva temples.

The central structure is a dol mancha. The open dol mancha, stands on a elevated platform and towers above both the temples.

The structure contains beautiful terracotta ornamentation on its front surface, including a false door way, below the dol mancha. A marble plaque on the doorway indicates that the structure was constructed in 1283 of Bengali calendar which is equivalent to 1836.

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The Rajbari Bawali, Heritage Inspired

August 24, 2016 11 comments

The Rajbari Bawali

Heritage Inspired

Flashback I (5 July, 2008): I took a crowded trekker from the Amtala crossing on the DH Road for Bawali. I had no idea about what I was heading for. Getting down at the Bawali crossing I was guided by the locals past the the Bawali High School to the ruined but magnificent Gopinath Temple.

The Rajbari Bawali Heritage Hotel at night

The Rajbari Bawali Heritage Hotel at night

On my left was a pond and across it was the crumbling Mondal Mansion of Bawali. I spend the next couple of hours exploring Bawali from the Jal Tungi to the crumbling temples. Locals informed me that a non – Bengali gentleman was planning to convert the Bawali Mansion into a heritage hotel. (For details see: Bawali, Temples and Mansion)

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Kalna Rajbari Complex, Ambika Kalna

July 27, 2016 8 comments

Kalna Rajbari Complex, Ambika Kalna

An amazing Temple Complex

Ambika Kalna (or simply Kalna) is located 82 km from Kolkata (Howrah) on the Bandel – Katwa line. Located on the west bank of the Bhagirathi, Ambika Kalna once flourished as a prosperous port town.

Panoramic view of Kalna Rajbari Complex

Panoramic view of Kalna Rajbari Complex

It reached it’s pinnacle of glory during the late 18th century under the patronage of the Maharajas of Bardhaman, who built several magnificent temples with intricate terracotta ornamentation.

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