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).
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.
Hanseswari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple
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.
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.
Church & Imambara
Almost a century after Vasco da Gama reached the West Coast of India the Portuguese started making their inroads into Bengal. Soon settlement started growing up along the rivers and the area around present day Hooghly became the Portuguese stronghold. By 1599 a church was constructed on the banks of the Hooghly, making it the oldest Christian Church of West Bengal.
But the good old days of the Portuguese were short lived. In 1632 The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan attacked the Portuguese settlement which also had a small fort. The Portuguese were severely defeated and their Fort & Church were reduced to ruins. Several Portuguese and local Christians were killed. Father Joan De Cruz was taken prisoner to Agra, where he was thrown in front of a ferocious elephant. But the rogue elephant instead of trampling the priest to dead lifted him by his trunk and placed him in his back.
A Pre – Telegram Communication System
Its a typical rural Bengal landscape, a villager makes is way through agricultural fields, but the chimney like structure is definitely unique. Its not a chimney of the brick kilns that dot the Bengal rural landscape nor is it a wtach tower used to keep eye on invading Bargi (Maratha).
Its a semaphore tower, quiet a few of which still dot the rural as well as urban landscapes of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Rajrajeshwar Temple ~ Kotalpur, Hooghly
~ Unusual Terracotta Panels ~
The Parsis leave their dead bodies for the vulture to eat but for the Hindus vultures have always been considered as a symbol of misfortune and bad luck. So the image of vultures is the last thing you expect to see on the walls of a Hindu temple but the Rajrajeshwar Temple, in the remote village of Kotalpur, have a distinction of housing several images of vultures. One of the terracotta panels on the temple walls shows two vultures feasting on a human corpse and several other panels show vultures in different postures.
Bengal is known for its terracotta temples. Starting from temple complex Bishnupur to the temples of Aatpur, Bansberia, Guptipara and Kalna West Bengal has the distinction of housing some of the finest terracotta works in the world. But apart from these well known temples West Bengal is also home to hundreds of lesser known terracotta temples scattered in the remote villages of South Bengal. Kotolpur, in the Jangipara block of the Hooghly district, is one such village which has the distinction of housing one such terracotta temple.
Fanush ~ Sachin Mukherjee’s amazing creation
Bhadreswar, Hooghly, West Bengal
Also see: My compilation on Fanush
For Sachin Mukherjee of Bhadreswar the childhood fantasy of fanush (paper made hot air balloons) making has turned out to be a life long obsession. Fanush (ফানুস, also spelt as Phanush or Phanus) making and flying has been a Sachin Mukherjees passion for the last 60 years.