Posts Tagged ‘Hooghly’

Experience Ganges, a bus and cruise tour along Hooghly River

January 12, 2022 2 comments

Experience Ganges

3 day & 2 night bus and cruise tour along Hooghly River

Rivers always played an important role in shaping civilizations. The Hooghly River, a distributory of the Ganga (or Ganges), is no exception. The river have played an important role in shaping the history of colonial India.

Experience Ganges Group at Jalashree Floating Restaurant, Chandannagar

Experience Ganges Group at Jalashree Floating Restaurant, Chandannagar

Calcutta (now Kolkata), the first capital of British India and the second city of the empire was also established on the Bank of the River Hooghly. It was not only British but other European power also had there presence along the river. This included Bandel (Portuguese), Chinsurah (Dutch), Chandannagar (French) and Serampore (Danish).

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Sayed Jamaluddin Mosque, Adi Saptagram

September 5, 2018 2 comments

Sayed Jamaluddin Mosque

Adi Saptagram, Hooghly District

Adi Saptagram (literally meaning ancient seven villages) is a station on the Howrah – Burdwan Main Line and is the located just beyond Bandel. According to legend the seven sons of the King of Kannuj left their royal life and travelled all the way to Tribeni in Bengal.

Sayed Jamaluddin Mosque, Adi Saptagram

Sayed Jamaluddin Mosque, Adi Saptagram

At Tribeni the river Bhagirati, a distributary  of Ganga, distributes into three parts the central is Bhagarati (often refereed to as Ganga). The one on the west is Saraswati and one on the east us Jamuna.

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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).


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 10 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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Bandel ~ Church and Imambara

September 11, 2013 33 comments


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.

Bandel Church “Our Lady of the Happy Voyage,” Bandel, Hooghly, West Bengal

Bandel Church “Our Lady of the Happy Voyage,” Bandel, Hooghly, 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.

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Semaphore Towers ~ A Pre – Telegram Communication System

July 17, 2013 47 comments

Semaphore Towers

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).

Semaphore Tower, Parbatichak, Arambagh, Hooghly, West Bengal
Semaphore Tower, Parbatichak, Arambagh, Hooghly, West Bengal

Its a semaphore tower, quiet a few of which still dot the rural as well as urban landscapes of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

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Rajrajeshwar Temple ~ Kotalpur, Hooghly

March 13, 2013 9 comments

Rajrajeshwar Temple ~ Kotalpur, Hooghly

~ Unusual Terracotta Panels ~

Rajrajeshwar Temple ~ Kotalpur, Hooghly

Rajrajeshwar Temple ~ Kotalpur, Hooghly

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.

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Fanush ~ Sachin Mukherjee’s amazing creation

December 26, 2012 2 comments

Fanush ~ Sachin Mukherjee’s amazing creation

Bhadreswar, Hooghly, West Bengal

Also see: My compilation on Fanush

"Fanush Man" Sachin Mukherjee and his team, Bhadreswar, Hooghly

“Fanush Man” Sachin Mukherjee and his team, Bhadreswar, Hooghly

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.

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Mahisasuramardini on Bengal Terracotta

October 3, 2012 14 comments

Mahisasuramardini on Bengal Terracotta

~ A compilation on Mahisasuramardani panels on Bengal Terracotta Temples ~

See also: Mahabharata on Bengal Terracotta

Mythology presents goddess Durga as the genius of destruction springing into existence on occasion to fight out destroy the evil forces jeopardising the values and virtues of the earth and also posing threats to god’s creation.

Mahisasurmardini, one of the most popular form of goddesses Durga, is described as a slayer of the bull – shaped monster Mahisasur, who challenged the ocean and the Himalayas. Mahishasur is said to be like a roaring cloud and regarded as a Danava and Asura. Mahishasur was like a storm capable of defeating the in battle, till such time goddess caused his slain.

The most popular form of Durga appearing on on Bengal Terracotta Temple is the episode of slaying the buffalo demon (Mahishasur). Durga riding her vehicle, lion is mostly accompanied by her daughters and sons, namely Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh.

The Mahisasuramardini motif is common on many of the late medieval brick temples of Bengal, irrespective of the worshiped deity to which the temple belongs.

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Mitra Mustafi Family Trilogy

May 23, 2012 9 comments

Mita Mustafi Family Trilogy

Ula Birnagar, Sukharia and Sripur

In the early 18th century Rameshwar Mitra of Ula, worked as the Auditor General in the court of Murshid Kuli Khan in Murshidabad. In 1704 Rameswar Mitra received official Mustaufi title from Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.

Rameswar Mitra made a huge fortune and constructed several mansions and temples in ULa, which later came on to be known as Ula Birnagar.

Ula Birnagar

Birnagar, Nadia

Jora Bangla Temple, Ula Birnagar, Nadia

Jora Bangla Temple, Ula Birnagar, Nadia

Some of the early brick temples of Bengal was built in the form of thatched hut and came to be known as the Bangla Temple. The architects soon started making more elaborate temples by joining two Bangla temples side by side, which came to be known as the Jora – Bangla style.

Sadly only a few Bangla and Jora – Bangla temple have survived the test of time and can be still seen to this day. The Mitra – Mustafi family temple, at Ula Birnagar, can be considered as one of the finest example of Jora – Bangla Temple of West Bengal.

Built in 1694 the temple, is approached by a triple arched entrance, and  has elaborate terracotta decoration of the front side. Panels includes, scenes from Krishna Lila, Ramayan, Gods & Goddesses and scenes from social life.

Sadly the Mitra Mustafi Mansion have long crumbled to dust and the famed Chandi Mandap with elaborate wood carvings lies in utter neglect. A branch of the Mitra Mustafi family still stays in Ula Birnagar in a small newly constructed house. Read more…


Somrabazar, Hooghly

Rameswar Mitra’s son Anantaram Mitra left Ula and settled in Sukharia in 1712. Anatram also built a huge mansion in Sukharia along with several temples. The mansion is in ruins and many of the temples have been converted into modern structures and in the process loosing their beauty and grace.

Ananda Bhairabi Temple, Sukharia

Ananda Bhairabi Temple, Sukharia

The 25 pinnacled Anandabhirabi Temple is the star attraction of Sukharia.  The approach to the Ananda Bhairavi Temple, housing the idol of Anandamoyee Kali, is flanked by two parallel rows containing six temples each. Five of the temples on each row are of aat – chala (8 sloped roofs) type while one each are of pnacha – ratna (5 pinnacled) type. One of the panch – ratna temple is dedicated to Ganesh while the rest nine houses shiva – lingas. The temple has under gone several renovations and reconstruction and in the process lost much of its beauty and grace.

Hara Sundari Temple, built in 1813 is a naba – ratna (9 pinnacled) temple has a approach similar to Ananda Bhairabi Temple only in this case each row consist of a total of seven temples consisting of two pancha – ratna and five aat – chalas temples. This temple has recently been restored by the Mitra Mustafi Family. Also read Sukharia Travelogue and Restoration of Sukharia Temples


Balagarh, Hooghly

In 1708 Rameshwar Mitra’s eldest son Raghunandan also left Ula and settled in Sripur. Taking advantage of the river trade he soon made a fortune and established a fort complex complete with several temples and other religious structures decorated with elaborate and intricate wood curving. The fort has long crumbled into dust but a few of the temples have survived the test of time and can still be seen to this day.

Boat Making, Sripur, Balagarh

Boat Making, Sripur, Balagarh

The fort complex contains a Rash Mancha and several temples, but the star attraction of the complex is the Chandi Mandap, with its intricate wooden carvings.

The Chandi Mandap constructed in 1707 by the Mitra Mustafi family, has recently been declared a protected monument. The hay thatched roof has been replaced with corrugated sheet, thus robbing it of its former beauty and grace. But the real wonder lies inside the Mandap, where the Durga Pujo is held to this day. The three walls of the Chandi Mandap are decorated with the most intricate wood curved panels. The wooden panels are very similar to the terracotta panels that dot the walls of the numerous temples of Bengal. But the wood work is not restricted to the panels alone. The pillars and the roof beams are curved with the finest floral, geometric & figurative designs.

The century old boat industry still survives, but is only restricted to small boats. The banks all along the Hooghly in Sripur is lined with boat making workshops. Read more…

Special Thanks: Mr Shyamal Mitra of Mitra Mustafi family.


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