Rautara, a village in Amta II block of Howrah district about 57 kilometres from Kolkata can be reached in just less than two hours time. The village has a number of terracotta temples of which Damodar Temple of Sarkarpara deserves mention. The south-facing barochala (twelve roofed) temple has an adjoining nahabatkhana, an aatchala dolmancha and an octagonal rasmancha in the same compound.
But apart from this temple complex there is another interesting thing here in Rautara. It is a wooden pancha ratna (five pinnacled) rath or chariot placed on the side of the road.
Infact you will spot this rath on your left, if you walk into Sarkarpara from the main road. This spectucular chariot once adorned the roads of Rautara but now the glory of the bygone days are only memories as the same is not used. I was simply spellbound by the exqusite craftsmanship of labourers. If you look at the chariot from the front you will still find the name – Ram Choudhury Roy, the founder carved in wood. The chariot was later restored in 1335 Bangabda; or 1850 Sakabda which when converted into Gregorian calendar dates back to 1928. One thing is remarkable that the restoration dates are carved in wood and it mentions Bangabda, Sakabda and the English calendar.
I was told that the chariot was built in 1853 and the last time it was restored was in 1981. I also found a name carved in wood on the chariot itself – Sri Nani Lal De – possibly he built the rath.
Another thing which is interesting is that it has pictures from Krishnalila. The carvings are superb and in most of the sculpture the original colour is there.
The chariot requires immediate restoration to protect it from further decay.
To reach there:
The best option is to go by car. The distance is roughly 57 kilometers from Kolkata. A hour-and-a-half journey will land you to Rautara. Park your car at a suitable place and the best option is to walk on foot to cover the places. Alternately, you can board the bus going to Rautara from Howrah bus stand and you will reach there roughly in two hours fifteen minutes time. Or, you may even take the local train to Amta. The time taken is roughly one hour forty five minutes to reach Amta. From there you have to arrange your suitable means of transport to reach Rautara. The distance between Amta station to Rautara is roughly sixteen killometers.
Date of Posting: 25th August, 2020.