The Durga Puja of Garalgacha Jamidar Bari located in Chanditala II block of Serampore subdivision of Hooghly district dates back to 1767. This year I visited the Jamidar Bari popularly known as Babuder Bari twice – on Sasthi and Nabami.
The Durga Puja in Garalgacha Jamidar Bari is a grand affair. When I visited there in the afternoon of Sasthi, I found that finishing touch is given to the idol. I was simply mesmerised by the grandeur of the house. The outer portion is white in colour while the inside is red, though you can spot both the colours inside. The pillars and arches simply adds to its beauty. The windows are coloured green.
I was so much loved by its beauty that I decided to visit it again and on the afternoon of Nabami I again paid a visit there and this time with my family. At that time Nabami Puja is going on and the courtyard is filled with people of all age groups – some are family members while others have come from nearby places and there are people who have come all the way from Kolkata. At the outset I must say that this Jamidar Bari is well maintained. There are provisions for hand sanitisers and disposable face masks. Big pedestal fans are placed in different corners and there are chairs also.
The autumn sky, red-white interiors, the thakurdalan, the decorated carpet and the blue chairs simply adds beauty to this bonedi puja. The protima is of traditional ek chala and very gorgeous. It was built in this dalan from the auspicious day of Janmastami with the start of Kathamo puja.
Now coming to its history. The Garalgacha Jamidar Bari was built in 1767 and I was told that puja continued from the same year. In that context the Durga Puja here is more than 250 years old. According to Shri Riju Mukherjee, family member, the puja was first started by Naba Kishore Mukhopadhyay. It was carried on by the successive generations – Radhanath Mukhopadhyay – Dwarikanath Mukhopadhyay – Debendranath Mukhopadhyay – Harihar Mukhopadhyay- Rabindranath Mukhopadhyay – Rathindranath Mukhopadhyay and by his sons. Currently the house as well as the puja is looked after by Tridibesh Mukherjee.
Here the puja is performed following the Sakta rituals. Annabhog and Kichuri bhog is offered to the goddess. There is no practice of Kumari Puja here but I was told that Dhuno porano is held on the day of Astami.
Just opposite to the main entrance there are two aatchala Shiva temples where daily worship is performed. I even spot a pancharatna rath (chariot) kept inside an enclosure.
How to go there:
Garalgacha Jamidar Bari can be reached both by road and rail. The nearest railway station is Dankuni Junction which can be reached both from Sealdah – Dankuni section and from Howrah via Howrah – Barddhaman chord line. From the station one can hire an auto or a toto and reach the Jamidar Bari. If you want to come by road it be reached both from north and south. Those coming from north can avail Belghoria Expressway and after crossing Bally Bridge come straight to Dankuni. From there cross Kalikapur Bridge and come to Garalgacha. Those coming from south can avail Kona Expressway after crossing Vidyasagar Setu and reach Dankuni. Its less than an hour drive from Kolkata.
Date of posting: 15th October, 2021.