Madan Gopal Temple of Mellak is not only the oldest temple of Howrah district but it is also one of the two state protected monuments along with Dadhimadhav Temple, Amragiri, Howrah.
Basanti Puja of Kundu Chowdhury family, Andul, Howrah
Basanti Puja, like Durga Puja is a four-day festival held in the Bengali month of Chaitra (March-April) every year. In many bonedi households of Bengal, this puja is still performed following all rituals. There are a few houses where both Goddess Basanti and Durga are worshipped. One such household is that of Kundu Chowdhury of Mohiari, Andul in Howrah district.
I am very lucky to witness both the pujas. You have to walk through a green-coloured grand entrance and turn left to see the magnificent thakurdalan of the Kundu Chowdhury’s. Here both the pujas are held and the most unique thing is both Basanti and Durga pujas are performed in the same kathamo (structure).
The puja is meticulously performed here following the Baisnav rituals. The family deity is Lakshmi-Janardan who is worshipped on a daily basis and during the pujas it is worshipped along with the goddess in the thakurdalan. Goddess Basanti is worshipped here in the form of Hara-Gouri. I was told by a family member that Basanti puja started roughly three centuries back during the time of Ramakanta Kundu Chowdhury. Later after a little over three decades Durga Puja started here.
The protima is built in this dalan and that too following a tradition. A day after Shiv Chaturdashi, there is a Kali puja, more specifically a Raksha Kali puja is held every year. A harisabha is held at Andul Mourigram bazaar after nine days from Raksha Kali puja. The bamboo which is to be used in the kathamo or structure is first cut over there and that marks the beginning of kathamo puja of Goddess Basanti.
As a lemon is sacrificed in Durga puja likewise a water melon during Basanti puja. Vegetarian food is dedicated to the deities. Atap chal (heat rice) in the form of naibidya is given to the goddess. At night sital or cold bhog in the form of luchi and sweets are offered to Goddess Basanti. I was told by a family member that there is also one boat puja which is held on the night of Nabami and later in the morning of Dasami it was again taken to its old place. Earlier the immersion used to take place on the banks of river Saraswati and, at that time the river was navigable.
How to go there?
The house can be reached both by road and rail route. Take any train going to Andul from Howrah station (South-Eastern Railway) and get down at Maurigram. A ten minute ride in a toto will take you to the house of Kundu Chowdhury.
Else, one can board the bus going to Andul from Rabindra Sadan stoppage crossing Vidyasagar Setu (Second Hooghly Bridge) and get down at the last stoppage. From there take a toto and reach there. The bus ride is more or less about half-an-hour.
Date of posting: 29th March, 2023.
Basanti Puja of Bally Harisabha
Durga Puja, is no doubt, the greatest festival of the Bengalees. It is held in autumn; whereas Basanti Puja is held six months later in spring. It is normally held in the Bengali month of Chaitra (April). Though not celebrated in such a grand way like the Durga Puja; but still it is worshipped in a number of places. One such place is Bally Harisabha of 207, Goswami Para Road in the district of Howrah for more than eighty years.
Shyamsundar Temple, Jhikira, Howrah
Jhikira and Rautara are two side-by-side villages in Amta II block of Howrah district. They are famous for temples – some have even intricate terracotta works on them. The oldest temple in Jhikira is Shyamsundar Temple of Madhyapara. Continue reading Shyamsundar Temple, Jhikira, Howrah
Temples of Rautara, Howrah
Rautara, a village in Amta II block of Howrah district about 57 kilometres from Kolkata is situated on the eastern side of Jhikira, another nearby village. The village of Rautara has a number of terracotta temples and other architecture of which Damodar Temple in Sarkarpara deserves special mention. The south-facing barochala (twelve roofed) temple has an adjoining aatchala dolmancha, a nahabatkhana and an octagonal rasmancha. This type of temple is pretty rare in Bengal temple architecture. Possibly this barochala has ratha projections.
Willingdon Bridge or more popularly known as Bally Bridge (now called Vivekananda Setu) will be celebrating its 90th birthday today. The bridge was inagurated by the then Viceroy of India Marquess of Willingdon on 29th December, 1931. A stone plaque commemorating the event is found at the Dakshineswar side of the bridge, though the condition of the same is not in a good state.Continue reading Bally Bridge
Rashyatra of Belur Rashbari
Rashyatra or Rash festival is celebrated on the auspicious Kartick purnima (full moon) tithi in many areas of West Bengal. In some places even a month-long fair is also held. One such place is in Belur in Howrah district where rash festival is famous.Continue reading Rashyatra of Belur Rashbari
Durga Puja of Buri Maar Aatchala, Chaitalpara, Bally
There are a number of old Durga pujas in Howrah district and, mainly they are celebrated in bonedi households. Of the few such pujas I visited a couple of years back I have come across one at Chaitalpara in Bally, popularly known as Buri Maar Aatchala. It is not known for sure when it actually started but according to sources it began about three hundred years back as a household puja.Continue reading Durga Puja of Buri Maar Aatchala, Chaitalpara, Bally
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