Manchas are of three types – rasmancha, dolmancha and tulsimancha. In my previous blog posts I have written about Rasmancha and Dolmancha. Today I will concentrate on tulsimancha. Of the three manchas, tulsimancha is the smallest and is mainly found in domestic households and also in many temples of West Bengal. A tulsimancha is built centering a tulsi tree.
Manchas are of three types – dolmancha, rasmancha and tulsimancha. Of these tulsimanchas are present not only in domestic households but also in many temples of West Bengal. Of the three a rasmancha is larger than a dolmancha while the latter is larger than a tulsimancha. According to David McCutchion, “The dolmancha was most commonly built in the eighteenth century, …… they are spread over the whole of Bengal, wherever Krishna was worshipped.”
There are a number of temples rich in terracotta in Amta II block of Howrah district of West Bengal namely in the villages of Jhikira, Rautara and Amragiri. Coming from Howrah, the first village is Amragiri on your right.
Manchas are of three types – rasmancha, dolmancha and tulsimancha. A rasmancha (a temple-like structure generally octagonal in shape with the sides open and situated on a raised-platform) is the largest among the three. It was very common in the nineteenth century Bengal. The rasmancha is normally smaller in size than the main temple where the Radha Krishna deities reside throughout the year. The main purpose of building the rasmancha is to enable the people to witness the deities (here Radha Krishna) from all the sides on a special occasion (Rashyatra).
Belur Rasbari in Howrah district of West Bengal is located close to Belur Math and just opposite to Kuthi Ghat in Baranagar on the other side of the Ganges. This Rasbari was founded by Purna Chandra Dawn, eldest son of Shiv Krishna Dawn of Jorasanko on 21st Jaistha, 1297 and according to Gregorian calendar it was in June, 1890.
In my first blog on Howrah’s ‘bonedi‘ families published a few days back, I have covered the houses of Bally, Belur and Salkia. But there are also some houses in Andul and Shibpur, where Durga Puja is not only old but also equally famous. In Part-II of my blog on Durga Puja of Howrah’s ‘bonedi‘ families, I try to include them.
1. Buri Maar Aaatchala, Chaitalpara, Bally
According to Sri Suniti Ganguly, Vice-President of Bally Chaitalpara Buri Maar Aatchala Puja Committee, this puja dates back to nearly 400 years and was started during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Acutally this puja was a household puja but now it has been taken over by the puja committee. This puja is named as Buri Maar puja only because of its age; it started nearly four centuries back.
One can find a number of old temples in Bally of Howrah district. One such old temple, I mean two old aatchala (eight roofed) temples in one raised platform at 15, Kali Prasanna Coomar (Kumar) Street (which was previously known as Sen Para) in Bally deserve mention. There are actually two temples placed side by side opposite to a pond known as Coomar (Kumar) Lake.