Durga Puja, being the greatest festival of the Bengalees is celebrated in many households of Bengal for more than a century. One such household is the Roychowdhury family of Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district. About a mile from Baruipur railway station, this puja will definitely take you back to three centuries. An old structure which has got a fresh coat of paint due to the festival will welcome you inside the courtyard where you will witness the old durga dalan.
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.”
Joynagar, a town and muncipality of South 24 Parganas district, situated just 31 miles south of Kolkata, has a number of temples but which made Joynagar famous is for the confectionary of Joynagarer Moa.
South 24 Parganas has a number of heritage places of which Kamarpole is one in which one will come across a number of temples, rasmancha, dolmancha and even tulsimancha in one complex.
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).
There are a number of temples situated in South 24 Parganas district of which Keshaveshwar Shiv Mandir of Mandirbazar in Diamond Harbour subdivision deserves special mention. This 60 feet south-facing very large aatchala (eight rooofed) temple with porch is situated in Ramnathpur village by the side of the main road about five hundred metres south from Mandirbazar crossing.
Bawali, a village in Budge Budge II block of South 24 Parganas district was once regarded as a temple town. Here one can see a number of temples, of which now most are in ruins belonged to the Mondals, who were the zamindars of this area.