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.
Hathtola Mahaprabhu Temple, Ilambazar, Birbhum
Ilambazar in Birbhum houses a number of temples of which Hathtola Mahaprabhu Temple deserves special mention. The temple is situated a little less than 20 kilometres from Bolpur. It is a brick-built temple with terracotta decoration on all sides.
Continue reading Hathtola Mahaprabhu Temple, Ilambazar, Birbhum
Temples of Kotulpur, Bankura
Kotulpur in Bankura district of West Bengal also houses a number of temples. It is located 38 kilometres from Bishnupur. It can also be reached from Arambagh in Hooghly. The distance of Kotulpur from Arambagh railway station is roughly 26 kilometres.
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.
Gopal & Lakshmi Janardan Temple, Ghurisha, Birbhum
Birbhum district in West Bengal has a number of terracotta temples of which the nabaratna Gopal & Lakshmi Janardan Temple in Ghurisha located in Illambazar block deserves mention. Richly decorated with terracotta this temple was founded by Kshetranath Dutta in 1145 Bangabda ie, way back in 1739 A.D.Continue reading Gopal & Lakshmi Janardan Temple, Ghurisha, Birbhum
Temples of Sonamukhi, Bankura
There are many terracotta temples in Bankura district specially in Bishnupur. In fact when we speak of such temples, the first name that comes to our mind is about the temples which have intricate terracotta decoration built by the Malla kings in Bishnupur.Continue reading Temples of Sonamukhi, Bankura
Durga Puja of Roychowdhury Bari, Baruipur
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.
Durga Puja of Dutta Bari, Baranagar
Durga Puja, being the greatest festival of the Bengalees is not only celebrated in puja pandals as barowari puja but it is equally celebrated in households across Bengal.Continue reading Durga Puja of Dutta Bari, Baranagar
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