Raas Mela or the Raas fair is a grand celebration dedicated to the deity Madan Mohan of Cooch Behar. In fact, its grandness makes it a festival and is basically observed during the month of November according to English calendar and in the month of Kartik as per Bengali calendar. It is one of the most popular festivals of Cooch Behar which attracts people from in and around the district and also from the neighboring state of Assam. It is conducted on the Parade Ground by the local municipal corporation and holds a special significance for the people of Cooch Behar.

History of Raas Mela


cooch-behar-raas-melaThe Madan Mohan temple was built by Maharaja Bripendra Narayan of Cooch Behar during the 18th century and he is also the pioneer of Raas Mela. Raas Mela was initially held at Vetaguri by the kings and subsequently on the temple premises beside Bairagi Dighi. Presently, the venue has been shifted to the Parade Ground to accommodate more people. The idol of Madan Mohan is a unique one made from 8 metallic compounds and the original one was stolen in 1994. However, the shrine was not kept vacant for long and there was another idol of the same stature.

Madan Mohan is another name for Lord Krishna and was worshipped as the family deity by the Koch Kings. In keeping with the tradition the same idol is worshipped by the followers now. The only difference between the idol at Nabadwip another famous religious place of Hindus and the one in Cooch Behar is that here Madan Mohan is worshipped without his consort Sri Radha. The main attraction of the fair is the Raas Chakra standing tall in the center of the fair. The Raas Chakra is made out of bamboo or posts and paper into a semi-cylindrical structure revolving around a pivot. It is found on the temple premises and signifies secularism in the state of West Bengal. The Raas Chakra is decorated by a Muslim family since ages and has floral patterns on paper and pictures of Lord Madan Mohan all over. It is 30 feet tall and is considered to be a source of bliss by the devotees.

How to reach Cooch Behar Raas Mela


The Mela continues for 18 days and is inaugurated by the District Magistrate of Cooch Behar. You can arrive at the Raas Mela by air, road or rail. Reach at Cooch Behar station and take a rickshaw to arrive at the Parade Ground. Alternatively, you can take the National Highway to reach Cooch Behar by your own vehicle. Flight travelers will arrive at the Cooch Behar airport or Bagdogra airport and from there hire rickshaws and taxis to reach the Parade Ground. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation also provides special buses from all parts of the district upto 11 pm to arrive at the fair ground.

Accomodation in Cooch Behar


Cooch Behar is dotted with hotels of all budgets and you can put up at anyone. There are some guest houses near the ground like Prabas, Chilarai Abasan and Pantha Niwas maintained by the municipality. If you wish to stay at hotels advance booking is recommended.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Amartya Bag

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Murshidabad is a place of historic importance situated on the southern bank of River Bhagirathi. It was the last capital of Independent Bengal from 1717 to 1773 when the East India Company shifted its capital to Kolkata. The present city is renowned for its silks and places of historical interest. It also serves as the district head quarters of Murshidabad district.

Attractions & Activities in Murshidabad


Murshidabad is renowned for its places of historical importance. The tale of Bengal’s golden era prior to the British rule comes alive in Murshidabad.

Hazaar Duaari, Murshidabad, West-Bengal

Hazarduari
Named after the 1000 doors it contains, this palace was built by Duncan McLeod in 1837 for the ruling Nawab. It showcases the European architecture of yesteryears a nd has been converted into a museum at present. It has been named as the largest site museum by the, ‘Archaeological Survey of India.’ Continue Reading →

Imambara A hallmark of Islamic architecture in Murshidabad, West Bengal

Imambara
A revered site of Shia Muslims, the Imambara was built on the ruins of the wooden one, which had been gutted by fire. It is 680 feet long and is situated on the banks of the River Bhagirathi and is divided into three distinct sections. Continue Reading →

Wasef Manzil
The palace resembles a castle in some ways and was used as a residence by Nawab Wasaf Ali Mirza. It has been converted into a museum now and is maintained by the ‘Archaeological Survey of India.’ There are several marble statues and a fountain in the garden in front of the building. Continue Reading →

Mursidabad Katra Mosque A Must See for History Buffs inside, West Bengal

Katra Mosque
This historical mosque was believed to have been commissioned by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan in 1723. It could accommodate around 2000 people who offered Namaz, at the same time. The famous canon Jahan Kosha (Destroyer of World) can be seen here. Some parts of the mosque had been damaged in the earthquake of 1897. Continue Reading →

 

Sholapith Devi Durga, Murshidabad

Art and Craft
Ivory, wood, Indian Cork (Sholapith) and Silk industry was very rich culture when the Nawabs of Bengal were the rulers of Bengal at Murshidabad. But it had to face a crisis when the Nawabs lost their kingdom and independence during the time of British Empire.  But the art of silk sari has maintained its quality till now. Now a day’s Murshidabad Silk production is going down because of the low earnings of the sari makers. Continue Reading →

 

Jahankosha Canon, Murshidabad

Jahankosha Canon
Jahankosha canon weighing 16,880 lb is 17.5 feet long with a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. The diameter of the touch hole is 1.5 inches and the diameter of the orifice is 6 inches.  Continue Reading →

Moti Jheel
Moti Jheel is a charming horseshoe shaped lake located 1 kilometer south of Lalbagh. The land adjoining Moti Jheel witnessed the celebration of Lord Clive after he acquired Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1765.  Continue Reading →

Cemetery of Siraj-Ud-Daula
The cemetery of Siraj-ud-Daulah or Khoshbag as it is popularly known as is located at the Bhagirathi River bank in the west. The tomb is also shared by his wife, Lutf-un-nisa and his grandfather, Alivardi Khan. Continue Reading →

Mosque at Khoshbag Cemetary
This mosque is located inside the premises of Khoshbag which is the final resting place of the Nawabs belonging to the Afshar dynasty ruling Bengal. It has the tombs of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, his wife, grandfather and grandfather’s mother. Continue Reading →

War Memorial at the Battle of Plassey Ground, Murshidabad

War Memorial at the Battle of Plassey Ground
The battle ground of Plassey lying on the banks of the Bhagirathi River holds lot of historical significance. The British East India Company defeated the last independent Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 which decided the fate of Calcutta and India. Continue Reading →

Nimak Haram Deori Inner Side, Murshidabad

Nimak Haram Deori
Nimak Haram Deori is the main gate leading to Mir Jafar, the traitor’s palace Jafargunj. It is located at a distance of only 1 kilometer from the magnificent Hazarduari. Visitors cannot enter into the palace as it is well guarded. Continue Reading →

Nasipur Palace
Nasipur Palace - Nasipur Raj Bari, Murshidabad According to Holiday HotSpot, Nasipur Palace is one of the primary attractions of Murshidabad which generally brims with visitors. Constructed in 1723-24 by Murshi Quli Khan this imposing structure has high minarets. Continue Reading →

Kathgola Palace
Kathgola Palace - Katgola Bagan The Kathgola Palace built in the garden premises of Raja Dhanpat Singh Dugar and Lakshmipath Singh Dugar is located in the southern part of Nasipur. It is an impressive structure constituting a central drawing room, a library, billiard room, bedroom and dining room. Continue Reading →

Footi Mosque
Footi Mosque or masjid as it called in Urdu is an unfinished work of Nawab Sarafaraz Khan. It is located at a distance of a mile from Hazarduari Palace. Continue Reading →

Ghari Minar
The Ghari Minar or the Clock Tower of Murshidabad, West Bengal is located on coordinates 24°11′15″N 88°16′10″E / 24.187381°N 88.269315°E is a famous tourists spot. It is located to the south of Hazarduari Palace in the Nizamat Fort premises. Continue Reading →

Chalk Masjid
The Chalk Masjid or Mosque in Murshidabad is quite a popular tourist attraction. It was constructed by Mirjafar, the infamous traitor who killed the last Independent Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah in 1767. The Chalk Masjid stands tall at 125 feet and is quite an imposing structure. Continue Reading →

Jafraganj Muqbara
Jafarganj Muqbara or cemetery was built on an area of 3.51 acres by Mir Jafar. It is located approximately half a mile north to the Nizamat Fort premises inside the bigger campus of Namak Haram Deuri. Continue Reading →

Dutch Cemetery
The Dutch Cemetery is located next to the Cossimbazar railway station at Kalkapur where the Dutch owned huge factories in the historical times. The grandeur of the Dutch has been ruined and small tombs of 43 in number remain to this day.  Continue Reading →

Cossimbazar Kuthi
Cossimbazar Kuthi is a relatively less popular tourist spot in Murshidabad. The bazaar area used to be famous due to its silk production which has reduced these days. However, the Cossimbazar Kuthi stall stands at present. Continue Reading →

Adinathji Mandir - Pareshnath Temple, Kathgola Palace Garden, Murshidabad

Adinathji Mandir or Pareshnath Temple
Adinathji Mandir is situated in the premises of Kathgola gardens which also houses the famous Kathgola Palace. Adinathji Mandir is also known as Pareshnath Temple dedicated to Bhagwan Adishvar. Continue Reading →

Char bangla Mandir
The Char Bangla Mandir or temple is located in Azimganj, Baranagore of Murshidabad district. It was built by Rani Bhavani, the Queen of Natore in 18th century. Continue Reading →

Jain temples of Azimganj
Azimganj small town in Murshidabad is home to 7 Jain temples of immense historical, architectural and spiritual value are located. Continue Reading →

Roshni Bag
Roshni Bag is the mausoleum or muqbara of Suja-ud-Daulah located in Murshidabad district. Suja-ud-Daulah dies in 1739 and was buried in this spot. When translated in English it means ‘garden of lights’. Continue Reading →

Farah Bag
Farah Bag is the third of the garden trio in Lalbagh which means ‘garden of pleasure’. Farah Bagh is the smallest among the garden trio and is located on the banks of Bhagirath River. Dahapara, the famous settlement of the Qanungo is situated on the south-western part of Farah Bagh. Continue Reading →

Bhubaneshwari Mandir

Nearby Places in Murshidabad


Cossimbazar Palace, MurshidabadCossimbazar Palace
This is a census town in Murshidabad, renowned for its historical importance. It is believed to have been a great trading center before Calcutta came up as the primary hub of commercial activities. Continue Reading →

Saidabad
This town is situated in between Murshidabad and Berhampur and had been an Armenian stronghold in the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue Reading →

Baranagore
This riverside palace was constructed by the Zamindars of Natore ( now in Bangladesh). The place is linked with the tales of the famous Rani Bhavani and her efficiency in managing the zamindari. Continue Reading →

Berhampur
Also known as Baharampur, it is the best urban town of west Bengal. It is famous for Karna Subarna, the ancient capital of King Shashank of Bengal and the remnants of the British army which includes the four canons located at four corners of the Barrack Square. Continue Reading →

How to Reach Murshidabad


Murshidabad is well connected to Kolkata and the North of Bengal by road and railways.

Railways: Lalgola Passenger, Hazar Duari Express and Bhagirathi Express are some of the trains plying from Kolkata to Murshidababad. The duration of journey is about 4:30 to 5 hours with the fare ranging from Rs 0-Rs 150 per passenger.

Road: A number of State Transport buses as well as private buses are available regularly for travelling between Kolkata and Murshidabad. It is also possible to rent a luxury taxi and travel by road. Car rentals cost around Rs 4500 for a round trip.

When to Visit  Murshidabad


Murshidabad is accessible all through the year. However, the months of September- February are particularly pleasant due to the mild weather.

Accommodation in Murshidabad


Murshidabad offers a large number of mid to cheap range hotels and lodges including youth hostels. Accomodation at WBTDC’s ‘Berhampore Tourist Lodge’ can be confirmed from Kolkata as well.

Baharampur Tourist Lodge
34 KN Road, Baharampur, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 600 – 1,200
Phone: 250439

Paramount Hotel
Hazi Abdul Kader NTPC, Murishidabad
Tariff: Rs. 700 – 1,000

Sunshine Hotel
Panchanantala, Berhampore
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 2,000
Telephone: +91-3482-277322/257798/277670

Hotel Sangam
Near to Berhampore port, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 800

Sonar Tary Lodge
SDO More, Dumkal, Murshidabad
Tariff Rs. 400 – 600

The Fame Hotel
Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 5,000

Manjusha Hotel
Lalbagh, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 700

Indrajit Hotel
Station Road, Murishidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 800

Bhagirathi Hotel
49/1,K.N.Road, Berhampore, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 900

Hotel Sabar Proyo
Lalkgola Bazar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 600

Hotel Indigo, Raghunathganj
Murshidabad Road, Jangipur
Tariff: Rs. 800 – 1,050

Hotel Anwesha, Hazarduary, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 1,000
Telephone: +91 9434115470

Maa Tara Hindu Hotel, Nagar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 200 – 250

Niranjan Nibas, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600

New Mayur Hotel
92/8, Pilkhana Road Post, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500

Hotel Sagnik
77-Omrahaganj (Lalbagh), PO-Murshidabad, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 450 – 1,500

White House Hotel
Near Bus Stand, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 560 – 760

Prince Hotel, Omarpur Post
Ghorshala, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 800

Hotel Samrat, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 2,000

Provath Hotel, Nagar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 250 – 300

Sourav Lodge, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600

Hotel Asha, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 600

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tarun Pradhan

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Tussar Silk is produced from silkworms. It is also known as Tusser, Tushar and Tussah and the sarees made from this particular silk is very popular in India. Its popularity is due to the gold sheen and has shorter fibres. It is the chosen material for saris and also punjabis for Indian men. The gold sheen makes it appear rich textured and also shimmering. Bulk production is Tussar silk is done in India out of which around 40% is from West Bengal. The tussar silk sarees produced in Bankura are famous for their kantha stitch which is a particular type of stitching process done by hand instead of machines. Kantha stitched silk sarees are quite expensive and exquisite. Tussar silk sarees are available in various beautiful colors. Tussar silk is also used to make punjabis for men and salwar suits for ladies. These traditional apparels also appear beautiful made from this silk. Producing Tussar silk is considered to be a cottage industry in Bankura where a large number of handlooms are found. This is a tradition of Bankura and thus the weavers still maintain the conventional handloom process to produce the silk sarees. Tussar Silk is also known by another name which is Kosa Silk. Tussar Silk clothes are exported to Gulf countries, to the USA and also various European countries.

how-to-make-tussar-silk-bankura-murshidabad

Some of the characteristic features of Tussar Silk are:

  • Various natural shades
  • Light and airy
  • Provides a comfortable and cool feeling
  • Rich coarse texture
  • Delicate in nature

 

Maintaining Tussar Silk


Maintaining tussar silk clothes takes a little caring. Dry washing the clothes is the safest option so that it retains its natural texture. You can also use cold water for clothes other than sarees to wash off the dirt. But remember to wash it with gentle hands since it’s delicate. Avoid using chemical bleach and never dry in directly under the sun. Silk needs to breathe and hence you must not store in inside paper. Fold it nicely and store it. Some of the most popular colors in tussar silk are magenta, red, turquoise, gold, dark teal, ultramine, chocolate and purple.

Baluchari Sarees


The Bishnupur region in Bankura is famous for producing Baluchari sarees that are made from tussar silk with particular types distinct of patterns on them. Woven on Jacquard punch-card looms, the Baluchari sarees have pallus and borders with episodes from Mahabharata woven on them. These exclusive sarees woven by the weavers are beautiful specimens of traditional art. However, making Baluchari sarees entail a lengthy process. The silk strands are separately dyed and put in a loom after which punch cards hanging from the upper part of the loom are used to make the designs on the strands. The punch cards shave holes in them and are rectangular in shape with various designs on them. The dyed strands are made to pass through these holes and accumulate into precise forms on the loom making some of the most desirable sarees made from silk.

Image Source: Flickr

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Murshidabad is a tourist destination of great historical significance. Once the seat of the Nawabs of West Bengal, Murshidabad still has that old charm and grandeur. Art and craft in Murshidabad is an integral part of the lives of the residents. The craftsmen of this district of Bengal are extremely skilled and different types of art and craft is practiced in the region.

Ivory and wood Craft


The first is the Ivory and wood craft which spans throughout Murshidabad and is considered to be an industry employing a large number of the residents. This craft dates back to the time of Nawabs in Bengal where the courts used to be beautifully embellished with ivory and wood items. In those times this industry ran under the patronization of the Nawabs and also the noblemen of the court. In the past the carvers of Murshidabad were deemed to be the best with masterpieces that were displayed in the museums across the world. The industry has however faced decline over the last few decades. You can still find some nicely carved objects near Khagra bazaar.

Sholapith


Art-and-Craft-murshidabad-2The Sholapith or the Indian cork craft has sustained in Murshidabad and you will get some excellent pieces of art on the items made from shola. Sholapith is basically sponge-wood milky white in color. It is soft and delicate in nature. Beautiful items are made from this wood which has a diameter of 1.5 inches and grows in the marsh lands of Murshidabad. Sholapith is extremely malleable, spongy and light. Its brilliant luster and texture makes it perfect for lovely handicraft items to enhance your home décor. This wood is specially used for making the head gear of the Bengali brides during wedding ceremonies. However, the best specimens of sholapith items can be seen during Durga Puja, one of the most elaborate ceremonies of the Bengalis where the Goddess appears beautiful with sholapith huge backdrops and also with sholapith jewelry items. All these pieces are carefully strewn by the craftsmen with intricate designs on them. Every piece appears special. Floral motifs are popular among the sholapith designs. Peacocok boats, palanquins and garlands are also common.

Bell metal or Kansa


Bell metal works or Kansa as the Bengalis refer to it is another popular craft practiced by the skilled craftsmen of Murshidabad. It is a traditional craft basically used to make utensils and are manufactured in large quantities in Kandi, Baranagar, Berhampore and Khagra.  Iron chests, betelnut cutters and locks of superlative quality are also manufactured in these areas. There is a tradition of giving bell metal utensils as gifts to a bride during wedding. It is considered to be auspicious.

Silk


murshidabad-silk-murshidabad-artProduction of murshidabad silk and making sarees and other silk garments is a huge industry in Murshidabad. The clothes especially sarees are in high demand in the local, national and also international markets. The Baluchar town in Murchidabad produces the famous Baluchari sarees which are gorgeous to look at. Rich in composition, these sarees have silk brocaded designs on a silk base with lovely colors. Floral motifs along with scenes from daily life are popular and also colors like scarlet, green, yellow and blue are preferred by women. Know More →

Back to Murshidabad

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Pallab Seth, Jyoti Prakash Bhattacharjee, Viejito, Srikanth S

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The handmade artifacts of Bishnupur in Bankura are quite famous all over the world. Terracotta is the raw material with which the highly skilled craftsmen of Bishnupur create various artifacts which are magnificent in design and flawless in their shape.

Terracotta Potteries


Terracotta potteries and artifacts are Bengal’s wealth and have a long and glorious history. The theme of the artifact is usually a folk one and quite explicit in its execution. The clay used to make all the handcrafted items is gathered from the river beds, ditches and pits. Usually 2-3 types of clays are mixed to form an alloy to make the world class artifacts appreciated by people. The craftsmen still use the traditional form of kilns to bake the clay pots using firewood, dry leaves and twigs. The pots are baked at a temperature of 700-800 degree Celsius. Not only men but the women also help in creating these beautiful objects. The women potters generally work on the wheels to give the pots their round neck on the upper halves. These round necks are perfect in shape. The potters also make clay dolls and other toys for children. Most of these toys and dolls are cast in burnt clay moulds which are typical of Bishnupur.  Not only toys and pots, they also make animal figures, wind chimes and jewelry items from burnt clay or terracotta which is quite famous. The terracotta horse structures are treasured by tourists.

Dokra Metal Casting


Dokra metal casting is another interesting form of craft practiced by the tribes of Bishnupur who are known as the Dokra Damar. This eponymous crafting technique is basically done with wax and the items created have a lovely hue and texture. The process of Dokra casting is also referred to as ‘cire perdue’ technique or lost wax casting process. Dokra items have clay as their core material over which wax is coated. After the wax coating, a clay paste coating is applied on the model and dried for some time. The traditional hollow casting method is followed by which wax is replaced by another molten metal; in this case it is usually brass. A number of objects are made from dokra which include cutlery, jewelry items, lamp, chains, religious symbols, bells and many more. People who love tribal designs buy dokra objects to beautify their homes. Dokra jewelries are also popular among women. The art of okra is a surviving legacy of the region.

Handcrafted Silverware


Handcrafted silverware is also hallmark of Bishnupur, Bankura tradition of handicrafts. The art of making silver items is quite old in the region with many skilled craftsmen practicing it. Silver enameling is done on various figures of home décor to enhance the appearance and add to their charm. Filigree designs on silverware can be found in abundance in the region. The objects comprising of these designs look outstanding and delicate. Then there are items made from silver. Various figures, jewelry items, utensils are made from silver which are embellished with beautiful designs making them appear unparallel in their beauty. These can be the perfect gifts for special occasions.

Tussar Silk


Tussar Silk is produced from silkworms. It is also known as Tusser, Tushar and Tussah and the sarees made from this particular silk is very popular in India. Its popularity is due to the gold sheen and has shorter fibres. It is the chosen material for saris and also punjabis for Indian men. The gold sheen makes it appear rich textured and also shimmering. Bulk production is Tussar silk is done in India out of which around 40% is from West Bengal. The tussar silk sarees produced in Bankura are famous for their kantha stitch which is a particular type of stitching process done by hand instead of machines. Kantha stitched silk sarees are quite expensive and exquisite. Tussar silk sarees are available in various beautiful colors. Tussar silk is also used to make punjabis for men and salwar suits for ladies. These traditional apparels also appear beautiful made from this silk. Producing Tussar silk is considered to be a cottage industry in Bankura where a large number of handlooms are found. This is a tradition of Bankura and thus the weavers still maintain the conventional handloom process to produce the silk sarees. Tussar Silk is also known by another name which is Kosa Silk. Tussar Silk clothes are exported to Gulf countries, to the USA and also various European countries. Know More →

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Located in the Bankura district in West Bengal, Bishnupur is also known as Vishnupur. This town is situated in what was previously known as Rarh and is well known for its terracotta temples and a culinary delight named postor bora.

Tourist Locations at Bishnupur


Jorbangla Temple: Jorebangla Temple of Keshto Rai was erected during the 17th century by Raghunath Singha Dev II, who happened to be a local monarch. The roof of this temple is built in the chala style, which is a classical and eminently identifiable tradition of Bengali architecture. The temple also features terracotta carvings that can be described as elaborate.

Shyamrai Temple: Pancha Ratna Temple of Shyam Rai was also built by King Raghunath Singha during 1643. The walls in this temple also have the usual terracotta carvings and depict various incidents from the life of Krishna. This is also one of the bigger temples in Bishnupur.

Dalmadal Caman is historically important as well. It was said to have been used to protect the city when the Bargis or Maratha raiders attacked it.

Madanmohan Temple: The Madanmohan Temple was built by King Durjana Singh Deva during 1694 AD and it has been constructed in the Ekaratna style. It has a flat roof and is square in shape. It also features carved cornices that are topped by a pinnacle. The carvings on the temple walls are also lovely to look at and show scenes from mythological texts like Ramayana, Puranas and Mahabharat.

Rasmancha: The Rasmancha is the most age old structure in Bishnupur constructed using bricks. Bir Hambir built this pyramid like structure in 1587 and it is located right in the midst of the town. When the Rasa Festival is organized deities from all the other temples are brought to this place. Some canons, which were used during the reign of the Malla monarchs, can be seen here as well.

Lalbandh: Bir Singh built the seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh in 1658. Lakes were made for drinking water and to protect the town from enemy.

Bishnupur Fair: Newest attraction of Bishnupur is ‘Bishnupur Mela’ or ‘Bishnupur Fair’. It starts at 23rd December and ending date is 27th December near the Madanmohan Temple. Now it has become a national fair.

Bishnupur Utsav: A recent addition is the Bishnupur Utsav just after the fair. It is a classical music and dance festival in recognition of the ‘Bishnupur Gharana‘ in music.

Jogesh Chandra Museum or Acharya Jogesh Chandra Purakriti Bhawan opening time 11 am-7 pm, Entry fee Rs. 5, Telephone: (03244) 252697

Following are the other leading spots for tourists at Bishnupur:

  • Nandalal Temple
  • Chhinnamasta Temple
  • Radhamadhab Temple
  • Jugol Kishore Temple
  • Kalachand Temple
  • Mahapravu Temple
  • Radhagovinda Temple
  • Radhalaljiu
  • Sarbamangala
  • Krishna-Balaram Temple
  • Mrinmoyee Temple
  • Gumgarh
  • Radhashyam Temple
  • Pathar Durja
  • Garh Durja
  • Malleswar
  • Stone Chariot
  • Sanreswar
  • Nutan Mahal
  • Radhalaljiu Temple
  • Shreenibas Acharya’s memorial

Bishnupur is a small town and all the major tourist attractions are located in close proximity. So, one can travel these by foot or by an auto-rickshaw. However, there is also the added option of a car or an auto rickshaw.

Bishnupur History


Bishnupur presents an opportunity of heritage tourism to the tourists all over the world. Belonging to the Bankura district of West Bengal it has a glorious history and some of the best preserved terracotta temples of historical significance can be found in Bishnupur. Only 130 kilometers from the capital city of Kolkata, it is a lovely getaway from the din and bustle of busy metro life and be lost in the charm of the historical marvels.

Bishnupur was ruled by the Hindu rajas during the Gupta period and paid tribute to Emperor Samudra Gupta after which the kingdom fell into obscurity. It oscillated between being a vassal state and an insignificant independent principality. It again regained power and prestige with the Malla rulers due to which it is often known as the Mallabhum. The Malla rulers were the most illustrious ones of the kingdom with a penchant for building Vishnu temples which is the claim to fame of Bishnupur till date.  The Mallas were Vaishnavas and several terracotta Vishnu temples were built under their supervision in Bankura district during 17th and 18th centuries. These temples are the most marvelous specimens of classical architectural style of Bengal.

Bishunupur flourished under the patronage of the Malla kings of Bankura district and they made it their capital. The founder of the dynasty was Raghunath I (Adi Malla) in 694 AD whose name when translated means the ‘supreme or unique wrestler. He was also known as the Bagdi king of Bishnupur and was a Vaishnav. Adi Malla was succeeded by his son, Jay Malla followed by 40 other kings among whom Kalu Malla, Kau Malla, Jhau Malla and Sur Malla are quite well known for extending their territory and ruling the land with able hands.

During 1589 AD Bir Hambir, another famous name in history ruled the kingdom during which the worship of Madan Gopal was commenced. He is known to be the contemporary of Emperor Akbar and built the Rasmancha. Bir Hambir was converted to Vaishnavism by Srinivasa, the great devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After Bir Hambhir, Raghunath Singh rose to power and was the first king of Bishnupur to use Singh- the Kshatriya title. The golden period in art and religion began during his rule with several temples being constructed. The Jor Bangla, Shyam Rai and Kalachand Temples and the Rasmancha were by Raghunath Singh between 1643 and 1656.

Bir Singh took the reins of the kingdom after Raghunath Singh and equally capable a ruler. He built the Lalji temple in 1658 and seven lakes named Pokabandh, Shyambandh, Kalindibandh, Jamunabandh, Gantatbandh, Krishnabandh, and Lalbandh. His queen was also a devotee of Lord Vishnu and built temples of Murali Mohan and Madan Mohan during 1655. Durjan Singh was the last ruler of the Hindu Kings in Bishnupur after which the power fell into the hands of the Muslim monarchs. Apart from the terracotta architecture, Bishnupur also gained importance for its Tussar silk and Baluchari sari along with the Bishnupur Gharana of classical music.

How to get to Bishnupur


Kolkata is the location that is most convenient if one wants to visit Bishnupur from outside West Bengal. From Kolkata one can avail buses run by Calcutta State Transport Corporation or South Bengal State Transport Corporation. These buses are available from Esplanade and the journey lasts from 4-5 hours. The distance by road is shorter than by train at 150 km.

In case one wants to take the train they can avail any of the following options:

Rupashi Bangla Express, Santragachi 6.25 am
Purulia Express, Howrah 4.50 pm
Siromoni Fast Passenger, Howrah 5.45 pm
Santragachi-Porbandar Kaviguru Express, Santragachi 9.25 pm ( Sunday only)
Rajjyarani Triweekly Express, Shalimar 6.40 am
Aranyak Express, Shalimar 7.45 am
Howrah-Chakradharpur Passenger, Howrah 11.05 pm

The journey by train covers 201 km and lasts for 3 and half hours to a shade more than 4 hours. One can also get to Kharagpur, Bardhaman, Midnapur and Durgapur from Howrah by train and then take a bus from there. One could also get to Arambag or Midnapore by bus and then take a local bus from these places to Bishnupur. These local buses are available after every 45 minutes. It takes about 3 hours to get to Bishnupur from Arambagh and from Midnapore the time is half an hour more. One might also take a bus to Bishnupur from Tarakeshwar or Asansol.

What is the ideal time to visit Bishnupur


Bishnupur experiences rather high temperatures during the summer season. So, it is better to visit it during the winters when the temperatures come down and the conditions are better.

Where to stay at Bishnupur


Bishnupur Tourist Lodge, Bishnupur
(Run by West Bengal Tourism)
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone: 03244-252013, 253561
Kolkata booking: 033-22437260, 22485168, 22488271.
Standard double-rooms, 4-bedded rooms and dorms are available here.

Meghmallar Hotel, Opp. Bus Stand, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500
Telephone: 03244-252258

Hotel Bishnupur, Bishnupur Town
Telephone: 03244-252243

Pourasabha Parytakabas

Bishnupur Lodge

Monalisa Lodge, Bishnupur Town, Bankura
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 700
Telephone.: 09831031895
Monalisa Loge is a budget option to stay in Bishnupur. It offers budget accommodation in its standard double rooms.

Bishnupur Hotel, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500

Laxmi Park Hotel, Near State Bank Of India, Gailapara, Bishnupur
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 2,000

Udayan Lodge, College Road, Bishnupur Town
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 900

Dev & Dev Lodge

Mallabhum Lodge

Nearby Places


Mukutmanipur
Forest Lodge: 22437260, 22370060-61
Hotel Aparajita: 033- 22437260

Jhilimili
03243-240217/240300, 033-22485829

Jairambati and Kamarpukur
Ramkrishna Mission- 03244-244214, 03211-244222

Koro Hills
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Botanical Garden
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Kalachand Temple

Susunia Hills
Youth Hostel -033-22480626

Sutan Forest
Forest Lodge-033-24799032/7392, 03242-250758

Amarkanan
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Bankura Beliator
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram
Mandir Guest House

Biharinath Hill

Ranibandh
Ranibandh Forest Guest House

Chhander Gram

DFO- North Division, Bankura

Chechuria Eco Park
DFO, Panchet Soil Conservation
Telephone: (03244) 252189

Sonamukhi
DFO- North Division, Bankura

Back to Bankura

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Chau dance is a famous folk dance performed by the tribals of Purulia. It belongs to a genre of martial dance. A chau dancer wears colorful masks and these ‘Chau Masks’ are masterpieces created by the skilled artisans of Charida Village. Snuggled in a corner Charida is quaint little village and is an arty nook worth visiting in Purulia.

Purulia is culturally the richest district in West Bengal. The Chau dance still remains the main attraction of the Spring Festival also known as the Chaitra Porob held here. Though the festival lasts for about 13 days the tribal dancers practice it throughout the year. Chau dancers mostly come from the families of traditional artists and local communities. A lot of physical strength and agility is required for this form of dancing. Dancers are trained in this form from a very young age.

Chau dance is an inseparable part of the rites and rituals in this part of Bengal. Subject of Chau dance has changed with time. Earlier it used to be mythological stories from the Ramayana but today the dances are based on themes like the Santhal revolt or the Kargil war. It is generally performed at night in an open space colloquially known as ‘akhadas’. Traditional musical instruments like ‘mohuri’ and ‘shehnai’ are generally used during this performance. This folk art form enjoys a global audience.

This genre of dance is famous for colorful dress and the mask. Some of the villages in Purulia district are fully dedicated to this dance form and they earn their livelihood from doing this. Charida is a village of artisans who for generations have been engaged in the making of Chau mask. They are called sutradhars or wood carvers by caste. Surprisingly, these artisans know their Gods and Goddesses and their stories by heart. About 250 artisan families in Charida are involved in this art of mask making. It requires deft hands to create these large masks that are not only used for dance but have demand as collectibles. A full-size mask may cost something about Rs.3000-3,500.

Reaching Charida


The craft village of Charida is located in the foothills of Ayodhya it is 5 kilometers from Bagmundih and 29 kilometers from Balarampur. The nearest railway station is Balarampur which is just 16 kilometers from Charida. From Kolkata you can reach Purulia town by train, bus or car and then to Bagmundih or Balrampur from where you can plan your visit to Charida to experience and see the artisans at work.

Staying there


Charida is a small village and as such has no accommodation for travelers. You have to either stay in Balarampur which has two or three decent hotels or book the government guest houses or the forest rest house in Ayodhya Hills.

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Serampore is an old colonial town of West Bengal. Situated just 24 kilometers from Kolkata, it is a bustling crowded place on the right bank of the Hooghly River. While most of the town is under local administration, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) also covers a part of it. It was the only town to be colonized by the Danish and was known as Frederiksnagore from 1755- 1845. Serampore was famous for its superior education institutions and William Carey founded the Serampore College. It was also the first College University in Bengal. The town is also known for publication of the first Bengali Newspaper, Samachar Darpan.

How to Reach


Serampore is well connected to Kolkata by railways and by road. It takes a little more than 30 minutes to travel to the town by car, while local buses and trains ply at regular intervals from Kolkata.  Mithila Express, Doon Express, and Amritsar Express are some of the long distance trains that travel via Serampore to Kolkata.

The residents of Serampore usually travel to Kolkata for work and education on a daily basis. Both the rail and bus fares are economical and do not exceed Rs 100. Cars for hire and taxis are also available at approximately Rs 200 from Kolkata.

Attractions & Activities


Serampore is currently a satellite town of Kolkata and most people indulge in the normal day-to-day activities while in the town. However, there are quite a few places to visit in the area as a tourist. Some of the most popular ones are:-

Serampore radhaballav jiu temple

Serampore radhaballav jiu temple

Radhaballav Jiu Temple is open to the public; Puja and anjali are performed daily both in the morning and evening. Jhulan Jatra, Janmastami, Nandotsob, Radhastami, Rasjatra and Doljatra are celebrated every year. Radhaballav Jiu Temple is also known as Thakurbari.

Jagannatha Temple had built by Dhrubananda Brahmachari, a devout man of Mahesh at 1397. But this temple is no longer in existence. Present temple in Mahesh was built in 1755 and cost around Rs. 20,000; donated by Nayanchand Mallik of Pathuriaghata at Kolkata.

Mahesh Rath Jatra at Serampore

Mahesh Rath Jatra

Rath Yatra: Mahesh Rath Yatra is Second oldest in India after Puri. Serampore is famous for this and the town receives an unprecedented number of tourists during the occasion.

 

 

 

Serampore Rajbari cross view

Serampore Rajbari

Serampore Rajbari: The Goswamis of Serampore are one of the five Brahmin families whom King of Gaur, Adisur had invited to settle in Bengal, with gifts of land and monies, to grow eternal knowledge. Raghuram; a member of the Goswami family was built a house during the time between 1815 and 1820. Now a days this giant mansion known as “Serampore Rajbari”.

 

 

Danish cemetery: Serampore also houses two Cemeteries dating back to the Danish days. The Baptist Mission Cemetery in Serampore contains the family graves of Carey, Ward and Marshman, while the Danish Cemetery houses several other Danish graves.

 

Serampore College Hooghly District

Serampore College

Serampore College: Since Serampore was a Danish Colony from 1755 to 1845, the Baptist missionaries were given all encouragement to develop their educational enterprise by the Danish Governors, Colonel Bie and his successor Colonel Krefting. Joshua Marshman visited Copenhagen and secured from the King of Denmark, Frederick the Sixth, a Royal Charter, empowering the College to confer degrees in all faculties. In other words, Serampore College was considered the third University, the other two being at Copenhagen and at Kiel. In 1845, when the Danish settlement was purchased by the British, the treaty of purchase included provisions for maintaining the rights and immunities granted to the College by the Royal Charter of 1827.

Serampore Jute Mill: India Jute Mill at Serampore, Hooghly became the company’s second composite mill after acquisition in June, 2007. It has an installed capacity 120 MT per day producing Sacking cloth & Bags and Hessian cloth & Bags.  Located next to the prestigious Serampore College of Textiles, the mill has a rich heritage and background in textile and Jute. This unit employs over 4000 individuals and is known in the industry for its immaculate work culture and ethics.

  • Soshan Kali Temple
  • Taramar Bari
  • Srirampur Mahaprovu Bati
  • Ganga ghat
  • Bot tala-This area features a huge 100-year-old Banyan Tree. It is also a busy bus stop at present.
  • Sheoraphuli Raj Debuttar Estate
  • Chatra Shitalatala – famous for its Shitala Mandir and bazaar
  • Chatra Doltala – Sri Chaitanya Mahapravu is rumored to have visited this place.
  • Satimata Mandir

Accommodation


Tourists usually prefer to stay in Kolkata and while visiting Serampore. However, there are quite a few hotels in the area along with guesthouses and paying guest accommodations.

When to Visit


There is no particular season for visiting Serampore. It is accessible throughout the year. However, first time tourists need to avoid the monsoon season particularly the months of June-September while visiting the town.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Deepanjan Ghosh, saptarshi, Sagnik Banerjee Photoscape, Chiradeep Mukhopadhyay, sarbajitchakraborty, serampore.eziassist.com, rangandatta.wordpress.com

Content Courtesy: seramporecollege.org, jute-india.com, rangandatta.wordpress.com

 

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