How to plan Pandal hopping ? my Durga puja experience in 2016

Every year before Dugra puja , we used to plan for pandal hopping. Every time 2 main questions are raised in our mind: First, what area we should visit this year for covering most popular dugra puja in Kolkata? Second, what time should go out for pandel hopping? I don’t like to hop during rush hour. In the last year we went for whole night pandel hopping. This year we plan for early morning pandel hopping. Last year we covered south and central Kolkata puja. This year we plan to cover central and north Kolkata durga puja pandel.

Wakisaka toys - pupualar decorating items in Durga Puja

Wakisaka toys – popular decorating items in Durga Puja 2016

Now next question is what are the durga puja mandop we should visits. I urge you look for Times of India puja review published every year on Sasti. This year, we took that reference to collecting information about location and theme of these durga puja. So our plan to visit few select Dugra puja panels in Central and north kolkata.

Journey start now! We research Sealdha at 5:30 AM. First visited  Rail Maidan Puja. It’s very close to Sealdha Railway station. There was no queqe. Hence it was a king size entry in that puja and other puja pandel.

1)Rail Maidan Puja.

Rail Maidan Puja

Rail Maidan Puja

2)College square puja 

This is childhood puja location. As usual, pandel and durga idols was awesome. If you come here in the evening, you need to stand in a long queue. But, we quicly completed our darsan here.

College square puja.jpg

3)College street Odhibasi Brinda Puja

It’s located along the SurJa Sen street and 200 meter away from College street puja Mondap. Theme was Santhal Village. Whole mandir was decorated and presented with bucolic simplicity. Awesome durga protima.

Odhibasi Brinda Puja pratima

Odhibasi Brinda Puja pratima

Nice village ambiance near Odhibasi Brinda Puja

Nice village ambiance near Odhibasi Brinda Puja

4)Mahammad Ali Park Puja 

From College square, it’s again walking distance. We are also enthralled to see the nice pandel and duga idol.  This is again old and favorite puja. We covered 4 major pujas in 1-2 hours time.  In between we took snacks break.

Enthralled to see the nice pandel and duga idol

Enthralled to see the nice pandel and duga idol

After visiting central Kolkata Durga Puja mondop, we headed towards Sovabajar Metro area. Our target is to cover all puja mondops from Sova Bajar metro to Bidhan nagar railway station. Along this road you get at least 10-12 big pujas. The important point is that most of the pujas are 10 minutes walking distance from each other. You can cover 10-12 pujas in 1-2 hours time (non peak hour). In peak hour, it takes minimum 4-5 hours. Here is our journey along this road

4)Nabin Palli Durga Puja utsav

It’s located near  Hatibagan opposite Citi mart . They are celebrating 82nd year Puja this year. On the way to  puja mondop we found many old fashioned jamindar bari. Puja is a perfect amalgamation of modern puja and old sabeki (traditional) environment.

nabin-palli

Kaavad sculpture – nice depiction of 400 years old tradition – “walking and talking temple”

Theme- Kaavad – a portable pilgrimage: Walking taking temple

Kaavad sculpture - nice canvas painting

Kaavad sculpture – nice canvas painting all round – reminding us village tradition in propagating religious message.

It is decorated with Rajasthan’s cupboard art uased as a travelling temple. It presented 500 years old tradition when preaching was not allowed. Hence walking taking temple culture was prevalent.

5)Hathibagan Sarbojanin

It’s celebrating 82nd year puja this year. Located inside Hatibagan market and very close to main road.

Hathibagan Sarbojanin pratima - best pratima I have seen in this season

Hathibagan Sarbojanin pratima – best pratima I have seen in this season

Art work made of daily used items.

Art work made of daily used items.

Theme- Various thrown up itmes (like bottles, tooth picks etc) were uased to depict butterflies, shiuli and kadam Flowers. I found the Maa durga idol is most elegant in this season.

6)Nalin Sarker street Durga Puja

nalin-sarker-street-durga-puja

It’s located near Khanna Cinema corssing.

Theme – Putul o- pratima

nalin-sarker-street-durga-puja-idol

Mexican Wakisaka toys were used to decorate the pandels. These dolls are popular in Europe and Wesr Asia. When we reched this place, Saptami puja was started. We spent time there.

7)Ultadanga Pallyshree Durga Puja

Located along the Ultadanga Main road and celebrated 68th year puja.

ultadanga-pallyshree

Pally shree durga idol -awesome amalgamation of architectural beautify and light

Pally shree durga idol -awesome amalgamation of architectural beautify and light

Theme – Cityscape was decorated with colors and lights. Entire locality was decorated with beautiful sculptures and apartments were painted with motifs.

Kabiraj Bagan Sarbojanin Durga Puja

Pandel decoration - "Kolkata Station" - tarin engine and AC coaches look very realistic.

Pandel decoration – “Kolkata Station” – tarin engine and AC coaches look very realistic.

kabiraj-bagan-idol

It’s  located along ultadange main road.

Theme- Kolkata railway station. They build the station and stationed maître express near on Kolkata platform so naturally, I got confused at first glance that whether the set up was natural or artificial. It looked so natural .  There was very good ambience.

Telenga Bagan Durga Puja

It’s one of the most popular Durga puja pandel in Kolkata and they celebrated 51st year durga puja.

telenga-bagan-gate

Way to Telenga Bagan puja mondop

Theme- Oparer sajhe eparer puja.  The whole mondap was decorated with colorfull dolls and traditional sculpture. I fould this protima very elegantly decorated.

Telenga bagan durgaa pratima - second best idol I have seen in this season

Telenga bagan durgaa pratima – second best idol I have seen in this season

We ended our puja trip with this puja and it’s 10:30 am. Now we are headed towards home. Besdies there pujas , we visited many beautiful pujas. I could not recollect those names.

What happens when an aam aadmi (common man) gets a chance to showcase his X factor?

I am a cautious driver. I never drive car over 90 km/hr. Timidity gets over me whenever I try to speed up my car over 80 km / hr. It’s always a safety concern dissuade me from speeding my car. Like an Amm aadmi , I have a small car and drive cautiously whenever I am at wheel.

Common man as F1 driver

Common man as a F1 driver

But that day was different; I was strolling in front of Mechanical Engineering Department in IIT Kharagpur campus. I noticed small gathering at the entrance of Mechanical department and peeped in and found F1 type car model was kept on show for visitors.

An enthusiastic student chipped in and started explaining the model and its performance in last event in UK. Some of students offered me for a trail (could be a test drive). I couldn’t resist my temptation. I immediately agreed to try that wild beast. In a moment, F1 legend Michael Schumacher appeared in my dream. I sit on a driver seat. I felt as if I were in F1 track, I was checking dashboard with a grim face as if I were ready start first lap at 350 km/hr speed. While on wheel, I suddenly felt a small jerking and heard a sound of auto starting. And a deep fear engulfed me and I felt in that moment that I am in pilot cockpit and plane falls in an air pocket. I closed my eyes for a moment…

When I opened my eyes,  I noticed a photographer taking photos of my nervous face. Later I realized that sound was coming from nearby parking bay. My F1 sedan didn’t move an inch and it was a vicarious feeling. But the virtual of experience of F1 driving comes over me again. I feel a sense of accomplishment without driving. After all most of dreams of amm admi people get fulfilled in dream. I was happy being a F1 driver in a virtual world.

Is not that enriching experience?

 

Our trip to offbeat tourist locations near IIT Kharagpur

It was middle of April month (2016), and scorching Sun spewing heat across the region. We were lucky, so we got 2 AC guest rooms in Visvesvaraya Guest House (VGH) at IIT Kharagpur campus. We were enjoying foods and cozy stay in VGH, despite high summer temperature outside. But that could not dampen our spirit to visit nearby places from IIT kharagpur.

Especially every evening was pleasant during our 3 days’ stay at campus. I had come here in my own car and that was extra advantage I had as I could visit any nearby places in afternoon. First day we target Gopali asram.

Gopali Ashram:

It’s a nice Ashram located 3 km from IIT Kharagpur Prem Bazar Gate. Spending some time here with your family is really refreshing. We reached there around 5:15 pm.. On the back side of the asram , we found a primary school with nice playground and garden. As per local inscription, this asram was set up in 1978 on a land donated by Haripada Bhanja and Radhanath Bhanja. We have found a long list of donors from different parts of West Bengal.

History of this Ahsram

This ashram was established on the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami  in 1974 on a plot of land measuring 6.5 Acres by Kalyan Ashram. It’s situated 7 Km. South of Kharagpur Railway Station, and tucked away 2 Km. South from I.I.T. Kharagpur and 3 Km. North of E.F.R. Training Camp, Salua and Air Base, Salua. Later the management was taken over by the Pratisthan.

Shiva Mandir at Gopali Ashram

Shiva Mandir at Gopali Ashram

What to see here:

a) Lord Shiva Temple: The Ashram has a magnificent Shiva Mandir built by the Bhagchandka family of Calcutta. Temple’s foundation stone was laid by H.H. Jagatguru Shankaracharya Sri Abhinava Vidyateerthjee Maharaj of Sringeri.

Om KareShwar Mandir at Gopali Ashram

Om KareShwar Mandir at Gopali Ashram

b) Chatrabas : School cum shelter providing free lodging & Boarding for economically weaker section: SC/ST and orphan boys.

c) Sarda Sishu Mandir: It provides day and morning schooling to hundreds of children.

School inside Ashram

School inside Ashram

We visited all 3 places. While coming back from school ground, we found game teacher taking evening exercise class of small kids. We also enjoyed sunset behind vast ground located in front of asram. This asram may be small , but bucolic simplicity of local people and transcendental presence of asramic environment made our mind cool.

How to reach here: if you come by car, its 7 km from Kharagpur railway station and 3 km from IIT campus. If you like to avail local bus, you can catch any private bus plying between Medinipur and khorika or Keshiwari. You can also hire local auto. IIT student can go there by cycle. It’s only 4 km cycle ride from hostel.

After ashram visit , I took my family for a short drive towards Keshiwari. On the way we stopped at Salua to savor tasty local momo. There are 2-3 momo shops in that area. When returned from short evening trip, it was 730pm.

Hijli Eco Park: On the second day

It’s a small natural park very close to IIT Kharagpur campus. It is located 1 km from Prem Bazar gate. It’s a famous picnic spot in winter. There is a small deer park inside. Since it was summer, we went there at 5pm evening. Someone informed that 5 P.m. is a feeding time for deer. We have located a nice eco resort is being constructed by forest department. I hope it would fully functional in few months.  While walking along the path covered with trees from both sides , we found many small rides for children and nice picnic spots under giant mango trees.

Hijli Eco Park entrance

Hijli Eco Park entrance

Pathway towrads Deer park

Pathway towrads Deer park

After few meter walk, we look left to reach deer park area covered with iron fence. Forest official told everyday 5 pm they feed deer. To locate the deer, we walked along the fence and entered the forest to reach feeding area. That time it was evening. Evening sun ray created riots of colors across the jungle. Chattering of some birds over the tree heads created an uncanny environment there. As if jim Corbett is waiting for tiger hunt in a deep jungle and chattering of brids declared the presence of beast. We stayed sometime there and moved to see other part of park.

Deer park insdie Hijli Eco Park

Deer park insdie Hijli Eco Park

Nice nursery growing local varieties of sonajhuri trees

Nice nursery growing local varieties of sonajhuri trees

On the back side of the park,  there a nice nursery growing local varieties of sonajhuri trees, shal trees etc. This is a restricted area. However, we requested local official for a short trip inside the nursery. It’s very refreshing to spend some times there. When we came to main gate, it was 6pm evening, park closing time.

Nice park and picnic spots inside

Nice park and picnic spots inside

Some facts for tourists about Hijli Eco Park

Timing : open till 6pm

Ticket: Rs 5 per head and 25 Rs for  car parking charge.

Best time to visit: winter season

How to reach Eco park: it’s very close to Prem Bazar Gate of IIT Kharagpur. So from IIT campus you can reach by cycle or on foot. If you come from kharagpur station , you can reach this place  either by Salua bound auto or Keshiwari bound bus and get down at Prem bazar. From prem bazar it’s 500 meters distance walk. I am not sure whether bus has any stoppage at Hijli Eco park stopage.

Hijli Eco park is really a nice pincin spot during winter.

Hope you find this information useful.

Thanks

THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Roles of social media in our lives. Views from a teenage girl who sense both good and bad sides of social media.

Richitaroy's Blog

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We All know about social media sites like Twitter,  instagram, facebook tumblr, whatsapp etc. They were made to socialize and connect with friends and loved ones even if they are at far off places.

Nowadays social media is popular among everyone. From Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour updates to your friends’ and family’s day to day status , you can gain any type of information from social media. But recently social media is like a show off site. People take photos and selfies  infront of their lavish cars and 5 star A.Cs  and post them in social media sites to show how aristocratic they are.  Selfie is a recent fad  where people make fish lips(the technical term for fish lips  is “pout”) and post them on their social media pages. We see many people social media who use loads of hash tags (#) , For example: #At beach #having fun #eating…

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Our trip to Nathula pass and Changu Lake after 15 years

This is our third trip to Gangtok. This time we have come to Gangtok after 2 days’ visit at Darjeeling. Since we have already visited major places in Gangtok in last two trips, we planned to visit Nathula pass and Changu Lake. We went Changu for the first time in 1999. So this was a second time journey to rekindle our experience after 15 years.

We are at new Bada Dham - Nathula pass

We are at new Bada Dham – Nathula pass

I have shared only Nathula and Changu lake trip experience in this blog post. In Gangtok , you can plan for three major trip : 1) Gangtok sightseeing ( 1day trip ), 2) yumthang trip ( 1N/2D day trip) , 3) Nathula and Changu lake trip (1 day trip)   . 4) Gurudongmar Lake trip (2N/3D day trip). In this blog post, I have shared trip experience and some important facts about successful Nathula tour in Gangtok.

Awesome view of hilly terrain on the way to Nathula

Awesome view of hilly terrain on the way to Nathula

We checked in Hotel Central Point just opposite of Rumtek bus stand near Lal Market. From our room we can directly view Kanchenjunga view. After cheked in hotel, we looked out for best car deal from local 2-3 travel agents.

We are 4 people in our family; still we booked private car sumo at Rs 2800 price as no small car is allowed to go to Nathula. A team from Delhi booked same type of car at Rs. 6000. So it’s a broker raj and always check price before booking cab.

Our journey to Tsomgo Lake/ Changu Lake:

It was 7:30 A.M., and our driver Lampa arrived with car and informed us that road condition was good up to nathula. We started from Gangtok town at 7:45 AM. After 25 min journey, we reached check point for checking our pass for Nathula.

Check point before entering Nathula Pass road

Check point before entering Nathula Pass road

Weather was good, so we enjoyed our journey along hilly terrain. On the way we spotted many small falls.  But worth to spend some time at Rukmini falls. We spent some time there. Driver advised us to visit Nathula pass first and then visit changu while on returned journey.

We are approach towards Nathula Pass

We are approach towards Nathula Pass

We drove another 20 km to reach Changu lake, but we didn’t stop there as our first destination was Nathula . Leaving behind Changu lake to drove up towards Nathula . We were spell bound to see the beauty of hill and serenity of nature. Many small lakes welcoming us at the Holly hill top .on the way, we found newly built campus for  Kailash Manasarovar yatra from Nathula. Driver informed that Chinese vehicle come upto this place.

Rukmini falls on the way to Nathula

Rukmini falls on the way to Nathula

Camp for Kailash Manasarovar yatra  at Nathula

Camp for Kailash Manasarovar yatra at Nathula

After a 2 km drive, we have reached a junction. From here, the left path take you to Nathula border and it’s a commercial route so needs separate permission.  But we had tourist pass, so we took right path towards Baba Dham. “Baba” Harbhajan Singh Dham was 2 km from this post. On the way, we have seen ” Mera Bharat Mahan” engraved on a hillside. It was a awesome views. Finally we reached Baba Dham .

Baba dham – “Baba” Harbhajan Singh Dham

We are at New Baba Dham

We are at New Baba Dham

Earlier I thought that this is the place famous for Baba I mean Bhole baba ( LORD shiva ). But this place is named after “Baba” Harbhajan Singh. He joined as a sepoy in Indian army in 1946. While on duty in east sikim week region, he was killed in 1968. Later he appeared in a colleagues’ dream and requested them to build shrine in his name. Sepoy Harbhajan Singh is revered by soldiers of the Indian army as the “Hero of Nathula” and later on the Indian army had also built a shrine in his honor. As per local legend, spirit of “Baba” Harbhajan Singh is still guarding Indian armies at such high altitude region.

Shiva Temple on hill top - 1 km trek from Bada mandir

Shiva Temple on hill top – 1 km trek from Bada mandir

The original Baba Mandir was built at Tuku La Donchi La in 1983. Later for tourist convenience, new Harbhajan singh shire built at 10 km downhill. Most of regular Natula trip ends in new Baba temple.

When we reached this new Baba temple it was 1030 am .This is a awesome place and our tiredness got vanished with healing tough of Baba and beautiful nature around .we could see the vast valleys around looking us from the top . Clouds are coming up from down hills.

Siva temple at Nathula

Distant view of Shiva Temple from Baba Mandir

Distant view of Shiva Temple from Baba Mandir

Nammangcho water fall

Nammangcho water fall

Recently, Indian army has built at 12 ft long Shiva temple on a foot hill of Nammangcho hill . The  Shiva temple is put at the height of 13000 ft from sea level . It’s is regarded as the highest located Shiva idol in the world.  From new Baba shrine, we did trekking of 200 meters to reach the shiva Temple. On way we stopped at the foot hill of Nammangcho water fall.  This place was inaugurated in 10 October, 2014. From statue podium, we could see the scenic beauty of Narhula valley , Baba shrine and beautiful Nammangcho hill and waterfall. We spent there for 1:30 hrs and then started for   old Baba Mandir.

Nammangcho water fall

Nammangcho water fall

Old Baba mandir :

it’s located 10 km up from new shrine . This place was not included in our regular package. But I must tell you should not miss this place. We started for old Mandir at 1230 pm. On the way, we saw beautiful golf course, Elephants Lake and beautiful valley covered with orchid flowers. Along this journey we have found that the whole path is full of 4-5 types of orchid flowers, and beauty of Elephant Lake was beyond explanation. After 30 min ride we reached old Baba mandir . We offered our puja there and visited bankar and items used by Baba Harbhajan.

Elephant Lake on the way to Old Bab Mandir

Elephant Lake on the way to Old Bab Mandir

We stopped at check post on the way to old Baba Maindir- most of the time this palce covered with ice.

We stopped at check post on the way to old Baba Maindir- most of the time this palce covered with ice.

At old Baba Mandir- Nathula

At old Baba Mandir- Nathula

Top view from Baba ji ki Bankar

Top view from Baba ji ki Bankar

Awesome view of Hills, cloulds and orchid ganden near old Baba Maindir

Awesome view of Hills, cloulds and orchid ganden near old Baba Maindir

Tsomgo Lake:

Awesome view of Changu Lake

Awesome view of Changu Lake

While come back from old Baba temple, we stopped at Changu lake as per our plan. It was 2 pm by that time . In Changu market , we finished our lunch and went out for sightseeing around Changu lake . We took 2 yak for ride. Local people charged premium for this. We negotiate 250 for each yak ride. For still photography they charge Rs 50 per person . My wife and I walk on foot and my daughters on yak ride. It was 20 min ride walking along the lake. In an hour, black cloud covered the lake and thunderstorms started declaring their presence. So cut short the ride and ran across the lake. Rain already caught us on the way . Now whole valley and lake became raining paradise .It was really intimidating and enchanting. Driver spotted us while we were running and finally our car picked us. It was 4 pm and it was our time for return journey to Gangtok.

We are at Changu lake

We are at Changu lake

We then climbed down towards Gangtok leaving behind Changu Lake. Now this 1 hour journey was thrilled with driving experience in a heavy rain in hilly area. Finally we crossed check post before 5 pm and reached Gangtok with loads of sweet memories of day long tour in Changu and Nathula .

Yak riding at Changu lake

Yak riding at Changu lake

Some important facts for my fellow travelers:

1. Car rental for Nathula and Changu trip

  • Innova and xylo , Rs. 3000 – 3500
  • Suma and max, Rs. 2500 to 3000
  • Shared service, 350- 400 per head

From trip Darjeeling to Gangtok: We took a Mahindra Xylo: Booking charged Rs. 2500/-

2. Distance and road condition upto Nathula

Road condition is good all the way upto narhula as the road is maintained by BRO. Distance from Gangtok to Nathula is about 55 km and only 6-10 km road condition is bad . But overall road condition is good.

3. Any sickness due to high altitude

Tsomgo lake is 12000 ft and Nathula is 13000 ft above sea level . So there is not much problem there due to high altitude.

4. Journey to old Baba temple: it’s 10 km from the new shrine and worth to visit . This is not included in our package. Driver charges Rs. 1200 per car for this trip. It’s same like zero point trip from yamthung.

4. Hotel price in Gangtok: I have already shared in my last blog. It varies depending on season. We stayed at central point lodge . Deluxe room they charged us Rs 2000 per night for 3 beds. In Lal market area, they charge between Rs. 1000 to 2000 depending on season and hotel locations.

5. Where to go for booking cab: You can book from hotel or from nearby travel agents. But check prices from 2-3 places.

Rumtek bus stand: It’s located near police commissioner office in Lal market. You can directly book car for sightseeing in Gangtok or for Yumthang or Changu.

Siliguri bas stand near Deorali market: you can book shared or private car fot siliguri or other places.

6. Local taxi fare: if you stay in Deorali market, you can visit MG Marg or Lal market availing local taxi, they charge Rs. 20 per son per ride.

Hope you find this helpful. Please let me know your view.

Thanks,

Gobinda

 

Your 1 hour session can enlighten 100 needy students. Are you ready?

Dear alumnus/friends,

I have posted this message to request your non financial support for a social initiative to help underprivileged students.

Our organization: Lakshya foundation, a social initiative from JU and IIT Alumnus

Please look at our last social activities at: https://www.facebook.com/Lakshya-Foundation-130848373714896/?ref=hl

Please like our page to get more updates in future.

Our vision: Support needy and meritorious to realize their dream.

youth mentoring

Our next initiative: we need to conduct a small 1-2 hrs session to mentor students how to score in academic.

Request your participation: 1 day workshop for mentoring students

  • Share your tips how to score in board exam (especially 10+, Madhyamik or secondary)
  • Share tips for math and English
  • Share tips about how to plan for JEE. ( especially for 10+2 board students)
  • How to plan your career for selecting stream in higher secondary

Your tips in 1-2 hours class will enlighten young minds who do not have resources to excel.

We will share more details if you share your willingness.

Look forward to seeing your participation and valuable suggestions.

Regards,

Gobinda Roy

Founder and chief mentor – Lakshya Foundation

Contact: foundation.lakshya@gmail.com

Bandel church – weekend destination to spend time with splendor of holly church and winter chill garnished with 500 old histories.

If you looking for a weekend destination and picnic spot near Kolkata, then Bandel church and nearby hooghly ghat is a perfect option for 50 km cool long drive to reach this holly church. I start this blog post with history of Bandel church and then shared our related travel information.

We are at Bandel Church with other kids from our team members

We are at Bandel Church with other kids from our team members

Bandel Church

Bandel Church – at the top

History of Bandel church: a perfect reason to visit this holly historical monument and famed as “Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary Bandel”

In 1655, a Portuguese ship, in deep sea of Bay of Bengal, was facing deadly storm. And possibility of survival seemed impossible. Captain prayed to Mother Mary to save their poor souls and promised to sacrifice a mast to church which he would meet first. By the grace of Virgin, both lives and ship were saved. On a beautiful morning, a Portuguese ship appeared at the port of Hoogly ( near Bandel port) and captain landed from the ship and donated the mast as he promised to Bandel church. Many hundreds year has been elapsed; still church holds its old mast at entrance of church gate.

Beautiful sclupture at Bandel Church

Beautiful sclupture at Bandel Church

But the history of this church takes you few decades earlier than the stated facts above. Here are few important historical milestones reminded us the importance of this holly church in Indian history.

  • In 1950s, Bandel, (Bengali word “bandar” which means “port”) was an important port of Hooghly at the time of Portuguese and Mughals. Mughal Emperor Akbar give permission to build a town in Hooghly and Portuguese began using Bandel as a port in the sixteenth century.
  • Bandel church located in Bandel is known as one of the oldest churches in West Bengal, and this church stands as a memorial to the Portuguese settlements in Bengal. Dedicated to Nostra Senhora di Rozario, popularly known as Our Lady of the Rosary.
  • This first church of Bandel dated in 1599 was burnt and destroyed by the Moors in 1632. As history reveals, Emperor Shah Jehan attacked and destroyed the Portuguese settlements including the church. Four out of the five priests were killed and lone Father Joan da Cruz survived.
  • Father da Cruz was captured and taken to Delhi, but his miraculous power impressed Emperor Shah Jehan. Emperor Shah Jehan donated about 101.21 hectares to the local Christians,
  • Then the present form of church and monastery are said to be built in 1660 by Father Joan De Cruz, but the key stone of the old church was dated 1599 located at the eastern gate of the Monastery.
  • On November 25, 1988, Pope John Paul II declared the sanctuary a minor basilica.

How to reach Bandel church

Bandel church is very well connected with major rail gateways in West Bengal.

Journey to Bandel church - our team at Hoogly Ghat station

Journey to Bandel church – our team at Hoogly Ghat station

Train route: From Howrah, you can take very frequent Howrah-Bandel local to reach Bandel station. And from there you can take auto to reach Bandel church.

From Sealdah: There are very few direct local trains between Sealdah and Bandel. In the morning, there is one Sealdah to Bardwan local via Bandel at 10:15 am and directly reach you to Bandel at 11: 20 am.

Alternatively, there are many trains between Sealdah and Naihati and get down at Naihati.  From there you get Naihati- Bandel local in every 30 minutes. If you go via Bandel, then get down at Hoogly Ghat station (2nd station after leaving Naihati station). From Hoogly Ghat station, this distance is less as compared to distance from Bandel station. It’s about 1-2 km from Hoogly Ghat station, and auto takes about 10 min to reach Bandel church. Toto charge Rs. 10  per head for Bandel church.

Car direction: I can share guidance only from airport as I travelled from my New Barrackpore area by car. From airport you drive straight up to Madhyamgram choumatha and then take left along Sodepur-Madhyamgram road and drive about 8 km to reach Muraghacha. From this junction, you have to take right turn to take Kalyani express way to reach up to Naihati and from Naihati you have to take left to cross the river and from there it’s about 6 Km to reach Bandel church. From airport it about 50 km and about 2 hours drive. Road condition is good so far.

What to see at Bandel church

1) Beautiful holy church is surely the biggest attraction of this place. Especially I liked prayer halls, holly inscription, beautiful sculpture depicting crucification of jesus christ. This church has several altars and a shrine of Mary, who is known as Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Happy Voyage.

2) Boating in Hoogly River. From the top of the church , you enjoy holiness of God with beautiful distant views of river hoogly. There is a small mela near hoogly bank. But , this is outside the church campus. We reached there taking a small lane to hoogly ghat. We also spotted many picnic parties enjoying pinic day near river bank.

Distant view of Hoogly rever from Bandel Church

Distant view of Hoogly rever from Bandel Church

3) Boat trip to Imambara: This is another tourist destination located very close to Bandel church. You can go by auto and they charge Rs 10 per head. We went to church on 27th December, 2015. It being a heavy rush time we skipped this spot. We spent whole day in church’s ground.

We are at Bandel Church Ganden after day long picnic

We are at Bandel Church Ganden after day long picnic

What is best time for visiting Bandel Church?

  1. Obviously winter is the best time for visit.
  2. I heard 25th December Church is closed to outsiders due to their rituals. Better avoid this place on 25th December due to mad rush.

Some tips

  1. During top season in December 25 to January’s 10, you may face parking problem. This time have found no parking zone in nearby church area.
  1. No entry fees for entrance.
  1. If you go there without any food arrangement, you may find some average restaurant nearby.

References:

My own travel experience

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandel

http://hooghly.gov.in/description.htm

http://www.come2india.org/bandel-basilica.html