Asansol - A tete a tete with the city :
Location : Eastern India, West Bengal
Best time to visit : October to March
Local Transport : Hired cars, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws
Places to see : Parks, Maithon and Panchet Dam, Bakreshwar, Durgapur, Churulia
Souvenirs : Bardhaman wooden dolls, local handicrafts
Asansol - The Tale of the city :
The present day Asansol was earlier inhabited by the Australoids and the Dravidians. The Jains were active here more than 250 years back. It was here that it is believed that Mahavira Vardhamana who was the last Tirthankar of Jainism, used to live. Jainism is believed to have spread here in West Bengal through the many Jain temples in the region. There is a Jain temple built for the 12th Tirthankar Vasupujya. There is also a Jain Bhawan which bears testimony to this fact.
Asansol - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Asansol is a centre of coal mining and is the hub of industrialization. Today it is the second largest West Bengal city, the first being Kolkata. Lying in the subdivision of Asansol it is situated in the District of Bardhaman, It is amongst the 11 cities in India which have recorded a fast growth. Asansol, the industrial metropolis is a major centre with a lot of educational facilities and also the best kind of transport and trade and commerce activities. The districts of Bankura and Purulia are its hinterland.
Asansol - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with Asansol reveals that the name Asansol is from two names – Asan the tree and sol which means a mineral enriched land. . The Asan tree is found here in plenty on the banks of the River Damodar. Besides, it is also a land full of minerals. People get attracted by the contrasting features of being an industrial zone yet being a perfect tourist spot too. The simplicity of the city and the unique ability of being able to blend the past with the present makes the city very much a place to see. It also has the achievement of being the second largest city in the state of West Bengal.
Asansol - Travel kitty :
Anyone coming to Asansol, the land of minerals will know about its coal deposits. But it is the wooden doll of Bardhaman District that is the best travel kitty. The calm atmosphere and the serenity of the surroundings renders a tourist completely weak and he is ready to lap it up with more energy and gusto. Such kind of emotions are the best travel kitty for a person here.
Asansol - Joie de vivre in the city :
The joie de vivre in this city is that it is a combination of both being an industrial centre and a tourist hub. The beauty of the place lies in its pacifying and calm surroundings. The serenity and the purity of the place is seen to be believed. Located in the district of Bardhaman, this is a city with a good infrastructure. One who comes here can see the following:
Satabdi Park : This is a very famous place where the families retreat in the evenings. Boating facilities and paddling are found here in the small lake in the Park. This is a really magnificent park located at Asansol again. The Indian Railways constructed this in the year 1989. With a lot of facilities to keep the children entertained it is popular for its paddle boat and boat rowing facilities. Besides there are also rides for children like the caterpillar, see-saw, and the Columbus. All this attracts small children thus making the part a good tourist spot for those with kids.
Joychandi Pahar : This is a very famous picnic zone and there are rock climbing facilities here. Lying around 30 km from the city of Asansol, the Adra Asansol railway line brings one to this place.
Nehru Park : Lying on the banks of the River Damodar, this lies in Burnpur near Asansol.
Maithon Dam : Situated around 20km from the city of Asansol, this is also approached by the Asansol Bypass. One can also come here by taking the Chirkunda route.
Panchet Dam : This is also around 20km from the city of Asansol. One can reach here from Chirkunda.
Ghagharhbudi Temple : This is temple with Goddess Shakti as the presiding deity. Situated at a place called Kalipahari, it lies around 10 km from the city of Asansol. The River Nonia flows by this temple. Ghagaharbudi is a goddess revered here who used to bless her devotee Atul. Atul is believed to have had a vision that the Goddess Ghagharbudi gave him three stones. These three stones have been worshipped every since.
Kalyaneswari Temple : This is around 20 km from the city of Asansol and is the temple for fulfillment. The name of the temple means the Lady of Fulfillment. It is visited by women who are not getting children. It has been around for more than 500 years. When one visits the Maithon Dam then one surely doesn’t miss to go this temple.
Chandrachur Temple : Situated in the district of Burdwan, this lies on the Chittaranjan Asansol Road. The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva. It is believed that there was this farmer called Chandranath Bauri who felt that a temple should be built. On Chaitra Sankranti a fair is held here and on the day of Shivrathri, there is a festival held at the main temple premises. Shravan Mela and Chaitra Sankranti and Shivrathri celebrations as also Rath Yatra are some of the other festivals celebrated here.
Jaydev Kenduli : This is a temple built in memory of the great poet Joydeb. Lying on the banks of the River Ajay, this is located around 30 km from the city of Durgapur. There is a fair here which attracts people from afar. It is held in the month of January on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The local singers, the folk singers like the Bauls take part in this fair and it is very popular amongst the locals.
Shopping malls :
Asansol Mall and Asanasol Centrum : Developed for the sake of the consumers and tourists these attract a lot of those who are interested in mall shopping.
Sugam Park : This is a big project in Asansol, the Bardhaman beauty, and is supposed to be one of the biggest. Spread over 30 acres it is a lovely residential zone.
Shristinagar : This is also known as New Asansol. It is a green town zone.
Churulia : Here the famous poet - Kazi Nazrul Islam was born. He is considered the national poet of Bangladesh. The village is about 17 km from Asansol, and contains a museum with his works and a memorial for him. A fair with high standard cultural programmes are organized on the occasion of the poet's birthday in the Bengali month of Jaistha (May-June).
Searsol : This is a popular village that is famous for the Ratha Yatra and the Durga Puja. It is more than 2 centuries old. Lying 14 km from Asansol, the coal hub, Searsol with its pure ambience and calm surroundings is a good place to visit.
Santiniketan : A rendezvous with Santiniketan, the educational hub reveals that it is a small town in the district of Birbhum in West Bengal near Bolpur. Lying around 180 km from Kolkata it is the visionary efficiency of Rabindranath Tagore that brought it to have the Visva Bharati University which today attracts thousands and thousands of visitors from all over the world. Rabindranath Tagore is a literary genius and people like to see his works which have been preserved here. Tourists particularly come here just to see these works and enjoy the blissful scenery and idyllic ambience and get rejuvenated mentally, emotionally and intellectually.
Durgapur : Situated on the banks of the Damodar River in Burdwan district of West Bengal, Durgapur is a present day proof of vision and dreams. Dr. B.C.Roy dreamt of a better West Bengal and he achieved it. Situated near the Ranigunj Dhanbad zone, the Durgapur Barrage lies over the Damodar River. This is the main water provider of the area and it is used for industries and drinking. Durgapur is amongst the biggest producers of rice in India.
Bishnupur : This temple is famous for its terracotta construction. It is a hub of arts and crafts. Lying around 70 km from Durgapur, the place is famous for its Bankura horse, and also has the best handicrafts at Panchmura. The Baluchari sari is very famous here and tourists like to see how it is woven with original motifs from the Indian Epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Bakreshwar : Situated in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, this is a zone of Thermal Power Station. Getting its name from the name of Lord Shiva, this means Bent God. It is believed that during the wedding of Nararyan and Lakshmi, Lord Indra insulted Saint Subrata. In anger, the saint developed 8 cripples in his body. He later came to be known as the Ashtabakra Muni meaning the Sage with 8 cripples. He meditated here for many years and finally Lord Shiva blessed him. This is where the temple stands today. Hindus consider it as a major pilgrim area. It is the place of being one of the 51 pithas in Hindu religion. Today Bakreshwar is famous amongst the tourists for this temple and the 10 hot springs that it has. With the water here being rich in calcium, chlorides, silicates, and the water is considered to have medicinal values.
Thus Asansol, the land of the Asan tree is a place to reckon with and a place to certainly visit.
As a person leaves this place he thinks,”Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride.”