Bardhaman - A tete a tete with the city :
Location : Eastern India, West Bengal
Founded in : Centuries ago
Best time to visit : October to March
Local Transport : Rickshaws, private buses, private cars.
Places to see : Bardhaman Planetarium, Science Centre, Golapbagh Bagh and many other places.
Souvenirs : Dokra or metalwork, straw work, the Kantha stitch materials, leather articles, jute based handicrafts, and the very famous Bardhaman Wooden Doll.
Bardhaman - The Tale of the city :
The history of the city goes back to the Stone Age, the relics of which are still found in the city. It is believed that Mahavira spent his life giving speeches in present day Bardhaman. There are many stone idols that have been excavated here and it shows that this district was very active during the Sena and the Gupta Rule. During the time of the Mughals, Bardhaman was a prominent headquarters for administration.
Sher Afghan was a Jagirdar here and his wife was Nurjehan. His Subedar was Kutubuddin and Sher Afghan sent Kutubuddin to bring Nurjehan to his harem. It is not known what happened but Sher Afghan and Kutubuddin got killed. Today their graves are found near present day station for those travelling by train - The Bardhaman Rail Station.
Another history behind Bardhaman has the story of how Abul Fazal and Faizi took shelter in Burdwan during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Again there is also the tale of the Satir Math which exists today as the place where the women of those days committed Sati - an old Indian practice where the women jumped in the funeral pyre of their husbands.
This is the place where the British signed a treaty with the Mughals, wherein, Kolkata, Gobindapur and Sutanati were given to the East India Company. Later these three villages combined to form present day Kolkata.
Thus a lot of history is attached to this city and the more we read about it the more intriguing and interesting it gets.
Bardhaman - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Bardhaman is the headquarters of the District of Bardhaman. With agriculture as its main occupation, it has a vast reserve of coalmines. It has a lot of brick clays, and other clay articles available. Today it has a lot of irrigation facilities, and it is today a major area of industries. With good connections with other cities in the State, Bardhaman, the granary of West Bengal, is also a centre of education and has the Bardhaman University which started in 1960. Today Bardhaman is a city with a planetarium.
Bardhaman - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with Bardhaman, the sweet city, reveals that the tourists mainly come here because of the history behind this city. There are many places of worship here which satisfy the soul. The combination of the traditional and the modern makes one understand that cities thrive on culture and tradition juxtaposed with technology. Sitabhog and Mihidana are two very popular sweet dishes made here which really satisfy a sweet palate. It is said that the name Bardhaman is related to the Sanskrit word Vardhamana which is commemorating the Jain Guru, Vardhamanaswami. Mahavira or Vardhamanaswami was the twenty fourth Tirthankar of the Jain religion.
Bardhaman - Travel kitty :
As we enter the village of Bardhaman, Burdwan, we find a lot of rustic look to the place. The ambience and the atmosphere make one long to don simple clothes and take a walk around the city. Added to this the simple nature of the locals is the best travel kitty one can take back. Besides this one also finds, wood carving articles, dokra or metalwork, straw work, the Kantha stitch materials, leather articles, jute based handicrafts, and the very famous Bardhaman Wooden Doll.
Bardhaman - Joie de vivre in the city :
Bardhaman, is a place of contrasts. It is split into two if one goes into its details. The eastern Bardhaman which is completely agricultural such that it is regarded as the granary of West Bengal . The other is the western side which is the industrial part of Bardhaman district. Thus with this kind of juxtaposed contrasts one would be more intrigued to known what one could see here. Let us see what one gets to see here :
Centers for Science, Arts :
Bardhaman Science Centre : This was found in the year 1994. Located on the Golapbag area it is a museum of highest standards and is situated near the Burdwan University. All objects related to science are exhibited here and it is interesting to see the intelligence that has gone behind those who have created such stuff. A tired tourist could rest in a park adjoining the museum.
Regional Art Centre for Creation : This is actually the Royal Palace of yesteryears. It is situated in Rajbati. It was found in the year 1965 by the Burdwan University. Old documents, manuscripts, antiques from India, archaeological objects, crafts, folk arts and many Indo European based paintings, marble sculptures, are found here. Besides one could also visit the library where more than three thousand kinds of monographs are seen depicting archaeology and art.
Golapbag Bagh : Meaning the Rose Garden, this is an attractive tourist spot in Burdwan. With its lovely garden for botany and zoology students, it was King Bijoy Chand Mahatab who got this built in the 18th century. A very well known botanist Dalton Hooker came here and made a list of around 128 kinds of trees here. Today the garden has many casuarinas, mango, jam , eucalyptus and silk cotton trees.
Lawmeyer Park : This is also called the Nehru Park. Lawmeyer, an engineer from Germany named it so in the year 1963. More than 5000 kinds of plants, and rare species at that are found here. Indoor plants are also in plenty in the greenhouse here. There is a musical fountain, a park for deers, a pool for bathing and eateries too. A nice tourist spot and a good picnic spot for those who really want to unwind and enjoy.
Satabdi Sishu Udayan : 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.
Garh Jungle: Also familiar by the name Dharma Garh of Raja Surath, it is a very ancient place in India. It is believed that Raja Surath conducted the Durga Puja here after Mahamuni Medhas advised him to. After this the Dasnami cult rediscovered this temple and started the Durga Puja here. Locals believe that is the reason the city has been named thus. Raja Surath was defeated by the Bhils and Kols. So the Mahamuni asked him to perform the Durga Puja.
Troika Park : This is a place for fun and amusement. Kids like to come here as they have a toy train and some amusement rides. There is a deer park nearby and this is another joyful experience as we are allowed to touch the deer. The Park also has a lake within it and there are boating facilities here.
Kumaramangalam Park : This was the first kind of park in this district that had a musical fountain. It started deteriorating due to lack of maintenance. Today, the Durgapur Steel Plant reinstalled the fountain and today it is again a spot for tourists to come to. Boating also could be done in this park.
Deul Park : Deul Park is located near the city of Durgapur. Any tourist who wants to spend the time at Durgapur picnicking can come here. The Ajay River flows along this park and the mesmerizing scene is something to reckon with. There are water rides and also a temple here. The Echai temple is also a place to visit just to feel the beauty of 800 years ago.
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.
Rarheswar Temple : This is a very important temple in the village of Kanksa. The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva. According to legend, this temple was actually a shelter for Bhaskar Pandit who used to worship Lord Shiva fervently.
Vishnu Temple : This is a very old temple of this district. The Pals built this temple. The presiding deity is Lord Narayana, another form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is around 10m high.
Jain temple : This is situated at Barakar. Barakar is in the north west of Bardhaman. The temples here have been constructed in the 5th to the 8th centuries. The North India architecture of the Rekha style has been applied here.
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.
Ichay Ghose Temple : This is again a temple with Goddess Bhagabati as its presiding deity. The temple is made out of bricks and is around a century and a half old. Icchay Ghose a devotee of the Goddess constructed this temple. It lies in the Gourangapur village.
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.
Rahreswar Shibtola: This temple which more than 8 centuries old, has been built in the Ratha Style of southern India. The calm ambience and the serene atmosphere, along with the best kind of idyllic surroundings enthrall the tourist and he is also taken in to see the remainders of the British air force airport.
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.
Other Places :
Bijoy Bahar : This lovely area is found on the northwestern portion of the Ramana Bagan. It is here that Maharaj Bijoy Chand was buried. The ambience here and the serene atmosphere renders a tourist totally helpless and he just settles down here after a tired tour. It is really a good weekend retreat for those who want a quick break from the humdrum of daily life.
Asansol : This is a very important city in Bardhaman district. This carries the achievement of having one of the best urban agglomerations. It is the second largest of its kind. This is also a prominent industrial hub with mining centers too.
Different modes of entertainment including musical dancing fountain, mini zoo, deer park, fast food center and bathing pool are provided for the visitors.
Churulia : This is where Kazi Nazrul Islam, the famous poet from Bengal took birth. Bangladesh today reveres him as the national poet. There is a museum housing all his works and also a memorial.. There is a fair which is held commemorating his birthday in the months of May and June. It is around 17 km from the city of Asansol and should be visited by the literary stalwarts
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.
Bhabani Pathak’s Tilla : Bankim Chattopadhyay wrote the novel Durgesnandini wrote about this. It is a mesmerizing chain of tunnels originating in the City center area and goes up to the River Damodar. Legend says that it is not possible to make way through the tunnel unless we know it well. Today, the monument has been protected and is a popular spot for tourists. Earlier there was a tunnel to the River Damodar from here but today it is not open for public view.
Industrial and Progressive Constructions :
Durgapur Barrage : This is the first and the best place to see in Durgapur, the Industrial Centre. During monsoons, the water comes out of the lock gates and this is a sight that one can keep etched forever. There is a canal here a little away from the canal and a footbridge over it. It is a nervous experience to walk over this when the lock gate is open. The feeling is so eerie, that one would forget oneself. There are many fishermen who also come here for some small time fishing. Some time back Durgapur had bird watchers in the hilly surrounding them.
Durgapur Steel Plant : It is necessary to understand the area of the plant and then get wonderstruck totally hypnotized by the entire zone. One needs a permit to visit this place.
Educational Constructions :
Meghnad Saha Planetarium : Located in the Burdwan University, it was started in the year 1994. The Government of Japan helped to construct this. It has a lot of instruments based on latest technology to showcase.
National Institute of Technology : This is a very important technical institute in India. It was earlier known as the Regional Engineering College, Durgapur. If you are a student, then you should surely visit this place as you can meet some of the best technical students of India.
Thus Bardhaman, with the blessings of Lord Mahavira has come to be a progressive place with a lot to offer to the tourist.
As a person leaves this place he thinks, “ They came, they saw, they created, Bardhaman.”