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West Bengal: Chandraketugarh, Chakla Baba Lokenath Temple, Taki and Basirhat
Chandraketugarh, a location of archaeological importance, is located beside the river Bidyadhari, about 35 km north-east of Kolkata. It was a fort city of the king Chandraketu and was discovered in the year 1955. According to some historians, maybe this Chandraketugarh and the adjoining area are the places that the ancient Greek and Roman writers called 'Gangaridai.' The Kalindi River, one of the offsets of the River Ganges, was there beside the city.
Excavation for several years has discovered remnants of several periods and there is a possibility of getting many more archeological specimens after the excavations in the coming years. But the lack of initiatives is the only reason for which the city is still not that popular to the tourists.
The excavations held here have revealed the archeological significance of the port city. Archeological evidences of the contemporary ages like Maurya, Kushan, Gupta, Sen and Pala have been excavated. The excavated materials include clay pipes, drainage systems, minted copper coins, ivory bangles and beads, dancing women sculptures, bronze and terracotta images. One can find some of these excavated items in the collection of the Ashutosh Museum of Indian Art and the State Archeological Museum, Kolkata. A personal collection of the excavated items are also well maintained by Abdul Jabbar (a villager). Excavation has also revealed the cultural highness of the town. Temple of Gupta age, Amritakunda, and mausoleum of Khana-Mihir were found after excavation.
Trains to Haroa are available from Sealdah railway station, Kolkata. Buses are also going to Berachampa regularly from the Esplanade, Kolkata. Chandraketugarh is situated at a distance of 5 km from Haroa railway station.
Chakla Baba Lokenath temple:
Chakla village, a new addition to the list of the pilgrimage spots, has a temple in remembrance of Sri Sri Lokenath. It is believe that he had appeared in the Chakla village in 1137.
Arguably, the Kachua village, about 15 km from Berachampa towards Basirhat, is the birth place of Sri Sri Lokenath. It is also believed that he went away to another nation along with guru Ganguly from the Kachua village. The first Braja temple was built by the Ghosal family here in 1943. The new temple is built on 23rd August, 1989.
In Tegharia, situated inside the city of Kolkata, is another temple built by Jayanta Silpa Association in 1990.
Dhanyakuria village, at a distance of 20 km from Barasat towards Basirhat, has a number of palaces around. The huge door at the roadside is the main attraction of Dhanyakuria. Dhanyakuria also houses many temples. Dhankuriya is popularly known to the surrounding villagers for the festival of Durgotsav and its celebrations.
Taki, about 18 km from Basirhat, is situated at the other side of Bangladesh alongside the River Ichamoti. Stay here for a night in the Taki Municipal Guest House and on the next morning take a boat ride to Rajnagar Island. The island is known for the temporary tents of fishermen and the Ganga temple but the Island doesn’t have any human population. You can also see Bangladesh as it is situated at the other side of the River Ichamoti. The old palace of the king along with the home of his associate, Sankar Roychowdhury, went into the grasp of the Ichamoti River. One can see the Ramkrishna Mission, Shiva temples, Nandalal temple and Kuleshwari Kali temple on the way to the Sachindra picnic spot. Tourists can refresh themselves by a boat ride in the Ichamoti River. The surrounding atmosphere around the river will take you to another world. It’s hard to believe but it’s true that a place, which is very near to the city of Kolkata, can offer a pleasing calmness and mesmerizing environment. But it’s quite evident that Taki is slowly but surely loosing its charm due to the urbanization and unruly crowd.
Hasnabad, lies about 80 km from Kolkata, can be a base point for the destinations like Hingalganj and Sandeshkhali. Radhagovinda temple is the best and most important attraction of Hingalganj. Another small land, Machranga Island, that has come up on the River Ichamoti due to the scarcity of water has become a coveted destination for the tourists.
Interested holidaymakers can visit, Nazat or lejhat, the gateway to Sundarbans, about 94 km away from Kolkata. To witness the culture and civilization of the backward community one can look forward to visit the ethnic village Nazat. Nazat, situated alongside the Betani River, can be accessed from Kolkata by bus in 3 hours.
On the way to Basirhat, the famous Shahi mosque and Kali temple should not be missed out. If you go to Basirhat you should also savor the taste of the well known sweet called Minakhan.
How to reach: Hasnabad can be reached by local trains which start from Sealdah railway station. These trains touch both Taki and Basirhat railway station on its way to Hasnabad. Hasnabad, Taki and Basirhat all are connected by bus also from Esplanade bus terminus, Kolkata.
Where to stay: Town hotel and New Town hotel in Basirhat.