Saturday, 10 December 2011

Hooghly, West Bengal

Hooghly, situated on the west bank of Hooghly River, is hardly 40 km from the state capital of Kolkata. The district houses several cities that have a great tourism value. It is also a place of great significance for Bengalis, as it is the birthplace of the eternal Bengali novelist, Sarat Chadra Chatterjee. The place is also given extreme regard as it is the sacred place where Sri Ramakrisna Paramhamsa and his consort, Sarada Devi spent a major part of their life. The rich past, historical legacy and myriad attractions of the district make it important from travel and tourism point of view.

Hooghly is also famous for its liaisons with the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese. The individualistic marks of these foreign cultures still reflect in the culture as well as the architecture of the district. A river port in the fifteenth century, the district was first approached by Portuguese. Gradually, the Dutch, Danish, British, French, Belgians and Germans also came to this place. Dutch traders centered their activities in Chuchura, which is just south to Hooghly, while Chandannagar became the base of the French. On the other hand, the Danish settlers made Srirampur their base.

There are several cities in Hooghly district worth a trip. The city of Chandannagar is famous for its strand and the French architectural style buildings. The city of Tarakeshwar and Bhadreswar are known as sacred pilgrimage spots. Dhaniakhali is famous for its typical Bengali sari, while Dhanekhali. Joyrambati and Kamarpukur cities are known for their liaisons with Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi. While in Hooghly, you must also visit the oldest church of Bengal and Muslim Imambada in Bandel, Sandeswar Temple, Hansweswari Temple and Brindavan Jew temple in Chinsura.

Places To See:


The main source of attraction in Hooghly is Tarakeshwar, a municipality that houses the Taraknath temple. It attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it has the Kali and Laksmi Narayan shrines situated nearby. People visit the temple in huge numbers every Monday. But, it is the occasion of 'Shivaratri', in the month of Falgun (Feb-March), which sees the most footfalls of devotees. There is a Buddhist temple just 6 km away from Tarakeshwar, which is also the only Buddhist shrine in Tarakeshwar.

Bandel Church

Bandel was the port of Hooghly at the time of Moguls and Portuguese. Its name comes from the Bengali word for port i.e. 'bander.' Today, the port is known for its church. However, the present cathedral is a replacement of an earlier edifice, which was razed to the ground during the sacking of Hooghly, by the Moors, in 1632. The present Basilica was built in 1660, by Gomez de Soto, who had the keystone of the old church (now seen on the eastern gate). 


The famous Imambara of Hooghly is situated at the bank of the river Ganges and is very close to the Hooghly railway station. The Imambara was built in 1861, by Haji Mohammad Mahasin, whose grave is present therein. The building is two storied and has a mosque and a graveyard near it. The walls of this mosque are decorated with the texts from the Holy Koran.


Kamarpukar, situated in the Arambag subdivision of the Hooghly District, is birthplace of Sri Ramakrisna Paramhans. A temple was built here in 1951 and attracts many tourists today. Apart from that, there are a number of old buildings and temples here, which attract a large number of visitors. For instance, there is the ancestral home of Swami Ramkrishna. Amongst the nearby temples, Yogi’s Siva temple and Raghubir Temple are the most visited.

Chandannagore Strand

Chandannagore Strand is a beautiful tourist spot along the banks of the river Ganges. It is about 1 km in length and 7 m in width, and many buildings with historical importance surround the spot. This is a place where people love to take a walk and gaze at the sailing boats in far waters. This is the best decorated bank of the river, along its entire stretch. A meditation centre has been also erected here............

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