How it started
The day before we had arraived in Malda by train from Howrah. We hurriedly toured the attractions at Gour and Adina. We missed some. Had slept somewhat in a not so well lodge. But we started freshened up as we had a long way to go.
Farakka in West Bengal
Malda to Farakka , Murshidabad West Bengal
Early morning after bath we set off for Farakka. Eventually we moved through Sujapur, Uttar Dariapur, Beliadanga , Sultanganj, Kaliachak and crossed toll at Farakka Raigunj Highway near Chak Sheherdi. We moved further through Lakshmipur.
In Farakka, Jangipur Sub Division , Murshidabad
As car movement is always controlled farakka bridge had huge traffic congestion. So we were already late. Though we had the plan to have breakfast at a Pathasathi on crossing over to Jangipur Subdivision of Murshidabad we couldn’t to avoid delay.
Just after crossing Ganges over Farakka Bridge we took the first right along New Farakka Station Road. Again we took left along the Barrage Bazar Road to cross the origin of Hoogly from Ganges. High security CISF patrol forced me to take no snaps.
Through the Barrage Colony Link Road we started with Ganga Bhavan Road along the Ganges. We visited the Farraka bird watching area. We travelled along the ganges beside the Farakka Township.
Travelling back we reached NH12 to drive till NTPC Bus stop. From there we took right to start with NH 33. We took right again at TTS More Farakka to cross Hooghly again beside a Rail bridge. We took the Farakka Barage Ring Road keeping NTPC ash fields on left and Hooghly on right.
For Jharkhand Border
But soon we were lured to the Ghorapara Bewa Road leaving the NH33 only to find narrow and unmotorable road conditions. However we reappeared on NH33 at Bewa just before crossing over to Jharkhand. Ultimately we had left Murshidabad, Bengal to enter Jharkhand at Maslandapur.
We moved along NH33 through Barharwa to reach Lalbathan near Udhwa Bird Sanctuary. Eventually we were moving away from the Ganges along our route. But shortage of time made us rush through Paranpur to reach Rajmahal at Ganges side.
Thus we rushed to Rajmahal the opposite side of Ganges as to Manikchak in Maldah. Definitely we arraived at Rajmahal station. The looks of the British era were so unchanged. I visited the Singhi Dalan and the Akbari Mosque.
Singhi Dalan or Marble pavilion was probably part of the large palace erected by Man Singh Akbar’s viceroy in Bengal. Shah Suza second son of Shah Jahan built it is the other opinion.
Delayed as usual though we had lunch arrangements at Shahebgunj hotel we preferred it at a restaurant in Singhi Dalan complex.
Rajmahal Ferry Service
Ultimately we visited the Rajmahal Ferry ghat to learn car ferrying being temporarily in abeyance. So our return must be through Farakka only.
A mosque built at Rajmahal along ganges when Man Singh established Rajmahal as capital of Bengal in 1529 AD. Rajmahal remained capital till 1607 two years after Akbar’s death. In 1639 Shah Suja shifted back the capital from Dhaka to Raj Mahal.
In 1707 Murshid Kuli Khan reshifted the capital to Murshidabad.
Baradari or Nageswarbagh with underground cellar
Baradari is in Arazimakimpur, Shahibganj. Either Fateh Jung Khan, Raja Man Singh’s rival or Mir Kasim Ali Khan, the Bengal Nawab built it. Constructed on high platform it has an entry gate and guard room.
The wooden rang mahal and outhouses for servants and guards have completely perished with no traces to be found.
Raja Man Singh governor of Emperor Akbar built Jami Mosque on a Hadaf or archery built within the historical town of Rajmahal. After the Ganges shifted away Bengal’s capital was shifted from Gaur to Rajmahal. It has 3 gateways to north south and east, east being main entrance.
Then we travelled through Darkala, Jharkhand to cross a manned level crossing. We avoided the temple of Kanai Natshala near Saidpur, Jharkhand for scarcity of time and as the structure was relatively new.
We went to Moti Jharna atop a hill. It was beautiful too look down from the hilly road. I saw locals climbing the hill to get down to the river base for picnic.
We reached the Shiva Temple at the base of the Moti Jharna or Pearl Spring. I saw huge millipedes in the damp ambience.
Shahebganj Town Night stay
Finally we reached our hotel at Shahibganj at dusk. Kalinga International room was good. But the drivers stay irritated me. He would be allowed dormitory stay from 8pm to 6 am. The car parking was also not there as promised on phone earlier. However we ordered room food after a little stroll in the Shahibganj town.
Morning in Shahibganj Town
Early morning we had tea and puri as breakfast from a local shop outside the hotel. Conversely the hotel restaurant was yet to start up. We could see a lazy lifestyle with animal pulled carts and old buildings of the British era.
Travelling to Bihar
Shahibganj to Jharkhand Bihar Border
We started for Bihar early as we have return by 12 noon and checkout of the hotel. Moving through Talbanna, Chhota Solbandha, Jhagruchauki , Bhawani chauki we arraived at Teliagarih. We didn’t have time to move to the Teliagarhi Fort along a subroad at Gari. The road was not properly mapped on Google Maps and we couldn’t trust to experiment in rush. We decided to try a long but mapped road from Mirzachowki during our return journey. Soon we reached Mirzachowki by travelling 7.5 Kms and crossed over to Bihar from Jharkhand. The place had a railstation , a level crossing a road intersection and prolonged jam.
In Bihar to Antechak
From Mirazachowki moving along Ammapali, Koraichak , Parasbena , Pirpainti we reached Lakshmipur Bhorang in good speed though the roads were foggy. Thereafter at places road was under construction and even the national highway was narrow. Trucks had caused heavy jam . My Vikramshila plan worried me whether we will have to leave it. Eventually we were at Shiv Narayanpur. However somehow we reached Ramjanipur. Many a place I saw sugar molasses right from the field. We left the NH33 to take left via the Bikramshila Sthal Road. In due time we were at Parasurampurchak in Bihar.
At Vikramshila Antechak Bihar
Vikramashila was established by King Dharmapala in response to a supposed decline in the quality of scholarship at Nalanda. Atisha, the renowned pandita, is sometimes listed as a notable abbot. It was destroyed by the forces of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1193 CE.
Nice experience in travelling to historical times at such a place of cross country deliberations of knowledge , wisdom and culture. Vikramshila had a clear hierchy compared to other Mahaviharas as
- Adhyaksa (abbot)
- 6 Dvarapala or Dvarapandita (Gate protector or gate scholars) one each for Northern Souhern, Eastern, Western, First Central and Second Central Gates
- Mahapandita ( Great Scholars)
- Pandita (Scholars) roughly 108 so
- Upadhaya or Acharya ( Teachers or Professors) 160 approximately
- Bikhsu (Resident Monks) mostly 1000 in number.
Astonishingly arm wielding security guards the place. Luckily we got hold of a guide who tried to explain things to us. After a hard try we could ge5t a ASI publication copy from the Museum at the campus.
Incidentally it is now an UNESCO World Heritage structure.
Vikramshila Back to Hotel at Shahibganj
We had some packagedfood and tea at a stall infront of Vikramshila ASI complex.
What we missed
I missed the Bateswar Sthan where the Ganges river has an hilly side. Also we didn’t have time for the Shiva Gadi Temple.
Obviously we missed the tree that was the kiln of the first revolution of my country India. The Banyan tree at Panchkathia that was the meeting place of Santhal rebellion. Sidhu and Kanu Murmu started the rebellion with 10 thousand Santhal Hools from there. They were joined by other 2 brothers Chand and Bhairav later.
Jharkhand to Bengal and Home
Returning to Malda
Certainly we also missed the lone Martello Tower of India at Pakur.
Malda and to home
Thus I spent the evening at Malda. We visited Students Health Home, Malda, the voluntary movement I am associated with for almost past 2 decades. We took fries (take bhaja) at Malda and bought Rasakadamba sweet for home and wife’s workplace.
Along with my wife I boarded the Gour express to return to Howrah and travel home by my waiting car. Regular duties from next day till future travels.
for ardent reading
A Wondrous Wanderer