Start of March and the tropical heat was starting up. Yet we decided for a pinch of local history mythology and a glimpse of the Indo Bangladesh border. We suddenly took of for Taki with our car.
Where Mythology mixes with History
We reached Berachampa through Haroa. I could well remember the story of 6 Islamic preachers from Mecca who came to preach Islam in Bengal. Two Gazis took up on South Bengal one with his resting place at Ghutiari Sharif and other whose history relates to Berachampa and Haroa. While Ghutiari Sharif grew on Hindu Muslim unity with cultures of Indra-paigambar. And mixing of the religious beliefs of Sunderban like Dakshin Rai and Bon bibi with Islam and synthesis of more sublime faith.
On the other hand the other was instrumental in building up a mosque complex on Tribeni over probable remains of a Hindu temple and thus took a antagonistic path. This Gazi was well known for his indrajal (magical) powers. The devoted Hindu ruler of Chandraketugarh when confronted by the gazi asked him of his powers. Gazi replied with blossoming flowers on the iron rails and thus arose the name Berachapa. He had a fight with the Hindu king and was initially defeated. But treachorously the gazi changed the colour of the victory flag from white to black. Seeing such the queen and royal ladies performed self immolation in the palace. Returning to see all ended the king in grief challenged the gazi again to be killed in battle to cause the fall of Chandraketugarh.
Later the gazi was challenged by 2 tribal chieftains of the Odhisha ganprazatantra and was eventually killed in battle. His bones lay at a place to be renamed as Haroa.
Khana Mihirer or Baraha Mihirer Dhipi
By 2:55 pm we were at an ASI site unearthed by archaeologists from Calcutta University. It is to the left side of the present Berachampa bus stop but is part of the larger Chandraketu fort of erstwhile. Remains from 4th century BC Pala to AD Gupta age. An old temple and Stupa with Jataka coins were among the finds.
Legend foretell it to be named after acclaimed astrologer Baraha Mihira or his infamous astrologer daughter in law Khana. Khana was the one who cut off or get to cut of her tongue to end the Khanas Bachan.
We took the road towards Muchisa and after half km reached an insignificant location with no sign boards. Asking the villagers through a rural mudroad reached an outing with ASI sign boards. No walling only large mounds called Chandraketu Garh ruins beside the Bidyadhari river. The river which meets mighty Ichhamati river at Malancha.
The place was named after the mythical king Chandraketu. It has remains from the Mauryan to Pala period. Historically it’s believed to be part of the ancient kindom of Gangaridai flourishing in the Shunga Kushana period as written by greco roman writters like Ptolemy. Chandraketugarh’s history probably lays intertwined with that of Wari Bateshwar ruins of Bangladesh. Others like Diodarus, Plutarch wrote volumes on Gangardari kingdom and it’s 4000 elephant strong force which even Alexander the Great chose to avoid.
Chandraketu Garh was excavated by Ashutosh Museum of Calcutta University in 1955- 1956. Its famous for Sunga terracotta and silver punched coins, copper cast coins, artefacts from Kushana, Pala & Gupta periods.
Definite signs of early historical urban settlements which gained much prosperity at its time.
Dhanyakuria Gayen or Gain Rajbari or Palace
On way to the left side we came across a building with nice architecture. It was running a state run orphanage. We were disallowed entry to the same. Later I found out it to be Gain Rajbari of Dhanyakuria. Though shaped like an English castle it was never owned by any Englishmen. It was the summer guest house of the Gyen jamindar family constructed by Gopinath Gyen. It was always film directors paradise from Shaheb Bibi Golam to Satwenashi.
We reached Taki on the bank of Ichhamati river eventually. It is a small municipal town in the Hasnabad police district of Basirhat sub division of North 24 Parganas district of Bengal. The name has an austric origin from “tak” which designates the bulging of the river. It boasts of a 350 year old Gajan meal and a 296 year old Durga Puja at the Rajbari.
Taki was the realm of the jamindars from mughal era till the british periods. It has witnessed many changes in the river course engulfing the historical buildings. The West side building has been completely engulfed by Ichhamati what remains is minor remnant of the South building in ruins. Almost simultaneously another rural business hub developed at adjacent Husnabad primary for the fishing industry. Because of the vast catch of prawns it was once called Chingrihata. It’s now famous for the idol immersion of goddesses Durga in Ichhamati every year from both the Bengal that is our West Bengal & Bangladesh.
By evening we had to rush back to home as we had no prior bookings for the hotel stay.
What we missed
In hurry we missed the Mach Ranga dweep, Nanda Lal Jiu temple at Jalalpur and the Mosque of Pir Gorachand or Md. Syed Ali at Haroa and Sawoo house and Ballabh Rajbari at Dhanyakuria and Taki Jamindar Bari and it’s Durga dalan. Better try another time. As of now
With warm regards from