Bandel

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Image Courtesy - Amrita Kar/Amava Bhattacharya/taleoftwotramps.blogspot.in

Bandel is situated in Chinsurah-Mogra block in Chinsurah subdivision of Hooghly district of West Bengal. This place has a historical importance. From its name it appears to have been the port of Hooghly during the time of Portuguese and Mughals as the name comes from the Bengali word “Bondor” which means “Port”. It is famous for a Portuguese Church (Basilica) and Monastery that were built around 1660. The Bandel Church is the oldest Church in West Bengal and is visited by thousands of tourists all over the world throughout the year.

Weather around the year:

It has temperate weather all round the year. During Summer the temperature ranges from 24 degree centigrade – 38 degree centigrade and in winter its between 12 degree centigrade – 27degree centigrade

Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit is between October and February when the weather is most pleasant. You can visit the place during early summer during the Dol yatra festival (Holi) which is widely celebrated in Bandel and after Dol yatra festival you can observe the Olichandi Mela (fair) which is the biggest fair in Bandel where a variety of items are available for purchase.

How to Reach:

Railways: Bandel Junction station is the main station which is connected with Howrah-Burdwan main line. The rail distance of Bandel from Kolkata is 40km.

Roadways: You can also reach Bandel by hired car. But by road it takes more time as you need to travel 50 km to reach you destination.

Must See Places:
The “Bandel Church” should be first in the list of your must see places. It is one of the oldest, attractive and prestigious Christian churches of the state. The church has three altars, several tomb stones, a small organ and a shrine of Mother Mary. The statue of ” One lady of Happy Voyage” is in the middle of the church.

Hooghly “Imambara” is the next worth to visit spot, which is just 2 km away from Bandel Church. The building was started in the year 1841 in the memory of the great philanthropist Hazi Muhammad Mohsin & was completed in the year 1861 at the cost of Rs.2,17,413 including a clock procured from England at  the cost of Rs.11,721. The two storied building consisting ranged rooms having a wide entrance of  main gate flanked by two nos. of giant towers measuring 85 ft. tall (which offers spectacular views of the Hooghy river including the Jubilee Bridge) & a massive clock tower in between them. A mosque, the walls of which are decorated by the texts from the Holy Koran, is situated at the north side of the building.

Another very important destination near Bandel is the famous “Hangsheswari Temple”, which is 7 km. away from Bandel Church & is situated at Banshberia village. The five-storied beautiful temple has a very unique structure with 13 domes that are looked like lotus buds. Structurally it is quite similar to the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The temple was dedicated to Goddess Kali & was built by Raja Nrisinhadeb and his wife Rani Sankari.

Close to “Hangsheswari temple” there is another important temple named “Ananta Basudeba Temple” which is decorated with very rich teracotta art and was dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple was built by Raja Rameshwar Datta in the year 1649.

Must visit Nearby Places:

Debanandapur : It is one of the seven important villages that was named “saptagram” during the mughal rule is just 3 km from Bandel. It is the birthplace of famous writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and you can visit his dwelling house which includes a library named “Sarat Smriti Pathagar” and a museum room containing the things used by the famous writer.

Pandua : You can visit the popular historical spot Pandua is 22kms from Bandel which was built during the 13th century and is famous for its Minar (Tower) which is 125 mt. tall.

Itachuna Rajbari:  Itachuna Rajbari is 21 kms from Bandel is a century old zamindar building which was constructed in 1766 by Shri Safallya Narayan Kundu. The place is also called ‘Bargi Danga’ as one faction of the bargis (a Maratha warrior groups who invaded and plundered Bengal time and again) started living here. The present inheritors still continue to live here and a part of the building is rented out to travelers and tourists. The shooting of a famous bollywood movie named “Lootera” was done here.

Sahaganj:  A unit of Dunlop India Ltd. is located in Sahaganj which is 4 km from Bandel  Station.

Tribeni : It is said that, Tribeni is the junction of three holy rivers – the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Sarasvati. So it was an ancient holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. Tribeni is 8 km from Bandel on the Bandel-Katwa line. Tribeni Tissues Limited, a specialty paper manufacturing company and a major supplier of tissue paper to the cigarette industry, is located at Tribeni. It was taken over by ITC in 1990. In Tribeni, tourist can also visit the beautiful “Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque and Dargah” which is considered as one of the most ancient Muslim monuments in Bengal.

You can also visit “Mogra” which is 7 km away from Bandel and “Banshberia” which is 4km away from Bandel. Both the places are famous for their grand “Saraswati Puja” festival which occurs in the month of January or February.

How to get around:

Auto rickshaws can easily be found on the roads and streets of Bandel.  Besides that the other modes of local transport are buses, taxis, cycle rickshaws.

Where to stay:

You can choose from a large number of options of hotels if you wish to spend a weekend in Bandel. There are lots of good hotels available here starting from Rs. 400 to 3000 per day.

Travel Tips:

Tourists usually visit Bandel for one day out tour, but if you wish to spend more time you can book a hotel for the weekend and enjoy a few more days amidst the refreshing nature beside the Hooghly river.

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