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Presenting the throbbing vitality of the “unknown”- perhaps – “ignored”- is Chandraketugarh for you. Located about 50km from Kolkata, West Bengal, it’ll take you around just two hours by road through Barasat to reach this city – brimming with “history”.
Chandrakethugarh: Of History and Mystery
Thanks to the Archeological Survey of India, today, Bengal can boast of yet another historical gem, complete with the stories of kings, fort and a lot of food. Chandrakethugarh features the remains of a temple that was established during the times of renowned mathematicians Mihir and Khana, a fort helmed by the mythical figure Chandrakethu and a mosque – actually believed to be a Buddhist stupa. Reading about this hidden gem – one would actually end up feeling that there is no dearth of avenues to explore untamed fancies for everything mysterious and mythical. Besides the temple and the fort, some important relics that were excavated were coins belonging to the Jataka stories, images of Buddha, some interesting motifs belonging to the Pala period, earthen utensils and showpieces and terracotta sealings and plaques.
ASI, which was actually responsible for digging out the city opines that the temple (already mentioned in the first paragraph) was actually a part of the flourishing Chandrakethugarh cityscape, which particular enjoyed prominence during the span of 4th Century BC and 12th century A.D. The significant “six” eras “covered” by the city mean it had existed from the pre-Mauryan times since the Pala period. Spanning across 45 square kilometres, the temple believably dates back to 700 to 600 B.C.
Grappling with a Long History of Obscurity
Strangely enough, even after the city was excavated by the ASI in the year 1907, Chandraketugarh did suffer obscurity for a long time till the Bengal Government took it upon itself to bail it out of relegation. Their intentions are duly concretized by their efforts to set up a museum showcasing the forgotten history of our much revered Bengal. Talking about Chandraketugarh, one simply cannot miss the mention of local resident Tarak Nath Ghosh, who requested the Government to excavate the area in question. While initially the request wasn’t really paid heed to, it was only with the arrival of historian Rakhaldas Banerji on the spot in the year 1909 that things started changing. He went on with his impressions in Basumati, the Bengal journal in 1920, when the Indian Government was literally stirred to protect a few mounds in the site under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1956- 1967.
A bus to Haroa would actually mean that you’re at the home of legendary Pir Gorachand – who according to local lore- was egged on by none other than Sun God to build a mosque. As you step foot on Chandraketugarh, you will inevitably find yourself greeted with more such local lores that can well pave the way for a meaningful touristy time ahead.