A Town By The Ganges..

3rd Feb 2019

Sunday morning.

A friend from my neighborhood knocks our door around six in the morning and when my mother told I was still in bed, she just walked into my bedroom behind my mother who came to wake me up.

What did she want this early in the morning?

It was lets_go_somewhere mood for her.

I was wide awake now. I told her to give me one hour to be ready (Pranayam, House Cleaning, Bath, Prayers, Lunch in one hour was absolutely impossible - If I asked for more time, she would just leave alone - I know her) She proposed seeing 108 Shiv Mandirs in Kalna. I did not think much. I just agreed to prevent her from going solo.

When she left my bedside allowing me to get ready, my mother reminded me that our main electricity switch board had to be taken care and the concerned person will come that morning. I did not call my friend, did not get up from bed either and was hoping this board thing gets taken care before I leave. (Within one hour again was next to impossible)

Around 10:30 AM she calls me to check if I was ready - I explained the situation and begged for time. I tried to rationalize Kalna trip either ways was ruled out because of local train timings. I tried to sell her the idea of going to Khirai, after Panskura in Howrah area to see Bengal's valley of flowers.

She was already ready by 10:30 AM. I was the royal culprit here. We finally left home at 1:30 PM and by that time, the switched board was taken care.

Khirai had to be dropped too because we guessed it will take at least three hours to reach there. I suggested Halisohor. She was game.

So we set out to explore Halisohor in North Kolkata, a town by the holy Ganges river

We took a bus to Naihati (INR 17/-). The person seated next to my friend was going to the same place to her daughter's house. We checked with her what options we had to go to Halisohor from Naihati - Train, Auto and Bus

We boarded Bus No 85 to reach Halisohor (INR 9/-). Now this is not a small place and we did not what to tell the bus conductor. By train we both knew Halisohor was next to Naihati. Auto would cost INR 20/-

We told Ramprasad Bhite and bought our bus tickets - The birthplace of revered saint Ram Prasad Sen (A TV serial started a few weeks back on his life). His bhakti poems are popularly called Ramprasadi in Bengal sung mainly addressing goddess Kali.

When we reached the destined bus stop we spoke to an auto driver to show us the local spots. He quoted INR 200 and then dropped the price down to INR 150.

We opted to cover the nearby spots walking. On our way to Ramprasad Bhite, we saw Jora Shib Mandir

I always have a sinking feeling when I see structures like these that belongs to our rich heritage are not maintained as it should be - Jora Shib Mandir

Photo of Naihati, West Bengal, India by Kakuli

The gate was open. We got in and noticed this stone inscription that says this was inaugurated on 25th February 1999 and we stand there approximately after twenty years.

What Does It Take To Maintain This Place? First of all - An honest intent!

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

When we reached Ramprasad Bhite, we learnt that it will open at 3:00 PM. We still had half an hour. We explored the premises. There were many visitors waiting there.

The Quiet Atmosphere Is The First Thing That You Will Observe.

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

There is a water body within the premises

The Entrance - Ramprasad Bhite

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

Here is the big thing about the place. We know what we need to see, but we had no clue to how to go to those places. It is the people and local vendors of Halisohor who helped us complete this trip without any hassle.

Water Body In Ramprasad Bhite

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

We walked back to the main road, spent some time near Ramprasad's ghat (River bank). We walked past the park on the main road wanting to cover it last as the gate will open only at 4 PM.

We saw a Terrakota temple on our way back to Ramprasad Bhite which again looked neglected. We took a different walking route past Halisohor Municipality building.

Terrakota Temple

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

We saw some road construction in progress, with bricks being arranged. So I am hoping, soon this place will have developed roads.

Road Construction In Progress - And The Structure Still In Ruins

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

On our way back we picked some Choco biscuits and by the time we reached Ramprasad Bhite, the Kali temple was opened. Photography is not allowed inside the temple. We entered the huge hall and sat outside the inner door letting devotees who intended to offer their prayers, sit in the inner space.

We thought, only people who had prayers to offer were allowed inside the temple, practically at one arm distance from Goddess Kali. Our assumptions were broken by the authorities who asked us to go inside and sit. We spent some five or ten minutes and headed back to the Park on the main road just beside Ganges

Craig Park Bengali Year 1344

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

Our tea time was in the park. Fortunately it was open much before 4 PM.

We Bought Tea And Home Made Cookies From Local Vendor And Sipped In Craig Park Watching Ganges

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

The beautiful views from the park got me thinking - I should have come here with my family too.

Soaking Sun In The Park

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

The park had swings and other facilities for children. We just sat in the stone benches and enjoyed the tranquility of the place, vast horizons and I kept planning another trip to cover the other places - Rashmoni Temple and her birthplace, Rathtala Mandir in Halisohor. We just did not feel like moving out from here.

Merging The Two Worlds

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

The Toto asked for INR 20 to take us to Rani Rashmoni's birth place. If we went by bus, we had to get down in Bagmode and then take a Toto. As we both had plans to return, we mutually decided to keep this pending for our next trip.

As We Descended The Steps

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

We boarded a bus from Halisohor to our locality (INR 20/-) We planned to quickly visit Spencers that opened recently for some grocery shopping. While what we had in our minds are these images.

Ideal For A Long Walk

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

We noticed solar panel supported lights in the park which means there is probably hope for the structures and ruins too in near future. Halisohor authorities is likely not going to ignore the rich history and the stories these structures tell to a traveler or a visitor.

Solar Panel Supported Lights

Photo of A Town By The Ganges.. by Kakuli

.With that hope, we left this beautiful town by the Ganges and some fantastic memories of the people here who went to the extent of telling us how to go and how much to spend to save our money.

That is what makes a place worth a dozen visits - Its people.

Originally Published Here

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