Travelogue – Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Bishnupur, Mukutmanipur Trip

Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Bishnupur, Mukutmanipur

The blog India’s Global Kitchen is one of my dearest creations. In its blogs, I write whatever comes to my mind. I share my cooking experiments with you all through the posts. Today I thought of sharing my travel experience with you all. I recently went for holidaying to Bishnupur. Bishnupur or Vishnupur is a temple town located in the district of Bankura, West Bengal. It was a two day road trip. We also covered some beautiful adjacent places of historical significance like Kamarpukur and Jayrambati. We also paid a short visit to Mukutmanipur in Bankura. So here goes my Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Bishnupur, Mukutmanipur Trip Travelogue.

 

 

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It’s the middle of February and what’s the best time to go for a short trip?! Summer will come soon. Temperatures will rise above 40 degrees making it impossible for us to make a short trip to places surrounding Kolkata. So off we go on a road trip. Destination Bishnupur!

 

We hired a Tata Zest. A broad car for a herd of 4.5 people (I would consider my daughter to be 0.5… she’s yet to grow big you see). We started at around 10:15 am on a Sunday. On the way, we thought of paying a visit to Ramakrishna Thakur’s Birthplace and Sarada Devi’s place as well. So we reached Kamarpukur, Hooghly at 1:30 pm. But the temple door was closed and would re-open at 3:30pm. So we decided to have our lunch. There’s a hotel nearby the temple named ‘Relax’. We relaxed a bit till 2:30pm and then decided to go to Jayrambati which is a few kilometers away from the place.

 

 


JAYRAMBATI

 

We arrived at Jayrambati at 3 p.m. Jayrambati is the birth place of Sarada Ma who was the wife of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. You can find fertile lands in the place. Here also, the main site, that is the house of Sarada Ma re-opens at 3:30pm. Till then we roamed in and around the temple place. Inside the premises, you can find beautiful gardens having different colored hibiscus and other plants. We could see rare colors of hibiscus like orange, white apart from the usual pink and red ones. We went to a memento shop inside the campus. You can find several religious books in Hindi, bengali and english languages. The books speak mainly of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Sarada Devi. Also different scriptures of The Gita, The Mahabharata and The Ramayana were also available. I have a fetish for incense sticks and could collect the rose incense sticks as well! It smells heavenly! At sharp 3:30pm the temple door was opened. There’s a prayer room inside. In the mandir is placed a wonderful white colored idol of Ma Sarada made up of marble. It’s claded in a wonderful banarasi saree. We bowed down to her and then moved on to see her home. One home is situated inside the premises, the other just outside the gate. The later used to be the abode of Her, when she used to stay with her brothers. The ‘unon’ or mud – oven, mud huts, straw roofs of the huts were mesmerizing. I sat on the floor of one of those huts and it was a beautiful peaceful feeling in the mind! The place is very well maintained, one must remark. Also just outside the main gate, we saw another new home of Maa Sarada. After visiting the new abode we moved back to Kamarpukur.

 

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KAMARPUKUR

 

It was 4:20 pm now. Just entering the main gate of the place in Kamarpukur, we could see a Mango tree which was planted by Ramakrishna Dev! One touches the tree in great respect to Him. Inside the premises, there’s the home where Ramakrishna Dev was born! It holds a marble idol of Thakur now. It was beautifully adorned with fresh flower garlands. Everywhere was peace reigning in the minds of everyone. Devotional songs are sung there. We saw the room of Ramakrishna Thakur, His brother’s room which was treated as a treasury room or bhandar ghor as well. Also in a small temple resides Thakur’s kul devta idols. After exploring the place we moved outside and then had ‘Shada Bonde’ or white bundi, the speciality of the place. At around 5:30 pm we started off for Bishnupur, our main destination.

On the way, we could spot the Joypur jungle. It was evening and darkness loomed around the place. The road was beautiful with dense tall trees on both sides of the road, birds chirping loudly! On the way, we could spot Sign boards letting us know that the road is actually an elephant corridor. It was beautiful to pass by and finally we reached our destination, Bishnupur at around 6 : 40 pm.

 

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BISHNUPUR

 

We boarded at Bishnupur Government Lodge, the most beautiful hotel of the place I must say! It’s occupying a vast area and has a vast garden at the backyard. A beautiful park is inside where there’re swings. The lodge serves food by cooking vegetables grown inside their own garden. The food was extremely healthy and like home-cooked food . We ordered non-veg and veg thalis. Though a bit pricey but considering the hygiene of the food and getting the opportunity to eat organic vegetable curries, the price we paid was worthy! We were given Room #301 and #302, which were on the top most floor. It had a wide, beautiful open terrace and it was such a luck to get those rooms! The rooms were clean and well maintained as well. After initial refreshments in the hotel, we again went off. Target: Buying ‘Baluchari Saree‘ 🙂


The officials at the front desk of the Hotel informed that there’s 3 big shops for baluchari sarees – Anuska, Anubhav and Kanishka. Coming to what baluchari saree is and why were we so much after it, well, Baluchari saree is one of the significant handloom product of West Bengal. It was initially made in Murshidabad and now, Bishnupur is the hub of Baluchari saree production. You have taanti para in Bishnupur, where these sarees are made by the weavers and are sold in the market. Anyways, it was a 4 minute drive to the shop Anuska from the hotel. On the way, we entered the Chinnamasta Temple. At the screen shop, the shop-keepers greeted us warmly and the ladies as we were, surely had enough reasons to get over whelmed at the collection of sarees out there. BALUCHARI SAREES are a treasure of a Bengali woman’s wardrobe. It takes a lot of effort to create each of these master pieces. In the pallu and body of the saree is depicted scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana! The normal balucharis were priced around 5000 INR. Then there’s Minakari baluchari in which the designs and depictions are weaved in with 2 or more colored threads. Price ranges start from 6400 INR. And the best of the bests would be the ‘Swarnachari’, which marks as a class of a woman’s wardrobe. Price ranged from and above 7000 INR. Swarnachari saree designs are made with golden threads and the number of reels of thread used to produce them is a bit on the higher end. A normal baluchari needs 4 days to get woven whereas a Minakari one takes 2 – 3 days more to produce.

Just outside the shop, we saw a small papad seller. Elated, we hopped to the seller and gorged on a few of those  wonderful ‘sabur papad’, ‘chaler papad’ and normal ‘daler papad‘.

The next day, we woke up and went out at 10:45 am for sight seeing. Our guide was a very nice person who was very well informed about the place and told us stories about the place with details to our heart’s content. After all Bishnupur is all about temples made by the Malla rulers and who would not love listening to their tales!

 

RASMANCH

Incidentally, Bishnupur is also called the ‘Temple Town’ which hosts a number of temples. The first one we visited was the ‘Rasmancha’. Rasmanch was commissioned by tHe great Malla ruler Vir Hambir. There’s an entrance fee  of INR 15  levied and the ticket is valid for a few more temples. Rasmancha is a very famous place in Bishnupur and the architecture speaks volumes of the culture of the Malla kings, the rulers of the place whose reign was for about 1000 years over the place of mallabhum. Rasmancha is actually designed and is influenced by several cultures. The top most dome shaped structure draws it’s inspiration from the buddhist architectural monuments, the next is like pyramids of Egypt, the next is Bengal’s hut shaped turrets and then the lower portion resembles the Islamic architecture. The guide informed us that 108 bigroho of Radha Krishna was worshipped parallely on special occassion out there by 108 priests and the rasmanch used to be decorated with 108 lamps. It’s a place of celebration of Love – Ras. The main room of Rasmanch or shoyon kokhho was for Lord Radha Krishna. The ventillation system of the room was beautifully created. Just a ray of sunlight would pass through the room. At exactly the opposite end of the wall is another vent of same magnitude!  The famous Tera cotta works are noteworthy in the temple.

 

GUMGARH

From Rasmanch we went on to see the Gumgarh. We did not enter inside. Just had a look from the outside. It’s a high walled structure. As the name suggests, the wrong doers were punished inside and they were ‘gum’ or vanished! Basically, they were murdered inside and the bodies were thrown into the adjacent ‘khal’ or a water body encircling the place of Mallabhum, which was abode of dangerous crocodiles! Later, when the Malla rulers turned to Vaishnavites, they actually turned the structure to a water tank which was also used as a water reservoir to combat enemies of the kingdom.

 

THE FORT

Just a few steps, and one can see a restricted area. That’s the actual palace of the Malla rulers. The remnants of the Hawa Mahal could be seen from far away. On asking about the dwellers inside, the guide informed us, that they are the descendants of the Malla rulers. Their surname is ‘Singha Thakur’. They have a few bigroho with them which are brought out in public guarded by armed forces on special pujas and religious ceremonies.

 

THE GATEWAYS

Then we moved further and spotted 2 gateways, Pather Dwaraja is one of them. The first gateway from the exterior is a simple gateway. When the kingdom would be under attack, the bell hanged there would be rung as an alarm. The 2nd gateway is a rugged structure and is called gorer dwaraja. It’s huge and made up of laterite blocks like the first one. Here, was the base of soldiers where they were stationed. There were secret tunnels inside through which the rulers and the queens or rani mas would escape the place on ocassion of the enemies’ successful invasion into the Malla kingdom.

 

LALJI TEMPLE

Then the guide took us to the Lalji temple. Lal means Lord Krishna. So it was a temple of Lord Krishna. It’s also made up of red laterite. Influence of Orissa’s Sun temple can be seen in the architecture here. Outside the temple and inside the premises, was a natmancha which was a stage for Indian classical music. The place was a treasure hiding place for the rulers and had high walls surrounding the spot. A well was seen inside which happens to be about 70 feet deep.

 

RADHA SHYAM TEMPLE

Then comes the Radha Shyam Temple. At the entrance we could see places where Nahabot used to sit. Here one can find idols of Lord Vishnu. The Krishna avatar idol is kept along side with Radha. The Krishna avatar is made up of black koshti pathar. Also is placed Sri Sri Jagannath – Boloram – Shubhadra idols, Jagannath Idol being made with neem wood. Here also an open theatre was present. Also, the stone slab of 108 naam jop of Lord is noteworthy that’s placed on the floors of the temple.

 

MRINMAYEE TEMPLE

Another temple was situated inside and that’s called Mrinmayee Mandir. It was 1021 years old. Inside the premises, one can find a few shops showcasing the terra cotta handicrafts, metal work handicrafts called ‘Dokra’ work. The famous terra cotta ‘Bankura’s Ghora’ or horses, conch shells can be found here. Terra cotta figurines, cups and saucers, ornaments, wind chimes are worthy collectibles and mementos that you can carry away and gift people from the place. The temple unlike other temples of Bankura is not made up of laterite blocks pre-dominantly. It houses the idol of Goddess Durga. The beautiful metal bells, the wonderful idols are again worth seeing. There’s a caman or cannon placed inside which is fired during the Durga puja to mark as the onset of Shandhi puja.

 

JOR BANGLA TEMPLE

Then one can visit the famous ‘Jor Bangla Temple‘ which is protected and one is not entitled to enter inside the temple. The ticket which was purchased at RasMancha, was to be shown at the gate. The temple is 363 years old and has terra cotta tiles attached on the walls which depict of stories and scenes right from the pages of ‘Puranas’, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and also the social events like hunting, Paying tributes to the Rulers or Nawabs by their subjects.

 

SHYAM RAI TEMPLE

Due to shortage of time in our hand, we just stopped by Shyam Rai Temple or Panch churar mandir or Pancha ratna temple. It is one of the most beautiful temple of Bishnupur with tera cotta work at its best. Also we just saw a musuem on our way to Dalmadal cannon near Chinnamasta Mandir, that we visited the day before.

 

 

LALBANDH

We entered the LalBandh adjacent to which is the Sarbamangala Temple. Lalbandh is a man-made lake in bishnupur and has a tragic history associated with it. Raghunath Singha II, one of the Malla king once brought a courtesan Lal Bai to his kingdom. The king was taken aback by her beauty and made Lal Mahal for her. They even had a baby boy. Lal Bai wanted the boy to be declared as the next king and a heir to the throne. His subjects were annoyed with the king’s conduct and the king was subsequently murdered by his wife, the Queen who went on to become a sati. Lal Bai and his son was then conspired to death. They were ridding on a boat in Lalbandh, when through a hole made in the boat rushed up water and the boat sank. It is believed to be a haunted place as cries of Lal Bai is still heard by the locales at night. Incidentally, Ramakrishna Dev, paid a visit here in the place when he had to attend to a summon of the court in Bishnupur related to property disputes.

 

 

DALMADAL CANNON

Dalmadal cannon is of great historical impotance in the Kingdom of Malla rulers. It was built under the great ruler of Mallas, Vir Hambir. The cannon was made by Jagannath Karmakar and was made with about 12 Tones of iron. Since the cannon was made with copper along side, hence the cannon is rust-free. History has it that during the 1742s, once the Bargis, a group of Maratha soldiers invaded the Malla Kingdom. It was night time and the subjects were asleep. Then Lord Madan Mohan (Lord Krishna) Himself came and fired the cannon to protect the kingdom of the Malla rulers. Incidentally, Dalmadal means ‘destruction of enemies’. During british reign, the Cannon was housed in the place it is kept today.

 

 

After the tour, we returned back to the hotel at around 1 pm. We were amazed by the history of the place and awstruck by the fine terra cotta works and laterite temples. In the bishnupur lodge we had our lunch and we were served ‘Postor Bora‘. Finally we bid bye to the place and moved forward to our next destination – Mukutmanipur, a place nearby Khatra of Bankura.

 

 

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MUKUTMANIPUR

 

 

We reached Mukutmanipur dam within 1 hour 15 minutes. Mukutmanipur is famous as it harbours the 2nd largest earthen dam of India. It is built on the Kangsabati river. It’s view is beautiful but to go further over the bridge one needs to seek special permission from the officials out there. We moved ahead towards the Parasnath hill where a Shiv Linga is there. We took a narrow red laterite soil road over the hill. Dense plantation of trees were found on both sides of the road. One has to pass by a small cremetion ground at the left of the road. We reached the Parasnath hill. Vehicles are not allowed without permission further towards the hill and the dam. Hence we got off the car and walked towards the Parasnath hill. We climbed up the stairs on the hill and reached the highest point where the Paresnath Temple is located. From this point one can take a good look at the Kangsabati river. The Parasnath temple is located in Giridih district of Jharkhand. The locals informed that to go to the Deer park, one has to ride the boat. We avoided that for time crunch and boarded the car! The river view from the place was indeed splendid. Islands were seen at far off. Anyways, we started our return journey towards Kolkata. It was 4:15 pm. As we were passing by we could spot a Mukutmanipur Shishu Udyan or children’s park. And little did we know that a breath taking view is awaiting us. A small place over the hill had a beautiful green lawn where there were beautiful umbrella shaped concrete shades and sitting arrangements. From the hill, one can see a wonderful view of the earthen dam, Kansabati river, the beautiful hill range and the sound of mini-water flow in form of a wonderful small waterfall was sounding so sweet! Nature at its best! There was a park inside and we had to take a ticket of INR 10 per head to enter inside. We had a joy ride on the slides, see – saw, merry go round, swings etc. We all were behaving literally like children! With content in our hearts and refreshment in our minds received from the nature, we were about to bid bye to the place.

 

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It was 5:30 pm and we had to travel some 258 kms from there. On the way we haulted 3 times. One was a tea break. Hot ‘peyajis’ were served along with super sweet cardamom tea. Another was of course a stoppage at Shaktigarh, to taste the famous ‘Langcha’, ‘sitabhog’ and ‘mihidana’ made with pure ghee or clarified butter. The other one was our dinner break! We reached home at 12:45 am. The trip was surely one of my best trips and writing it so vividly in my blog gives me immense pleasure. I shared my travelogue here with you all.

 

Hope you liked it! It’s quite a long one though. Hope it comes to your aid when you visit Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Bishnupur, Mukutmanipur in near future.

 

Adieu for now. Stay well………….. until we meet back with posts of my next experimentation of recipe!

 

GALLERY FROM Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Bishnupur, Mukutmanipur Trip Travelogue

 

 

 

 

 

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I am a foodie and a cook by passion. The aroma, the taste of food attracts me and the ingredients and their properties attract me even more. I pursued my bachelors in Electronics and Instrumentation engineering and have had a successful career in IT in automotive testing domain as an automation and manual test engineer. I worked for 8 years in Bangalore, Kolkata and Munich, Germany. After my daughter was born, I worked for 2 years and then decided to take a break to spend time with my daughter and watch her grow. Apart from spending time with my princess, I am devoting time to my hobbies of cooking and writing now.