Bardhaman also called Burdwan, or Bardhaman - a major communications centre located on the banks of the Damodar River, The town of Bardhaman is the district headquarters. Burdwan has been a district capital since the time of the Mughals. During the Mughal period, the city was known as Sharifabad. It was later renamed as "Bardhaman", literally meaning "ever augmenting" given the prosperity of the region.
During the period of Jahangir this place was named Badh-e-dewan (district capital). The city owes its historical importance to being the headquarters of the Maharajas of Burdwan, the premier noblemen of lower Bengal. Bardhaman Raj was founded in 1657 by Sangam Rai of a Hindu Khatri family of Kotli in Lahore, Punjab, whose descendants served in turn the Mughal Emperors and the British government. The East Indian Railway from Howrah was opened in 1855. The great prosperity of the raj was due to the excellent management of Maharaja Mahtab Chand (died 1879), whose loyalty to the government especially during the "Hul" (Santhal rebellion) of 1855-56 and the Indian rebellion of 1857 was rewarded with the grant of a coat of arms in 1868 and the right to a personal salute of 13 guns in 1877. Maharaja Bijaychand Mahtab (born 1881), who succeeded his adoptive father in 1888, earned great distinction by the courage with which he risked his life to save that of Sir Andrew Fraser, the lieutenant-governor of Bengal, on the occasion of the attempt to assassinate him made by freedom fighters of Bengal on 7 November 1908. Mahtab Chand Bahadur and later Bijoy Chand Mahtab struggled their best to make this region culturally, economically and ecologically healthier. The chief educational institution was the Burdwan Raj College, which was entirely supported out of the maharaja's estate. Sadhak Kamalakanta as composer of devotional songs and Kashiram Das as a poet and translator of the great Mahabharata were possibly the best products of such an endeavour. The society at large also continued to gain the fruits. We find, among others, the great rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Kala-azar-famed U. N. Brahmachari as the relatively recent illustrious sons of this soil. Batukeshwar Dutt an Indian revolutionary and independence fighter in the early 1900s was born on 18 November, 1910 in a village Oari in Burdwan district.
At a Glance
District Head Hq-
7,024 Sq Kms
77,17,563 (Ref: Census 2011)
Best time to visit-
Oct - Mar
Bengali, English, Hindi
Places of Interest-
Meghnad Saha Planetarium
Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary
Distance from Kolkata-
108 Shiva Temple
The most attractive temple in Kalna is the 108 Shiva Temple Complex. It was built by Maharaja Teja Chandra Bahadhur in 1809 to celebrate the transfer and ownership of the royal estate of Bishnupur. An architectural marvel, the temple structure is a combination of two concentric circles, each of which has small temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. These represent beads in a rosary and its walls depict episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata and even hunting scenes. The outer circle has seventy four temples and the inner one has thirty four temples, decided mythologically with auspicious considerations. It is also called the Nava Kailasha temple and each of these 108 temples has a Shiva linga. The lingas in the inner circle are all white (symbolizing good deeds), while half of those in the outer circle are black (symbolizing sins). The outer circle portrays the world we live in while the inner circle symbolizes the world with pure thoughts, attained by offering prayers to Lord Shiva. Ambika Kalna (popularly known as Kalna) once flourished as a prosperous port town. It reached it's pinnacle of glory during the late 18th century under the patronage of the Maharajas of Bardhaman, who built several magnificent temples with intricate terracotta ornamentation.
How to reach
108 Shiva Temple
Ambika Kalna (or simply Kalna) is located 82 kms from Kolkata (Howrah) on the Bandel - Katwa line. Located on the west bank of the Bhagirathi.
The Tomb of Sher Afghan
The Tomb of Sher Afghan which is the burial ground of this last Afghan jagirdar of the city of Burdwan, is located beside Pir Beharam close to the Rajbati. Also known as Ali Quli Khan Istaju, Sher Afghan was often called the 'Durgadhipati' of Burdwan and he lived in Burdwan as a 'Jagirdar' during the late Mughal period which was also considered to be an important administrative headquarter. Kutubuddin, the Subedar of Bengal was also the milk-brother of Jahangir, who succeeded the throne after Akbar. According to the legends, Jehangir was greatly infatuated by seventeen year old Mehrunnissa (meaning 'sun among women' in Persian), Sher Afghan's wife who he had married in the year 1594 and after becoming the Emperor, Jehangir was anxious to bring her over to his harem. To add to this, in the year 1607, Sher Afghan revolted against Jehangir and certain other Mughal rulers and to get control over the situation, Jahangir had deputed Kutubuddin as his Subedar to fight with Sher Afghan. Ultimately, both Kutubuddin and Sher Afghan were killed in a fatal duel in the year 1610 near the Burdwan Railway Station. The tombs of both these men lie side by side beside the burial ground at Pir Baharam. Meherunnisa, the widow of Sher Afghan was later sent to Delhi and she married Jahangir in the year 1611. She later changed her name to Noor Jahan and became a powerful and charismatic Mughal empress who ruled India for quite a long of time.
How to reach
TOMB OF SHER AFGHAN
Burdwan is well connected from Kolkata by Road and by Train. The beautiful NH-2 is a pleasure to drive on and can be reached Alamgunge in about two and half hours. Regular bus services from various parts of Kolkata are also available to reach Burdwan. By train there are numerous local trains available. Burdwan being a major junction station all trains stop here. From the railway station or bus stand can hire an auto, Rickshaw or a Toto (Electric Rickshaw) to come to Alamgunge, which is a part of the city. The visit should not take more than one hour.
Siddheswari Kali Mandir
In the year 688 A.D, Siddheswari Kali Mandir was established by Rishi Amburish. First time the Goddess was worshipped through the ritual of earthen-pot (ghatt). The ghatt sticks to a stone winnowing tray. This auspicious image is made of a single Neem log. This image represents the Bamakali Idol. The Goddess is worshipped during the new moon in the month of Kartik.
Curzon Gate is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Burdwan and this historical monument is located at the very centre of the town at the meeting point of the Grand Trunk Road and B.C. Road. Erected in the year 1903, the resplendent and imposing structure of the Curzon Gate was erected upon the orders of the King of Burdwan, Maharaja Bijoy Chand Mahtab to greet and receive Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of Bengal at the entrance of the town of Burdwan. The monument was named thus in Lord Curzon's honour and is also known as both Vijay Toran in Hindi and Bijoy Toron in Bangla. Curzon Gate was built following the architectural design of the Gateway of India in Mumbai in Maharashtra and was worked on by an Italian sculptor. The pillars of the gate and the sculptures of the lions on the sides, the cornice, the three fairies at the top and the decorations which are gradually wearing away are one of the finest examples of sculpting. The former name of the gate was the 'Star of India' which was later changed. Tourists who visit the gate are fascinated by the spellbinding architecture of the monument that is prominently visible in the two side arches as well as in the main arch of the gate. The Royal Palace, wherein the kings and the queens resided is at a mere distance of one kilometre from the gate. A beautiful painting of the memorial was done by A.F. Hugh and was gifted to the citizens of Barddhaman.
How to reach
Curzon Gate is at a distance of about 1.3 km from the Bardhaman railway station. This historical monument can be reached by walking for around 20 minutes from the railway station or by a three minute ride in motor vehicles or by cycle rickshaws. The road/route map from the Bardhaman railway station to Curzon Gate is as follow: After exiting the premises of the Bardhaman railway station, head east towards the Arambagh - Bardhaman Road. From there, turn left onto the Arambagh - Bardhaman Road and pass by the Parbirhata Bastuhara Notun Bazaar on the left.
Reaching there, turn left onto the Grand Trunk Road from the corner where the Dulhan Ladies Beauty Parlour is located and pass by the Dhal Dighi Petrol Pump which is around four hundred and fifty meters to the left.
Upon passing there, turn left onto the entrance gate of the B.C. Road and can see the majestic and mesmerizing structure of the Curzon Gate on the right.
Meghnad Saha Planetarium
The Meghnad Saha Planetarium was constructed by the famous Japanese Goto, an optical manufacturing company. It was built on 5.1 acres of land offered by Burdwan University and with the help of the Government of India and Japan as well as common people. The planetarium displays shows on the revolution of earth, the solar system and others in automatic exhibition.
It is the forest office of Bardhaman sub-division. It is located on the east side of Golap Bag. This forest is also a deer park. Deers, tigers, crocodiles and different kinds of birds make this place a popular tourist jaunt.
Deer Park is an important piece of attraction of the city of Burdwan and it houses Birds, quite a number of Deer and two Tigers in the sanctuary. The grave of Bijoy Chand Mahatab, ‘Bijoybahar’ is situated at the end of the reserve forest.
Randiha is a homely tourist spot in the Durgapur subdivision of Burdwan district, about 10 kms from Panagarh on NH2. In 1932, the Anderson weir was constructed Randiha. As a result, irrigation facility has been available in the lower Damodar basin before the advent of dams by means of the diversion weir on the Damodar and Eden canal to the extent of 890 square kilometres in the districts of Burdwan and Hooghly. It is about 10 kms (6.2 mi) from Panagarh on NH2 and about 19 kms (12 mi) downstream of Durgapur Barrage.
How to reach
By private care from Durgapur, towards Kolkata via NH2. On reaching Panagarh Bazaar just to take right turn and immediately after crossing the railway line then to take left turn. After proceeding on this road a small bridge can be found. After crossing the bridge and take to the left and this road will reach to Randiha.
From Bardhaman or Kolkata to Durgapur via NH2. On reaching Panagarh Bazaar just to take left turn and immediately after crossing the railway line have to take again left turn and proceed on this road to reach a small bridge and after crossing the bridge turn to the left and this road will go to Randiha.
Buses are also available from Durgapur and Bardhaman for reaching Randiha. Can also reach Randiha from Panagarh station by hiring a car.
HOW TO REACH
By Air: Nearest Airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
By Train: Numerous trains pass through the Burdwan district because Howrah-Delhi line passes through it. There is constant connectivity to the place through rail, as it is one of the major railheads in the state.
By Road: The road connectivity of the district is also very good. Interstate bus services connect the city, with key destinations in India, on a regular basis. Well-maintained four-lane GT Road is there for those who want to drive down to the place by car.