In India, there are small towns and villages that exist and can proudly assert unique creative talents that echo across the land. You must see or feel to believe them. The artistic pursuit and efforts displayed by the people who live here are worth respecting. The extraordinary aspect is the great lengths the inhabitants go to preserve the cultural heritage associated with the place.
Krishnnagar is one such place, a small town famous for multiple reasons. Summer was peeping and before it could show its fangs, we thought of making a day-long visit to see the place and touch the glory of the artistic greatness that hums around.
It is always advisable to start early in India as the Indian highways can change colors in a flash. So we started early and planned to cover the 113 odd kilometres from Kolkata in our trusted Swift, which approximately took 3-4 hours to cover due to crowded roads. The slow speed gave us an advantage… the green fields flanking the highway along with the rows of big to medium trees were soothing to the eyes and we took frequent breaks to catch them swinging in the wind as if welcoming the passing motorists. Occasional tweet of birds and a mild summer afternoon wind blowing across bringing with it a woody smell was quite refreshing, devoid of burned hydrocarbons, and only pure oxygen prevailed.
The entire journey kept my eyes glued to the road as a driver when we landed on NH-34 highway to Krishnanagar. The reason being the beast of an infamous narrow highway which we drove on in 2012. Thanks to the complete apathy shown by the administration of not maintaining such an important route which linked Kolkata to North Bengal. I hope this highway is repaired soon and changes like NH-2 which connects Kolkata to New Delhi.
All three inmates in the car, had our lower backs numb with constant banging, as we did Bharathanatyam in sitting position while our Swift felt skittish, on the cratered roads.
Additional menace was the long-distance buses that hurled on this road…they are nothing short of killers as they tear down the road at mammoth speeds and we missed so many of these giants by an inch. Other road users that we traveled with were rickshaws, hand carts, loaded with rice, wheat, fruits, and flowers from the fields as the sellers raced to reach the nearby markets.
As we headed towards Krishnanagar, we saw fishermen directing their boats over river Jalangi which touches the town. Farmers working on the paddy fields looked at us as we passed by.
The natural beauty of Bengal outside Kolkata is indeed very scenic. We wanted to absorb all that nature had to offer so after reaching Krishnanagar, we drove further north-west around 29 kilometres more to catch a forest area called Bethuadahari. The dense forest, with its high moisture, the content was working as an air condition after driving through the hot plains.
We parked on the edge of the road and spent about an hour or more to feel the coolness and listen to the bird calls of the forest area.
It was about 11 am when we reached the town of Krishnanagar. We kept two locations on our radar to visit. One was ‘Ghurni‘. This is that region where the miniature clay models are made and sold. The other was the ‘Rajbari‘ of this town.
Let me present a few examples of these clay models to you for your viewing pleasure.
After we had our fill of looking at the clay models, we turned our car for the other attraction. To see the ‘Rajbari’ or the palace of zamindar Krishna Chandra Roy. His regime was in the mid-1700s and influenced the town of Krishnanagar in a big way.
We wanted to see the palace he built along with few of the edifices which still stand tall; however, not in a good state though…
The palace presently stands with its entrance in a huge piece of land which holds an annual fair. We trundled over the broken non asphalted road and reached the palace gate..well we ran out of luck, as the palace had closed for the day. We fulfilled our wish by looking at the ornate palace entrance and through a hole in the gate, we pushed the lens to catch some images whatever we could.
Let us have a quick look at what we could capture …
We drove about two to three kilometres from the palace, and came across a regal structure – the Roman catholic church, looked comparatively new, very neatly maintained and we parked to visit it. White marble, with pictures depicting the life of Jesus, painted extremely well were a welcome change.
The dome was far away from the floor and blocked the outside sounds and was very cool, inside; feeling relieved from the heat of the day as we panned across to read the fresco.
By the time, we came out of the church, the sun had completely vanished off the western horizon and leaving behind its light which was dimming fast and we had to return to Kolkata. We left the town with memories of a sound culture that was so old and the artistic exposition was at its best. Even on our way back, Krishnanagar showed us how famous she is like, 4 km from it, we stopped and parked in an area which is famous for being a point through which the Tropic of Cancer passes.
Well, we stepped on the gas and we started eating kilometres under the bumper as we moved towards Kolkata.