“I don’t see a palace anywhere..
All I see is deserted miles of land….as far as I can see.
I think we are lost…
I don’t even see a person whom we can ask.
Oh god! Where the hell are we?”
I saw my best friend disappointed, and a bit panic-stricken as google map notified us politely that:
“You have arrived. Your destination is on the right”
in the middle of literally nowhere!!
Okay, let’s rewind a bit 🙂
This was not how it was supposed to be. We were supposed to visit a 350year old palace, take a lot of instagrammy pictures 😉 have a little picnic and head back home with a day full of beautiful memories.
Since it’s 2020 and we had been stuck at home like everybody else in the world, this time the Durga Puja meant something else to our Bengali hearts. It meant disappointment and extreme sadness. If you have ever met a Bengali you will understand what I mean! 😀
So in order to make some amends to our ailing hearts me and my friends had decided to witness the Bishash Bari Durga puja, located in Dashghara, Hooghly district.
Since it was a bit far from the city we would be able to maintain social distancing while having a nice day-trip.
And thus the day of Panchami arrived with all it’s excitement and promises of much-needed-joy after such a long time. I picked up my friend and we started our journey. As we left the city behind we got immersed in our conversations, all those catch-ups that could not be done quite-so-right on video calls 🙂
It was going quite well, as we kept following the google directions and enjoying the beautiful greenery and the fresh air…
We passed miles of road, about 60 kilometers to be exact and although the sceneries were a treat to our sore eyes, we started to get a bit eager to be reaching our destination, which was 69.4km from Kolkata to be precise!
As the high-rises started to disappear and small huts started appearing along the road we became sure it wasn’t too far!
Let’s come back to our present situation. I might add here that when I had searched for Dasghara on the google map before embarking on this journey, it had given me three options.
And I had selected the one which seemed the most probable.
I would also like to throw in an important piece of life-advice here:
Never visit a new place entirely depending upon Google Maps! 🙂
DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST 😛
Because as we found out after a 3 hour long car-ride, some panicked phone calls and one very-enlightening conversation with a highly intelligent farmer’s wife……..drumroll….We were at the wrong Dasghara!!!!!! 🙁
There was no 350 year old palace (read jomidarbari )
There was no puja happening here!
We had reached a very remote and of course a very beautiful village, but not the Dasghara we were supposed to reach 🙁 🙁
It was 3pm in the afternoon and the right Dasghara which is located at Tarakeshwar, was still about an hour away.
We were detoured, delayed, disappointed and very hungry! 😛
We decided not to give up and to go on for our original destination and have our lunch on the way! There went our little picnic plan 🙂
Question: Have you ever had your lunch in a moving car on a village road while wearing new clothes? Let me know!
“How old are you?
In every blog/vlog you sent me, it is clearly mentioned Tarakeshwar!
Yet, somehow you managed to select the wrong one!
I told you to go straight yet you took that right turn“
My friend was mad and rightly so 🙂
It really was mentioned in every blog/vlog I had read and shared with her about this place, and yet, somehow I missed it!
So if you decide to visit by road, please don’t make the same mistake I did. Select the Dasghara, Tarakeshwar option in Google Maps. 🙂
And if you decide to go by train you can save yourself a lot of time, trouble and tension easily and get down at Tarakeshwar station and take an auto from there to Dashghara.
Anyway, about another hour of drive later we entered the right Dashghara, and the people we asked for directions guided us to the Bishash Bari.
As one guy who gave us very clear instructions had said “as soon as you see a white mansion with Lion statue at the gates you’ll know you have reached!”
And so we did…finally…arrive.
And the sight that welcomed us made the journey with it’s comedy of errors seem worth it!
It was beautiful. The Victorian architecture is a huge part of the city of Calcutta and it’s adjacent towns. The remnants of the British Era, mixed with a bit of Bengali touch can be well witnessed in these Zamindar Bari’s. Lucky were the people who got to live here, must say! 🙂 If only all of us were blessed with such luck and prosperity….
Right in front of the house there was a beautiful lake that held the reflection of the mansion from every direction despite the continuous interruptions from the tiniest waves 🙂
After exploring the place for a while we entered the “Jomidar Bari” which was beautifully decorated in honor of none other than our dear Maa Durga 🙂
Residing and entirely brought up in South Kolkata, I had never seen a “Bonedi barir Pujo“, let alone experience it. I was awestruck at the grandeur of this place and entirely consumed by the feeling of history surrounding me.
The “laal mejhe” (red floor) of the thakur-dalan reminded me of my ancestral home which also was constructed around a hundred years ago..
All marbles and tiles aside, the red floor has it’s own unique beauty..
The Beautiful “alpona” adorned it with simplicity yet perfection.
“kotha theke asha hoy?” (where are you coming from?)
We were greeted by a member of the Bishash family, as we approached the “Thakur-Mancha“. He enlightened us with a few very important details about the Durga Protima.
“Valo kore dakho to, notun kichu chokh e pore kina”…
He asked us to look for something special about the Durga- Murti and after carefully observing we found the following:
1. The Debi Protima had 4 hands instead of the usual 10, from which the name Dashabhuja comes.
2. The sons, Ganesh and Kartik were closer to Durga and the daughters Laxmi and Saraswati were further away.
“Very good” He exclaimed!
Glad that we were able to spot the differences he explained to us that the deity was named “Joy Durga” and the original puja was originated in Odisha and later brought here. Thus the differences 🙂
He also told us the history of the term “daak-er-saaj” which is commonly used in the decoration of Devi Durga.
You see, these decorations were very expensive back then and were brought in from England by post and that is where the name “daak (bengali for ‘post’) -er-saaj” came from.
As we chatted on it was now the time for “Shondha-aroti” and the Dhaaki came.
There are a few things that cannot be put into words, no matter how craft fully chosen..the “dhaak-er-bol” is one such thing!
You need to hear it and feel it to know it 🙂
The “jhar-baati” that was hanging from atop was now lit and indeed, it was LIT! 😉
It was now time to bid goodbye to this place and as we stepped out we met yet another surprise!
The entire mansion was decorated with beautiful lights and and now they were shining and it’s reflection in the lake was beyond beautiful.
Now if I come to think of it, if we had reached there earlier, if we hadn’t faced the accidental detour, we wouldn’t have been able to see this delightful sight! 😀
You see, everything in life happens for a reason! Yes, I am one of those people who believes that 🙂
So we roamed around the place for a while longer and took some pictures. There is an Naat-Mandir right outside the mansion which makes a perfect spot for that old-world-charm picture you might wanna take at a place like this 🙂
“Let’s have some tea! 🙂 “
Chirped my friend cheerily as we started our drive back home, clearly happy now!
Well, no matter how funny the journey was, the destination was well worth it 🙂
Have you ever re-visited the same place twice in a day ??
I definitely plan to re-visit Dashghara, oh and this time the right one 🙂