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Mahishasurmardini on Bengal Terracotta
Mahishasurmardini on Bengal Terracotta
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2013 Exclusive Gallery

Delhi and NCR Durga Puja 2011
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Durga Puja 2011

by Shouvik Basak

Bangalore Diaries 2011
by Bappaditya Mazumder

2010 Gallery

 
 
 
 
 

Durga Puja of “Bonedi” Families at Kolkata

Author :
Mr. Amitabha Gupta
Travel photographer and travelogue writer
Visit  Amitabha Gupta's Blog ( amitabhagupta.wordpress.com ) for regular updates

 

Durga Puja at Pathuriaghata's Khelat Ghosh's  Family

Durga Puja at Pathuriaghata’s Khelat Ghosh’s Family

During Durga Puja festival at Bengal the star attraction are the different Barowari Pujas conducted by several clubs and associations. The themes of Pandal and idols of these pujas change every year. Latest themes of Pandals and idol are the talk of the town.

Generally overlooked by the Pandal hoppers are the Durga Pujas held privately in several families some of whom were affluent and stalwarts in yesteryear, specially during the Colonial Regime. Although the financial condition is not affluent as it was in earlier days (mainly because the Zamindari system was abolished post independence), yet these families till date perform Durga Puja with dedication maintaining all the rituals. The Pujas are all of 100+ years, some even 200+ and 300+ years old. Everyone of the families gather to celebrate Durga Puja with pomp and show as an annual get-together.

It is still being mentioned by the old timers that Goddess Durga adorned herself with jeweleries at  Jorasanko’s Shib Krishna Dawn’s house, had lunch at Abhay Charan Mitra’s house at Kumartuli and enjoyed  music and dance at the Shovabazar Rajbari.

The Puja of Abhay Charan Mitra’s house who served gigantic sized sweets have stopped since long. But the other two houses of Shib Krishna Dawn and Shovabazar Rajbari still celebrate Durga Puja with great pomp and show.

 

Family Get Together during Durga Puja at Seal Family of Muktaram Babu Street

Family Get Together during Durga Puja at Seal Family of Muktaram Babu Street

Every year many of my friends and relatives asks me for directions and addresses to these families. These Pujas are refereed to in Bengal as “Bonedi Barir Puja”. I am sure what is the exact English of “Bonedi”, but “affluent” is close resemblance. They are in news many times, but the exact location and address is seldom mentioned. There is always a cluster of people who wish to visit such pujas.

I have visited many such families over the last 2-3 years, partly because of the interests of my Father Asim Gupta – who guided me to locate many such houses. Also one senior friend of mine – Mr. Kanad Sanyal helped me by providing me with some addresses and direction of these houses.

This is a compilation of some of these houses with addresses, maps and photographs. Except one or two all have been visited by me personally and photographed. In places where I did not have any photographs, I have used snaps clicked by friends and my father.

I do not claim this to be an exhaustive list. I have tried to be as accurate as possible in mapping the directions. At present descriptions are very brief. I will go on adding more descriptions and photographs. In case of families living in close vicinities, I have clubbed their locations in one Map.  So you may land up opening the same map file while clicking on such Pujas  directions Links.

I dedicate this compilation to people who are interested to visit “Bonedi Barir Puja”, to get a homely touch of Durga Puja and bask in Nostalgia. If you are interested to take photographs inside these house, please be polite to ask for permissions from the household members. Also it is advisable to dress in conservative fashion

 

“BONEDI BARIR PUJA” – THE LIST

 

1. SABARNA ROYCHOWDHURY FAMILY AATCHALA PUJA

Address
26, Sabarna Para Road, Kolkata – 700008, Barisha (Near Sakherbazar)
Click Here for Direction Map

Celebrated since 1610 in the ancestral home at Barisha, this is perhaps the oldest family Durga Puja or it might even be the first organized Durga Puja of Bengal.The family performs eight pujas by its different branches, the main being the Aatchala.

Sabarna Roychowdhury Aatchala Durga Puja

Sabarna Roychowdhury Aatchala Durga Puja

 

2. SOVABAZAR RAJ BARIR PUJA

Address
36 and 33, Raja Nabakrishna Street, Sovabazar (Near Sovabazar Metro Station)
Click here for Direction Map

Started from 1757, Durga Puja celebration takes places in the two palaces of the Sovabazar royal family of Raja Nabakrishna Deb, founder of the Shobhabazar Rajbari. It is said Goddess Durga Comes here to listen Music

SovaBazar  Baro Rajbari, 36 Raja Nabakrishna Street

SovaBazar Baro Rajbari, 36 Raja Nabakrishna Street

Sovabazar Choto Rajbari, 33 Raja Nabakrishna Street

Sovabazar Choto Rajbari, 33 Raja Nabakrishna Street

 

3. BAIDYANATH(DE) MALLICK FAMILY’S SINGHABAHINI DURGA PUJA

Address
39, Jatindra Mohan Avenue, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

or
Kashinath Mullick Thakurbari, 142, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kolkata – 700007
Click here for Direction Map

( Direction 1 : Jatindra Mohan Avenue is the northern extension of Central Avenue. If you are driving towards Shovabazar, the Mallick House will come on the left just before Mitra Cafe near to Shovabazar Metro)

(Direction 2 :Kashinath Mullick Thakurbari is located at the junction of Mahatma Gandhi Road and Rabindra Sarani. The house is located on the Southern side of the road opposite to Bangur Buildings)

About 400 years old, this Durga Puja is perhaps one of the most professionally managed large scale Bonedi Barir Durga puja of 2013. The Idol worshiped here is of a Astadhatu Singhabahini (Lion Rider, a form of Durga) which has an interesting hsitory. Around 1614, Baidyanath De Mallick acquired this idol from a cave at Chandranath Hill of Chattagram ( Now at Bangladesh), where Singhabahini was being worshiped secretly, By instruction through Divine intervention in his dream, Baidyanath De Mallick brought the idol back to his home at Saptagram of West Bengal.

The puja of this idol alteratively takes places at Jatindra Mohan Avenue house or at the Kashinath Mullick Thakurbari at Mahatma Gandhi Road. In 2014 the Puja will be celebrated at the Mahatma Gandhi Road address.

The origin of this idol dates much beyond that. This Singhabahini idol was the “Kuldevi”(family deity) of King Harshavardan’s brother RajyaBardhan Dev. The idol was obtained by undue influence by Jaipur’s King Mansingh and established as his “Kuldevi”(family deity)in Rajasthan. On 1614 , after his death the Pujari (priest) of escaped with the idol to protect it from the Mughals and took it to Chandranath Hill of Chattagram.

The idol is unique in its style and structure.

Baidyanath (de) Mallick's SinghaBahini Idol, Photo Courtesy : Amit Ghosal

Baidyanath (de) Mallick’s SinghaBahini Idol, Photo Courtesy : Amit Ghosal

 

4.BAGHBAZAAR HALDARBARI DURGAPUJA

Address
17/2, Kaliprasad Chakraborty Street
Click here for Direction Map

(The house is located at Kaliprasad Chakraborty Street,Bagbazar,Near Bagbazar Gouriya Math & opposite to Khirodeprasad Bidyabinod Mancha on Bagbazar Street & very near to Baghbazar Sarbojaneen Durgapujo Pandal)

The Durga Idol of the Haldar family ages over 400 years. It is said that one of the Haldar Family ancestors dreamt of this idol buried under Fisherman’s Hut. The idol was dug and recovered. However in 19th century the family left this statue unattended and worshiped a larger idol.

At present the family worships the old idol only with high enthusiasm. Like many house, the hosts greets the visitors with “Narkel Naru” ( sweet made of Coconut), which is the Prasad of the Goddess.

 

BaghBazar Haldar Family Durga Puja. Photo Courtesy : Plabon Das[

BaghBazar Haldar Family Durga Puja. Photo Courtesy : Plabon Das

 

5. BEHALA RAY BARIR PUJA

Address
AMARENDRA BHAVAN”, 4/1, Roy Bahadur A.C. Roy Road, Behala, Kolkata (Near Behala Thana)
Click here for Direction Map

Started by Ray Bahadur Ambika Charan Roy on 1756, Behala Ray Barir Pujo is being celebrated now at the palatial residence “Amarendra Bhaban” of his third son Amarendra Roy’s Family. Ambika Charan Roy had amassed enough wealth to be set aside solely for the purpose of conducting the Durga Puja over the years. Other than Durga Puja, Jagadhatri Puja is also celebrated here.

The Massive Thakur Dalan of Roy bari , Behala

The Massive Thakur Dalan of Roy bari , Behala

 

6. BEHALA JAGAT RAM MUKHERJEE’S FAMILY PUJA

Address
56 Bramho Samaj Road, Behala, Kolkata (Near Behala Tram Depot)
Click here for Direction Map

Jagat Ram Mukherji original hailed from Barrackpur. He had a second marriage in the Haldar Family and settled in Behala in 1740. He had one daughter and four sons from this marriage. Once his daughter along with his nephews went to visit the Durga Puja of his maternal uncle house – the Haldar Family. She was not properly attended there and so being insulted she returned back home and asked his father Jagat Ram Mukherji to conduct Durga Puja at his home. It was Navami, the penultimate day of Durga Puja, so instead of worshiping an idol, symbolic Ghot Puja was done.

From next year till 1867 Clay idol of Goddess Durga was worshiped in this house.In 1868, Jyotinath Mukherjee – great grand son of Jagat Ram made Durga idol of Gold, which is being worshiped till date.

Jagat Ram Mukherjee's house of Golden Durga Idol

Jagat Ram Mukherjee’s house of Golden Durga Idol

 

7. RANI RASHMONI FAMILY’S DURGA PUJAS

Address
13 Rani Rashmoni Road, 18/3 S.N. Banerjee Road and 18 Rani Rashmoni Road
Click here for Direction Map

(At Janbazaar at the crossing of Rani Rashmoni road and S.N. Banerjee Road. One end of Rani Rashmoni Road lands at Lenin Sarani, while the other part extends into Mirza Ghalib Street alias Free School Street. Driving through this street takes you to Park Srteet. There are two houses here. One on S.N. Banerjee Road and the other on Rani Rashmoni Road)

Founder of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and a pillar of strength in the male dominated society, Rani Rashmoni started Durga Puja at her S.N. Banerjee Road residence. After her death in in 1861, his sons-in-law and daughters continued Durga Puja celebrations in their respective premises.In the S.N. Banerjee Road house the festival is celebrated by two families while at Rani Rashmoni Road house, Puja is celebrated by one family.

The Durga Puja held at 13 Rani Rashmoni Road is the one originally initiated by Rani Rashmoni herself. Thakur Ramakrishna Paramahansa has worshiped here too. The entry to this Puja is through the Free School Street. The Hazra family are in charge of this Durga Puja.This was originally the Kacharibari of Rani Rashmoni.

In the same building the second Durga Puja of this family can be visited from the entrance on S.N. Banerjee Road itself. This is 18/3 S.N. Banerjee Road premises Durga Puja, held by the Chowdhury family. It is interesting to note that one Building has different street addresses

On the other side of the Road at 18 Rani Rashmoni Road stands the huge Rani Rashmoni Bhawan. This Puja is conducted by the Biswas family.

Durga Puja at 13 Rani Rashmoni Road. This is the Durga Puja initiated by Rani Rashmoni herself.

Durga Puja at 13 Rani Rashmoni Road. This is the Durga Puja initiated by Rani Rashmoni herself.

 

Durga Puja held at 18/3 S.N. Banerjee Road

Durga Puja held at 18/3 S.N. Banerjee Road

 

Rani Rashmoni Bhawan Durga PUja, 18 Rani Rashmoni Road, Photo courtesy : Asim Gupta

Rani Rashmoni Bhawan Durga Puja, 18 Rani Rashmoni Road, Photo courtesy : Asim Gupta

 

8. PATHURIAGHATA KHELAT GHOSH’S HOUSE

Address
47 Pathuria Ghata Street , North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Opposite lane to Lohia Matri Sadan on Rabindra Sarani)

The Thakurdalan of Khelatchandra Ghosh’s House is one of the largest such structure in Kolkata, if not THE Largest. Apart from having a 85 feet long corridor of Marble, this premises showcases a grand dancing hall, which has been converted into Khelat Ghosh Memorial Hall.

Khelat Chandra Ghosh's House  Pathuriaghata Street

Khelat Chandra Ghosh’s House Pathuriaghata Street

 

9. JORASANKO DAWN HOUSE

Address
12A Shibkrishna Dawn Lane , North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Near Girish Park. Walking towards Rabindra Sarani on Vivekananda Road, this lane originates on your left just after no 24A Vivekananda Road.)

A successful businessman Gokul Chandra Dawn of Satgachia came to reside at Jorasanko. Here He adopted Shibkrishna Dutta, his relatives son as his own. On this occasion, Gokul Chandra Dawn celebrated Durga Puja in 1840. From then the tradition has been carried on by Shibkrishna Dawn and later his descendents till date. Shibkrishna Dawn built up a Coalliary and had major contribution in building up Rail Lines. The Thakurdalan and the courtyard is huge and has been shooting venue of many a films. It is said that Goddess Durga comes to wear her Jeweleries at the Jorasanko Dawn House. The reason being Gold ornaments in large quantity to decorate the Chalchitra along with Ornaments of diamonds and emeralds were brought from Europe.

Jorasanko Dawn Bari, 12A Shibkrishna Dawn Lane

Jorasanko Dawn Bari, 12A Shibkrishna Dawn Lane

 

10.BALARAM DEY STREET DUTTA BARIR PUJA
(Also Known as BALARAM DEY STREET GHOSH BARI PUJO)

Address
159, Balaram De Street Kolkata , North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Near Girish Park Metro Station. Walking towards Sovabazar from Girish Park, Balaram Dey Street Falls on your left just after the Metro Station)

Initiated by Shyamal Dhon Dutta, A Solicitor of High Court with roots in Hath Khola Dutta Bari in the year 1882, the Puja is carried by 6th descendent of the family. The house is known for following many ancient rituals including carrying idols on Bamboos like old days instead of taking them on Truck.
For more information on this Puja Click here

Painting of Eye at Balaram Dey Street  Dutta Barir Puja

Painting of Eye at Balaram Dey Street Dutta Barir Puja

 

11. BAISHNABDAS MALLICK FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA
 

Address
32, Darpanarayan Tagore Street
Click here for Direction Map

(Darpanarayan Tagore Street connects Maharshi Debendra Road and Jadulal Mallick Road. Coming from Girish Park, you have to walk quite a a bit as it is an one way. Crossing Rabindra Sarani, as soon as you come from Jadulal Mallick Road on your right, take a right turn. Then again take a left turn to enter Darpanaryan Street. The Mallick Bari will fall in your left. If you are not intersted in walking, cross Grish Park while driving on Central Avenue and take a left turn from Danis Ghosh Lane , cross Rabindra Sarani to reach Nimtala Ghat Street ( extension Of Dani Ghosh Lane. Take a left turn as you reach Jadulal Mallick Road. Drive straight and you will reach Darpanarayan Tagore Streeton your right.)

The Durga Puja of Baishnab Das Mallick’s house is of around 225 years old. Originating from Chinsurah, Baishnab Das Mallick was Gold Merchant and later went into Real Estate too.The huge Mallick Residence has a large courtyard.

The most interesting thing about the Durga Idol of this house is that there is no Lakhsmi and Saraswati Idol here, but two Jaya and Bijoya idols which are not only taller than Kartick and Ganesh idols and but they are taller than the Durga Idol too. Goddess Durga is seated here on the lap of Shiva.

Baishnabdas Mallick's House Durga Puja

Baishnabdas Mallick’s House Durga Puja

 

12.NARASIMHA DAWN FAMILY’S PUJO

Address
20 Vivekananda Road, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Just a few steps before Rabindra Sarani, while coming from Girish Park. Falls on your left on the road.)

Descendants from Kotulpur in Bankura, the family of Narasingh Chandra Dawn celebrates Durga Puja from 1859 which was inaugurated by late Late Nandalal Daw. In Early Days, the family did trading on spices. At present they are leading Gun Makers and Merchants.

Narsingh Chandra Daw Family's Durga Idol. Photo Courtesy : Tirthankar Sarkar

Narsingh Chandra Daw Family’s Durga Idol.
Photo Courtesy : Tirthankar Sarkar

 

13.HAATKHOLA DUTTA BARIR PUJA

Address
78, Nimtala Ghat Street, North Kolkata
Click Here for Direction Map

(Coming on to Rabindra Sarani from Girish Park take a right turn on the tramline and drive straight. Soon you will land up at Chitpur Jatrapara, where colourful posters of Jatra falls on your left. Take a left turn and go straight until you land up near the massive ruins of a building which was once Scottish Church School on your right. A few steps ahead is the Dutta Bari. if you’re coming from Central Avenue , you have to take a left turn at Dani Ghosh lane – extension Of Beadon Street and Drive straight )

Hatkhola Dutta House was constructed by Dewan Jagataram Dutta in the late eighteenth century. His Grandfather Ramchandra Datta was employed in East India Comapany’s Export import Division in Patna Warehouse. A very conservative family who stayed away from the usual frivolities of wasting money has been carrying their Durga Puja since last 200 years

Hathkhola Dutta Bari Durga Puja

Hathkhola Dutta Bari Durga Puja

 

14. CHATUBABU LATUBABU FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA

Address
“Ramdulal Nibas”, 67E Beadon Street ( Alias Dani Ghosh Street), North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(At the crossing of Beadon Street and Central Avenue)

At his Beadon street residence,Ram Dulal Deb (Sarkar) started organising Durga Puja from the year 1770. After his demise, the Puja was carried on by his sons Asuthosh and Pramatha Nath Debs, more commonly known as ‘Chatu babu and Latu babu’ which continues by his grandson Anath Nath Deb.The highlight of the idol is presence of Jaya and Bijaya, the two companions of Parvati, who flank Durga poised on lotuses. They have no Veena or Pot but just have their hand raised

Durga Puja of Chatu Babu Latu Babu

Durga Puja of Chatu Babu Latu Babu

 

15.DARJIPARAR MITRA BARI

Address
19, Nilmani Mitra Street & 42, Beadon Row, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(The First house is the Huge building Of the Mitras with a Huge and well maintained Thakur Dalan, the second is a small house with a small run down Thakururdalan)

The palatial building of Mitras came into existence during the times of Durgacharan Mitra who had several business including being court jeweller of Nawab Siraj -ud -Daulah. His Nephew Nilmani Mitra continued the legacy. Later the family’s condition declined. but Nilmani Mitra’s grandson Radhakrishna bought back fortune in the family. It was Radhakrishna who started Durga Puja in n 1807. This is one of the three top Banedi Pujas of Kolkata other than Jorasnako Dawn Bari and Sova bazar Rajbari. The rituals are interesting and very meticulously followed.

Womanfolk of Darjipara Mitra House performing rituals at their Nilmani Mitra Street premises

Womanfolk of Darjipara Mitra House performing rituals at their Nilmani Mitra Street premises

 

Thakurdalan of Mitra family at Beadon Row

Thakurdalan of Mitra family at Beadon Row

 

16.MANIKTALA SAHA FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA

Address
122A Maniktala Street, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(If you are driving from Girish Park towards Maniktala, you will get Maniktala Street on your left in an angular fashion besides Swami Vivekananda;s Statue just before you get Raja Rammohan Sarani Alias Amherst Street on right. )

The Maniktala Saha Family was originally Salt Merchants and had a huge Zamindari throughout Kolkata. The family originated from Allahabad. Durga Puja of this family is around 150 years.The white Coloured Huge house is located just at the junction of Vivekananda Road and Maniktala Street. It has a huge Thakurdalan inside.

Maniktala Saha Family's Thakurdalan

Maniktala Saha Family’s Thakurdalan

 

17. BHOLANATH DUTTA BARIR PUJO

Address
33/2, Beadon Street (Alias Abhedananda Road), Kolkata – 700006
Click here for Direction Map

(From Manikatala crossing whilst going towards Shyambazar, Beadon Street falls just after the crossing on the right. Beadon street has been divided and renamed as Abhedananda Road upto Bidhan Sarani and then till Rabindra Sarani it has been renamed as Dani Ghosh Lane)

At the Kulin Gandhabanik Dutta household, Bholanath Dham the idol of Durga is sitting on Shiva’s Lap with no weapons or Vahana and no Mahishashur around. This is a legendary idol visualized by one of legendary Merchants of history Dhanapati Saudagar, also belonging to the kulin Gandhabanik clan. Bholanath Dutta started this Shiva Durga Puja idol in 1905 at Bholanath Ashram of Varansai. His sons continued the Puja till 1913 after Bholanath’s death and then eventually shifted it to Sovabazar at Calcutta and finally to the residence at Beadon Street.

Bholanath Dham Dutta Family Durga Idol. Photo courtesy : Rangan Dutta

Bholanath Dham Dutta Family Durga Idol. Photo courtesy : Rangan Dutta

 

18.MAHENDRA SRIMANI FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA

Address
17 Mahendra Srimani Street (Alias Sukea Street), Kolkata – 700009
Click here for Direction Map

(Mahendra Srimani Street is just opposite Ram Mohan Library and at the junction of Ram Mohan Roy Road (not Sarani) and A. P. C. Road at 267, A.P.C. Road between Rajabazar and Maniktala. Alternatively while coming from Girish Park towards Maniktala, turn right to Raja Rammohan Sarani Alias Amherst Street and drive striaght crossing the famous the Chaltabagan Lohapatty Puja. Mahendra Srimani Street will fall on your left.)

The Durga Puja of Mahendra Srimani family is of about 200 years. Mahendra Srimani was a wealthy zaminder who settled here in the late 19th century. He was an important social worker too. The Thakurdalan has several interesting elements and the idol is traditional. Being a resident of this area let me volunteer with two information. 1. Sukea Street is named after Parsee Doctor Sukeas 2.Within stone throwing distance of this street are the ancestral house of three great men of Bengal – Raja Rammohan Roy, Iswarchandra Vidyasagar and Satyajit Roy.

Durga Puja of Mahendra Srimani

Durga Puja of Mahendra Srimani

 

19. HARINATH MOOKERJEE FAMILY’S DURGAPUJA, RAJABAZAR

Address
4, Kalidas Singha Lane Kolkata – 700009
(Behind Rajabazar Science College, by lane of Keshab Chandra Sen Street)

Click here for Direction Map

(This is close to Srimani Barir Puja at Sukea Street. Actually it is on the back side of Rajabazar Science College. From Sukea Street you may walk back to A.J.C. Bose Road and turn right towards Razabazar. Just before Rajabazar Science College a lane falls on the right. This is Parsi Bagan Lane. Walk though it for sometimes until you get Kalidas Singha Lane on your left. The house is near the end of this lane.

Alternatively if you are coming from Seldah, get down at Rajabazar stoppage. Walk in to Keshab Chandra Street on your left. Just two minutes walk and you will get Kalidas Singha Lane on your right.)

This is one of the earliest Bonedi Barir Puja of Kolkata which is of 291 years old. It started in 1722 when one of the descendants of family – Harinath Mookerjee shifted to Kolkata (then Calcutta) from his ancestral Zamindar house at Gondol para of Chandannagar along with his mother.The Family history says that Harinath Mookerjee brought with him a metal ghot (pot to store water). This was found by his grandfather while ploughing a field. After recovering the ghot, Harinath’s Grandfather had a dream where he had divine instruction to worship Goddess Mangal Chandi every day.

Harinath Mookerjee acquired two houses at Rajabazar area which was actually a washerman’s den. He established Devi Mangal Chandi as the family deity in this house. Under divine instruction, Harinath started Durga Puja in this house. He started business of Jute as a supplier with East India Company which was successful to a great extent. He became a landlord (Zamindar) and built up the present mansion along with Thakurdalan and huge decorative interiors.

The Thakurdalan is not enormous but very interesting. At its entrance there is a unique design of stucco painted in multicolor with figures and floral motifs. On each side of the Thakuradalan there is a figure (one male and female) which looks surprisingly of African descendant. They look representing slaves as there is indication of having chains tied to their legs. Most probably the statues were of Habshi, slaves in pre-British India.

The picturesque Thakurdalan of Harinath Mookerjee at Rajabazar

The picturesque Thakurdalan of Harinath Mookerjee at Rajabazar

 

20. LAHA BARI DURGA PUJA

Address
2A Bidhan Sarani (College Street) or 121 Mukataram Babu Street, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(The first address falls near to Thanthania Kali Bari and the second is located just at the entry of Mukataram Babu Street on the left hand side, if you enter from Central Avenue near Ram Mandir. From Bidhan Sarani take the lane just after Bina Cinema)

Durgapuja of Laha Family near Thanthania is almost 200 years. The Puja is held alternatively at Bidhan Sarani House of KristoDas Laha or at the Muktaram Babu Street of Ramcaharan Laha.Here the Durga Idol is unique like the Duttas of Beadon street. Durga is seen on the lap of Shiva with no arms , no Vahana and without any Asur Demon. This is known as “Hara Gouri” Idol

Durga Idol of Thanthania Laha Bari

Durga Idol of Thanthania Laha Bari

 

21. THANTHANIA DUTTA BARI

Address
3 Bidhan Sarani (College Street), North Kolkata (Near Thanthania Kali Bari)
Click here for Direction Map

Started in 1855 by Dawaraka Nath Dutta, The Duttas of Thanthania worship “Hara Gouri” like their neighbour – The Lahas. The Puja is celebrated with great pomp and show till date.

Durga Dalan of Thanthania Dutta Bari

Durga Dalan of Thanthania Dutta Bari

 

22. CHORBAGAN CHATTERJEE BARI

Address
120, Muktaram Babu Street, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Enter Mukataram Babu Street from Central Avenue near RamMandir. The Chatterjee house will fall mid way on your right. In case you enter from Bidhan Sarani take the lane just after Bina Cinema. )

The most unique thing of Chorbagan Chatterjee Bari Durga Puja is that from Saptami to Dashami fish is offered to Devi as bhog. The Durga Puja Carried in their ancestral house is over 150 years old which was initiated by Ram Chatterjee. He was a Stevedore by profession.

Chorbagan Chatterjee Bari Durga Puja

Chorbagan Chatterjee Bari Durga Puja

 

23. CHORBAGAN MITRA BARI

Address
84, Muktaram Babu Street, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Enter Mukataram Babu Street from Central Avenue near RamMandir. The Big Red Pillared house is just at the entrance of the street opposite to Ramchandra Laha’s house. In case you enter from Bidhan Sarani take the lane just after Bina Cinema. )

Both the house and the Durga Puja of Chorbagan Mitra Bari are of 300 plus years old. The Magnificient building looked grand in its haydays with its huge pillars, but now is a crumbling situation. The house was built by Ramsundar Mitra who was a money lender by profession.He event lent money on interest to Lord Clive. Durga Puja is held alternatively in the Thakurdalan on the Muktram Bbau Street or in the dalan on the other part of the house, whose entrance is through the super narrow Mitra lane adjacent to the house.

Chorbagan Mitra house Durga Puja. This Dalan has to be entered from the Mitra Lane. The other dalan falls on the Muktaram Babu entrance.

Chorbagan Mitra house Durga Puja. This Dalan has to be entered from the Mitra Lane. The other dalan falls on the Muktaram Babu entrance.

 

24. CHORBAGAN SEAL BARI

Address
42, Muktaram Babu Street, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(If you are coming from Girish Park To Esplanade, you have to enter that part of Muktaram Babu street which falls on your right. The house is just some steps after the Giant Marble Palace on your left )

Khetramoni Debi, wife of successful businessman and exporter took the initiative to start Durga Puja in the Seal family, 158 years ago. There is a plaque at the house to this effect. Seal family follows Vaishnavism and are strictly vegetarian.

Chorbagan Seal Family Durgapuja

Chorbagan Seal Family Durgapuja

 

25. BADAN CHANDRA ROY’S HOUSE

Address
2A, Gopal Chandra Lane, Colootola, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(You can access to Gopal Chandra Lane from Central Avenue itself or enter Colootola Lane alias Maulana Shaukat Ali Street and turn left)

The 150 years Durga puja was started by Late Badan Chandra Roy in his palatial three storied house at Kolootola opposite to Medical College Hospital. The Thakurdalan is quite large here too. The lights on the courtyard gives a beautiful glow in the night.

Badan Chandra Roy's grand Thakurdalan

Badan Chandra Roy’s grand Thakurdalan

 

26. PURNA CHANDRA DHAR’S HOUSE

Address
32A, Debendra Mullick Road, North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Devendra Mallick Lane is just opposite to Medical College . Go straight to the end of the lane. The house on your right is Dhar Family’s residence. Access the house from the entrance which is located on the right of the building.)

Origianting from Halisahar, Purnchandra Dhar was Salt Merchant by profession. Durga Puja in the family is almost 150 years old. Here the Durga Idol is Abhaya Murti. In Abhaya Murti, Durga has only two hands, without any Demon Asurs but with two lions.It may be mentioned that Thakur Ramakrishna Dev visited this house.

Purnachandra Dhar's Abhaya Durga Idol

Purnachandra Dhar’s Abhaya Durga Idol

 

27. MOTILAL SEAL’S HOUSE

Address
60 Colootola Street (alias Maulana Shaukat Ali Street), North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(Coolotola Lane is located just besides C.R. Avenue Post Office on the opposite foot of Medical College.)

Apart from being an extreme wealthy businessman who earned plenty from various kind of business, Motilal Seal is famous for his philanthropy and social activity.He was a strong supporter of widow marriage and even paid Rs 20,000 to first gentleman who married a widow.His next generation has continued to good work, Durga puja of this family is over 150 yerars old.

Motilal Seal's House Durga Idol

Motilal Seal’s House Durga Idol

 

28. PATALADNGA BASU MALLICK FAMILY DURGA PUJA

Address
18 & 22 Radhanath Mallick Lane
Click here for Direction Map

(Radhanath Mallick Lane starts at 22, Surya Sen Street, right after Putiram’s Eatery as you travel towards Sealdah from College Street. The Lane is besides the local Corporation office)

The Durga Puja of Basu Mallick family ages back to 1831, when founder of Basu Mallick clan, Radhanath Mallick (who later took the title of Basu Mallick) begin to worship Goddess Durga in the premises of 18 Radhanath Mallick Lane. Radhanath did business with the British, was amongst the first Benaglis to learn English and had some 40 mansions in his name when he died at the ripe age of 44. One of The Grandson of Radhanath – Kshetra Chandra Basu Mallick, started Durga puja at 22 Radhanath Mallick Lane. The Thakurdalan has a cast iron frame with glass behind it

The oldest house of the Basu Mallick clan is the one at 18 Radhanath Mallick Lane. There are several Statues of Mercury in the courtyard, which were once used to hold gas lamps. The Thakurdalan has stucco floral decoration over its arches. Above the arches there is a row of stucco figures depicting Dasavatar of Vishnu. In 1905, Rabindranath Tagore had visited this house and appealed to students so that they leave government educational institutions.

22 Radhanath Mallick Lane House

22 Radhanath Mallick Lane House

 

18 Radhanath Mallick Lane House

18 Radhanath Mallick Lane House

 

29. COCOLA HOUSE DURGA PUJA

Address
Arpuli Lane alias Surrendra Lal Pyne Lane
Click here for Direction Map

Cocola house is located at the junction Arpuli Lane and Madhu Gupta Lane. You can reach here taking the Sreegopal Mallick Lane besides Radhanath Mallick Lane. On Outside of the building Cocola House is mentioned in Bengali. From Ram Mohan Ray Sarani (Amherst Street) you have to enter through Siddehswar Chatterjee lane (134 Raja Rammohon Sarani.) From College Street , you have to enter from no 22.

Cocola House Durga Puja

Cocola House Durga Puja

 

30. KABIRAJ GANGAPRASAD SENS’S DURGA PUJA

Address
17 Kumartuli Street, North Kolkata (at Kumartuli, near the Kumartuli Ghat)
Click here for Direction Map

Durga puja at reputed physician Kabiraj Gangaprasad Sen is of 168 years. He had Ramakrishna Paramhansa as his regular patient. The Kabiraj earned enough money to initiate Durga puja in his premises with enough grandeur. He even constituted a trust to carry on the puja in future generations. The idol is ‘ak chala’, but interestingly Kartick is on the left side below Lakshmi and Ganesh is on the right side below Saraswati.

Kabiraj Gangaprasad Sen's Durgapuja

Kabiraj Gangaprasad Sen’s Durgapuja

 

31. BHAWANIPUR MALLICK FAMILY DURGA PUJA

Address
Mohini Mohan Road, Bhawanipur, South Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

Near Netaji Bhawan Metro Station. The lane just before JaduBabur Bazar is Mohini Mohan Road. Walk straight until you almost come to the end. Mallick Bari is inside a small entrance on your left.

Durga puja of Mallick Family dates back to 15th Century.The Founder of Mallick family Radha Gobinda Mallick settled in Bhowanipur in 1860. His place of origin was the village of Srikhanda, from where they shifted to Guptipara. From 1925, Durga Puja shifted from native village to Kolkata.

Puja rituals are performed at Mallick residence at two locations , namely “Annapurna Dalan” and the other “Durga Dalan”. Mallick Family are Vaisnavas and prepare vegetarian food from Sasthi to Nabami. After immersion in Dasami, they prepare Non Veg food. No rice is offered to the goddess, but preparation of wheat is done. Popular Bengali filmstar Ranjit Mallick and her daughter – successful actor Koel Mallick belongs to this family.

Bhawanipur Mallick Bari Durgapuja. Photo Courtesy : Shailesh Liya

Bhawanipur Mallick Bari Durgapuja. Photo Courtesy : Shailesh Liya

 

32. BHAWANIPUR MITRA FAMILY DURGA PUJA

Address
13, Paddapukur Road, Bhawanipur, South Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

Near Netaji Bhawan Metro Station. The lane just after JaduBabur Bazar is Paddapukur Road. Walk straight until you almost come to the end towards Allenby Road. Mitra Residence is on the left. You can see the Thakurdalan from the road itself.

At THe Mitra residence at Bhowanipore. the Durga Puja origin back to 1757. The Durga Idol appears to be Dwiabhuja at fisrt sight but actually has two natural hands and the rest of the eight hands are short and on the shoulders. After the idol is dressed up, you cannot see the rest of the eight small hands.Laxmi and Saraswati have no vahan and are seen on the lotus.The Lion’s head has a close resemblance to Horse and is painted white with mustache in black

Bhawanipur Mitra Bari Durgapuja. Photo Courtesy : Shailesh Liya

Bhawanipur Mitra Bari Durgapuja. Photo Courtesy : Shailesh Liya

 

33.AKRUR DUTTA’S DURGA PUJA

Address
1 Rajen Datta Lane, North Kolakta
Click here for Direction Map

(Walking from Wellington square towards College Street, after Crossing Ganesh Chnandra Avenue, Akrur Dutta Lane falls on your right)

Born in 1720 in Sonatikri village in Hooghly district, Akrur Dutta visited Calcutta in 1740 and started business with Pritiram Marh, the father-in-law of Rani Rashmoni. From this business Akrur Dutta becaome enviably rich.

Durga puja began in the late 18th century in the Thakurdalan of his house at 1 Rajen Datta Lane, which is now invisible from the road as because a flat has rosen infront of it at 18/4 Akrur Datta Lane. In Colonial era thaere used to be a hideout tunnel under the thakurdalan whixh opened on to Wellington Square.

Akrur Dutta's Durga Puja

Akrur Dutta’s Durga Puja

 

34. RAMGOPAL SAHA’S HOUSE DURGA PUJA

Address
4 Thakurdas Palit Lane, North Kolkata


Click here for Direction Map

(Thakur Das Palit Lane is continuation of Akrur Dutta Lane. Drive Straight cross Bancharam Akrur Dutta Lane and you get this huge building on your right)

The Durga Puja of Saha family is over 175 years old. Initiated by Ramgopal Saha – A wine and Liquor merchant, Saha family residence has a wonderful Thakurdalan which once impressed Ace Lensman Raghu Rai.

Ramgopal Saha Thakur dalan

Ramgopal Saha Thakur dalan

 

35. SISIR KUMAR HALDER HOUSE DURGA PUJA

Address
15 Ramanath Kabiraj Lane ( 55 Sashibhusan dey Street)
Click here for Direction Map

(You can continue from Thakur Das Palit Lane as mentioned in entry no 28. Turn left and then again a left turn into a very narrow alley to reach Ramanath Kabiraj Lane.Mind it lanes are rather narrow here.)

200+ year old Haldar Family Durgapuja has a permanent Durga Idol made of Gold. The Thakurdalan has an unique shape with Stained Glass decorations.

Rakhaldas Halder Thakurdalan

Rakhaldas Halder Thakurdalan

 

36.CHANDRA FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA

Address
23 Nirmal Chandra Street, Central Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

( From Crossing of Hind Cinema (Now Shopping Mall) on Ganesh Chnandra Avenue, this house fall on your left on Nirmal Chandra Road as you travel tow rads Bowbazar.)

Started in 1877 by Ganesh Chandra Chandra with huge cost involving Jatra Palas anad Nautch Girls Show. Originating from Khisma village , Nadia The Chandras are both Vaishnavas and Shaktas. Late Pratap Chandra Chunder union minister of India hails from this family

Chandra Family Durga Puja

Chandra Family Durga Puja

 

37. DUTTA FAMILY’S DURGA PUJA ON HIDARAM BANERJEE LANE

Address
62 Hidaran Banerejee Lane, Central Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

( From Crossing of Hind Cinema (Now Shopping Mall) on Ganesh Chnandra Avenue, travel on Nirmal Chandra Road towrads Bowbazar. Near Bowbazar Crossing, this narrow Hidaram Banerjee lane falls on your right admidst a bazzar. The Dutta House falls on your left after walking down the lane. )

Durga Puja was started on 1883 in this family by Gobinda Chandra Dutta. He had business of Belgium Glass

Hidaram Banerjee Dutta Family Durga Puja

Hidaram Banerjee Dutta Family Durga Puja

 

38. BISWANATH MOTILAL’S FAMILY DURGA PUJA

Address
1/C Durga Pithuri Lane, Central Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

( From Crossing of Hind Cinema (Now Shopping Mall) on Ganesh Chnandra Avenue, travel on Nirmal Chandra Road towrads Bowbazar. Near Bowbazar Crossing, this narrow Hidaram Banerjee lane falls on your right admidst a bazzar. Durga Pithuri Lane is the first turn on your left after crossing Dutta house on the left. 1/C is the first house on left of Durga Pithuri Lane.)

One of the oldest aristocrat families of calcutta is that of Biswanath Motilal, who had his roots at Joynagar. It is believed that the Bowbazar Area was allocated to his Daughter in lawas a gift, hence the name Bow Bazar (Bow in Bengai means Wife).This simple Family Puja dates over 300 years. Among the house being a place of historical place (Outside the house a worn out name plate says “Here lived Babu Bisso Nath Motilal Born : 1779 Died :1844″), there is an interesting shaped brass Oil multi lamp, which burns from Saptami onwards.

Biswanath Motilal's Family Durga Puja

Biswanath Motilal’s Family Durga Puja

 

39. NILMANI DEY THAKURBARI DURGA PUJA

Address
45 Hidaram Banerjee Lane, Central Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

( From Crossing of Hind Cinema (Now Shopping Mall) on Ganesh Chnandra Avenue, travel on Nirmal Chandra Road towrads Bowbazar. Near Bowbazar Crossing, this narrow Hidaram Banerjee lane falls on your right admidst a bazzar. Walking for sometimes on this road you will come across Nlmani Dey Thakur Bari on your left)

This 116 year old Puja Of Nilmani Dey Thakurbari has interesting history. Nilmoni Dey was an ordinary clerk who stayed at his maternal uncle’s house after his father’s death. He later on left his job and started his own business. After being well settled and raising up a family, it is said that instructed by divine intervention through a dream Nilmoni Dey was asked to built a Laksmi Jagganath Temple. There was a wood storage shed just adjacent to his house. He bought the land and built up A Lakshmi Naryan temple in 1896. Later he built up Kashthi Pathar Durga idol and worshipped it. A trust is there at present to run the expenses of the temple. The worship is being carried in the Vaishnavaite style. Many other Pujs are also held here.

Nilmoni Dey Thakur Bari Durgapu

Nilmoni Dey Thakur Bari Durgapuja

 

40. KUNDU BARI DURGA PUJA

Address
9, Peary Mohan Pal Lane, North Kolkata Click here for Direction Map

(As you walk from Girish Park To Esplanade, the first right right turn near a Temple is the Baranasi Ghosh Street. Step inside the Street. Peary Mohan Pal Lane falls is the first lane on the right of this street. It is extremely narrow.)

Widely used Gupta Press Panjika aka Paanji (Hindu astronomical almanac) came into existence on the Bengali Year 1276 (English: 1879). As per Kundu family members their Durga Puja started from that very year by their ancestors Krishna Das Kundu iniated by his wife Rajomani Dasi. Rajomoni had seen Durga Puja celebrated every year at her house before she got married. So she naturally wanted to have Durga Puja celebrated at her in laws residence too. Her wish was fulfilled by her husband.

Krishna Das Kundu became rich after doing business as a Kerosene Dealer and hence was known as ‘Kerosone Kundu’.

His sons Durlabh Chandra Kundu and Sudhir Chandra Kundu carried on Durga Puja. Their pet name was Buddhu and Suddhu. Hence the Puja was known by their name as Puja of Buddhu and Suddhu (similar to Latu Babu Chatu Babu Durga Puja). These two gentlemen were famous for their “Tarja songs” too.

The Thakurdalan looks deserted and is piled up with cardboard boxes during the year, but Durga Puja it undergoes a radical change. The unique thing about this Dalan is that it has beautiful stucco work on it. Dhuno Porano Ritual takes places on Astami at Kundu Family.

Stucco Art Decorated Thakurdalan of Kundu Family

Stucco Art Decorated Thakurdalan of Kundu Family

 

41. AMRITA LAL DAWN HOUSE

Address
8 Dinu Rakhsit Lane, North Kolkata Click here for Direction Map

(Beniatola Street (not to be confused with Beniatola lane of College Street) is located just at the junction of B.K. Pal Avenue and Rabindra Sarani. If you are coming towards Shyambazar through Rabindra Sarani, Beniatola Street falls on your left. At the entrance of Beniatola Street there is a Barowari Puja. Immediately after the Puja , you get the Dinu Rakshit Lane on your right ( just before Dawn Lane and Sashi Sur Lane). Chances are you may miss the Lane , thinking it to be entrance to a house. One is bound to miss this interesting family Run Durga Puja if the exact address and direction is not known. You will NOT find it in Google Map. The one I have attached here shows the lane alright, but that is my handiwork to lead the interested visitor to the exact location..)

The Durga Dalan and House have been recently renovated. There are Glass Paintings inside the Thakur Dalan and Mina work over the Entrance Door. The Dawn Family is not interested in getting media attention, so they get very pleasantly surprised when you take an effort to locate their Family Puja and will offer you to have Prasad and welcome you to their Puja. Among many rituals, they perform “Dhuno Porano” on Astami. The family worship Naryan as Salgramshila. Interestingly the Salgramshila stone was even attired with a Dhoti!

The Durga Puja of the Dawn Family is of over 120 years started by Amrita Lal Dawn who was into dealership of Petrol and Diesel. This Gandhabanik caste family has its root at from Kotulpur of Bankura.

The primary Puja of the family is that of Goddess Jagadhatri. The family also performs Kali Puja.

Amrita Lal Dawn's ThakurDalan

Amrita Lal Dawn’s ThakurDalan

 

42. NILMANI DUTTA THAKURBARI DURGAPUJA

Address
56A, Doctor’s Lane, North Kolkata Click here for Direction Map

(Puran Chandra Nahar Lane originates in front of Union Chapel, connects Lenin Sarani and S.N. Banerjee Road and continues to form the narrow Doctor’s Line which widens as you proceed inside. The Pink Coloured Dutta Residence falls on your left.)

Not be confused with Nilmoni Dey Thakurbari’s Durga Puja at Hidaram Banerjee Lane. This Humble Family Durga Puja is held in a Thakurdalan of Single Arch. This 110 years old Durga Puja was started by Nilmoni Dutta 110 years ago. The family also celebrates Jagadhatri Puja.

Nilmani Dutta Thakurbari Durgapuja

Nilmani Dutta Thakurbari Durgapuja


 

43.SHAMBHU NATH SEN’S HOUSE DURGAPUJA

Address
3, Rammohan Ray Sarani (Amherst Street), North Kolkata
Click here for Direction Map

(The Red coloured Mansion of Shmabu Nath Sen is just besides Lady Dufferin Hospital)

The Durga Puja of Shambu Nath Sen ages over 100 years. Originating from Saptagram at Hooghly, Shamabu Sen was a sales Commission agent with G. Arthurton & Co. who were importers of products like Sunlight, Pears, Lux from Liver Brothers (Now Hindustan Unliver) in late ninenteeh and early 20th century followed later in 1930-40s with importring of Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish and Horlicks.

Shambu Nath Sen acquired the land of the present residence of Sen family in 1906 for Rs 9000 and built up a huge residence in 1909. The School of Tropical Medicine stands in the place of their earlier residence. You can see the idol straight from the road itself.

This family is distantly related to the famous Gouri Sen of Bengal in the 18th century who earned enormous amounts of money from the family export-import business and donated freely to repay debts of other people.

Shambhu Sen's House Durgapuja

Shambhu Sen’s House Durgapuja

References

1. Banedi Kolkatar GharBari by Debasish Bandopadhyay, Ananda Publishers

2. Vishnu avatars & Mercury by Soumitra Das. The Telegraph, March 1 2009

3. What lies behind the block of flats by Soumitra Das. The Telegraph, November 15 2009

4.  Durga Puja , Celebrating the Goddess – Then and now by Sudeshna Banerjee, Rupa & Co, 2006

Special Thanks

1. My Father Asim Gupta for getting me interested in these houses

2. Mr. Kanad Sanyal for giving me information and helping in locating these buildings

3. Akash Mondal, Suman Roy, Suvojit, Sandip Chatterjee and Tirthankar Sarkar for accompanying me in house hunting

4. Members of the Household of many Bonedi Bari

 

Author :
Mr. Amitabha Gupta
Travel photographer and travelogue writer
Visit  Amitabha Gupta's Blog ( amitabhagupta.wordpress.com ) for regular updates

 
     
 

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