Places of Interest
The history of Dakshin Dinajpur which used to be a part of the erstwhile Dinajpur district, dates back to the PAL and SEN dynasties and boasts of a glowing cultural heritage. From the different antiques discovered during excavation and existence of many big tanks all over the district, it becomes evident that this district had a flourishing past in the sphere of education and culture.
From ancient manuscripts and inscriptions we have come to know that there was a district named KOTIBARSHA with its capital at DEVKOT near Gangarampur Town which was locally known as BANGARH. The ruins of Bangarh speak volumes about the importance of this area. Its capital town DEVKOT is considered to be a historically famous place, from where a large number of inscriptions dating from Ashoka age to the Middle ages, have been discovered. This district was well 3 (three) big rivers namely ATREYEE, PUNARBHABA and TANGON.
This is very famous for the international Indo-Bangladesh Border checkpost. Distance from Balurghat district Headquarters is 25 (twenty five) kilometres. It is well connected by State Highway. On the way to Hili, Bangladesh Border can be seen just by the side of the road. Nowadays, hundreds of trucks full of commodities are engaged in export business. At present there is only one PWD Bungalow which can be used to accommodate tourists.
- SARONGBARI :
Sarongbari is small forest and a very attractive picnic spot. One small hut has been constructed with drinking water facilities and is managed by Hili Panchayat Samiti. Prior permission is to be sought from the Block Development Officer, Hili, to enter this spot.
Balurghat is the district Headquarters of the Dakshin Dinajpur district. Balurghat town played an important role in the August Movement in the year 1942 against the British and occupies a place of pride in the history of freedom movement of India. This is a small municipal town surrounded by green trees and is free from pollution. 1 (one) Kilometer away from Balurghat, there is a small forest at Raghunathpur. There is one Bungalow of Forest department inside the forest. There is another small forest known as DOGACHHI forest about 6 km west of Balurghat town. It is well connected by pucca road. During winter season, many tourist and local people organise picnic parties and visit this place on payment of a nominal charge. By the side of the Dogachhi forest, there is a ZIGZUG canal with boating facility which is a major attraction for the people visiting this place.
- COLLEGE MUSEUM
The college museum of Balurghat, though a small one, is worth seeing. Many antique collections including coins, inscriptions, sculptures, terracotta, ornamental stones, etc. of ancient ages are preserved here. Two inscriptions have been deciphered by Prof. A K Goswami which has thrown new light on the religious belief of the Pala period.
It is situated on the Patiram – Trimohini road about 18 Kms away (North-East) from Balurghat town. This place is very famous for the TEBHAGA Movement. History tells us that in the year 1946, the share croppers of this area raised a movement for establishing their ¾ percentage share of the crops.
To combat this movement the British Force along with local Zamindars started various oppressive measures including plunder, rape, setting fire, etc. In the face of such oppression, the movement instead of subsiding, further flared up. The local cultivators also lent their whole-hearted support to the movement. On 20th February, 1947, a large contingent of Police force west to Khanpur to arrest the leaders of the Tebhaga Movement.Under the leadership of Sri. Chiarshai Sekh, the people disconnected the road. The Police arrested Smt Jasoda Rajbanshi, w/o Nilkantha Rajbanshi (Party Secretary), Sri. Gopeshwar Das Mohanta, Sri. Ghutui Kolkamar, Sri. Gajimuddin and Sri. Sashi Barman.
However, the share croppers under the leadership of Chiarshai Sekh succeeded to snatch away those arrested cultivators from the police jeep and damaged the vehicle. The Police then opened fire. As per report police fired about 121 rounds upon the public. As a result 21 (twenty one) cultivators died on the spot. Among these victims were people belonging to the Hindus, Muslims and the Schedule Tribes. There is a small memorial in the spot inscribing the names of the patriotic souls.
- PATIRAM THAKUR ESTATE
On the Balurghat-Malda state Highway, the Patiram Thakur Estate can be seen by the side of the river Atreyee. Old buildings of this estate are still there bearing the memory of the Tagore family.
- BOLLA KALI TEMPLE
About 20 kms away from Balurghat town on the Balurghat – Malda highway, the village BOLLA is situated. There is a famous Kali temple named after “BOLLA Ma Kali”. There is a story behind this temple. It is said that one Zamindar was arrested by the British as he could not pay the tax for his Zamindari. Goddess Kali came to his rescue and the Zamindar was freed the very next day. As a token of gratitude, he built a temple of Goddess ‘Kali’ and started worshipping her. As the Zamindar was freed on a Friday following the Rash Purnima Friday, Kali Puja is being observed here on every Friday following the Rash Purnima. Thousands of devotees throng the place to offer prayers and puja from different parts of the district. The Puja Committee organise a 3 (three) day fair on the occasion. This is also famous for sacrificing animals (Bali).
The big lake of Tapan namely Tapan Dighi (area 85.30 acre) is situated in the village Tapan at a distance of 35 Km from Balurghat town and 15 Km from Gangarampur town. It is well connected by pucca road.Behind the naming of this lake there is a myth that king Laxman Sen dug this lake with a view to offering Tarpara for his ancestors. This lake is about 2 Km in length and 1 Km in breadth.
On the northern bank of this lake, one dilapidated mound dating back to the period of Buddha can be seen. The real truth can be unearthed only if excavation work is taken up. Another important site in this area is the village Manohali. One can see large number of icons still remaining scattered in this area.
Historically probably the most important of all places in the entire district. Bangarh boasts of the largest share of archaeological ruins and icons to be found in Dakshin Dinajpur. It is situated 45 Km away from Balurghat town and 65 Km from Malda town. Bangarh was the capital of KOTI BARSHA district. During the GUPTA period, the whole of North Bengal was known as PUNDRA VARDHANA BHUKTI (PRADESH). It was again sub-divided into number of VISHAYAs (district). KOTI BARSHA was one of the districts. Its old name DEBKOT / DEBIKOT. In a radius of 8 km of this area, different ancient archaeological remnants have been found.
- Manuscript of Kind Naipala of 11th century – Now it is kept in the college Museum of Balurghat.
- Statue of century (DARPAL) – It is stated that this statue is kept in Balurghat Police line.
- Four big pillars of Granite stones – It can be found in the village Shibbati, i.e. near the excavation spot. In the opinion of historians, these were the Pillars of Lord Vishnu Temple.
- Walls of buildings – It can be found in Situ at Bangrah
- Statues & Pillars- Many statues, pillars and variety of small objects are kept in the Shibbati Missionary School.
- Grave of Bakhtiar Khilji- On the western side of Bangarh on the bank of river Punarbhaba, we can see the grave of Turkish warrior Bakhtiar Khilji.
- Usha Haran Road – The myth has it that by this road the grand sone of Lord Krishna namely Anirudhya Kidnapped Usha, the daughter of King Bana.
- DHAL DIGHI:
Within 1 (one) km of Gangarampur town, there is a big lake named “Dhal Dighi”. It is about 1.5 Km in length and dates back to the Pal Dynasty. As colour of the water of this lake was “DHALA” i.e. white, the lake is called Dhal Dighi. On the northern bank of the lake is the grave of a famous muslim saint Atash Fakir. Some carved stone pillars and wall inscriptions can be seen in this grave.
- KAL DIGHI:
Just about 200 metres away from Dhaldighi, there is another lake called Kaldighi. This lake is also as big as Dhaldighi. As the colour of the water of this lake was black, it is named as “KALDIGHI”. During winter, large number of migratory birds flock to this place. This Kaldighi has recently been purchased by Dakshin Dinajpur Zilla Parishad for development of Pissiculture and for creating composite demonstration center of different schemes such as Poultry, Piggery, Milch Cow, Duckery, Bio-gas plant, Solar energy system, etc.
- MAHIPAL DIGHI :
Mahipal lake (Area 61.16 acre) is situated at a distance Km from Balurghat and 30 Km from Gangarampur. During the period of Pal Dynasty, Mahipal II, dug this lake. This is also a very big water body. On the northern bank of this lake there was a “NILKOTHI’ of Mr. Tomas who was a close friend of William Kerry. At that time, William Kerry was also in-charge of another “NILKOTHI” at Madnabati (District – Malda). The distance from Mahipal to Madnabati is about 30 Km. The ruined buildings of NILKOTHI still attracts the people of this locality. During winter large number of migratory birds flock to this place.
- AIRA FOREST:
From Mahipal road at a distance of 2 Km, there is one small forest belonging to the Forest Dept. This forest has recently been taken up for beautification by planting ornamental trees and flowers. Further, provision for constructing one lodge is also there, which can be used to accommodate tourists.
This is one of the historical places situated in the eastern side of fiver Srimati. Its distance is about 35 Km from Gangarampur and about 60 Km from Malda. Many icons and archaeological objects have been found in this area. Some of these are kept in the Police Station and Block Office.
Apart from this there are 4 (four) big lakes…..
- ALTA DIGHI
- MILIAN DIGHI (Area 80.48 acre)
- GOUR DIGHI (Area 58.09 acre)
- HATI DOBA DIGHI
These vast water bodies offer a perfect avenue for boating arrangement. This area is well connected by pucca road, During winter, large number of migratory birds flock to this place.
Near Bairhatta one can visit the village Dehaband, a historically famous site. some icons are still lying in this area. Persons interested in history can visit this place to fulfill their inquisitiveness. The icons discovered in the areas of Harirampur, Gangarampur, Kushmandi have their own style, different from that of the North Indian style. Ruins of an ancient town surrounded by boundary wall can be found here. this distinct style of sculpture was evolved by the two famous artists namely ‘ Dhiman’ and ‘ Bitpala’.