KNOW BENGAL WITH US

Exactly 105 years after it was first "discovered", Chandraketugarh is finally getting some attention. Government has decided to turn Bengal's richest archaeological treasure trove into a heritage village.

The ruins dating back to 6th Century BC has been a pilferers' paradise for decades, and people all over the world have minted money smuggling the exquisite antiques out of the 'garh' (fortified city) tucked away in Berachampa village in North 24-Parganas, about 34 km from Kolkata. To know that, you have to simply check out some of the relics soaked in Bengal's rich yet unknown past at the Christie's or the Sotheby's websites.

Heritage village, fort and temple
Calcutta University's Ashutosh Museum did unearth remains of a temple in 1956-57. Constructed during the times of the legendary Mihir and Khana, the temple is two miles from King Chandraketu's fort. "The temple and the fort comprised the prosperous urban settlement that flourished between 4th Century BC and 12th Century AD. It was a remarkable civilisation spanning at least six eras, starting from that of the pre-Mauryans and ending with the Pala period," say ASI records.

The temple, said to be built during the Pala era, is the most valuable archaeological find of the region. Almost nothing, however, is left of the polygonal structure connected to a square vestibule. The roof had collapsed long ago and all that remains are the walls and a flight of stairs. "The fort and the temple are immensely vulnerable to pilferage and decay. The heritage village complex will automatically protect the entire area. The excavation, on the other hand, will enhance Chandraketugarh's archaeological stature," said Amal Roy of the state archaeological department.

Want to know more about Bengal? Its flora and fauna, its hot favourite items, be it food or entertainment, books or rituals, at your mouse click as she unveils her secret of being "Sonar Bangla"or the golden Bengal.

The Royal Bengal Tiger
Tiger is the largest living member of the cat family. It has a graceful built. The reddish yellow coat with black stripes gives it a royal look. Ventrally it is white. Its ears are black on the outside and each of them has a prominent white spot on it. The scientific name of tiger is 'Panthera tigris'. The origin of the cat family from what we know today is Siberia. From there, they migrated down south as the climate became colder. Tigers are found in Siberia, Manchuria and the Asian continent. In Asia, India and Malaysia are the two prominent countries where tigers live. The Indian tigers, the Royal Bengal tigers are the most graceful animals found in Sundarban in Bengal.In India we had over forty thousand tigers in the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is very sad to note that the statistics is much lower. The reasons for tiger becoming an endangered species are uncontrolled felling of trees resulting in the shrinkage of the habitat of the tiger, decrease of preys, increase of poaching for its beautiful skin. The treat of extinction forced the government of India to initiate the 'Project Tiger' on the first of April 1973 when the tiger population was less than 2000. Initially nine tiger reserves were selected. This number has now increased.The tiger lives in varied habitats open jungles, humid evergreen forests and mango grove swamps. Its diet consists mainly of deer, antelopes, gaurs and wild pigs.

History of Kalighat
According to a scripture called "Pithamala's Nigamatantra" the vast bow shaped land stretching from Dakshineshwer to Bahulapur i.e. Behala is the Kalikhetra or realm of Kali. The core triangular region, approximately 1 krosha have Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva on the three inner corners and Devi Kalika at its center. Nakuleshwar Bhairava and Ganges remains side by side at this shrine. Austerity of the region parallels that of Kashi (Venaras). All forms of Hindu Mother Goddess like Bhairavi, Bagala, Bidya, Matangi, Kamala, Brahmi, Maheshwari and Chandi will always exist at this location. Living beings whoever will breath its last at this location will be relieved of all sin. In the second century AD Ptolemy's India has a reference of a place called Kaligrama. Nearly 2000 years back another writing called Bhabishya Purana also refers to a Kali temple near Gobindapur village at the bank of Ganges.

Attractions:

Sight Seeing : Maidan, Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium, Indian Museum, Shahid Minar, Howrah Bridge, Marble Palace, National Library.

Temples : Kalighat, Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Belur Math, Rama Mission Institute of Culture, Nakhoda Mosque, St. Johnís Church, Pareshnath Jain Temple

Entertainment:

Art & Culture : Asutosh Museum, Birla Industrial and Technology Museum, Birla Academy of Art and Culture

Shopping :New Market, Vardaan Market, Park Street, Gariahat, College Street Market, Lake Market