Places to vist - Cossimbazar কাশিমবাজার Zone

Cossimbazar, just north-east of Berhampore, has Hindu, Jain, Muslim and British landmarks. It is the site of the first English factory, founded about the year 1658 AD. It was the largest silk emporium of The East India Company. Cossimbazar was then situated on the left or western bank of the river Bhagirathi. Towards the beginning of the 19th Century, the river Bhagirathi abandoned its old and circuitous course and took a straight cut, thus leaving Cossimbazar far off inland. The town is a hinterland of three Ganga tributaries, the Bhagirathi, the Padma and the Jalangi.

Cossimbazar was the key trade and commerce town of 17th and 18th century in Murshidabad. Cossimbazar is mentioned in a letter, dated 1666 AD, written by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. It was a place of great trade, the most vendible commodities being gold, silver, saltpetre, sugar, silk, cotton yarn, turmeric, gum-lac, taffetas[1], cinnamon and muslin. The French and the Dutch also carried on trade and established their factories here. Tavernier said that Cossimbazar annually exported about 22,000 bales of silk (of 100 tbs. each). "The Dutch generally took, either for Japan or for Holland, 6,000 to 7,000 bales, and they would have liked to get more, but the merchants of Tartary and of the whole Mughal Empire opposed their doing so, for these merchants took as much as the Dutch, and the balance remained for the people of the country for the manufacture of their own stuffs". The town was about two miles long with narrow streets. Its population was about one lac and the brick-built houses were so thickly situated that one could make a circuit of the whole town by jumping from one roof to another. All these houses together with the factories have disappeared and the only traces of this once populous town are left in the remnants of the English and Dutch cemeteries, besides the house of Kanta Babu the Sati Daha ghat and a few temples.
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The British Factory :: Cossimbazar

The East India Company's trade from 1600 until 1613 was based upon the funding of separate voyages to the east. Thereafter, three successive joint-stock[2] ventures were established, and it was not until 1657 that Company finances and organization were consolidated by the Oliver Cromwell regime's endorsement of the creation of a permanent joint stock. On 24th December 1657 'the Governor, Deputy, and Committees for the new Joint Stock for India' issued letter to merchants like George Gawton, Thomas Billidge, William Blake, Thomas Hopkins, Richard Chamberlain, and Ion Ken or John Ken, informing them of the grant of an exclusive charter and the subscription of a new stock; announced the dispatch of the Blackamoor and other ships; and empowered them to dispose of the cargoes of these vessels, and to arrange for their reloding, 'without having any subordinacy to our Agent etc. at the Coast'. Of the merchants available in the country George Gawton was chosen to be Agent, at £100 per annum, with his head-quarters at Hugli. Towards the end of July, 1658 the vessel to arrive from England named Love, brought out the list of the new establishment. The factories in Bengal were formed into an Agency, independent of Madras, but under the control of the President and Council at Surat.

The earliest connection of the East India Company with this district was marked by the establishment of a factory at Cossimbazar. The factory was situated on the western bank of the river Bhagirathi, and south of the land occupied by the French and the Dutch. The date of founding of the first factory, for there were two of them, was about 1652 or 1653. One, Edward Stephens, formerly second factor at Hughli, was sent to manage affairs at Cossimbazar. He appears to have been a failure, and died deeply in debt in 1654. In 1658 AD a fortified factory was constructed here at Cossimbazar by The East India Company. This was an irregular square with solid bastions, each mounting 10 guns (mostly 9 and 6 pounders), with a saluting battery towards the river side of 24 guns (2 to 4 pounders). When Captain Grant left the garrison in 1757 AD it consisted of 50 soldiers under a sergeant. In 1658 Ion Ken (or John Ken) was appointed to manage the factory, and he was a man of energy and enterprise.

The duties of the British Chief at this factory had long before the acquisition, of the Dewan, been as much diplomatic as commercial, and negotiations with the Nawab were carried on through him. The East India Company's first representatives there were Ion Ken, who was Chief on £40 a year, Daniel Sheldon, second member of Council, on £30, John Priddy on £20 and Job Charnock, fourth member, on £20. Job Charnock was subsequently posted at Patna, but returned as Chief in 1680, and stayed there till 1686. A larger factory, on the river bank, was established in 1662, and the Company were shortly after, in 1663, keeping a fleet of boats on the Cossimbazar river to bring silks and muslins from Cossimbazar to Hughli. This factory was established under the orders of Sir Edward Winter then President at Madras.

Among the factories at Cossimbazar, the English factory was only fortified. The French had also a factory at Cossimbazar at this time, and the Armenians had made a settlement at Saidabad under the authority of a farman granted by Aurangzeb in 1665; while the Dutch had a thriving factory at Kalkapur. In 1756 the Chief of the English Factory was Mr. William Watts; the Dutch factory was under George Lodewijk Vernet, and the French under Monsieur Jean Law.

The object of all was the silk trade, the importance of which may be gathered from the accounts given by both Bernier and Tavernier. The former says that "The Dutch have sometimes seven or eight hundred natives employed in their factory at Cossimbazar, where, in like manner, the English and other merchants employ a proportionate number".

At this factory Warren Hastings spent his early years (1752-1757 AD) making bargains for weaving silk and cotton goods with native brokers. By 1756 he became a member of the council, the local governing body of the company. Here he distinguished himself by his sympathy with the natives. Hastings acquired his knowledge of Persian at Cossimbazar. It was here that Warren Hastings married the widow of Captain John Buchanan. She bore him two children, of whom a daughter died in infancy at Murshidabad, and was shortly followed to the grave by her mother. Their common gravestone is in existence at the present day, bearing date July 11, 1759 in the cemetery close by, just opposite to the site of the old factory, now popularly known as the English Residency Cemetery or Old English Cemetery.

Prior to 1753 AD, it had been the custom for the East India Company's servants to procure Piece Goods (fabrics made and sold in standard lengths. Also called yard goods) and other native manufactures through native merchants by regular contracts. Amongst all the Calcutta merchants, the most wealthy and influential was a Hindu named Omichand. His fortune was estimated at four millions of rupees, or more than four hundred thousand pounds starling. He established so great an influence at the court of Murshidabad by presents and services, that he proved a useful mediator to the English President and Council at Calcutta in all times of difficulty. For years, the manufactures Omichand supplied deteriorated in quality and increased in price. Accordingly, in 1753 AD, the Company abandoned the system of dealing with native merchants. They sent Gomosthas, or native agents, to provide investments at the different cloth markets in the provinces, which were known by the name of Aurungs or weaving districts. The result was, that Omichand lost a lucrative branch of his business.

At About 1832 the East India Company began to give up the silk industry as a Government venture, and it passed into the hands of private firms. The oldest of these firms in this district was the Bengal Silk Company. The East India Company sold their Cossimbazar factories and the Residency to a Dr. McPherson, who carried on the work for some years. He built for himself a fine house at Banjetia known as Banjetia Garden House, about two miles from Berhampur. Little is known as to the history of the other factories in the district. Some passed from the Company into the hands of Armenian merchants; others were built by private enterprise. Dr. McPherson sold his property toMr. James Lyall, and this gentleman founded the Bengal Silk Company somewhere about 1880 AD. The new company worked the Cossimbazar factory for a time, but pulled down the Resident's house, and with the materials built the house in Berhampore known as the "magistrate's house". This building passed from the Company, probably by sale, to the estate of Raja Asutosh Nath Roy. The house at Banjetia came into the hands of the Maharaja of Cossimbazar.

References :
  • The English factories in India - By Sir William Foster
  • The Indian Records Bengal in 1756-57 - By Samuel Charles Hill
  • Three Frenchmen in Bengal; or, The commercial ruin of the French settlements in 1757 - By Samuel Charles Hill (1857-1926)
  • Murshidabad - By L.S.S. O'Malley (1914)
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • Early records of British India - a history of the English settlements in India - By James Talboys Wheeler
  • [1] Tafetas : crisp, smooth woven fabric made from silk. The word is Persian in origin, and means "twisted woven". Back
  • [2] A joint-stock corporation is composed of investors who are granted shares in a company. In return for their initial investments, shareholders are given dividends, or percentages, of the company's profits based on the number of shares the investor holds. Back
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Cossimbazar Palace

The founder of the Cossimbazar house was Kali Nath Nandy of Shijna in Burdwan, who came and settled at Sripur শ্রীপুর, near Cossimbazar. His grandson, Radha Krishna Nandy, kept a shop where he sold silk, kites and betel-nuts. His son, Krishna Kanta Nandy, better known as Kanta Babu (কান্ত বাবু), became a favorite of Warren Hastings, who placed him in charge of the supervision of several lucrative Zamindaries, on his appointment as Governor of Bengal in 1772 AD. It is said that Kanta Babu gave shelter to Warren Hastings when in 1756 ADSiraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) attacked the Cossimbazar factory. Warren Hastings repayed Kanta Babu in 1772 AD when he was chosen a member of Madras council and made the Governor of Bengal, by making him the Dewan. Under Hastings's farming system (1772-1777) many parganas including Baharbund (now mainly Gaibandha and Kurigram districts) was farmed to Kanta Babu. In Hastings march against Chait Singh (চৈত সিং) of Benaras Kanta Babu accompanied Warren Hastings, who granted him a Jagir in Ghazipur and obtained for his son, Lokenath, the title of Maharaja from the Nawab Nazim of Bengal. The stone pillars and arches of Chait Singh's house were brought by Kanta Babu and used at Cossimbazar Raj Bari (Palace). Kanta Baboo died in 1778 AD.

The Sripur Palace is located on an area of 8.53 acres. There is 6966 sq feet (0.16 acre) open space around this Palace. The front face is 120 feet and among it the impressive gateway (simha darwaza সিংহ দরজা) is 20 feet wide. The Palladian architecture of the Palace is mixed with new classical flavour, using strict symmetry arrangements. The main entrance front door is centered, topped with rectangular windows and capped with an elaborate entablature (superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals) supported by decorative slightly-projecting column applied to the face of a wall. From the centre of the main entrance betwen the gothic pillasters there is a portico, an internal single storey room, with pierced walls that are open to the elements. The Palace has 100 pillars, all of which have exquisite lotus designs. Its walls are decorated with terracotta art. This symmetrical temple-like house having the entrance with pillars merging at a triangular top, similar to the Sbeitla Temple of Minerva, have equally symmetrical wings sweeping away from its centre. After entering the palace throught the main entrance there is an open space of 100 feet by 40 feet. Once here exististed statues of itallian marble and fountains. A wide verranda runs around this space on ground floor and also on the first floor. On the first floor there is the Lakshmi-Narayan temple (লক্ষ্মী নারায়ন), on the walls of which there are scenes depicted from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Also there is a 55 feet by 54 feet Andar Mahal (room used by the royal family), 0.27 acre pond, 0.22 acre Record Room, 1.59 acre stable, 0.28 acre garden, kitchens, living rooms, Achar Ghars (rooms for religious or scriptural practice) in this Palace. Within this Palace there are 10 Lakshmi-Narayan temple Dalans (a brick-built or stone-built platform or room or hall in a temple complex), 12 Natmandir Dalans (নাটমন্দির [nātamandira] nown a hall within or in front of a temple for devotional dancing and musical performances), and 15 other temple Dalans. Within the Palace Dancing Hall there is a statue of Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandy (মহারাজা মনিন্দ্রচন্দ্র নন্দী). The front courtyard of the palace had 24 Jain temples. These temples commemorated all the Tirthankaras of the Jain religion. None of these exists. The building remained in a dilapidated condition till 2010 it was renovated and given a new look.

Triva

The first annual conference of Bangiya Sahitya Sanmelan[3] (Bengali Literary Conference বঙ্গীয় সাহিত্য সন্মেলন) was held here on (Bengali Calendar: 17 & 18 Kartick 1314 Bangabdo. ১৭,১৮ কার্ত্তিক ১৩১৪) 1st and 2nd November 1907 AD, and was presided over by Rabindranath Tagore (রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর).

[Location Map - Cossimbazar Palace, Sripur : 24°07'11"N 88°16'33"E]
References :
  • [3] Bangiya Sahitya Parishad : L Leotard and Kshetrapal Chakraborty founded 'The Bengal Academy of Literature' at the Shobhabazar residence of Binay Krishna Dev on 23rd July 1893. Its aim was development of Bengali Literature. In 1906 the Society decided to establish branch offices outside Calcutta, and in course of time 30 branches were established in several districts of Bengal as well as outside Bengal. To construct a new building of its own Charu Chandra Ghosh, Rajanikanta Gupta, Hirendranath Datta, Suresh Chandra Samajpati and Nagendranath Basu approached Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandi of Cossimbazar and the Maharaja was pleased to donate 7 kathas of land in Halshibagan for the society. The first floor of the buildings construction charges was provided by the Maharaja of Lalgola, Raja Rao Jogendra Narayan Roy (রাজা রাও যোগেন্দ্র নারায়ন রায় বাহাদুর). The ceremony of first entrance into the newly-built house was held on 4th December 1908, and the innagural program was held 2 days later (গৃহপ্রবেশ হল ১৯ অগ্রহায়ণ, প্রবেশ উৎসব ২১ অগ্রহায়ণ [৬ ডিসেম্বর ১৯০৮]). On this occasion Dwijendralal Roy (দ্বিজেন্দ্রলাল রায়) wrote and sang his compostion with the members of the evening club 'আজি গো তোমার চরণে জননি! আনিয়া অর্ঘ্য করি মা দান।' Back
  • BANGLAPEDIA: Vangiya Sahitya Parishad [banglapedia.org]
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Cossimbazar New Palace or Choto Rajbari

New Palace, Cossimbazar
Cossimbazar New Palace
This Beautiful Palace, very near to Cossimbazar railway station was established in 1740 AD by Dinobondhu Roy during the reign of Alivardi Khan (আলীবর্দী খাঁ). The family of Cossimbazar New palace had their patrimonial title of "Chattopadhyay" or "Chatterjee", and were the descendant of Daksha one of the five Brahmins, learned in Vedas brought by King Adisur. Ajodhya Narayan Roy (অযোধ্যা নারায়ন রায়), the founder of the family, had the hereditary title of "Rai" conferred upon him by the then Nawab Nazim in appreciation of his meritorious services. His Son Dinobondhu Roy (দিনোবন্ধু রায়) first settled in Cossimbazar. The well known Raja Ashutosh Nath Roy (রাজা আশুতোষ নাথ রায়) belonged to this noble family.

The Palace is well maintained and there is an entry fee of Rs 20. Inside the Palace there is a small museum and a beautiful Durga mandir and Lakshmi Narayan temple. One can get a beautiful view of the horizon from the palace watch tower.
[Location Map - New Palace (Choto Rajbari), Cossimbazar : 24°07'27"N 88°16'16"E]go top

Old English Cemetery

This cemetery contains the tombs of The East India Company's officials who resided at Cossimbazar, after the Battle of Plassey. Here lies burried first wife of Warren Hastings and his daughter Elizabeth. The inscription appears :
In Memory of
MRS. MARY HASTINGS and her daughter ELIZABETH
Who died llth July 1759 in the 2[4] year of her age,
This monument was erected by her husband WARREN HASTINGS
In due regard to her memory.
Subsequently restored by Government of Bengal, 1863.

In the same cemetery there is a monument of Mr. Dugald Campbell, who died at Rangamati on 6th October, 1782, aged 32. Perhaps he was a connexion of Mrs. Hastings's first husband Captain John Buchanan, who was one of the defenders of Fort William in 1756. He perished in the "Black Hole" incident at Calcutta. There is also a monument of Mr. Lyon Prager, Diamond Merchant and Inspector of Indigo and Drugs who died at the age of 47, on the 12th May, 1793. On the epitaph of Lyon Prager there are inscriptions in Persian and Nagri below the English one. The majority of those who lie in the cemetery died in their youth or in the prime of life. Only one attained a great age a Charles Cromelin, who died on 25th December 1788, aged 81. Charles Crommelin was a member of a Huguenot family. He joined the Company's service in Bombay in 1732 and rose to be Governor of Bombay, 1760-1767. After retiring to England, he returned to India in 1772 as a free trader, and was made British Consul at Goa in 1784. The other tombs are ofAnstruther (1735 AD), A. Downie (1781 AD), The infant of Captain John and Rose Grant (1775 AD),Captain Hartie (1782 AD), Captain Clerk (1783 AD), John Peach (1790 AD), senior merchant of East India Company. The old Residency cemetery was washed away by a flood of the Bhagirathi in 1847. A notice in the Calcutta Gazetter of 4th March 1848 states that seven memorial tablets were removed from the monuments and deposited in the Toll Office, and were available on application by relatives or friends of the deceased.

Colonel Gastrell states that some old memorial slabs were "dug out of the bank or mound, apparently part of an old fortification, to the north of the ruins of the Residency. One slab to the memory of Mrs. Charles Adams is inscribed with the date 29th May, 1741."Mr. Beveridge says that this tombstone was removed toMr. Lyall's compound at Babulbuna (Babulbona) near Berhampore, with another bearing a Latin inscription to the memory of Isabella Gray, who died in 1737 AD. George Gray, he says, was probably the Chief of Malda and afterwards Member of Council at Calcutta, who quarrelled with Clive and left the country in 1766 AD.
[Location Map - Old English Cemetery, Cossimbazar : 24°07'25"N 88°16'33"E]
References :
  • [4] A figure has been left out and it is not quite certain what the correct age should be, since the daughter lived only for nineteen days. Back

English Residency Gallery


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Dutch Cemetery

A little to the west of the Residency cemetery is Kalkapur, where the Dutch factory stood. Bernier mentions it as in existence in 1666 AD, and says that it employed as many as 700 or 800 men. Joseph Tiefenthaler also describes the Dutch buildings as being vast and magnificent. A French man, George Louis Vernet, who was a friend of Warren Hastings, was second in command here in 1756 AD and showed great kindness to the English after the capture of Cossimbazar and Calcutta by Siraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা). Nothing is now left but the Dutch cemetery, which contains 43 monuments dating from 1721 AD to 1792 AD, the oldest being that of Daniel van der Muyl, who died in 1721 AD.

Only a few tombs are in a good state namely.Gregorius Herklots, died 1739, of the Dutch East India Company (cousin of Gregory Herklots of Chinsurah).Matthias Arnoldus Brahe, died 20th August 1772.Tamerus Cantes Vischer, died 1778, Head Merchant, Dutch East India Company.Johann Gantvoort Van Asften, died 20th October 1792, Surgeon to the Company. And, Johanna Petronela Van Sorgen. The Dutch Cemetery is located near Cossimbazar Railway Station.
[Location Map - Dutch Cemetery, Cossimbazar : 24°07'25"N 88°15'59"E]

Dutch Cemetery Gallery


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Paataleshwar Shiva Temple (পাতালেশ্বর শিব মন্দির)

During the 17th century the river Bhagirathi changed its main course and meandering through Cossimbazar it created an ox-bow lake, finishing at farashdanga(ফরাস ডাঙ্গা) 2 km from Berhampore. The Old course forming an ox-bow lake is known as Katiganga(কাটি গঙ্গা). The temple of Paataleshwar (পাতালেশ্বর শিব মন্দির) about 300 years old is situated on the southern bank of Katiganga. The word Paatal [5] according to Hindu Mythology means underworld. The Shivalingam here is said to be Swayambhus Jyotirlinga (স্বয়ম্ভু জ্যোতির্লিঙ্গ). The word Swayambhus means that they sprung up by themselves. The original temple was only 64 sq ft in area and was made of small bricks. In 2006 a committee was formed named "Paataleshwar mandir nirman committee" (পাতালেশ্বর মন্দির নির্মান কমিটি) for restoration of the temple. About Rs 4,000,00 was donated by the local people and business community of Cossimbazar. After restoration the temple was decorated with glazed tiles and marble work, which transformed it into a huge structure than the original one.

During winter a lot of migrating birds visit this area near Katiganga, north of this temple. The Sati Daha Ghat [6] (সতীদাহ ঘাট) whereRaja Ram Mohan Roy (রাজা রামমোহন রায়) had once visited, is near, at north of this temple. Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833 AD) came to Murshidabad in 1803 AD and in the same year on 11th August, joined the East India Company's "Writing Service", as private clerk "munshi" (মুন্‌সি) to Thomas Woodforde, Registrar of the Appellate Court at Murshidabad. Ram Mohan Roy stayed here for two years. In 1742, John Zephaniah Holwell witnessed a satidaha ceremony of an 18 year old girl here, at "Satidaha Ghat". A rich Maratha merchant named Ram Chand Pandit, living opposite to the Cossimbazar Factory died on 4th February 1742, at the age of 30. His wife mother of a son and two daughters (the elder one just four years) wished to be "sati", by burning herself to death on her husband's funeral pyre. At that time, Mr. Francis Russell was the chief of the Cossimbazar factory. His wife Lady Russell tried every means to save this girl but she failed. Holwell in his book "Interesting Historical Events Relative to the Provinces of Bengal and the Empire of Indostan" wrote "With what a dignity and undaunted countenance she set fire to the pile the last time, and assumed her seat, can only be conceived, for words cannot convey a just idea of her." -- John Zephaniah Holwell.

Near the Paataleshwar Temple (which was also known as Pathureghata Shiva পাথুরেঘাটা শিব) about 100 yards away there was a Ghat named "Bandha Ghat" (বাঁধাঘাট), where the idols of deities worshiped at the Cossimbazar Sripur palace were brought for immersion ceremony (বিসর্জন). The total area around Paataleshwar Temple with "Bandha Ghat", "Sati Daha Ghat" were known as "Vyas Kashi" [7] ব্যাসকাশী, since there were 108 Shiva Temples in this area. In 1810 AD, 61 years old artist Thomas Daniell (1749-19 March, 1840 AD), painted a view of an immersion ceremony of Durga taking place on Ganges along Bandha Ghat. This painting is preserved at Victoria Memorial Museum, Kolkata.

The English, French and Dutch had factories here at Cossimbazar and a port existed; the remains of this port can be found on the banks of Katiganga near this temple. The Export of Silk was carried out through this port, but the river bhagirathi changed its course and the importance of Cossimbazar port declined and within 1808 AD trading from this place was almost stopped. Later due to epidemic and natural disasters Cossimbazar totally lost its glorious past.
[Location Map - Paataleshwar Temple, Cossimbazar : 24°07'34"N 88°16'48"E]

Myth

It is said that thieves tried to steal the Shivalingam, and it was chained and pulled by an elephant, but the idol could not be pulled out from the ground.

References :
  • [5] Hindu theology defines fourteen worlds - seven higher worlds (heavens) and seven lower ones (underworlds). The earth is considered the lowest of the seven higher worlds. The higher worlds are the seven vyahrtis, viz. bhu, bhuvas, svar, mahas, janas, tapas, and satya (the world that is ruled by Brahma); and the lower ones (the "seven undreworlds" or paatalas) are atala, vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala, paatala. According to Varaha Purana, three of the lower worlds, Paatala, Atala and Sutala belong to the Nags. Back
  • [6] The place where women used to sacrifice their life once they became a widow. Only the ritual was named as Sati Daha or Satidaha. Sati means - The lady who is completely devoted to her husband.Daha means - to burn. Back
  • [7] On the East side of Kashi (Varanasi), Vyas Deva ventured to build another city across the river. He expected equal prominence for his city, so he tried to hire Lord Shiva for pestering him for a committed promotion for divinity without which nobody would be willing to invest on his side of the township. But the city known as Vyas Kashi on the East of the river might have reduced the importance of Shiva's own creation. So on day Shiva under the influence of pot, instead of promoting Vyas Kashi, cursed it saying : that everybody dying in the city of Vyas would be reborn as a donkey. The local population took the message so seriously that the other side of river ganges is still devoid of any visible existence of permanent settlers. Back

Paataleshwar Gallery


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Byaspur Shiva Temple

The Shiva temple of exquisite workmansip is located near Cossimbazar New Palace (Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari). This temple was built by Ram Keshav Dev Sharma (রাম কেশব দেব শর্মা), father ofPandit Krishna Nath Nayayapanchanan (পন্ডিত কৃষ্ণনাথ ন্যায় পঞ্চানন) in 1811 AD. The temple was renovated by Raja Rao Jogendra Narayan Roy (রাজা রাও যোগেন্দ্র নারায়ন রায় বাহাদুর), the Zamindar of Lalgola in 1918 AD. The present temple was reconstructed by Sree Amit Kumar Bhonsle (also known as Balu Babu) on 13th March, 1995. The temple is unique with its rich terracotta facade, stucco figures and ek-bangla (একবাংলা) porch has an unique inverted lotus-dome above a curved cornice.

The temple of Byaspur can be said an amalgamation of two architectural designs. The lower rectangular part of the temple resembles the ek-bangla (একবাংলা) type of temple of Baranagore (বড়োনগর), wheras the upper part resembles the "Bhabaneswar" (ভবানীশ্বর) temple of Baranagore. The first lower portion of the temple is square in shape with sloping cornice molding. This portion is 25 feet (7.5 metres) in height. On the second part there are 6 large inverted lotus petals, and also small vertical lotus petals circling the base of the octagonal dome. The height of this portion is 15 feet (4.5 metres). The third, or the topmost portion of the dome is in the shape of an octagonal inverted lotus pod, with emblica (আমলক) [āmalaka, āmalaki, āmalakī], lotus (পদ্ম), pitcher (কলস) and then flag pole (পতাকাদন্ড) at top. The height of this portion is 15 feet (4.5 metres). The total height of the temple is 55 feet (17 metre). The square portion at the bottom is 15 feet (4.5 metres) on each side, and the ek-bangla verrandah 11 feet by 6 feet (3.5 by 2 metres). The Shivalingam is about 5 feet in height. Scenes of Vishnu Avtars, Durga, Kali, Krishnalila are depicted on the walls along with sculptures of various flowers and birds. On the easter face of the temple wall there are sculptures of Radha Krishna, on the north face Dakini-Yogini and Kali and on the west Lakshmi,Saraswati and Durga.

Each year on the Bengali month of Shravana or Shrabon(শ্রাবন 4th month in traditional Bengali calendar, which starts from the middle of July upto the middle of August) devotees take a dip in the sacred river Ganges and carry the sacred water to pour it on the idol of Lord Shiva at Byaspur temple. In this process they walk miles in bare feet from Gorabazar to Cossimbazar.
[Location Map - Byaspur Shiva Temple, Cossimbazar : 24°07'20"N 88°16'08"E]

Byaspur Gallery



References :
  • Bengal District Gazetteers, Murshidabad - By L.S.S. O'Malley (1914)
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) With Biographies Of Some Of Its Noted Families (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • The English factories in India (1618-1669) - Sir William Foster
  • The Golden book of India - By Sir Lethbridge, Roper 1840-1919

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