Barrackpore is situated in the Northern part of Kolkata. The district was of much relevance during the British Raj, as it formed the administrative and military base then. Legend has it, that the place was initially called Chanak. Later, with the coming of the Britishers, and being the centre of military operations, the place came to be known as Barrackpore. The place particularly rose to importance, with Lord Wellesley, declaring it as the retreat spot for the British administrators working in Calcutta. Barrackpore continues to be the retreat spot of many who seek a break from the monotony of everyday life. The place is frequently visited by historians and enthusiasts who wish to have a peak into the British reign in India. Here are five places to visit in Barrackpore.
1. Mangal Pandey Park
This park is named ‘Shahid Mangal Pandey Maha Udyan‘, after Mangal Pandey, the nationalist leader who rose in agitation against the Britishers. It was in this place that the brave man who raised his voice against the oppressive British regime was hanged on 8th April, 1857. A statue of the legendary hero has been installed in the park. This place is of much historic importance and hence is frequently visited by tourists.
2. Gandhi Museum
Gandhi museum or the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalay is one of the most prominent research centers in India. This museum in Barrackpore is spread over five galleries, a study centre and a massive library. It is known to be one of the foremost museums in the country, which houses information on Mahatma Gandhi. The information on display, or available otherwise for issue or sale ranges from rare collections of Gandhi, rare books or articles which belonged to him or were written by the father of our nation himself. The gallery boats of a collection of more than 800 rare photographs of the freedom fighter.
3. Tarakeswar Temple
This temple which is about 50 feet high and 25 feet wide was built around the 18th century. It is located in the vicinity of Serampore, which is situated near West Bengal. The shrine with its exquisite marble flooring and opulent architecture, not only soothes the devout soul, but is also pleasing to the aesthetic self. Tarakeswar Temple has a congregation centre in the porch. Further, the shrine has two sections- the inner sanctum and the outer veranda. The inner sanctum houses a Linga, which is venerated by many of the devotees who visit this temple.
4. Bartholomew Cathedral
Earlier known as Garrison Church, Bartholomew Church was constructed in 1847. The cathedral is illustrative of the gothic architectural style. The majestic architecture belongs to the British era, will take you by awe. The soaring structure with its exquisite interiors and opulent chapel makes worship a truly enriching experience for the believers. The framework and design of the Cathedral resembles many churches in Britain. This is because the Bartholomew Cathedral too was built by the Britishers during their stay in Barrackpore, as they took a break from their administrative work in Bengal.
5. Kali Temple
This temple devoted to Goddess Kali is believed to have been constructed around 700 years ago. It is also believed that the wife Job Charnok, the founder of Calcutta, used to come here to worship the deity. Legend has it, that the nationalist leaders used to gather here for important meetings and discussions. They are known to have come together to invoke the blessings of Kali before the rebellion of 1824 and 1857. This place not only attracts devotees of Kali, but also witnesses a number of historians because of its historic relevance and primacy.
Barrackpore, therefore, is not only renowned of its significance during India’s independence struggle, but also for the many temples and churches that dot the city. The visitors here return with a sense of peace and calm alongside an enriched sense of history.
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