BY TTT NEWS SERVICE
KOLKATA, 10 NOVEMBER
Heritage tourism circuit to be developed at Shantipur in Nadia, a place which is famous for Rash Utsab, announced Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is on an official tour at Shantipur said that after the inauguration of the Rash Purnima Utsav.
Already the Durga Puja festival has bagged the intangible cultural heritage tag from UNESCO.
It is learnt that the heritage committee, tourism department and district administration will meet soon and finalise the heritage tourism project at Shantipur.
Several hundreds of people come to Shantipur to witness the Rash Utsab. It is likely that the infrastructure and connectivity of the area will be further improved to boost tourism. The area is also famous for handlooms. Textile industry of Shantipur is very famous and has a good market. Through Biswa Bangla outlets these products will be further marketed.
The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Chairman ( East), Anil Punjabi, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Chairman ( East), Manav Soni and Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Chairman ( WB) Debjit Dutta have welcomed the announcement of the chief minister Mamata Banerjee today.
The old and historical town Santipur is famous for Ras Utsav and Dol utsav which is thought to have begun by Mathuresh Goswami, the great grandson of Advaita Acharya who was one of the main associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The principal deity of the town is ‘Radharaman’ in the family of Baro Gosai descending from the lineage of Mathuresh Goswami. The deity was originally installed as a single statue of Krishna named ‘dol govinda’ in Orissa by king indradyumna. When the king of Yessore (now in Bangladesh), Pratapaditya attacked Orissa, the priest of the temple gave away the deity to his own guru Mathuresh Goswami to protect it in times of emergency. He brought the idol to his ancestral home in Santipur where he reinstalled it in a new temple. A deity of Radha was later installed beside Dolgobinda and both of them renamed Radharaman.
The deity, believed to be worshipped by Advaita Acharya himself, is named Madan Gopal and is worshipped in the lineage of Krishna Mishra, the second son of Advaita Acharya.
On the day of Rashyatra, the main festival of the town, all of them are taken out in a grand procession around the city accompanied with drums, kirtan and other celebrations. Curiously, all the thrones are lit with the age-old Belgium glass candleholders and chandeliers, instead of electric lighting, even to this day. This gives Rasotsav a very ancient and historical look. On this day, as a continuation of a tradition introduced by Bara Goswamis near about 250 years ago, a young girl, called Rai-Raja (Rai is another name for Radha and Raja means king), dressed in expensive attire and gold ornaments is seated in a throne and paraded across the city to be worshipped as Radha.
The 500 year old Pateswari Mandir at Pateshwari Street in Santipur is maintained by the Pramanik family trust worshipped at the night of Raas Purnima. More than 14 generations of Pramaniks – a close group of the Tili subcaste, stayed here before most of the family migrated to Calcutta. Notable names from this family include Sudhamoy Pramanick. The Pramanik Badi (house) is one of the oldest standing buildings in Santipur.
Shantipur railway station is well connected by rail by EMU railway services running from Sealdah railway station (Main section).
It is also well connected with North and South Bengal by various State Transport Services. National Highway- 12 passed through Santipur town. This is also connected to the district East Burdawan (Kalna) and the district Hooghly (Guptipara) through the Hooghly River.
Private Bus services are also available with connected Towns- Ranaghat, Krishnanagar, Habra, Thakurnagar, Gaighata, Kalyani, Chakdah, Beharampur etc.