Culture & Heritage
Festivals of District Nadia:
The following are the important religious festivals commonly celebrated in the district.
Durga Puja : Durga puja is the most famous Hindu religious festival in the district. It is being celebrated during the month of September-October or Bengali calendar month Ashwin. Durga is considered as the mother God, as per Hindu religious belief. Four days celebrations are being organized at district level for worshiping the mother God i.e. ‘Durga,’ which symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is also believed to be the homecoming of mother Durga (Parbati), wife of Lord Shiva, along with her two sons and two daughters; visiting her parental home from the Himalaya. Commemorating this belief every member of the family in district joins together during the puja which is celebrated for four days.
Deepawali : Deepawali is also referred as ‘the festival of lights’. It is being celebrated to commemorate the home coming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile, as per the great epic Ramayana. Kali puja or Deepawali in Bengal is related to worshiping Goddess Kali or Shakti which is another expression of mother cult. Following Durga puja, Deepawali, is celebrated in the Bengali calendar month of Kartik(mid-October to mid-November) as a one day celebration. Large scale illumination in different colours is found all over the district, which instigate the tempo of festivity – the festival of lights as Deepawali.
Eid-ul-Fitr and Muharram: Id-ul-fitr or Ramzan is celebrated at the end of Ramadan by Muslims and marks the first day to Islamic month of Shawwal. The month of Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. During Ramadan, the Muslim people use to fast daylong. They believe that by fasting Allah will forgive all their sins and make them good human beings.
Muharram is an important festival of the Mohammadans. The mourning of Moharram is the rituals associated with the death of two grandsons of Prophet Mohammad in the battle of Karbala. Muharram is celebrated on the first few days of the month of the first month of Muharram in Islamic calendar.
Christmas and Easter: For Christian community, Christmas and Easter are the most important religious celebrations. The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated on the 25th day of December every year. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated as Easter during March-April. Christians believe that Jesus Christ resurrected on the third day of crucifixion. Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday (Good Friday) and therefore Easter is celebrated on Monday with sound prayers and big feast. The main festivities are centred on the Church in Krishnanagar.
Vaishnavism or following the paths of Lord Vishnu in district Nadia goes back five hundred years ago during the time of Shri Chaitanya Dev. One of the most important social and cultural event in the district is Samkirtan or communal singing in the name of God. This was introduced by Sri Chaitanya himself, one of the greatest ‘Vaishnavite’ saint ever born to the nation. He developed it in a complete revolutionized form and preached it. ‘Vaishnavism’ of ‘Bhakticult’ introduced by him reached in the heart of all the people irrespective of rich or poor, caste or creed. Sri Chaitanya was born in Nadia, in AD 1486. Vaishnavism or Lord Krishna Cult is all about profound love and kindness for mankind, tolerance and restraints in personal life and respect for others.
Worship of Lord Krishna, which was inspired by Sri Chaitanya, resulted in many celebrations in the district. It includes Rath Yatra, Dol Yatra, Jhulan Yatra, Ras Yatra, Goshthashtami and Janmashtami.
‘Barodol’ of Krishnagar is one of the most important events in Nadia district. The deity of Krishnagar Raj is Baro Narayan. The main festival is of three days and the festival is more than 200 years old.
Raas Yatra of Nabadwip and Shantipur are famous all over West Bengal. The Shantipur Ras is of influence of Vaishnavism predominates whereas in Nabadwip Ras is influenced of Saktaism.
Sakta festival is associated with the name of Krishnananda Agambagi of Nabadwip. Different forms of Goddess Kali such as Bhadrakali, Sabsiva, Ranakali and Krishnakali was believed to be delineated by Krishnananda Agambagis.
During Siva festival, Siva is taken on an elevated seat by night in Nabadwip and the devotees dance with much enthusiasm. The bathing ceremony of seven images of Siva takes place under the name of Satgajan, Phal, Phul, Nil and Chadak.
Folk Tradition of District Nadia:
‘Lalanshahi’ Sect was founded by the most famous Baul Fakir of nineteenth Century Bengal Lalan Sainji. He is also known as Lalon Sain, Lalon Shah, Lalon Fakir or Mahatma Lalon. Lalan Fakir `rejected all distinctions of caste and creed’ and people from both Hindu and Muslim communities followed his path. His ‘Akhra’ which is situated in present day Chheuria village near the Sub-divisional headquarters of Kusthia (part of undivided Nadia district now in Bangladesh). They used to arrange ‘Bhandara’ (mahotsab or grand festival) and great number of disciples will take part in discourse and community song.
Matua Sect is founded by Hari Thakur. Namasudras, a Scheduled Castes community of West Bengal, who have migrated from Bangladesh are the main followers of this Sect. A festival in memory of Hari Thakur is held in the Bengali calendar month of Chaitra (mid-March to mid-April) every year in Chandghar village under Kaliganj Police Station.
The ‘Sahebdhani’ sect was founded by Dhani, a Muslim woman born in Murshidabad. All Sahebdhani, irrespective of Hindu or Muslim will worship their Guru Dindayal. Their Mahotsav (greatest festival) will be celebrated on Ekadashi, the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight in the Bengali calendar month of Chaitra (mid-March to mid-April) every year.
The Fairs of District Nadia :
- Satimar Mela is another important event organized in Ghoshpara near Kalyani. This was introduced by Saraswati Debi alias ‘Satima,’ wife of Ram Saran Pal of Sadgop caste. Ram Saran was disciple of Aulechand, who is the founder of ‘Kartabhaja’ Sect. This sect is numerically the second biggest after the Vaishnavist in West Bengal. No deity is worshiped by the Kartabhaja, it is the Guru (religious head) who is worshiped. The fair is scheduled for three days during Dol Yatra or Holi festival. However, it may continue for a month. The people follow the practice of confession before the Guru which is similar to Christianity and Islam. Satima Festival and Mela is held at Ghoshpara near Kalyani during Holi. Satima the Founder of Kartabpuja Sect is worshiped during the festival.
- The Jugalkishore Festival is held at Aranghata during the Bengali calendar month of Jaishtha (mid-May to mid-June) every year. It is month long festival. The Ras Utsav at Santipur is a three day festival of Vaishnav and it is not free from Sakta influence and as a result, Goddess Kali is also being worshiped.
- The Brahma Puja Mela at Arbandi in Badkulla is a weeklong festival during the Bengali calendar month of Falgun (mid-February to mid-March).
- The weeklong Baruni and Ganga Puja festival at Phulkhali on way to Krishnanagar to Shikarpur is held during the Bengali calendar month of Chaitra (mid-March to mid-April).
- The Kali Puja Mela at Patuli, near Badkulla is being held during the new moon day of the Bengali calendar month of Agrahayan (mid-November to mid-December).
- The two century old festival and Mela of Fatima Bibiis held at Uttar Rajpur on the way to Haringhata in the Bengali calendar month of Baisakh (mid-April to mid-May). This festival lasts for three days.
- The Agmeshwari festival at Nabadwip is held at Agmeshwaritala, the birth place of Krishnananda Agambagis, who wrote ‘Tantrasar’.
- The Madan Mohan fair at Birohi, near Kalyani is held during Bhatradwitiya in the Bengali calendar month of Kartik (mid-October to mid-November).
- The Ganesh Jamai Puja and mela at Chakdah is held during Makar Sankranti (the last day of Bengali calendar month of Pous (January).
- The Sanajatra festival at Jasra is held to celebrate the worship of Jagannath and coincides with the chariot festival of Puri, Odisha.
- The Nrisingha mela at Deypara, near Krishnanagar is held on the fourteenth day in the Bengali calendar month of Baisakh (mid-April to mid-May) every year.
- The Jagadhatri Puja at Krishnanagar was started by Raja Krishna Chandra Roy during the 18th Century.
- The Panchannanda and Raksha Kali festival at Harishpur near Krishnanagar is held during the Bengali calendar month of Magh (mid-January to mid-February).
- The two hundred years old Muharram festival at Dhananjoypur near Bethuadahari is held in the Islamic calendar month of Muharram (April-May).
- The Mahishmardini and Vindhyabasini festival at Birnagar is held during Baishakhi Purnima – full moon night in the month of Bengali calendar month of Baisakh (mid-April to mid-May).
- The Lalen Mela and Hari Thakur Mela are being held at Asannagar and Bara Chandghar respectively.
- The Jaleshwar Siva Mela at Ghurni is held during Sivaratri (in the Bengali calendar month of Falgun (mid-February to mid-March).
Important temples situated in Nadia district :
- The Siva temple at Palpara (Chakdaha) was built during the 17th century by Raja Raghab Roy of Krishnanagar. The trident of this Siva temple is considered very significant in the light of religious interpretations. Tales from the Ramayana, the great Hindu mythology book, have been inscribed on its terracotta walls.
- The Siva temple at Matiari (Krishnaganj) was built by Raja Raghab Roy in the year 1665.
- The Siva temple at Dogachhi was established by Raja Raghab Roy in 1669.
- The famous Jaleswar Siva temple at Santipur was built by Raja Raghab Roy.
- The Siva temples at Srinagar (Chakdaha) were built by Raja Raghab Roy during 1671 to 1674.
- The Siva temple at Itla, Birnagar was built by Kasiswar Mitra in the year 1669.
- The Ghateswar Siva temple was built by Raja Raghab Roy of Krishnanagar.
- The Raghabeswar temple at Dignagar was built by Raja Raghab Roy in the year 1669.
- There is a temple at Akandaberia in Kaliganj. The temple was established by the Sinha family at Bhaluka.
- The Siva temple at Baghanchra Santipur was built in 1665 by Chand Roy. Presently it is in a dilapidated condition, due to lack of maintenance.
- The Gokulchand temple is situated at Santipur.
- The terracotta temple situated at Belpukur is famous for its architecture.
- The Advaitaprabhu temple situated at Santipur.
- The Rajrajeswar temple at Sivnibas Krishnaganj built by Raja Krishna Chandra Roy of Krishnanagar in the year 1754. This site is a composite structure of five temples and Lord Siva is named as Rajrajeswara (The Lord of King of Kings). The Ragnishwar Siva temple built in the year 1762 and the Ram-Sita temple form part of this composite structure. The entrance gates bear Gothic influence.
- The Shyamchand temple situated at Santipur built in the year 1726.
- In the year 1767 Rani Bhabani established a temple at Mrigi, Tehatta of Krishnanagar.
- The Krishnaraj temple situated at Kanchanpalli built in 1786.
- The Anandamayee Kali temple at Krishnanagar built by Raja Girish Chandra Roy (1802-1841) of Krishnanagar the significance of this temple is here the image of Kali is seated upon Mahakal.
- The Bhabatarini Kali temple situated at Nabadwip, established by Raja Girish Chandra Roy.
- The Jagattarini temple built by Iswarchandra Mitra at Itla, Birnagar in the year 1817.
- The Deen Dayamoyee temple at Itla, Birnagar established by Iswarchandra Mitra in the year 1818.
- The Jugalkishore temple situated at Aranghata built during the reign of Raja Krishna Chardra Roy in 1728, by Ganaram Das and Ramprasad Pande.
- The Radhakrishna temple situated at Kuli, Kalyani bears the memory of Sree Chaitanya.
- The Harihar Mandir at Aamghata established by Raja Krishnachandra Roy in 1776. Temple architecture of Bengal is categorized into three categories viz. Chala Mandir, Ratna Mandir and Dalan Madir. Most of the temple in Nadia district belongs to Chala type. The important and ancient mosques found in Nadia district are built during the regime of Bakhtiar Khalji in 1202 AD. These mosques are built using lime and terracotta mixture.
Following are the ancient mosques in Nadia district :
- The Kechuadanga mosque situated at Karimpur.
- The Topkhana mosque at Santipur built by Fauzdar Gaji Mohammad Yaar Khan in during 1703 and 1704.
- The mosque situated at Shantipur market.
- The dargah at Matiary Banpur in Krishnaganj, popularly known as ‘Buro Sahaber Dargah’, was built in 17th century.
- Tomb of the Gazi at Gazitala.
- Ancient mosque situated at Palpara.
Following are the important Churches in the district :
- Roman Cathedral Church in Krishnanagar established in 1898.
- The Protestant Church at Krishnanagar established during 1840 to 1843, enshrined by Captain Smith.
- The Protestant Church at Chapra.
- Kamdevpur in Kaliganj : A stone axe and few articles belonging to the Stone age and Bronze age were found from Kamdevpur in Kaliganj.
- Jitpur and Tehatta : Earthern pottery belonging to the period of 10th and 12th century A.D. were excavated from Jitpur and Tehatta.
- Debagram at Kaliganj : Evidences of Buddhist influence in Nadia district was shown from the statue made of stones which were excavated from Debagram at Kaliganj. The Statue of Buddha belongs to 10th century A.D. made of black stone was found at Baneya village in Tehatta.
- Krishnanagar : A black stone image of Sadasiva belongs to 12th century found at Krishnanagar.
- Sambhunagar : The image of a Goddess resembling Manasa was found at Sambhunagar.
- Debagram in Ranaghat : Ruins of fortress and temples prior to the period Muhammadan are found from Debagram in Ranaghat.
- Plassey : The place where the Battle of Plassey was fought between Bengal ruler Nawab (king) Siraj-ud-Daullah and the British is in Nadia. A memorial stone was erected there.
- Rajbari at Krishnanagar : The Rajbari (palace) of Krishnagar was build during 17th century. Raja Rudra Roy ruled Krishnanagar which was previously known as Reui. He ruled Matiari (presently Krishnaganj) during 1683-1694 AD.
- Shibnibas Palace in Krishnaganj : The Sivmibas Palace situated at Krishnaganj was built by Raja Krishna Chandra Das, one of the successors of Raja Rudra Roy, who ruled from 1728 AD to 1782 AD.
- Brahma Samaj Mandir : ‘Brahma Samaj Mandir’ at Krishnanagar was established in 1847 under the patronage of Raja S. Chandra Roy of Krishnanagar. Another Brahma Samaj Mandir was established at Shantipur in 1898.