Our eyes were on the road. Our minds were busy absorbing the scenery. But before we could enjoy the delights of Dwarhatta, we had a hard time. Because, we had lost directions and our GPS had stopped working.
Our car was moving through the narrow strips, usually called “Aalpath”, alongside paddy fields and vegetable patches. Meanwhile, we could catch a glimpse or two of the little tribal clay cottages with thatched roof and beautiful motifs painted on the walls which we generally call “Aalpana” in Bengali. Locals were busy with their everyday life. A bunch of school girls were crossing us on bicycles. We managed to get a little bit of help from them. Finally, we found the gravel road leading to Dwarhatta village.
Forty-one kilometers from Kolkata, this Dwarhatta village is like a peaceful retreat. It is a Panchayat village in Haripal of Hooghly district. The people here are by and large farmers. You can take the Tarakeshwar Local from Howrah Station and get down at Haripal. Then take a bus to Ramhatitala. From there, you can either take a rickshaw or can walk to the Dwarika Chandi temple of Dwarhatta.
The balmy breeze and the lush green trees were soothing our senses. There were birds of every kind that one could find in a rural premise. The place reminded me of “Nischindipur”, the fictional village in Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s novel “Pather Panchali”.
After a few more rounds, a local person pointed towards a pond called “Debipukur”. In its immediate vicinity we found the Dwarika Chandi temple. A ton of trees were surrounding the place. Everything was quiet, except for the birds and the trembling leaves. The evening was approaching. A single person was sitting outside. We asked him about the history of the place.
We sat down on the damp staircase of a Shiva temple beneath the darkening tree shades. It was an ideal atmosphere. We were readily indulged into the historical and mysterious tales that the man had to offer.
Dwarhatta was a village under the reigns of the Bardhaman Dynasty. Afterwards, it came into the hands of Fateh Singh. Eventually, the Sinharoy family became the landlords. Shri Pannalal Sinharoy erected the Dwarika Chandi temple in 1719 and the Rajrajeswari temple in 1728. The Dwarika Chandi temple was founded as a terracotta temple in “Aatchala” style. However, after its renovation in 2006, it had lost its initial sculptures.
The most interesting part of the temple is the ancient “Panchamundi Asana” in the backyard. It is a seat of five severed heads used for “Panchamundi Sadhana”. It is a “Tantric” practice described in the esoteric scriptures known as “Tantra”. We were getting goosebumps as the man continued with his stories. The “Sadhana” was done in the dark fortnight and ends in the night of the New Moon. He also told us about the “Shab Sadhana”. This is a mystical rite performed with a dead body.
Devi Dwarika Chandi is not much different from Maa Durga. Just that, she has four hands instead of ten and “Mahishasura” does not accompany her. Every year, all the adjacent villages gather to arrange a grand Puja. A village fair takes the festivities to a greater level. A village market or “Haat” beside Kanna River is another attraction of Dwarhatta. It is scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays mainly.
For a quick tip, we didn’t come across any good eateries during the whole journey. But there were ample worn-out tea stalls by the roadside. Carrying your own food and water would be a nice option.
Long after the stories were spent, we remained seated. Perhaps, our senses went numb after the whole lot of fulfilling experiences throughout the day. We were not yet ready to return to the urban chaos. Because we were in love with that place. Every single thing from the lazy ripples on the pond to the dusty laterite roads, and from the bamboo orchards to the canopy of green trees literally took our breath away.
On our way back, we passed by several isolated Samshan Ghats. It was somehow a bit unnerving after hearing all those stories. It was evening already. We were retreating. Like the flock of birds returning to the nest after a long tiring day.