Hooghly district is situated at a distance of 40 km to the north of Kolkata. It is sited at the west bank of river Hooghly, hence the name. Vasco da Gama, who is known for discovering India, once landed there and the place also served as a port to Moguls and Portuguese. Even the Dutch, Danish, British, French, Belgians and Germans have visited the place, in the past. Today, the district offers its tourists many great attractions, through which they can have an idea about its rich heritage and historical importance. Read on to know all about the tourist places in Hooghly.
HOW TO REACH
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, located at Dum Dum in Kolkata, connects Hooghly to the other parts of the country. The aerodrome is just about 47 km from Hooghly and is well-linked to many important international destinations, apart from the key cities of India. After de boarding from the air carrier, you can hire a private taxi from the airport, which would take you to the beautiful city of Hooghly.
Hooghly is very well connected by rail. Chinsurah Railway Station, located in Chinsurah, the headquarters of Hooghly, is the nearest railway station. Managed by the Eastern Railways, it falls on the Howrah-Bandel main line. Bandel railway station is also near to Hooghly. This station is well linked with both Howrah and Sealdah.
Lying just 40 km to the north of Kolkata, Hooghly is easily accessible by road. There are regular bus services that connect it to the state capital. Apart from the government run buses, there are private buses that ply on the Hooghly-Kolkata line. In case you want to travel to the place in luxury, opt for a taxi.
WHAT TO SEE
The main source of attraction in Hooghly is Tarakeswar, a municipality that houses the Taraknath temple. It attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it has the Kali and Laksmi Narayan shrines situated nearby. People visit the temple in huge numbers every Monday. But, it is the occasion of ‘Shivaratri’, in the month of Falgun (Feb-March), which sees the most footfalls of devotees. There is a Buddhist temple just 6 km away from Tarakeshwar, which is also the only Buddhist shrine in Tarakeswar.
Bandel was the port of Hooghly at the time of Moguls and Portuguese. Its name comes from the Bengali word for port i.e. ‘bander.’ Today, the port is known for its church. However, the present cathedral is a replacement of an earlier edifice, which was razed to the ground during the sacking of Hooghly, by the Moors, in 1632. The present Basilica was built in 1660, by Gomez de Soto, who had the keystone of the old church (now seen on the eastern gate).
The famous Imambara of Hooghly is situated at the bank of the river Ganges and is very close to the Hooghly railway station. The Imambara was built in 1861, by Haji Mohammad Mahasin, whose grave is present therein. The building is two storied and has a mosque and a graveyard near it. The walls of this mosque are decorated with the texts from the Holy Koran.
Kamarpukar, situated in the Arambag subdivision of the Hooghly District, is birthplace of Sri Ramakrisna Paramhans. A temple was built here in 1951 and attracts many tourists today. Apart from that, there are a number of old buildings and temples here, which attract a large number of visitors. For instance, there is the ancestral home of Swami Ramkrishna. Amongst the nearby temples, Yogiâ€™s Siva temple and Raghubir Temple are the most visited.
Chandannagore Strand is a beautiful tourist spot along the banks of the river Ganges. It is about 1 km in length and 7 m in width, and many buildings with historical importance surround the spot. This is a place where people love to take a walk and gaze at the sailing boats in far waters. This is the best decorated bank of the river, along its entire stretch.
Various shopping malls have sprung up in the city, especially after the 2000s. Compared to foreign markets they are cheap, especially when buying wholesale. Bargaining is done here without anyone raising their brows. One can buy good handicrafts for souvenirs.