The cultural and historical heritage of Kolkata is ancient and precious. The capital city of West Bengal can easily boast of hosting some of the offbeat and scenic tourist destinations; much to the awe of several travelers from India and abroad. One such place is Chetla Choto Rashbari in Kolkata. It is essentially a temple complex, set up years ago. Today I would like to escort you through a virtual tour of the ancient Chetla Choto Rashbari. I am sure you will appreciate its heritage and importance.
The temples of Chetla Choto Rashbari were inaugurated in April 1847, quite long ago. They were founded and built by Monimohan Mondal and Pyarilal Mondal. The construction took almost 1 year to complete. The temples are located on the banks of the river Adi Ganga.
The Adi Ganga was quite a significant river during ancient times; serving as a pilgrimage route. There was a Nahabatkhana and a ghat named after Choto Rashbari. You can reach the river from the temples through a flight of stairs. You can find two plaques where the rules are mentioned with regards to the do’s and don’ts while entering the temples. No one is allowed entry in any kind of footwear and also by palanquins, elephant backs, or horseback.
The Temples and Their Intricate Architecture
There are two sets of temples in the complex. One is the Nabaratna or nine pinnacle temples. It is dedicated to the Hindu God Gopalji. Along with Gopalji, the idol of Shyamsundarji is also worshipped. This idol had been brought from Bawali. Another is the two Pancha Ratna or five pinnacled temples. Besides, there are also ten eight-roofed or Aatchala temples dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. The names of the temples are Bhuvaneswar, Ramchandraeswar, Kailashnath, Bhutnath, Sareswar, Gobindachandraeswar, Nakuleswar, Kamalakanteswar, Bholanath, Taraknath, Ratneswar, and Gopeswar (Courtesy: Wikipedia).
Ratna is a word in the colloquial language and means pinnacle whereas Chala means roof. A large courtyard houses the temples, designed in a checkered pattern of black and white marble. Each Shiva temple has a Shiva Lingam, which is made of touchstone or Koshti Pathar.
If you check the left corner of the temple complex, there is a Rasmancha which is made of Mehagani wood. But it is now left unused, since 7 years. Stories of Krishna Leela (Fables related to Lord Krishna) are depicted on the walls of the Rasmancha, intricately and beautifully designed.
Festival at Chetla Choto Rashbari
The main festival at Chetla Choto Rashbari is “Rash”. The temple complex has earned its name from the festival. The festival is held in the Bengali month of Chaitra which is between March and April as per the English calendar. It commences on a full moon day and continues for four days.
- First Day – The idol of Shyamsundarji is coloured in white or Balaram Besh
- Second Day – The idol is coloured in black or Rakhal Besh
- Third Day – The idol is coloured in saffron or Gouranga Besh
- Fourth Day – The festival ends called the Bhanga Rash
The other festivals that happen at the Chetla Rashbari are Phul Dol, Snanyatra, Rathayatra, Janmastami and Jhulanyatra.
The temple complex is truly an offbeat place to visit in Kolkata. It is truly wonderful to observe the ancient structural beauty and the cultural heritage of the yesteryears of Bengal.
Picture Courtesy: My Mother
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.