Apparently good 20+ years in Bengal was not enough time to plan a trip to Bandel Church and Hoogly Imambara! So this one time when I went to hometown, I made a list of places to visit and the oldest Church of the state, West Bengal was one of them. Just a reminder: There are many who think Bengal = Kolkata. Bengal is more than that. Kolkata is just a metro city in Bengal where Bengal has so many other places to discover. Now let’s get back to the travel-post.
How to reach? You can visit Bandel by train or car. Bandel Station is 53 kilometres from Sealdah Station and 50 kilometres from Howrah Station, Kolkata. The church is at a distance of 2.6 kilometres from Bandel Station.
Bandel Church: Situated in the middle of a market, Bandel Church is 2.6 kilometres away from Bandel Station. You can find vendors selling candlesticks just outside the church. The church was serene and beautiful. The garden and field were well maintained. You can sit here for hours. In the middle of the church, the statue of” One lady of Happy Voyage” is there.
History: The construction of Bandel Church began in 1599 when Portugese traders started to settle down in this area. Priests started to baptize the locals. The new Church was built in 1660 when the old turned into ashes by to Moors.
Hoogly Imambara: Another remarkable place, Hoogly Imambara is situated at a distance of 1.5kilometers from Bandel Church. It was built on the bank of river Hoogly in 1841-1861 and the construction was started by Haji Mohammed Mohsin. The entry fee was Rs.10/-.
The main attractions of this place were sun dial and the clock tower. The courtyard of Imamabara is beautifully decorated by fountains and surrounded by buildings. One side of this building is donated for Madrasah. What drew my attention was the aesthetics of the architecture. Here are few captures for reference.
When we went there, it was under constructions. The renovation should have been completed by now. Both the places can be covered in a span of 2-3 hours.