Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Bishnupur and proceed for lunch at the Tourist Lodge.
Afternoon proceed for sightseeing in Bishnupur. For over a thousand years Bishnupur was the capital of the Malla Kings. Bishnupur is famous for temples with terracotta art and large water area. Most of the temples such as Jore Bungalow, Rasmancha, Madanmohan Mandir, Shyam Roy Mandir and Chinnmasta Mandir were built during the rule of the Mallaraja. Another important site to visit is the Dalmadal Cannon made in 1742 with beautifully carved designs on its outer surface. Bishnupur is famous for its own classical musical gharana established in 1370.
Overnight at hotel.
Shanti Niketan means the abode of peace. In 1863, a meditation centre was founded at Shanti Niketan by Maharashi Debendranath Tagore, the father of the world famous Bengali Poet Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath established the Brahmo Vidyalaya and in 1901 another open air school “Brahmacharya Ashram”. In 1921, it had expanded into Vishwa Bharati University – a residential university with an international body, hostels and extensive grounds. In includes separate colleges for fine arts and crafts, dance, music, teachers’ trainibg, Asian languages, technology, postgraduate studies and research.
Afternoon proceed for visits in Shantiniketan visiting Chhatimtala (where Maharashi Debendranath used to meditate under the Chhatim trees), Dehali (the original residence of Rabindranath), China Bhavan (a center for Chinese studies), Uttarayan (the garden with five houses where Rabindranath lived and today is a Museum containing photographs, paintings and manuscripts), Shyamali & Udayan (the building where Rabindranath spent his last days).
Also visit Amar Kutir – a house of handicrafts manufactured by local craftsmen.
Overnight at hotel/tourist lodge
Early morning visit to Upasana Griha (Prayer Hall). This prayer hall was inaugurated in 1892 by Dwijendranath Togore, the eldest son of Maharashi Devendranath. Since then a prayer is held here everyday. The prayer that is held is nondenominational – every individual irrespective of his religion and community can join in the prayer.
After breakfast at the hotel drive to Mayapur
Mayapur is situated on the banks of the Hooghly near the confluence of the Hooghly and the Jalangi. It is one of the nine islands of Navadwip. Founded by Bakti Vinod Thakur, Mayapur was earlier known as Miyapur. It holds a special significance for followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism since it is the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and hence is an important religious center. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the one who started the Hare Krishna movement and taught the widespread mass chanting and singing of Hare Krishna.
On your arrival at Mayapur check in at your guest house room booked at ISCKON.
Being an important religious center, Mayapur has many temples dedicated to Vishnu and to other deities. The most important of all however is the beautiful Iskcon Temple also known as Sri Chaitanya Candrodaya Temple that attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from different parts of India and world. The temple has a statue of Lord Radha Krishna along with the eight gopis. It also houses an exhibition section, which depicts the life and work of Sri Chaitanya.
The temple’s timings are from 7.30 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8.30 pm.
Another place of interest is Sri Chaitanya Math located one kilometer past Sri Chaitanya's birthplace. Murari Gupta's House located behind the Sri Chaitanya Math near the bank of the Ballal Dighi is the place where deities of Rama, Sita and Hanuman were worshipped by Murari Gupta and his family. The Chand Kazi's Samadhi is another main landmark in Mayapur. Chand Kazi was the Muslim magistrate of Navadwip, who with his men broke the mridanga of Srivash Pandit. He had opposed the sankirtana movement where people collectively chanted Hare Rama, Hare Krishna on the road, but he later became the disciple of Sri Chaitanya. The Jagannath Mandir is another place worth checking out in Mayapur.
In evening you have the pleasure of watching the Sandhya Aarti which starts at 6:30 pm.Overnight at Lodge
(Please note at Mayapur you will be served only pure vegetarian food)
Start your day witnessing the Mangala Aarti at Mayapur that starts at 7:00 am.
After breakfast proceed for visit to Ballal Dhipi which is a famous archaeological site
Ballal Dhipi, named after Ballal Sen, of the Sen Dynasty, who ruled Bengal in the late 12th Century AD. It was only in the late 1970s that the mound attracted the attention of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It started digging the area in the early 1980s. The work was carried out in two phases — in 1982-83 and 1988-99. The excavation revealed a gigantic brick structure in an extensive yard surrounded by walls. Stucco heads, terracotta human and animal figurines, copper utensils and other objects were found at the site.
An ASI board declares the monument to be of national importance. The walls enclose a complex maze. It is difficult to figure out what it represented. It is evident that the structure on top was built over an earlier one. According to historians, it dates back to the 12th Century. The earlier structure was built between 8th and 9th Century. Archaeologists have found traces of renovation and superimposition over the remains of a temple complex.
Samudragarh 35 kms from Ballal Dhipi
Silks of Bengal were much acclaimed the world over, since ancient times. The most well-known Bengal Silk saree, which carry its legendary name, is the Baluchari saree - a product of exquisite design, and fabulous weaving technique. A revival in recent times of both the Baluchari and yet another outstanding, traditional Bengal Saree, the Daccai, has led to nationwide and worldwide popularity and renewal of interest in Bengal silks. Like silk, cotton sarees are also woven in a fascinating and exquisite range.
The Daccai ‘Jamdani’ is a fabric on which the designs are raised in inimitable style. The ‘Batik’ prints originating from Javanese wax-designing, revived in Santiniketan. Floral forms circular ‘kalka’ shapes, pyramidal and variations of geometric designs are typical. Handloom still remains the great employer in rural Bengal. Today hand-painted scrolls also silk-screened and printed are quite popular as wall hangings etc.
Kalna 22 kms 40 minutes from Samudragarh
'Kalna' is a city and a municipality and subdivision in Bardhaman District of West Bengal. It is situated on the western bank of the Bhāgirathi. The town is more popularly known as Ambika Kalna, named after a very popular Deity of Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika. It has numerous historical monuments such as the Rajbari (the palace), the 108 Shiva temples and several magnificent temples ornamented with finest terracotta arts.
Important sites at Kalna
108 Shiva Temples: Built by Maharaja Teja Chandra Bahadur in 1809 AD.These atchala brick temples are made out of auspicious numerical combination in two concentric circles and dedicated to Shiva. The outer circle contains 74 temples and the inner circle has 34 temples. The temples represents beads in a rosary symbolically.
Pratapeswar Temple: Poised on a high podium this temple is a good example of 19th century rekha deul with curvilinear sikara and single arched entrance. A roofless brick -built Ras Mancha stands nearby.
Lalji Temple: Being the oldest in the group this brick built Panchavimsati Ratna Temple was erected in 1739 AD within an enclosed compound.There is amountain like temple inside the compound known as Giri Govardhan Temple. The arcades of the temple are decorated with rich terracotta ornamentation.
Krishna Chandra Ji Temple: This magnificent brick-built panchabim Sati-Ratna Temple with an elongated chala type verandah in front having three arched entrance and furnished with terracotta plaques was constructed in 1751-55 AD. Its arcades are also embellished with terracotta plaques.
After finishing the visit of Kalna proceed for Guptipara. On the way to Guptipara a lunch break is suggested at a pre booked restaurant which serves Indian Cuisine.
Guptipara 10 kms from Kalna
Guptipara is a rural town in Chinsurah subdivision of Hooghly District in West Bengal. The first publicly organised Durga Puja was held at Guptipara, when some men were stopped from taking part in a household Durga Puja. Twelve of them formed a committee and organised a barowari (baro means twelve and yaar means friend) puja. There is a difference of opinion about the year of worship – 1761 or 1790.
There are some old temples in the village - Brindabanchandra Temple, Chaitanyadev Temple, Krishna Chandra Temple and Ramachandra Temple.All the structures bear characteristics of the Bengal school of architecture, with carvings depicting scenes from the epics and Puranas.
Brindaban Chandraji Temple: This temple has the distinction of being the largest among all the temples located in this region. The main temple is surrounded by a number of other small temples that are dedicated to Chaitanya Guru, the saint who was known for his love and dedication to the Hindu deity Lord Krishna.
Tribeni 25 kms from Guptipara
Mosque and tomb of Zafar Khan Gazi: Built of bricks and stones this rectangular mosque was erected in 1298 AD by Zafar Khan Gazi, a military general of the Sultan of Delhi. It is evident by an Arabic inscription above the central mihrab of the mosque.The prayer hall is entered through the five stone faced arches and divided into two aisles by a row of ornamental stone pillars. The rear wall is noted for three richly decorated mihrabs.The old mosque originally had ten domes most of which are now lost. According to the inscription the mosque was also used as a Madrasa.
Devoid of any superstructure the double chambered tomb of Zafar Khan is the earlier extant mausoleum in Eastern India built in 1315 AD. This building was also probably used as Madrasa. The walls are mostly faced with large basalt slabs. In both the Mosque and the Tomb architectural and sculptured stone members of earlier stone members of earlier structures have been used.
Drive back to Kolkata and check in at your hotel.
After Breakfast transfer to the Airport.