Chalo Asansol!!…means let’s go Asansol ..now why im saying this…well …read on

Most people associate West Bengal with Kolkata, with genial bengali babus, Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge and associated culture. However, the state is more than that..it has got wide variety of people, an amalgamation of cultures, social groups, food habits, etc. which makes it an interesting demographic region..
Recently, I took a big break from work and visited Asansol (which is where my in-laws are originally from and live there part of the year), Bishnupur and Bankura which lie in western part of West Bengal (yeah that’s right!!) and it not only was a delightful experience but quite an insight on the state where my origins lie (yeah Im a Bengali!!.)….
When I landed in Asansol railway station..i thought I had arrived in pre-independence era India…the building dated back to 1885 and the surrounding building looked equally old….

Asansol city is a coal-mining-industrial-commercial centre, in West Bengal.
While most of Bengal is flat alluvial plains, Asansol subdivision lies on exposed Gondwana rocks. It forms the lower edge of the Chota Nagpur plateau, which occupies most of Jharkhand and therefire is surrounded by hillocks. This makes the city landscape distinctly different from Kolkata.
Due to its proximity to Jharkhand, the local population here is a mixture of Jharkhandis, Bengalis and Marwaris. At the time I went there, Kali puja and Chhathh celebrations were going on in full swing and there was festive air to the whole city and surrounding areas.
There are a lot of interesting places to visit around Asansol, the main ones being Bishnupur, Bankura, Shantiniketan, Maithon Dam and Burnpur. This time we visited Bishnupur and Bankura(not whole of bankura which is actually a district but a village there which is my husband’s grandma residence).
Bishnupur is a city and a municipality in Bankura District, famous world over for its terracotta temples and the balucheri sarees. One can take a temple tour in Bishnupur.
That’s me below wearing on of those popular balucheri sarees.

It was the capital of the Mallabhum kingdom, once the most important Hindu dynasty in Bengal (founded in the 8th century CE and lasting until the early 19th century). Surrounded by old fortifications, the town has more than a dozen terracotta temples.
Below are pics of some of the temples we visited.


i picked some great teracotta works, while in Bishnupur, to decorate my home at dirt cheap prices during the trip…see pics below



We also had a nice time at my hubby’s grandma’s place..it was serene and quiet…the lush green fields calmed my senses, and provided me my much needed break from every day work schedule.
One thing striking about this region are the food habits..people here not only cook food differently , but the ingredients themselves are quite different in taste and smell..for example, the rice granules here are big and rounded, unlike the slender basmati rice. Likwise, the kind of sweets available here are different than found in the Kolkata and 24 parganas region..and I quite liked them( unlike roshogolla which I absolutely hate!!)
Also, the dialect of Bengali spoken here is very very different..its got more of rustic touch..very unlike the so delicate sounding Bengali used by people of Kolkata..and I couldn’t really understand it first…(its another matter that my hubby’s relatives tried to chat with me in hindi first..they thought that I being born and brought up in delhi wouldn’t know one word of Bengali!!)

 

Overall, it was a nice trip..rejuvenating, illuminating and relaxing……so im all ready to Chalo Asansol next year!!

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  1. Your pictures are amazing! I love reading other people blogs from different parts of the world, it makes you feel like you are visiting. Your country is very beautiful

  2. I have been lucky as God gave my lovely wife who is from Asansol. Since the time propsal was settling, my heart was saying that i am getting associated with a lovely place, and adoring family. May God bless Asansol. Nicely presented site.
    ….sujatan (From Keala)

  3. I am from Australia. My dad was born (at Adra) 1927 and two years ago (at my own age of 53) I set out to discover my Anglo Indian roots. He was orphaned and eventually ended up at St Patricks in Asansol. It is the second photo in this presentation. It is very ostalgic for me and I will return to finish my book …. it is called "Vishmayat". Look for it: announced here for the first time.

  4. Hi Sushmita, I felt nostalgic reading and seeing pictures of Asansol in your blog. I was born in Burnpur and was there till I was 20. Studied till the 7th at St. Vincent's, Asansol. I have wonderful memories of Asansol-Burnpur and also of the surrounding places like Kulti, Barakar, Mython Dam and Panchet Dam, Chittaranjan, Ranigunj, Durgapur. I last visited Asansol and Burnpur in 1989. Hope to make a trip again with family someday. I am 60 now!

  5. hi………..its nice to heard so much beautiful thing about asansol………..coz im also 4m delhi and my would be hubby is also 4m asansol…looking 4ward to start my journey in asansol with my hubby…thnx

  6. Nice post about W.Bengal. Now I know something about the state other than Calcutta, Darjeeling and Singur:)

    Loved the 4th picture (of the temple). It is almost like a postcard.

  7. lovely pics….and thanks foer igniting my long subdued dream of touring bengal. like you am also a delhi born and bred Bengali…and havent seen much of West bengal outside of Kolkata where folks took us for the annual visit home.

  8. Hi,Sush-did you ever give thought to becoming a travel writer?That was a lovely intro to Asanol-made me want to visit there someday..:)

    Incidentally,do you know how much those buildings resemble the Baroda heritage buildings,like the Court,the Railway Station,MSU,etc? Have a look:
    http://www.baroda-online.com/

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