Kodalia district, in South 24-Parganas, will be a one-of-a-kind tourist district, if the West Bengal Government’s plans to combine two sets of historical sites are successful.
While the sites linked to ancient history, Tilpi and Dhosa, are from the Buddhist era, the modern historical site is the ancestral house of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, one of India’s most revered freedom fighters.
This way, the ambitious project is combining two different eras—the fifth-century Christian Era and the other from the nineteenth century—to form one single tourist district.
Tilpi and Dhosa, contain 2 of the 22 Buddhist stupas, believed to have been visited by Chinese explorer Fa Hien. According to an official, the site contains an ancient furnace, in which smiths used to melt silver, copper and iron, to cast them into coins.
In February 2006, excavations began, and a structure consisting of concentric squares was unearthed at Dhosa. This is reported to be the remains of Buddhist stupa, proof that at some point, a thriving Buddhist civilisation probably flourished here.
The other site which is pivotal to the government’s plans is the Haranath Lodge which is 258 years old and is known locally as ‘Subhaser Bari.’ Subhash Chandra Bose’s family moved from Mahinagar in Burdwan to this village in 1760, and the house was built by Haranath Bose, Netaji’s grandfather.
The sleepy locality of Kodalia comes alive on January 23, Netaji’s birthday, and many tourists visit the house to pay homage to him.
Chittapriyo Bose, Netaji’s grand nephew, spoke to the Times of India and said, “Both domestic and international tourists come here,” adding “We have a 250-year-old Durga Puja and Saraswati and Laxmi pujas that are celebrated to this day. These festivals are occasions when the Bose family, scattered all over the world, come together. All my grandfathers spent a large part of their childhood in this house.”
The iconic house, on the 10-cottah plot (a cottah is a unit of area mostly used for measuring land parts of in India, and is roughly one-twentieth part of a bigha) and the adjacent pond, will be restored to their former glory. This is thanks to a Rs 77 lakh restoration project being undertaken by the state archaeology and public works department.
The main building, the pathway leading to it, and the thakurdalan (an altar to worship God) will see restoration and landscaping work. The government plans to make this a heritage building and wishes to build a museum, celebrating Bose, on its premises.
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Officials are hoping that together; the two sites will give visitors a deeper sense of the myriad twists and turns of Indian history.