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From the various places to visit in West Bengal, One of the exciting place with lot of history and devotion attached is the Church of Bandel. Bandel is in the outskirts of Kolkata  and a weekend spot of many.Sunday being a favorite day for all to visit the Bandel and spend quality time with near and dear ones .Travelling through the local train makes the trip more thrilling for most of the them.Many foreigner tourist  also visit this place and provide financial support to the Church for the poor . The Bandel Church is surrounded by ground, which is mostly used for picnic,fair and sports play .It is a favorite destination in West Bengal.

Featured Photos by asim chaudhuri(,bandel church photo

The Bandel Church

Bandel Church of West Bengal stands as a symbolic architecture of the Portuguese in India.The Church is dedicated to Our lady Of The Rosary, it is a monument of religious creation of the 1599. It is said that the church was burned down in the year 1632 however rebuilt in the year 1660.The Bengali word Bandar meaning port is the reason behind the church to be called Bandel ,of the Portuguese settlers of that region. As the urban area falls under the Chinsurah-Mogra block in Chinsurah subdivision of Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It falls under the Chinsurah police station and is a part of Kolkata Metropolitan Area . Bandel being one of the major rail junction of the Eastern Railway, it is 40 km from Howrah station. Various historical places are there in Bandel other than the famous Bandel Church like the Imambara, Bandel, Hooghly, Sun Dial, Imambara, Jubilee Bridge over Hooghly River. The festive of Christmax and Eid are celebrated grandly in Bandel town.

History of Bandel

Hundreds of years after Vasco da Gama arrived the Idian West Coast, Inroads were made by the Portuguese to enter Bengal. Portuguese settled in the bank of the Hooghly river, covering the area of Hooghly under them thus the area came under the Portuguese. The church of Bandel was constructed in 1599 on the banks of the river Hooghly, thus its considered as the oldest Christian Church of West Bengal.

In 1632 the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan conquered the Portuguese and ruined all the establishment of the Portuguese like the churches, even they imprisoned Father Joan De Cruz in Agra, and later he was thrown infront of a ferocious elephant. However the elephant not only spare the death of  the priest but raised him by his trunk and placed him back to his position.Impressed my this miracle, the Emperor set the priest and all his followers free. And also made the land free of tax to reconstruct the church. There were more miracles like during the siege a local Christian named Taigo, desperately bid to save the Mother Mary statue dived into Hooghly, and was never seen again. Astonishingly at the day of inauguration of the church the statue appeared in the banks of the Hooghly. Thus statue was re – established and came to be known as “Our Lady of the Happy Voyage.”As the Portuguese was celebrating the inauguration of the Church with the statue appearing on the river bank, a Portuguese ship escaped a storm and luckily all the crew was saved. The captain of the ship, during this storm had promised to offer the main mast of the ship to the first church he sighted. The captain kept his words and the mast can still be seen in the compound of the Church.

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The journey to Bandle Church

  • 40 kilometers away from Kolkata is the Bnadel Church on the bank of river Hooghly.
  • Welcoming to the Church by the arched gate is the Tower clock of the Bandel Church on the bank of Hooghly.
  • As the road way is equally straight one can drive straight from Kolkata to Bandel Church by car too.
  • One can easily reach the Bandel Church as its both reachable from Sealdah and Howrah, and a ride on the rickshaw from the Bandel station will drop you to the door step of Bandel Church.
  • Many bus service are also available in this days.
  • There are many travelling agents providing a day trip package to the Bandel with all service of food and travelling included.They also provide sight seeing and historical  knowledge about the area of Bandel.Its alike a picnic or a weekend trip.

The Mother Mary Statue with Jesus in her arm as a baby, sailing on a boat. This statue in premises of the church makes one feel the peaceful blessing of the divine power.

Enlighting the Hope

In the church there is a huge balcony, stands “Our Lady of the Happy Voyage.”  where every devotee lights the candle. The candle of hope that Lord will protect them and their family from all evil. The bright Sun ray falls on the balcony ,enlightening the Mother grace with the views of the Jubilee Bridge spanning across the Hooghly. In 1887 the Jubilee Bridge was built to celebrate the 10 years  of Queen Victoria’s reign .Making it the oldest operating rail bridges in the world.There are several statues surrounding the church ,the statue of Our Lady of Holy Rosary, the statue of Jesus, St. John Bosco and Statues of different Christian Saints. Some graveyard and mast are also in the complex of the church.

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Visiting the Church of Bandel is not only a religious visit but also the grace, and history of the place is a interest that attracts many to visitors to this place. The beauty and divine grace of the church not only attracts  localities but many people across the country and tourist from various part of the world comes to pay their visit to the Church of Bandel in West Bengal. this place is also a great place for families to come together and spend time in peace and also a ideal place for picnic too.

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