Raiganj

Raiganj

ABOUT RAIGANJ: Raiganj is located at 25.62°N 88.12°E. It has an average elevation of 40 metres (131 feet).
Raiganj is known for Kulik Bird Sanctuary which is the second largest bird sanctuary in Asia. For details visit Raiganj. Raiganj is getting familiar in the whole India because it is going to hold the 1st AIIMS like institute in Eastern India.
In the 2006 and 2001 elections to the state assembly, Chittaranjan Ray of INC won the Raigant seat (reserved for scheduled castes), defeating his nearest rivals, Dilip Kumar Das of NCP and Harinarayan Roy of CPI(M) respectively. In 1996, Dilip Kumar Das of INC defeated Khagendranath Sinha of CPI(M). In 1991, Khagendra Nath Sinha of CPI(M) defeated Dilip Das of INC. In 1987, Khagendra Nath Sinha of CPI(M) defeated Dipendra Barman of INC. In 1982, Dipendra Barman of INC defeated Khagendra Nath Sinha of CPI(M). In 1977, Khagendra Nath Sinha of CPI(M).
In 2009, Deepa Dasmunsi of INC won in the Raiganj.

Demographics:

As of 2001 India census, Raiganj had a population of 165,222. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Raiganj has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 79%, and female literacy is 71%. In Raiganj, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

_________________________________

Raiganj Kulik Wild Life Sanctuary: According to many, Kulik(Raiganj) Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in Asia. The sanctuary is themed for conserving birds, after all the sanctuary hosts almost 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds every year! The figure is pleasing for the bird lovers as there is hardly any other sanctuary that offers such vast range of birds.

If you love birds and want to see their different species altogether, then Kulik(Raiganj) Bird Sanctuary is no less than HEAVEN. You’ll find here bird species like duck & cuckoo, owl, woodpeckers, “Kingfisher”, sparrow, bulbul, dove and many more. In the indigenous species, you get see Drongoes, Woodpeckers, Owls, Kites, Flycatchers, etc. Also, do not miss out guest bird from other regions like Egrets, Open-Bill-Storks, Cormorants, and Night Herons and so on!

Location: Near The Raiganj District Town.
From Kolkata: 425 KMS.
From Siliguri: 181 KMS.
Total Area: Approximately 1.3 SQ.KMS.
Best Time of Tour: Throughout The Year.
Establishment Year: 1985.

_______________________________________

IMPORTANT CONTACTS OF UTTAR DINAJPUR

_______________________________________

Treasure Trove

(Special Article by Request)

THERE are primarily two types of archaeological objects – those found on an open surface under the bare sky; and those found underground. The latter is discovered through exploration and excavation. Many such archaeologically potential sites have been explored and excavated so far, resulting in the discovery of priceless artifacts that have placed them on the archaeological map of Bengal. It has also opened a new vista in elucidating local history and added flavour to regional culture.

Tenahari is one such village, rich in archaeological objects. This small hamlet is located on the banks of the Kulik river in North Dinajpur district. The village was brought into the limelight in the last quarter of the 20th century when locals, while digging a pond, found a few artifacts, most of which were iconographic specimens. The discovery of such objects knitted a connection with the Pala-Sena period.

Tenahari is famous for two large reservoirs. One is the Ballal Dighi (the pond of King Ballala Sena of Bengal), and the second is Nehali Bill. The former has a long antiquity and, according to the locals, goes back to the time of King Ballala Sena of Bengal (1158-79 AD). It is spread over 42 bighas. A flight of brick steps was found while digging a pond near the Dighi. The Neheli Bill is a gigantic reservoir, very suitable for pisciculture and the chief source of water for irrigation. It covers an area of 500 bighas.

The specimens still survive, housed in a local temple built for the purpose. Among the worshipped specimens are two Vishnu images, one Narasimha avatar and one pillar. The largest (70 inches by 25 inches) one is a standing Vishnu on a triratha pedestal and an upasaka is carved on it. The god holds a sankha, chakra, gada in three hands, while a small padma is incised on his lower right palm. There is a crown, set on the head, which is supported by a circular floral design. There are two holes beside the crown, made to highlight a three-dimensional effect. The god has two sets of clothes — the lower garment is a dhoti, the upper one is very transparent, as if there is no cloth on the body. At the top of the stella are two garland-bearers flying towards each other.

The second iconographic specimen is Vishnu (60 inches by 37 inches) in the dasavatara form. It is very a interesting and unique iconographic object. The figure of Vishnu covers two-thirds of the entire sculpture and occupies the middle position of the entire composition. The god is standing in the samapda pose. Curious enough, there is no lotus placed at his feet. The dress and ornaments are usual. There is a circular floral design behind the head.

But the most interesting aspect of the image is the prabhabali or stella which consists of a dasavatara very beautifully engraved on it and artistically laid out by the master artist and tiny images encased in a border display the 10 avatars of the god. Five on each side of the central figure in the following order – Matsya Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Dasarathi Rama, Bala Rama, Buddha and lastly Kali. The pattern exactly follows the dasavatara sloka mentioned by Jayadeva in his Gita-Govinda. The image probably belongs to the 11th or 12th century AD when the Sena kings ruled Bengal. Probably Tenahari derives its name from dasavatara and it gets appropriate meaning when we split up the term, Ten, that is dash (10) and hari, that is Vishnu.

The third iconographic specimen from Tenahari is a small, partly damaged image of Narasimha avatara made of polished black stone. As the Narasimha avatara is always represented in a hybrid form, it is a compound of man and lion. The upper part of the stella is broken and the face is mutilated. The god is shown in a man-lion form, one of the avatars of Vishnu killing Hiranya Kasipu, a king who had no faith in God, as described in the Puranas. The pedestal contains some floral design and some images are carved on the left of the prabhabali.

At the time of digging the pond, the villagers discovered a pillar. Octagonal in shape and gradually tapering from the base, it is, however, not unique from the artistic point of view. At present, it is cemented in the veranda of the temple along with three other similar pillars constructed by local devotees.

Near the temple is a place named Sanyasi Bhita (abode of the saint). It is a square-shaped plot, approximately eight feet on each side. Bricks are thickly scattered on it. Huge fragmented stone pieces are piled on the ground. Rejects and waste materials are, in fact, one of the best indicators of a centre of craft production. Tenehari, therefore, may be identified as a centre for the production of images. Moreover, some of the foundation of the walls has also been traced here.

The Pala-Sena period in Bengal is famous for beautiful iconographic specimens made with precision by artists of ingenious skill. The Pala-Sena images have unique characteristics of their own – graceful faces, elongated noses, thin waists, straight and broad shoulders, extravagant ornaments, pointed or circular stella. The knot of the dhoti is arranged like a flower and, above all, there is the polished black stone. The Tenahari images bear testimony to all such characters. But the features conspicuously absent are a lotus on the pedestal and a dragon on both sides of the prabhabali. The concept of a dragon on Brahmanical images came from Tibet, when that landlocked country came into contact with Buddhism. The dashavatara and other images are a precious wealth of iconographic study. These are very rare archaeological specimens. They offer immense opportunity for research in iconography and archaeology. They also strengthen the presence of the Vaishnavite and Brahmanical influence in the Dinajpur region in the early medieval period.

Written by Smarajit Ghosh (The writer, a PhD in History from North Bengal University, teaches at the Army Public School in Bengdubi, Bagdogra)

Source: The Statesman