We had been interacting for a long time, on the net, upon the gifted platform in the form of the Chandraketugarh Group, and the new revelations in Bengal history – Tilpi & Dhosa, gave us the stands to activate the momentous network of Bengal history lovers for the first time! To me it is really momentous because where mind thinks history and hobbies converge at such chronological sites, it is nothing less than hay days. And one such day would be marked on the calendar as June, the 18th, 2006.
Various vernacular and English dailies had been focusing on the recent archaeological finds at the Twin sites of Tilpi & Dhosa, for the past few months. We kept interacting on the web, regarding the same, when finally it was decided to really head out for the archaeological fields of South – 24 – Parganas and explore it by ourselves. An Itinerary was set –
Tilpi & Dhosa (Joynagar) Expedition June - 18th, 2006
As per the unavoidable schedules, few, earlier in the list had to finally opt out of the Trip, leaving behind, three of the Musketeers to work for themselves.
So, having things finally in place, and after confirming the schedules with Bikram G Roy and Rangan Dutta, it was time to start the day. We had decided to meet at the spot - Sealdah Station Platform No. - 9A / 9B, and as per plan, I had to make an early start, taking the down Dankuni – Sealdah Local, to reach the meeting point at 07:20 AM, well 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Rangan (Who is a Educational professional, and a freelance Traveler – cum – Photographer), was already waiting his turn at the spot before me. A quick greet got both of us ready, with Rangan updating me regarding Bikram’s change of plan, to board the train from Jadavpur railway Station. Actually, we were to take the 08:12 AM SLN242 – Sealdah – Namkhana EMU, and for Bikram, the best was to take it from Jadavpur, instead of traversing all the way back till Sealdah.
Being a Sunday, it was expected not be that crowded, and so I could afford a puff, before walking on to the platform and wait for the kick start. After discussing with Rangan, I mentioned that instead of going to Joynagar, Gocharan would be the better port of call. During my last visit to Joynagar and Nimpith, a locality nearby, famous for the Ramkrishna Ashram, I had interacted with a few residents here, and identified that Gocharan is the best fit for a visit to Tilpi & Dhosa, because of better accessibility options available.
The vacant rakes were parked on the Platform No. – 13, of the Sealdah South section, and we were swift to walk over to the Front-End of the train, and board the First Compartment, which would be easy to identify by Bikram. The Kick Off was dot on schedule, considering the Bengal standard time, and we drifted off at 08:15 AM. The population kept rising inside our compartment, and came to a threshold while we reached Dhakuria, the third station, where a considerable number of people exchanged occupancy, with the outward ratio, definitely appreciable. A call to Bikram’s cell phone had him ready to board the train within a couple of minutes, which he eventually achieved with success, as we reached Jadavpur, soon after this.
A round of Tea and some local bakery stuffs, with Bikram and Rangan setting up their Cameras; it was our turn to move out of the station in search of an Auto Ricksaw, which would be taking us through to Dhosa Haat (‘Haat’ means Market). The fare seemed impressive, @ Rs. 7/- per head for the estimated 15 KM journey to Dhosa. And we were satisfied to pay the amount, after experiencing the treacherous traversal road. Dhosa Haat is the central point of the Village – “Dhosa”, under the JoyNagar – Gocharan region. This is the popular market area, with a typical village environment, a touch of greenery on all sides, the BDO Office marking the centre of focus, and small shops and open-air vending stalls making it up for their daily doings.
We asked some of the local people, the first lot of whom were quite ignorant of the archaeological site, nearby, while the later half showed us the way towards the excavated Mound. At the end of the metalled road from Gocharan Station to Dhosa Haat, a by-lane starts towards the right ward direction. This is the approach towards the mound. With the brick laid lane snorkeling on, shaking hands with the beautiful countryside greens, we walked on to reach the site, within a couple of minutes.
According to studies, relating the famous Chinese traveler Fa Hien, a highly evolved Buddhist Civilization and subsequent Culture, flourished in the Gangetic Bengal, known to as “Gangaridae”. The concentric square construction model, unearthed at Dhosa seemed to be the remains of an ancient Buddhist Stupa, and possibly one in the list, reported by Fa Hien.
A group of interested locals were soon to be attracted towards this group of historians. They told us about some of the artifacts that have been collected from the site, including a “Small Head of Buddha”, some terracotta plaques, potteries, seals and ‘Yakshi’ figurines similar to the ones found at Chandraketugarh. According to Dr. Goutam Sengupta, the Director of Bengal Archaeology & Museums, “It is obvious that in the 1st and 2nd Century BC, a highly evolved culture existed here. And the artifacts surviving the salinity of the Sunderban region is amazing.” (Quoted from the Article – “2200-yr-old life in Bengal” – The Telegraph - Feb 19, 2006).
A walk back to the Market area after this, we were to board a Motor Van-Ricksaw to reach – Tilpi. The journey past some of the most undulating roads of South-Bengal, we tracked our way. Charges for the Van, up and down, along with a Waiting time of almost ˝ an hour, cost us Rs. 50/-.
The Philosopher’s pen slumped down, with an unpredicted jerk, to remind us of our onset. We were at Tilpi, with the site within 50 metres. The Van-Driver showed us the path. A walk past the lofted settings, feeling almost like dusk at mid-noon hours, we sauntered to the mound. The three trenches, are still open, with the lurking potsherds, marking presence of primeval entities hidden underneath.
The darkness created by the enclosing Bamboo Plantations, in this site, adds on to the adventure. The adjacent pond, surrounded by a number of playmate ducks, kept our Third Eye busy, all through.
A list of the artifacts Observation is already mentioned by “Rangan Dutta”, in his report.
A bottle of the famed “Photash” (Local Soda Water), to raise a toast at the station, I kept my Thumbs Up, and then it was turn to board the Lakshmikantapur – Sealdah EMU at 02:35 PM, taking me to Dhakuria by 03:30 PM. Bikram and his wife, dropped at Jadavpur, while Rangan continued till Sealdah. I was tired, but a call from Mom, to pick her up from my Aunt’s place, was not to be forgotten.
A ‘luxurious’ return, courtesy, the newest feather on Kolkata’s Cap – “The WhiteLiners” Air Conditioned Service, saw us back at Airport, within 45 minutes. Truly, this is how the journey shook hands with the Buddhist minds from Dhosa, to the mystic mints of Tilpi, and finally taking me to the Futuristic ride of luxury, back home.
Informational References:1. Treasure trove seals worth of site- Emerging, Holy Centre by Sebanti Sarkar - The Telegraph – February, 28th, 2006.
2. Twin sites of Mystery – Archeological Seminar by Sebanti Sarkar – The Telegraph – March, 11th, 2006.
3. 2200 – yr – old life in Bengal by - Staff Reporter-The Telegraph –February 19th, 2006.
4. Furnace found near stupa site by Sebanti Sarkar-The Telegraph – March 19th, 2006.
5. Dhosa & Tilpi – Write Up by Rangan Dutta (History of Bengal Website).
Sincerely Thankful To:Rangan Dutta / Bikram G.Roy / Mrs. Roy for making the First Event a Grand Success.
Chandraketugarh - First Page
Chandraketugarh - Second Page
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State Archeological Museum Exhibition
Collection of Dilip Kumar Maite
Collection of Asad-uj Jaman
Photos from ASI Reviews
Temporary Exhibition at Indian Museum
My photos of Khana-Mihirer Dhipi
My photos of Chandraketugarh area (trees, ricefields...)
Courtesy: Asad-uj Jaman
Last Revised March 1, 2007