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Restoration hope shines for heritage four

The state heritage commission has recognised four edifices in North Dinajpur and sanctioned funds for their restoration.

A Shiva temple at Marnai in Itahar, the Pir Pukurer Dargah at Ukilpara in Raiganj, Tarasundari Kali temple at Bishnupur in Itahar and Nil Kuthi in Karandighi have been recognised as heritage sites.

The commission has allocated Rs 72 lakh for the repair and restoration of these heritage buildings in the first phase. It will sanction more funds if required.

The Shiva temple at Itahar was built by zamindar Sashibhusan Pal in the 1920s.

“It is the newest of the four edifices. It has been ravaged by time. We are glad it will be restored. The Pir Pukurer Dargah dates back to 1758. The Tarasundari Mandir was built in 1760. The Nil Kuthi mansion came up in early 1800s. It was built by British indigo planters,” said Brindaban Ghosh, a member of the North Bengal University’s heritage committee, which had recommended the sites to the commission.

The Tarasundari temple was built by the maharaja of Dinajpur Baidyanath Chowdhury. It has a 40ft-high dome. Terracotta work adorns its facade.

The other two buildings have a colonial past.

The dargah in Raiganj, Ghosh said, was built over the remains of Pir Syed Burahan, who was a leader during the fakir and sannyasin rebellion in the early period of British domination in the late-eighteenth century.

“The dargah derives its name from a huge pond in front of it. A fair is held around the pond every year on April 15, the day of the Bengali New Year. It represents communal harmony,” Ghosh said.

The Nil Kuthi in Karandighi bears testimony to the peasants’ rebellion against the British indigo planters in the mid-nineteenth century.

“The indigo planters’ house will remind people of the ruthlessness of the British colonists and the rebellion it triggered between 1839 and 1860,” he said.

The heritage committee hopes that repair and restoration of the buildings will encourage tourism, in the district.

Ghosh said at least six sites in the district were recommended to the commission, from which the commission chose four.

“The other two were the ancestral home of Islampur Trinamul Congress MLA and minister of state for mass education and library services Chowdhury Abdul Karim and a zamindar's house in Bahin near Raiganj,” said Ghosh, who teaches history at Karnajora High School.

After the repair, the buildings will be handed over to the district administration.