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Next weekend you can be at ... Tribeni

If you have an eye for old architecture and love to visit heritage places, Tribeni can be a good choice for a weekend trip.

Tribeni, a one-hour 15-minute drive from Calcutta, is situated at the confluence of three rivers ó Hooghly, Saraswati and Kunti. Eight hundred years ago, it was one of the busiest ports of Bengal. The river Saraswati dried up a long time back and now the port is no longer in existence.

But Tribeni still bears signs of its rich cultural heritage. Itís a holy place for the Hindus. Many devotees take the holy dip during Maghi Purnima, Baruni and Makar Sankranti. On the bank of the Hooghly, there is famous mazar (mausoleum) of Zafar Khan, who ruled the area in the early 14th century. There are a number of tombs, mostly built with stones, and they are surrounded by beautiful gardens. The architecture has similarities with the contemporary Islamic structures. The Archaeological Survey of India has now taken charge of its maintenance.

The famous Ananta Basudev temple and Hangseshwari temple are also located here. Ananta Basudev is a terracotta temple built by King Rameshwar Dutta in 1679. It very much looks like the terracotta temples of Bishnupur. There is a beautiful garden in front of the temple. The walls of the temple are adorned with sculptures depicting stories from The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. In the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), the main idol of Basudev is missing but sculptures of Vishnu and Shiva are there.

Adjacent to the Basudev temple stands the palace of Raja Nrisinha Deb Roy. The Hangseshwari temple is to the right of the palace. Raja Nrisinha Deb Roy started the construction of the temple in 1788 and it was finally completed by his wife Rani Sankari.

The height of Hangseshwari temple is about 21m and it has 13 minars. This is a unique feature of temple architecture in Bengal. The idol of Devi Hangseshwari is blue in colour and made from neem wood.

Going

Take a local train from Howrah Station to Bandel. From there, buses, rickshaws and autorickshaws to Tribeni are available.

Staying

Some hotels are available for night stay near Bandel station. Bansberia Municipality has a guesthouse on the bank of the Hooghly.