Serampore - My Hometown

Serampore is a town in Hooghly district in West Bengal. It is around 25 kms from Kolkata. It is a pre-colonial town on the right bank of the Hoogli River. It was part of Danish India under the name Frederiksnagore from 1755 to 1845.

Serampore being a town considered to older than Kolkata mainly comprises of 4 villages - Mahesh, Ballavpore, Chatra and Serampore. Among the many places, the main attraction is the Serampore College. This was founded by William Carey. For the department of theology it is considered to be a deemed University. The college is affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University). Several theological colleges and seminaries all over India including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University).

Carey Museum and Carey House is also an attraction. The Carey Museum and Library at Serampore give a glimpse of early printing in Indian languages. The library collection was compiled in 1818 by Rev William Carey with his associates J Marshman and W Ward. The library preserves rare specimen of early printing in various Indian and Asian scripts from India and overseas. Another attraction are the manuscript copies of Hindu scriptures like the Vedas and the Upanishads, done on Carey's request. The personal belongings of Carey such as his table, chairs and pulpit are also preserved here. This facility is open all day on weekdays, free of charge.

Carey made an outstanding contribution by founding the Serampore Mission Press in 1800 where the wooden Bangla types made by Panchanan Karmakar were installed. The first newspaper published in an Indian language was the Samachar Darpan in Bengali. The first issue of this daily was published from this Serampore Mission Press on May 23, 1818.

Other than missionary establishment, there are several Hindu temples which needs special mention. Radhaballav Mandir in Ballabhpur (18th century) is one of them. During the festivals of Sri Krishna (like Rash Yatra, Dolyatra, Jhulan Yatra, etc), the mandir gets decorated with different colors and lights. Small fair is also set up in the adjacent area.

Radhaballav Mandir

Mahesh is famous for its Rath Yatra. The Rathajatra of Mahesh is the second oldest chariot festival in India (after Rath Yatra at Puri) and oldest in Bengal. The ceremony is organized by the patrons of Jagannath temple. The 45 feet Ratha has 10 wheels and 9 churas. A big fair is set up at the time of the festival and continues for 1 month.

Mahesh Rathyatra

Among the other temples which deserve special mention is the temple of Gauranga in Chatra dating back to the 16th century. Sashan Kali Mandir also deserve special mention. It is considered to be an enormous deity and people from far away places comes here during Kali Puja (Diwali) festival to visit here.

Last by not the least, the soothing winds blowing by the river side during the evening freshens up our minds and inspite of the tiring works makes us feel better.

With all the history and present, I feel proud to be born in Serampore.