A Visit to the World Famous Bandel Church
Last year, we visited the famous Bandel Church in the month of March 2017. To be honest, it was an amazing tour and all of us enjoyed each moment of it.
Bandel is well connected by the Indian Railways, and you can straightaway reach the same from Howrah or Sealdah Station via local trains.
Bandel is located around 40 Kms away from the two of the above iconic railway stations of Kolkata city.
Taking a rikshaw from Bandel station we reached Bandel Church within 15-20 minutes. Summer was at its modest best – no trace of humidity that evening.
Seeing the wonder of Bandel Church in front of my eyes was nothing short of a miracle. While I was astounded by the architectural wonder of the monument, what enthralled me more was the serene and calm atmosphere in the vicinity. There was a pin-drop silence all-around.
Brief History of Bandel Church
Bandel Church is the oldest Christian ‘house of worship’ in West Bengal. It came into existence in 1599. However, in 1632, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan invaded the Portuguese settlement in Hooghly Fort that left several people dead and many injured.
A lot of important places were deformed in that era including Bandel Church.
The lone Christian saint who survived the invasion was Father Joan De Cruz. Mughal soldiers took the father and a few of his disciples to Agra. Then they threw them in front of a mighty elephant to die.
Miracle happened soon!
The ferocious elephant instead of attacking the father, lifted him on his back and bent his head. The elephant and the father begged for forgiveness from the emperor.
On witnessing the miracle, Mughal Emperor sent the father and his back to Hooghly as a goodwill gesture. Shah Jahan then provided them with necessary funds to reconstruct the Church again.
Interestingly, The Basilica of the Holy Rosary (Bandel Church) has another fascinating fact.
During Mughal invasion, a believer, Tiago, tried to cross Hooghly River with the statue of ‘Lady of Happy Voyage’ to safety. But he got killed (by Mughal soldiers) and the statute also sank into the river.
Miraculously, on the early morning of the very day of the inauguration of the renovated Bandel Church in 1660, the statue of Mother Mary appeared on the shore of the river.
Soon, fishermen brought the statue of the Our Lady of Happy Voyage to the doorstep of the father. ‘Worshiper and People’s hopes and wishes do come true on visiting this auspicious abode of Gods’.
A Visit to Bandel Church: Making Your Dream Come True
The cathedral is wonderful. The whiff of cold breeze and thick foliage of greenery of all around make the stay so refreshing and scintillating.
Somehow we missed the time for prayers as those take place in the early morning only at a stipulated time.
Merely by looking into the sparkling statues of Mother Mary and Jesus Christ completely enlightened one’s soul. I couldn’t ask for more.
After a long 4 hours stay, it was time to bid adieu to this great cathedral that withstood the test of time for more than 400 years!
What to Eat: Though street foods are rampant outside Church, I suggest you to take snacks and Biscuits in evening.
What to Wear at Church: You can wear anything that makes you feel comfy in summer.
Ideal Time to Visit Bandel Church: November to March in evening.
Guys, if you have visited the church recently and wish to speak more on it than please share the same on comments.
(By: Atish Home Chowdhury)
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