Every river has a story to tell..of the people, the places, the times, and the cultures that come in her way as she flows. Rivers give a glimpse of not only the cities that thrive today but also how they came about. How can I miss this!! So, on my last visit to Kolkata aka Calcutta, I took a detour for a ride on a little rickety boat on the river Hooghly.
Hooghly river is a distributary of the Ganga in West Bengal in India. It was an important transportation channel in the early history of Bengal. In its upper reaches the river is generally known as the Bhāgirathi, until it reaches Hooghly.
The river banks hosted several battles towards the start of the colonial era, including the Battle of Plassey, as well as earlier wars against Maratha raiders.
The Hooghly river is a lifeline for the people of West Bengal. It was a main trade route in the past and through this river the East India company sailed in to Bengal and established their trade settlement. Kolkata was built around Hooghly river where Job Charnock landed here over three centuries ago.
Belūr Maṭh is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River. The presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, ‘she who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e. Saṃsāra’. The temple is famous for its association with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
The section to the north of Howrah bridge is dotted with derelict ghats, illegal warehouses and a crematorium.
It is unfortunate that while rivers continue to be the heart, soul and pride of major cities around the world, Hooghly lies abused and neglected.