A day trip to Taki via Dhanyakuria

Yesterday we travelled out of the city after nearly one year! It was a sudden plan made last night as I just wanted to escape somewhere we hadn’t been before. So we ended up traveling to Taki via Dhanyakuria. It was a short approximate 12 hour outing yet what a wonderful trip it turned out to be!

I had heard a lot about disney-isque mansions of Dhanyakuria. It felt surreal to see them for real after the long car drive. We couldn’t meet any caretakers, but we got a good glimpse of fairy tale castles/mansions made by once prosperous local landlords. What intrigues me most is, what must have inspired them to build such huge mansions in European style – stucco work, Corinthian pillars, human figures and motifs? One can’t help but wonder about the architects and the builders who pulled this off 200 years ago!

Taki too has interesting small and big mansions/ zamindar houses dating back to 200 years or more. The rivers, the confluence and river border with Bangladesh on the other side – it made the place magical and poignant. A country that we could see, perhaps take a boat across is not accessible. It seems so near, yet is very far! Our local guide regaled us with many tales. He also showed us spots and houses where famous Bengali films were shot. One of them was the mud house where Bisarjan was shot! I don’t think there is any other film that can depict emotions of being at Taki border – estranged from country of ancestors, from a land visible yet inaccessible. Ichamati – a river that separates…also connects. And then there was confluence of three rivers – all flowing through the time bearing silent witness to storms that have changed destiny of land and people.

It felt a bit Herzogian to walk through the many brick kilns where poor labourers were busy making bricks with hands and smiles on their faces in the heat. The sun had almost set but they went on with their work. We don’t even realise – bricks that build our homes are made of clay from the river banks and they are set in mould, dried and fired by human hands of poor villagers who earn 500 rupees per thousand bricks. Our homes that we flaunt is not just made of our sweat – there is much sweat of all kinds of labourers. They work hard with a smile, they pose, they vote too and then they become invisible…

Our local Toto driver urged us to visit during Puja to see the spectacle of goddess immersion from both India and Bangladesh sides in the center of Ichamati river connecting the two banks. It is the day when the goddess and joy transcends borders. He added, “you have seen the Durga Puja festival in the city but come here next time – I promise it will be something very different.”. I asked his name. He smiled brightly and replied, “Abdul”. Once again I felt reassured that this land cannot be divided on the basis of hate and prejudice.

PS: We also walked through Golpata forest trail(known locally as Mini Sundarban). We followed all the covid protocols. Please wear masks and carry hand sanitizers.

Stucco Work on one of the pillars of Gaine Mansions
Gaine Bari – apparently Guru Dutt’s famous Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam was filmed here in 1962
Stunning stucco at Sawoo Mansion
Sawoo Mansion
Pillars and walls of Sawoo Mansion
Beautiful window at Sawoo Mansion
Ballav Mansion
Sawoo Mansion
Entrance of Gaine Castle (The Summer House)
Rasmancha – which has featured in many old and new Bengali films
A tale on the arch of Gaine Castle
Gaine Castle
Ichamati River – the other bank is Bangladesh (Khulna District)
Quiet flows Ichamati at Taki
Old house in Taki where the film Goyna r Baksho was shot
Gen. Sankar Ray Chaudhury’s Old house (Bangladesh war veteran)
Old pump house where wheels were turned manually to pump the water up
On the Pump house
Old mud house where the famous Kaushik Ganguly’s film Bisarjan was shot. The villagers were part of the village crowd scenes.
Same house where Bisarjan was filmed
On the way to Golpata forest
Ramp being constructed to walk through the swampy mangroves
Nat mandir of dilapidated Ghosh Bari
Closed Doors of the Ghosh Bari
Tender grass on the banks of Confluence of three rivers
Dusk at one of the many brick kilns at Taki
Keyapata Jungle of Bangladesh, visible from the Indian bank at Taki. It is situated right at the confluence of the three rivers – Ichamati(front), Kalindi(behind) and Vidyadhari (opposite side)
Two banks, two nations connected and separated by the rivers
Shy Tumpa – one of the many young workers at the brick kiln