Bandel Church is a popular destination in West Bengal known to be among the oldest churches in entire India. This church is also famous as Basilica of the Holy Rosary. This is the most visited destination in West Bengal that can be covered in a one day trip. This place is constructed in the year 1599 for honoring the Portuguese settlement in West Bengal. This church is completely dedicated to Mother Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ. Since she is also famous as “Our Lady of the Rosary”. That is why the church acquired this name.
As the name goes Bandel Church, this Church is located in Bandel. The town was known by the Portuguese and located in West Bengal. Bandel means port and this famous town falls under the Hooghly district of West Bengal. One can easily reach the town, as it is located just 40 away from the main Howrah station. However, road communication is also very relaxing therefore one can avail a car and go for a long drive to this town.
Towards the end of the 16th century, Portuguese become extremely very cruel. They become so cruel that they began to rob others and sell children and women as slaves. As soon as Shah Jahan the Mughal Emperor got to hear this, he immediately sent a troop to attack Hooghly port under Qasim Khan Juvayni Nawab’s command. From the five priests residing there, four of them lost their lives.
Tiago made every effort to take Mother Mary’s statue but somehow failed and the statue drowned into the river. During this attack, the church also got destructed. The fifth priest who was alive - Joan da Cruz was then taken as the prisoner along with followers.
As a punishment, death sentences were being given where the people will die below the elephant’s feet but while coming across the priest, the instead of trampling under the feet, the elephant raised him up on the back. This is where the emperor got surprised and believed that the priest was a good person. He was then freed and sent back to Hooghly along with the other people who were imprisoned. On his return, he provided almost 311acres of the land to reconstruct this church.
When you compare the other churches of West Bengal, this church is a lot smaller in size. Even then it is still one of the most visited churches among people of India and abroad. On visiting the church, you will find various things in it.
Once you visit the place, you will find a big mast which is kept safe within a glass enclosure. The ship mast was being installed by the captain when his ship was being saved from the storm. The mast got damaged while the tree fell down due to the storm.
People from different communities have their gates open while the visiting hours. Whoever goes there can spend time in the church without any noise. However, photography is not permitted in the church. You can find several paintings inside the church which will imitate the history of the Jesus Christ. You can still find Mother Mary’s statue inside the church.
You will find a courtyard present in front of the structure which resembles more like a cave. You can find a fountain on center. You will find people lighting candles in this part and pray whereas some other will drop coins in the fountain and pray to get the wish fulfilled. Some stairs are also there which leads to the main church.
As soon as you enter the church, you can find a huge and wonderful chandelier and also colored glass windows. Another thing is the grand tower clock which one needs to see. The tourists and the devotees will also find Mother Mary statue. People generally visit there and worship the statue.
One can reach Bandel though air, railway and by road as well.
- Through Air: If you are willing to go through air, then the nearest airport you have is the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport. From here Bandel is 40km. Once you get down to the airport, you can avail train or take a car on rent in order to reach Bandel.
- Through Train: Bandel is connected through different rail network. One can easily avail the trains from Howrah station in Kolkata and reach their destination. Trains are always available from here.
- Through Road: There are many mini-bus stands from where people can easily catch buses. The buses run from Kolkata from where several long-distance buses run to Bandel.
If you wish to check one of the ancient churches in India, Bandel Church is definitely a great destination for you. So get your tickets booked and visit this place to find ancient India and the history of the church.