August 2014

Gayen Castle - looks like a miniature version of an English Castle
“Gaine Castle – looks like a miniature version of an English Castle”

While driving through Taki Road from Barasat towards Basirhat, many curious visitors might have noticed an European Medieval style gate with two towers. On close observations it is perceived that on the top of the gate there is a statue of two Europeans fighting with a lion.

The gate is the entrance to a high walled enclosure. A signboard in Bengali states it to be State run orphanage. A smaller signboard says “No Entry without Permission”. It does not say anything about photography being prohibited. If it is early morning, one can jolly well take a chance to venture in the interior.

The Gigantic Thakurdalan - an indigenous design
The Gigantic Thakurdalan – an indigenous design

I have visited several Thakurdalans in West Bengal but none was as huge as this. A Thakurdalan is a common thing in old affluent homes of Bengal. It is actually an altar studded with pillars for worship, especially meant for Goddess Durga.

In this instance, six massive fluted doric columns introduced to the structure. The top of each pillar is decorated with stucco lotus flowers along with circle of stucco petals. On the frontal area there is a flight of stairs. I could see from the courtyard five archways beyond the pillars which were leading to the inner sanctum. Beyond that nothing was visible – only darkness.

It was ten in the morning. I was accompanied by three other fellow enthusiasts inside this nearing 150 years colossal mansion. Yet that darkness inside the massive structure gave me an eerie feeling. As if it was a never ending abyss or cavern. As I stood facing the Thakurdalan, I could see on my both sides long corridors with several pillars and window shades on both floors of the mansion. Plasters had worn off and in many places age old red bricks were visible. On the ground floor, one row of corridors were distastefully renovated in recent times with walls erected in between and around the pillars.