Bandel was founded by the Portuguese settlers in the 15th century, during the mogul rule. The name of the town is believed to have come from the local term for port, i.e. Bandar. Bandel is situated in the Hooghly district of West Bengal and is easily reachable from Kolkata. It is particularly famous for the old Portuguese church that is now known as the Bandel Church. It is also a busy railway junction and is governed by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) partially.
How to Reach
Bandel is only 40 kms away from Howrah and 70 kms from Kolkata. It is assessable by both rail and road.
Railways – Majority of Bandel’s residents and visitors prefer to travel by the local trains or express trains that stop at the Railway junction. It is one of the main stations on the Howrah-Bardhaman main line and is also connected to Naihati by the Sealdah section. The fare is fairly inexpensive and does not exceed Rs 100- Rs 150. Ganadevata Express, Mayurakshi Fast Passenger & Black Diamond Express are few of the major trains that halt at Bandel.
Road– There are a few local buses plying regularly from Kolkata to Bandel.
Ferry– A motor launch service also connects Naihati to Chinsurah and is available from 6AM to 10PM daily.
Attractions & Activities
There are quite a few places to see in and around Bandel. The most popular attractions include:-
- Bandel Church– The Portuguese Church Basilica and the adjoining monastery are the most important historical landmarks of Bandel. It was built in 1660 by Gomez De Soto and a mast of a ship, standing in front of the church is one of its main attractions. The building consists of three alters and houses the statue of, ‘One Lady of happy Voyage.’ There are a few tomb stones in the surrounding cemetery as well. Visitors can visit this important site between 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. every day.
- Hansheshwari Temple– This lies 5 kms to the north of Bandel and is a 3-temple complex, dedicated to Goddess Kali, Hansheshwari, and Lord Vishnu.
- Imambara– The marble inlaid Imambara is on the Howrah-Bandel main line. It was built in 1841 and houses a mosque with its walls containing inscriptions from the holy Koran. The main attraction of this place is an antique clock that had been procured from England at the cost of Rs 11,721 at those times.
- Debanandapur– This is the birthplace of the Bengali novelist, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It is at a distance of 3 Km from Bandel and contains a library as well as a museum where the articles used by the writer are displayed. The village is also one of the historical Saptagram and has some fine old temples.
- Sahagunj– This is the site of the Dunlop Factory which closed down finally in 2008.
Since the town is easily accessible from Kolkata, many prefer to spend the day in Bandel and depart in the evening. There are several hotels near the Bandel Church and the Railway Station though, however, none of them offers 5-star service.
When to Visit
There is no particular season for visiting Bandel. Tourists can easily look around the place all through the year.