Coordinates: 22°18'N 87°55'E? / ?22.3, 87.92
Tamluk is the district headquarters of Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal, India. Though there is some controversy, scholars have generally agreed that present day Tamluk is the site of the ancient city variously known as Tamralipta or Tamralipti. The present town is located on the banks of the Rupnarayan River close to the Bay of Bengal.
People and their socio-cultural background
The region has its own distinct ethnic mix, stemming from successive migrations and invasions from both the west, east, and especially from northern India after the Aryan invasion of India. Its history shows the complex combination of indigenous, Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and Islamic cultures, often introduced through physical conquest and political control, as well as through trade, travel, and migration.
Unlike other parts of Bengal, Tamluk was always well connected with the Gangetic plains. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the culture of Aryavarta influenced life in early Tamluk. The worship of Bheema is a sign of the socio-religious acceptance of Aryan culture in this area. Even in the recent past, Tamluk was divided into many areas based on caste and occupation, such as Malakar Para (Flower traders), Adhikary Para (Brahmins), Dey Para (Gold traders), and Mathore Para (Sweeper's colony).
Tamluk is well linked by road and rail. Tamluk is a major roadway junction with six bus-routes originating from it:
- Tamluk to Srirampur and Moyna
- Tamluk to Mecheda, Kolaghat, and Kolkata
- Tamluk to Panskura, Kharagpur and Ghatal
- Tamluk to Haldia, Durgachowk
- Tamluk to Digha, Contai, and Egra
Tamluk is a railway junction; routes are given below:
- Howrah to Haldia, via Tamluk
- Howrah to Digha, via Tamluk and Contai
- Haldia to Kharagpur via Tamluk
Buddhist Tirtha :-
During Fa-Hien's visit to Bengal, Fa-hien is said to have travelled eastward along the course of the Ganges river, and during his journey, he came across Buddhist stupas and monks at several places. In Tamluk/Tamralipti Fa-hien had spent two years, and visited twenty-two monasteries, inhabited by monks in Tamluk.
Since Bengal was adjacent to Magadha, it is possible that the Buddha had visited parts of Bangladesh as suggested by Hiuen Tsang, who noted that Asoka had erected stupas at various places in Bengal and Orissa including the Port City Of Tamluk to commemorate these visits.
Asoka's Reign and the Post-Maurya Period epigraphic and other sources reveal that Buddhism had established a powerful footing in Bengal during Asoka's reign. The discovery of a Mauryan inscription in Brahmi characters at mahasthan in the district of bogra bearing the name Pudanagala (Pundranagara) and the recovery of many Mauryan coins and other artifacts dating from the fourth and third centuries BC suggest that the Gangetic delta was under the control of the Mauryan empire. The Chinese traveller, I-tsing, is said to have noticed Asoka's stupas near tamralipti (Tamluk).
In southern Bengal from the time of Asoka to the Pala period, both the Hinayana and Mahayana, not the tantric, forms of Buddhism were practised. But a mystic form of Buddhism developed in Bengal during the Pala period and its profound impact entirely changed the course and history of Buddhism. This medieval Buddhist movement was founded by the tantric acharyas known as Siddhas who are traditionally believed to be men of psychic and supernatural powers. Buddhism, as a typical tantric form of mysticism, reached a stage in Bengal in the hands of the Siddhas where it was easily assimilated to Shaktism. The fusion between Saktism and Buddhist mysticism gave rise to new schools of Saktism and some forms of popular religion in which Buddhism is said to have survived, despite its decline in the face of Brahmanism.
Tamluk was also an eye-witness of these historical changes of Buddhism. Once the famous Buddhist Tantric Devi Tara or Ugratara, who used to be worshiped in a Buddhist Vihar in Tamluk, started to be recognised as Hindu Devi Kali named as Barghobhima. The temple of Devi barghobhima is built on the site of a Buddhist vihara.
Tamluk, the famous Buddhist Religious and Academic centre of South East Bengal and Eastern India gradually became a centre of Sanatan Shakti Peeth.
Sanatan Shakti Peeth :- It is an important pilgrim place of the Hindus and one of the 51 sacred places of Shakti Peeth where left ankle of Sati/Parvati fell. The temple's presiding deity is known as Shri Barghobhima Devi.
" Bivasete Bam Gulfa Felila keshab / Bhima Rupa Debi tate Kapali Bhairav" - Annadamongal by Bharatchandra Rai.
" Tamoluker Barghabhima Raikhan-r Kali" - Dharomongal by Manikram.
" Gokule Gomatinama / Tamralipte Barghobhima / Uttare Bidita Bishwakaya " Chandimongal by Mukundaram Chakrovorty.
Vaisnav/Vaishnav Thirtha :- In the vaishnava/vaisnava dharma Tamluk is also an important Vaishnav/vaisnava Tirtha. According to Kashidas Mahabharat and Jaimini's Mahabharat Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and Arjun came here to release the Devine Horse of Ashwamedh Yagna from King Tramradhwaja. The land of Tamluk is always devine and sacred because it was touched by the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.
In various Vaisnava religious writing Tamluk is mentioned as the next "Vrindavan" where on the next Kalp ( Next Creation of the universe) Sri Krishna will play his Rass Leela.
Sri Krishna himself confessed his affection with Tamluk to Arjuna, the son of Kunti.
- Tamoliptat Param Sthanam Nasmakam Pritirishyate
- Mamakam Hridayang Lakkha Jathatyajyang Tatha Maya
- Tamoliptang Hi Natyajyamidameba Sunischatam
- Tyajyami Sarbatirthani Kale Kale Yuge Yuge
- Tamoliptantta Kausteya Na tyajyami Kadachana.
It means : Tamluk is the supreme place of religion, the way my wife Lakshmi Devi stays in my heart, Tamluk is alywas nearer to my heart in such a way, Again and again, time to time i will leave all Pilgrimage, but will never leave tamluk for a moment even.
Christianity In Tamluk :- The ancient religious centre of Buddhist and Hindus also came under the Christianity. The first Christians in Tamluk were the Portuguese themselves. After their intermarriage with local women, their descendants became the first indigenous Christians. Then came the local converts to Christianity from both Hinduism and Islam.
In Tamluk, the Portuguese settlement had a church built in 1635. The flourishing slave market at Tamluk in the seventeenth century was mentioned by Shihabuddin Talish. In 1724, Valintine had mentioned the wax trade at Tamluk, while Carreri in 1695 had found Tamluk under Portuguese control and Christianity.
- This rapidly modernising small town is full of mandirs. Lord Chaitanya purified the land of Tamluk with his lotus feet the way to Neelachal/Puri. There is mandir of Sri chaitanya Mahaprabhu. it is called "Harir Mandir". Chaitanya Dev arrived here at 1507 ( 1402 Shakaba ) and took holy bath. When the devine self of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left this world in 1534 his disciple Bashudev Ghosh built the Harir Mandir in Tamluk.
At Tamluk's southern part there is a secred ghat to take bath on the day of Makar Sankranti and is considered as one of the holiest in India.
Following are the special religious places of interest of Tamluk:
- Barghobhima Mandir
- Harir Mandir & Mahaprabhur Dalan ( Near Jelkhanar More )
- Jishnu-Hari Mandir
- Radhamadhav & Radharaman Mandir ( at Rajbari )
- Ramkrishna Mission Sevashram
Following are the Special religious festivals of Tamluk :-
Economy :- Once Tamluk was famous for its trading when it was a seaport in past. Currently it also a place of Rich people. It is the One of the highest "Premium Collecting Area" of LIC in pan India basis. Main trade is of "Pan Leaf". The body building of bus is another important business.
- Charak Mela
- Makar Sankrant Barunir Mela ( Very famous )
- Bhim Mela ( On 11th day of Bengali month Magha )
- Kali Mela(at RAJARAMPUR in the bengali month of Chaitra)
- Ratha Jatra(at Harir Hat in the bengali month of Ashar)
Art and Culture :- Tamluk is always praised for its reach cultural activities. There are lots of Arts schools, Dance Schools and Drama groups.
Tamluk which is also an important craft center is located just 85 km south-west of Kolkata. People of tamluk is sober, cultured and rich.
Places to see :-
Rupnarayan - The bank of river Rupnarayan is famous for picnic.
Devi Barghobhima - There is a nearly 1150 year old Temple of Kali named here as Devi Barghobhima. This temple is a part of 51 Shakti Peethas. Puranas say that the small finger of left feet of Sati/Parvati fell here when Lord Vishnu cut the sacred Body of Goddess Sati into several pieces to make Lord Shiva quite.
Tamluk Rajbari - Tamluk Rajbari is on the outskirts of town. The literal translation for "rajbari" is king's house, once housing one of the many kings in West Bengal. The Mayura-dhwaja ( Peackok ) Dynasty had been named in Mahabharata, Bhagvat, Bramhabaibarto Puran etc as a very rich and wealthest one of that region.
Archeological Museum - There is an Archeological Museum in Tamluk; it is a must see place of the
town. Mr Kamal Kundu is the one of the prominent person who did his best to run
this museum. The Tamralipta Museum at Tamluk contains artifacts of tamra or
copper. Inscribed copper templates comprise the documents of this museum. The
museum has preserved a tamralipta of Greek inscriptions. The Tamralipta Museum
preserves the historical heritage of Bengal.
Rakhit bati - Rakhit bati is the another place to visit in Tamluk. In the beginning of 19th
century it was famous as a secrete center of the then revolutionary party
‘Anusilan Samiti' & ‘Gupta samiti'. Famous historian late Shri Tailakyanath Rakhit rebuilt this building.
Matangani Sahid Smarak - Matangani Sahid Smarak at the side of pond called Banpukur at Abasbari Para near Tamluk Court is another place of tourist interest. During the ‘Ahimsa' movement of 1942, while a crowd trying to capture Tamluk administrative building, British police opened fire in which Smt Matangini Hazara became ‘Sahid'. Later on Mahatma Gandhi appreciated her bravery and titled her as ‘Birangana'. This monument is a homage to her by Ex- prime-minister, Smt Indira Ghandhi. This is about 7Km from Tamluk station and on the way to Tamluk college.
Tamluk irrigation Bungalow - Tamluk irrigation Bungalow and its near by areas also famous for its semi-nonurban atmospheres. The River Rupnarayana is just 1 km from the bungalow.
Green fields near the rail station - Another very popular picnic destination in Tamluk is green fields near the rail station.
Maahishadal and Geonkhali are near by tourist places. At geonkhali river Rupnarayan joins Hooghly river with a beautiful backdrop.Kolaghat is another town on the bank of Rupnarayan River and famous for Hilsa (Ilish) fishes.
Schools and Colleges :-
- Tamluk Hamilton High School [Estd. 1852] >>> It is having a Museum also on the main building.
The Tamluk Hamilton School is the second oldest institution in district of Medinipur. In 1852, this school was founded by Mr. Robert Charles Hamilton, who was a salt merchant but Mr. Hamilton was a philanthropist, and so his name can be compared with Mr. David Hare, an immortal name in educational history of Bengal. This school produced a lot of jewels, but this school is famous due to the Khudiram Bose, the first martyr, who sacrificed his life to free the nation from the hands of British rule. He was a student of this school from 1900 to 1903
- Rajkumari Santonamoyee Girls' High School
- Tamluk High School ( Town School )
- Vidyapeeth Girls School
- Salgechia High School
- Daharpur High School
- Raghunath Memorial Academy
- Tamluk Central School
- Tamralipta Public School
- Byabattarhat Adarsha H.S School
Sirampur Agricultural High School
Tamralipta Mahavidyalay (Tamluk College) - One of the oldest colleges of this south-west region of West Bengal. It has BA, B.Sc, B-ed section. The building is old, surrounded by a large ground.