Sukharia-Name of an unknown historical village
The village of Sukharia is associated with the Mitra Mustafi family whose other settlements were in the villages of Ula Birnagar and Sripur. The Mitra Mustafi family is sometimes called the family of Dewans as most of the family members served in different positions in the revenue departments during the rule of the monarchy.
The earliest root of the Mitra Mustafi family can be assigned to Kalidas Mitra who was one of the five Kayasthas who immigrated from Kanauj to Bengal. Counting from Kalidas Mitra, the 19th generation successor is the famous zamindar from Ula Birnagar, Rameswar Mitra.
Quoting from the District Handbook of Bengal, Volume 12, “Rameswar Mitra visited Delhi at the time of Aurangzeb (1618-1707) and said to have much impressed the 6th Mughal Emperor with his scholarship work in the Accounts Department, in which he so distinguished himself and did such good work,that Emperor awarded him the title Mustauphi (a royal title) and presented him with a golden palm (panja) (Royal seal, impression of entire palm)”. Thus the surname of Mitra Mustafi originated which should not be confused with the Muslim surname of Mustafa.
The golden palm received from Aurangazeb was used as a family logo for the Mitra Mustafis. Rameshwar Mitra Mustafi’s son Anantaram left Ula Birnagar and settled in Sukharia.
In this temple village, the most magnificent of the lot is the 25 pinnacled Ananda Bhairavi temple . Apart from this temple in Sukharia , there are four more samples of this kind of temple in the whole of Bengal – three in Kalna of Burdwan district and one in Sonamukhi of Bankura district. This temple was built by Bireswar Mustafi. During the massive earthquake of 1897 , the top most five pinnacles were destroyed which were later reconstructed. Along the main temple , twelve more temples are located in rows – six on each side. Ten of these temples are of aatchala style and two of them are of pancharatna style. One of those pancharatna temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and the remaining eleven belongs to Lord Shiva. Just beside the temple complex , a huge lake is also present which gives a magnificent mirror image of the entire temple complex.
Just next to the Ananda Bhairavi temple , there stands Radhakunja , a palace like mansion built by Ramjiban , the great grandson of Sambhuram Mitra Mustafi. Currently the mansion is in ruins. Once it was the centre stage of lots of wealth and grandeur as is evident from the huge columns and stucco on its walls. The bengali movie “Akaler Sandhane” directed by Mrinal Sen was shot in the premises of Radhakunja and was graced by quality actors like Dhritiman Chatterjee.
Walking for a few metres , one come across another temple complex on the banks of another lake. The main temple out here is the Navaratna styled temple of Harasundari Kali along with fourteen other temples distributed equally in rows on each side. Of them twelve are aatchala styled Shiva temples and two pancharatna styled temples. Dewan Ramnidhi Mustafi constructed these temples in 1813 A.D. The entire temple complex was renovated in 1968 and another round of renovation is happening currently under the supervision of the descendents of Ramnidhi Mitra Mustafi. Currently the Mitra Mustafis run an orphanage by the side of this temple complex.
Just few metres walking distance from this temple complex lies the Nistarini Kali temple.It is a huge few feet tall south facing navaratna styled temple constructed by Kashigati Mustafi in 1847 A.D. Currently restoration work is going on which is a good sign.
Situated another few metres from Nistarini Kali temple is the oldest temple in Sukharia – the Sidhheswari Kali temple. Once the river Ganges used to flow past the temple , but currently the river has resided its course to a huge extent and what lies next to the temple are lush green field. Although it has a rich past and heritage , nothing is evident from its current condition , the reason being unplanned renovation and its flat roofed structure which is deviating from the tradition temple architecture of Bengal.
The Puja Dalan of Lakshmidas Mitra Mustafi can also be viewed walking along the banks of the pond adjacent to the Harasundari temple complex. The huge European styled columns and stucco works awes us still today.
Apart from this several other old Shiva temples, Ras Manchas and Dol Manchas could not withstand the test of time and have been crumbled to dust unfortunately.
How to go?
Catch a train from Kolkata towards Katwa ( Howrah- Katwa local or Sealdah – Katwa local ) and get down at Somra Bazar Railway station. The village of Sukharia is adjacent to Somra Bazar and can be reached on foot or cycle rickshaw.
Nearby attractions around Sukharia: Nabadwip is nearby.
Things to do in Sukharia: You can explore the village of Sukhuria and visit the temples admiring the site. State Highway 6 from Nabadwip would take you to Katwa.
Best time to visit Sukharia: You can visit Sukharia any time of the year.
Lodging and dining facilities in Sukharia: There are no facilities for night stay in Sukharia.