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History of the Sabarna Roy Choudhury Family and of Kolkata (Calcutta) :


In the 10th century AD , five great Sanskrit scholars of India by the names of Sriharsha, Bhattanarayan, Dakshya, Vedagarva and Chandha came to Bengal to improve social conditions and recultivate Vedic Customs, at Imperial orders from Kanauj.Their descendants later assumed titles of Gangopadhayay, Bandopadhyay, Chattopadhayay, Mukhopadhyay etc. Sabarna gotriya Vedagarva, the son of Maharshi Shaubhari Upadhyay, is held as the founder of the Gangopadhyay (Ganguli) family of Bengal. The 21st descendant of this family was Jiya Gangopadhyay (1535 - 1620) was a Versatile Sanskrit scholar with gifted talents over the Nayay School of philosophy. He was a Vidya bachaspati and under his leadership Halishar became famous in India as a center of classical education only next to none. Jiya was married to a noble lady of extraordinary charming beauty named Padmabati. Their hard penance at Kalighat and discovery of the earthly remains of Satis mortal body earned them a child. Soon after the birth of the child on the day Kojagari Lakshmi puja in 1570 AD Padmabati died. The son was named Lakshmikanta. Highly grieved at the demise of his wife, Jiya renounced worldly life. He entrusted Atmaram Brahmachari, the priest of Kalighat and a wet nurse with the duty of upbringing the infant. Jiya took up the life of an ascetic and became a parivrajakacharya. Atmaram consecrated him as kamdeva Brhamachari. After touring many holy places, Jiya ultimately settled at Varanasi, where later he consecrated Mansingha the Moughal general as his chief disciple. In the mean time Lakshmikanta grew up to a tough warrior, a versatile scholar of Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic languages. He joined the administration at Jessore and proved as the most the trustworthy and able official of Pratapaditya. When Pratapaditya became corrupted and murdered his Uncle Basanta Rai and declared himself as a Independent ruler of Bengal, Lakshmikanta denounced the royal service and returns back to Kalighat to lead a religious life. Mansingha defeated Pratapaditya and came to Kalighat to meet his Guru's son Lakshimikanta.

Laksmikanta Gangopadhyay in 1608 was granted Jaigirdari of large areas (eight parganas ) in and around Dihi Kalkatah by Man Singha as Gurudakshina. He was also conferred the titles of "Ray" and "Choudhury". Henceforth his decendants came to known as members of Sabarna Roy Choudhury family. It was Laksmikanta who developed and civilized the land and made the place well known to the world for its cottage industries and cultures. He started the oldest durgapuja of Bengal in the year 1610 at Barisha.

In the year 1690 Job Charnock landed at Sutaluti and settled there as a tenant of the zamindars. He died on 10 th January, 1693. His son-in -law Charles Eyer fetched a firmaan from the Moughal court which asked our the then zamindar Vidyadhar Roy Choudhury to give the three villages of Sutaluti, Govindapur,& Kalkatah to the the British. But the then governor Azim-us-maan adviced Vidyadhar to make the transfer of the three villages of Kalkatah, Sutaluti,and Govindapur to the British but through an invalid dalil. This dalil was signed by two minors and was executed at Barisha Aatchala on 10 th november, 1698. We have fetched the copy of that dalil from the British Museum.

It should be remembered that much of the land thus bestowed upon Laksmikanta was uninhabited jungle and unculturable waste. Laksmikanta converted the whole of the area by his own indomitable energy, unflagging industry and unrivalled sagacity into habitable and culturable land and fetched thousands of people belonging to different caste, creed and profession to settle there upon.

People who have some knowledge of the difficulties of reclaiming waste lands, will understand the enourmous cost, labour, industry, intelligence and attention to details which the reclaimation of the total area within Laksmikanta s Jagir and Zamindaris must have entailed upon him. As the result of hard strenous work spread over half a Century, Laksmikanta managed to raise the comparatively small income of his landed properties to something over twelve lakhs of rupees per annum. He was recognised as one of the greatest Bhumiyas of Bengal and was loved and honoured by all.

This is also to be noted the Renowned Bengal Poet Bipradas Piplai in his magnum opus and well known Poetical work Manasa Vijaya, written in 1495 has described the place called Kalikatah, the old name of Kolkata. Also the name appears in Ainee-Akbari written by Abul Fazl in 1596. Thus Kolkata was present before the birth of Job Chornock and whatever lease of the land was given to the British was done much after his death. So, as believed, Job Charnock cannot be considered as the Founder of Kolkata. The Hon'ble Kolkata High Court in a lndmark Judgement delivered on May 16, 2003 has also clearly declared that neither Charnock is the founder of the City nor 24 th August is the birthday of the City. No one alone can ever found a city. But if at all somebody is to be given the recognition and honour as the Father of Kolkata then it should be my ancestor Laksmikanta.

 

  Barisha Rathajatra Utsav

 The oldest Chariot festival of Lord Sree Jagannath, Balaram and Suvadra in Kolkata was started in the year 1719 by my forefather Roy Krishnadev Gangopadhyay Majumdar Choudhury. Every year the festival attracts thousands of visitors at Barisha.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Barisha Aatchala, the Durgadalan & Natmandir erected by Laksmikanta in 1608 CE
  Our Pujas

In the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family at we have eight Durga Pujas. Six of them are being held at Barisha. The oldest dates back to 1610 and was started by our first Jaigirdar Roy Laksmikanta Gangopadhyay Mazumdar Choudhury and this Aatchala Puja is at present the oldest Durgapuja of Kolkata. Laksmikanta for the first time introduced worshipping Goddess Durga alongwith her children. The other five Durga Pujas at Barisha are that of: Barobari, Mejobari, Majherbari, KalikingKar Bhawan and Benakibari. The other two Pujas are held in our family extensions at Nimta and Birati. We have exclusive puja Mantras, Rituals and Customs. Our Durga pujas are done through "Durgabhaktitarangini" system composed by Vidyapati.

The other Pujas we perform are: Annapurna Puja, Rathayatra Jagatdhatri Puja, Chandi Puja, Shiva Puja, and Kali Puja. We also worship Radha-Krishna. All these pujas and festivals attract thousands of pilgrims from all over.

The Kalighat temple, Karunamoyee temple, Annapurna and Radhagovinda temples and many more were all built by our family. The temples at HalisaharNimta, Panihati, Uttarpara, Mandirbazar and Maida are worthmentioning.


The Banyan Shiva Temple at Baro Bari
  The Sabarna Parishad

The Sabarna Roy Choudhury Paribar Parishad and the Sabarna Sangrahashala have been established  to protect and preserve the history, heritage and culture of our family. These two institutions are working hard to fulfil their commitments. Both these institutions represent the family and its rich heritage before the world.


The Twelve Shiva Temples at Barisha erected by Santosh Roy Choudhury Circa 1780 CE
 
   
 

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