A dollop of Bengal – Byomkesh to Berhampore

Knowing my obsessive fascination with food, B for Biriyani should have been the ideal choice. But I had too many choices again. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata – the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest in the world, the historical Belur Math founded by Swami Vivekananda, the age-old Botanical Garden in Shibpur, Howrah, Bengal’s Baul music (folk) that unites Hindus and Muslims alike and famous places to visit like Bolpur (houses Visva Bharati – the university set up by Rabindranath Tagore) and Bishnupur (famous for Terracotta temples). But there were two subjects that defined Bengal for me – Byomkesh Bakshy and Berhampore.

Byomkesh Bakshy –

The novel – Byomkesh Bakshy

Created by author Shardindu Bandopadhyay, Byomkesh was one of the first and finest detective (though he preferred to call himself Satyaneshvi or the truth seeker) characters in Bengali literature. Accompanied by his best friend and writer Ajit Kumar Bandopadhyay in almost all the cases, he was unique in having a family of his own. The stories of Byomkesh were set during the time period of 1930-70 and the author managed to capture the vibrancy of Calcutta through his writing. While the television series starring Rajit Kapoor brought the detective closer to audiences nationwide, the curiosity about this character grew manifold when director Dibakar Mukherjee made a movie Detective Byomkesh Bakshy starring Sushant Singh Rajput in 2015.

Berhampore/Berhampur/Baharampore –

The buzzing Berhampore Court Railway Station

Located 200 kms away from Kolkata, Berhampore – the first capital of India under British rule, is the administrative headquarters of Murshidabad district. This town is the main point of connect to the historical town of Murshidabad that is also pinned as a tourist place of attraction. Situated on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, the town has the rich history of educational institutions, one of which dates back to 1853 – the Krishnath College. It is one of the two places in Bengal where a textile college is situated.

Berhampore Mela (Fair) 2018 

The town has a rich cultural lineage through theatre groups like Prantik with Rabindra Sadan as the indoor cultural activity hub. Just at the centre of the town is Barrack square also known as Square field famous for its role in Sepoy mutiny (1857). This ground is witness to most of the fairs in the town – the Book Fair or Boi mela being the most famous. The town is also famous for bell metal (Khagrai Kansha), Murshidabad silk sarees and chhanabora (sweet).

The side view of Barrack Square late in the evening

Travel –

Berhampore is accessible through rail and road from North and South Bengal. Berhampore court and Khagraghat stations are the stops to reach the town.

Stay & food –

While the town has innumerable options for stay, there are only a handful of three star hotels – Hotel Fame being one and a recommended option. Flavours restaurant at Hotel Fame serves a range of veg and non-veg food. Hotel Sunshine near bus stand can be considered as a good option for snacks. Nandan located in the heart of the town is a pure veg restaurant that has marked its presence two decades now.

Food & stay in Berhampore

The personal angle –

Born in Kolkata, my growing years were spent in Berhampore until plus two. I was that quintessential small town girl whose dreams of making it big took her to various metro cities across the country. The homecoming dipped from two/three trips to an eagerly awaited annual visit as I switched roles from that of a student to a working woman. Home for me always meant that room in my house where many a winter afternoon had been spent sipping coffee while reading Byomkesh Bakshy. Two years back, my husband and I decided to move back to Kolkata to ensure our new-born grew up amidst the love and affection of his grandparents. I had the privilege of spending quite a few afternoons in my house yet again. I regret is moments becoming memories now because Ma isn’t around anymore to recreate that magic.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee Banerjee

Who am I? Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Post graduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my two and half year old toddler son What is this blog about ? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

56 thoughts on “A dollop of Bengal – Byomkesh to Berhampore”

  1. Wowoowo.. I would never forget the byomkesh bakshy episodes. The time pass during those days. The real Indian Stephen king thriller if that time. I still can see rajat kapoor as byomkesh da.. Not very much memories of rabindra sadan as the travelling time was exhausting.. But i have visited rabindra sadan a couple of times. Lovely post Sonia. B for Beautiful. Have your say on my post too. Have a nice day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. O yes I remember the thrill Byomkesh Bakshi serial gave . It’s lovely to read your post . The place where you are born n brought up is always special but definitely it must be more special when Mom was there . Anyways be happy , life moves on . I would love to have biryani from you if get any chance

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  3. Wonderfully penned Sonia. Loved the flow. And yes, watching the TV series Byomkesh Bakshi was an integral part of my childhood like any normal 90s kid. You took me down the memory lane. The movie on the other hand did not pique my interest. So wonderful that you moved back to Kolkata..nothing like seeing your child growing up in the same familiar soil. Will come back tomorrow. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I could relate to the connection that we always have with our hometown. I am also moving closer to my town next month. Baul music I feel is divine. I even saw a show on Fox Traveler wherein Baul music was mixed with today’s hip hop. And this chemistry was simply awesome. Byomkesh Bakshy, for me, will always be that DD series of my childhood that I used to watch without any gap. Love this post 🙂 Please check my ‘B’ post here (Theme-Indian Spices): http://www.vibhuandme.com/2018/04/b-for-black-salt-digestive-stimulant.html

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  5. Byomkesh Bakshi was my favourite detective series, and it continues to be so even today!
    As I read your posts, Sonia, I wish I could also learn Bangla from you. It’s been on my list of to-be learnt things since quite a long time now, and I, at times, wonder how I am going to fulfil this wish!
    🙂

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  6. From Biryani to Byomkesh to Behrampore… Loved the flow.. I remember watching Byomkesh Bakshi and trying to figure out what is going to happen before he would.. Waiting for episodes and watching serials with family was so much fun.. I really want to visit Kolkata especially for their food and culture and hope to soon

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  7. Awesome! You are rocking with your posts on Bengal and as a fellow Bengali, madly passionate about Kolkata, I am feeling so proud as you continue to showcase iconic items from Bengal! I was wondering that Bengal has a lot to offer with B and you have mentioned almost all of them at the start of your post, but yes, Byomkesh and Berhampore are an unique combination but packs a punch. Well Done! Enjoyed every bit of your post and left me wanting for more.. I loved the personal touch you lend at the end to your posts and that makes things so very real. Keep going strong and we are all eagerly waiting for your next post 🙂

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  8. Again, a lovely post. I’m actually planning to learn and view Bengali through your series now 🙂 no kidding. Its a place I’ve wanted to go to but just can’t find a reason or chance.

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  9. What a coincidence, yesterday I watched byomkesh bakshy movie for the first time and fell in love with the engaging plot that doesn’t let the viewer get distracted for a minute. Each frame capturing old Calcutta and the marvelous acting and today I read your post mentioning same ☺. My father stayed posted in Murshidabad and told us many stories about his stay there. He’s a retired BSF Officer now. He brought us lots of stuff from Sree leathers Murshidabad and the quality was impressive indeed. It was lovely reading your blog and reminding all those memories !!
    Have a great day ahead Sonia and thanks for sharing ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sonia, I really loved Rajit Kapur in the television series Byomkesh Bakshy. He was such a homely detective adapted to Indian ethos. I remember he used to dress in Indian clothing unlike many of the modern detectives in suit and ties. And unlike Sherlock Holmes who has a cold precise nature and was portrayed as a reasoning machine Byomkesh Bakshi came across as a warm affectionate man who was also capable of solving a crime very adroitly. Berhampore too sounds like a very interesting place. Thanks for a great article.

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  11. I’m learning so much from your posts, Sonia. I had heard about Berhampore but didn’t know its significance and history. Byomkesh Bakshi on the other hand was one of my favourite serials. Didn’t see the movie though.

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  12. Wow! A flood of options for B here. Loved knowing more about the place where you grew up early years 🙂 I think now, more than the information of the city, I am looking forward to the personal angle that will relate to it at the end 🙂

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  13. Byomkesh Bakshi – fictional detective in Bengali literature created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay is one of the most successful and popular characters in Bengali literature. I have heard a lot about this character but I am yet to read or watch the series – They are famous still on Youtube. May be once I get free from blogging for sometime I will catch up with this serial.

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  14. Sonia, this post made me nostalgic and concerned as well. I loved Byomkesh Bakshy too ..still do. For me, home is synonymous with Mum and her food, her nagging, her love and more. Dads too…such a big role they play in our lives.

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