Panihati pilgrimage

Reference of the glorious heritage of this Place is found in the ancient literature. Reference of Sukchar is found in the voyage route of Chand Sadagar Manasa Mangal written by Bipradas Pillai in 1495. The Bhagirathi Map from Suti to Gangasagar prepared by Jao De Barros in 1550 BS, mentions Agarpara and Barnagar. Panihati has been depicted as a prosperous and sacred place in Chaitanya Charitamrita, Chaitanya Bhagabat, Chaitanya Mangal & other texts. W. W. Hunter in the Statistical Account of Bengal, 1875, mentioned Strictly speaking with the exception of Calcutta, there was no large river side cities, with community living by water traffic. The following is the list of the chief trading towns and villages showing principal articles for which each is noted. The Hooghly – Baranagar, Dakshineswar, Agarpara, Panihati and Sukchar. It is also worth to note from the 24 Parganas District Gazetteer Chaitanya then stopped at a very populous and prosperous village called Panihati. According to Chaitanya Bhagabata no other village on the eastern bank of the Bhagirathi was as populous and prosperous as Panihati in those days. Chaitanya Deb had taken Sannyas exactly 500 years back in the year 1510 and his first visit to Panihati was in the year 1514.

Holy Footsteps :
The land of Panihati is very holy, as it is here where Netai and Gour once dwelled. Beside the holy river Ganges, in this very land of Panihati, one may still see, the Banyan Tree, the house of Raghab Pandit and his favourite Madhabikunja . This land has been immortalized by the words of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had once quoted:

It is here in four places, where I dwell,
In the kitchen of Sri Shachi Maa,
In the dance of Sri Nityananda,
In the courtyard of Sribas,
In the house of Raghab

The main relation between Bengal and Rathayatra of Puri was played by Raghab Pandit and his sister Damayanti Debi. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had permanently started to live in Puri, once every year various foodstuffs, condiments and articles of daily usage were sent to Puri from Panihati. This is known as Raghab Jhali (Raghaber Jhali). It was made by Sri Damayanti Debi who was the Sister of Raghab Pandit and a devout disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Every year till date it is sent to Puri from Panihati.

Every year this festival is held twice and thousands flock in to witness it. One in Jyeshtha Shukla Troyodashi (Danda Mahotsava) and Ashwin Krishna Dwadashi (arrival of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprahu known as Agamani). One can still feel even to this day, the blessings and the presence of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the land of Panihati.

Beside Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityanansa, Raghab Pandit and other Bishnab Parshads, this place has an unique distinction of having the footsteps of other noble persons like Sri Ram Krishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Mahtama Gandhi, Rabindra Nath Tagore., Acaharya Parfulla Chandra Roy. In fact this village on the river bank, is an unique confluence of such great personalities which no other place has.

Gangar Ghats
On the river bank of Hooghly, along Sukchar – Panihati – Agarpara there seems to be a necklace of gangar ghats, temples and ashrams, the picturesque view of this concentration is probably comparable with Kashi – Varanasi, which has been revealed in the research work of Jatindra Mohan Dutta aliasly renowned as Jom Dutta (published in SHONIBARER CHITHI); there is no other place in India in respect of the concentration of beautiful Ghats (33 nos) on the bank of the River Ganges in Panihati, which is next to only Kashi/ Varanasi.” Incidentally the special red sugar used in Varanasi was being manufactured in Sukchar and was being supplied from Sukchar, as it was one of the largest manufacturers of red sugar.