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Chandrakona is a town and a municipality in the Ghatal subdivision of Paschim Medinipur district in the state of West BengalIndia. The city is located between Ghatal and Garhbeta. The king – Chandraketu was the founder of the kingdom of Chandrakona. In Ain-E-Akbari it was mentioned as ‘Mana’.


A traceable history of Chandrakona and its adjoining areas begins to emerge about 690 A.D. when the Malla Dynasty was founded at Bishnupur. It must have been at that time a prosperous place, but not much else is certain. Historically, it was turbulent times; the anarchical period known as Matsyanyaya (?????????) in the history of Bengal. But tucked into the less-populated, forest covered fringes of the Chotonagpur plateau, the kingdom of Bishnupur lived by its own standards. And thanks to its excellent supply-system of agriculturally rich areas irrigated by river Shilaboti and its canals, Chandrakona grew in eminence, though gradually. Its proximity to the Puri route helped greatly, since it remained a part of Utkal or Orissa for a considerable period beginning early 13th century. The Jagannath temple had been completed only half a century ago.

17th century scholar Jagamohan Pandit, in his Sanskrit geography-text Deshavali Vivriti, described Chandrakona as an important place in Bhan Desh - a land lying between the rivers Kangsabati and Shilaboti; a rich land where quality jute grew in abundance and sustained a renowned jute-textile industry. Cotton also grew, and the cotton-textile industry was almost equally famous.Its rivers and waterbodies yielded abundant fish and sustained a large population of fishermen. This prosperity was gained even as the Mughals and the Pathans clashed over the terrain for dominance till the former emerged victorious.

Raghunathgarh Rekha Deul

The political stability required for this prosperity came Chandrakona's way as the chief of a Rajput contingent, Indraketu, established almost independent rule here in the early 15th century. At about the same time another Rajput, Gajapati Singh, assumed the rule of Bagri, lying west of Chandrakona. These two tiny kingdoms fought each other several times during the next centuries, so that their family trees and fate became inextricably entangled.

Chandrakona thrived during the century-long rule of the Ketu kings. The town probably got its name from the third of them - Chandraketu. Jogesh Chandra Basu, a scholar on the history of Medinipur, says that Chandrakona was previously known as Mana. Chandraketu ruled during the early decades of the fifteenth century. The Gurudwara of Chandrakona dates from this time. Guru Nanakji and Mardanaji came to Chandrakona in 1510 on their way to Puri and set up a manji here which has now evolved into a gurudwara revered and visited by Sikhs from different parts of the state.

During Mughal rule Chandrakona retained its status of a semi-independent kingdom. By the middle of the 16th century Birbhan Singh, a Chauhan, began a new line of rulers. They efficiently ruled over the town for about 150 years, till in the early eighteenth century Maharaj Kirtichandra of Burdwan overthrew Raghunath Singh, the last of them. However, most of what constitutes the glory of Chandrakona, its temple complexes and its large tanks, tell us of the interest the Bhan rulers took in public works as well as of their patronage of religion and art. The legendary prosperity of Chandrakona, a town with fifty-two market places and a network of fifty-three inter-linked roads, owed itself to the efficient administration of the Bhan rulers.

Chandrakona came under the British East India Company in 1760. The textile industry was most hardly hit as a consequence. The famous weavers of Chandrakona had either to re-locate or to take up farming as profession. However, the town held its own as an important centre of trade and commerce. In the nineteenth century Chandrakona was known for producing quality brass utensils. It got its municipal administration in 1869 and Beverley's Census Report of Bengal, 1872, records that the town had a population of 21,311; that is to say, almost equal to its present population. Once a part of Hooghly district, the town was incorporated into the Ghatal subdivision of Medinipur district in 1872. Over the next six decades the population of the town depleted alarmingly. In 1931, it was reported to have a population of a little over 6000.

The Temple of Malleswar

Like its more famous neighbour Bishnupur, Chandrakona may also be termed a temple town. Its temples display the blending of several architectural styles - the Odissi Rekha-Deul, the char-chala and at-chala styles of Bengal, and so on. Some of them, like the one at Mitrasenpur, are decorated with excellent teracotta plates depicting events from the Mahabharata and the Avatars of Vishnu. The pancharatna temple of Malleswar is also a grand structure. But most of these temples have become dilapidated, and hardly any effort is being made to preserve these heritage structures. In addition to the temples, there are three Asthals i.e. monastic establishments of the Sri Vaishnava Ramanuja sampradaya hailing from the spiritual lineage of the Ahobila Mutt.

Navaratna temple of Mitrasenpur

The eminence of the Dharmathakur cult in Chandrakona points to the co-existence for centuries of Brahminical and non-Brahminical religions. Several Dharmathakur images are found at Gobindapur, Narahipur and Jayantipur localities of Chandrakona. The Shivagajan festival at the end of the Bengali year, one of the major religious festivals in Chandrakona, is also reminiscent of pre-Aryan rituals.