|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Jhargram|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Garbeta|
Garbeta is a town in Medinipur Sadar subdivision of Paschim Medinipur district in West Bengal, India. It is on the bank of the Shilabati. Gar in Bengali means a nullah. The boundary of the earlier town was surrounded by a small nullah. Garbeta can also be spelled as Garhbeta.
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Garhbeta has a very rich history from ancient era. In the epic age the area of Garhbeta was called Bakadwip and its span was 450 sq. miles.In the era of Mahabharat this Bakadwip was under the jurisdiction of Bakasur.Its kingdom was Betrabati.Bhimsen killed Bakasur.Srikrishna came from Dwaraka to congratulate Bhim. In memory of this Yudhisthir set up an image of Krishna. At present the image of God Krishna Rai Jew in the village of Krishnanagar is that very image set up by Yudhisthir.Other opinions about the nomenclature of Grahbeta. A vast area was called Baghratati. Once Siharuddin Bugrasah, the son of Samaduddiin Firoj Sah, the ruler of Bengal occupied this area. The place is named Bagri after the name of Siharuddin Bugrasah. During the reign of King Vikramaditya a Yogi (Sage) came to the kingdom of Bagri.He was charmed to see the beauties of nature and in order to display his religious devotion, he built the temple of Sarbamangala. Hearing of the miraculous power of the goddess Sarbamangala. Then King Vikramaditya came to Garhbeta and devoted himself to meditation on the corpses (Sabsadhana).Being pleased with him the goddess Sarbamangala blessed him with the power to dominate over Tal Betal, so called supernatural figures. To prove the success of goddess's blessing showered upon him Vikramaditya ordered Tal Betal to turn the face of the temple from the south to the north. The order was instantly carried out. The name of the place was given Beta after the name of Betal.During the reign of Kumar Gupta in the Gupta Age his courtier Betra Barma founded this town. Probably Betra Barma built a fort for protection of the town. 'Fort' is called 'Garh' in Bengali. The king excavated a deep canal round the fort. There were four gates to four sides of the fort. They were Lal Gate to the north, Pesha Gate to the south, Rahut Gate to the east and Hanuman Gate to the West. Probably at first the town was named Betra Garh. In course of time the term Betra Garh had been changed into Garh Betra and then into Garhbeta.
Beginning of 15th century. The territory of the King of Odisha, Purusottam Gajapati was extended to Midnapore and Hoogly. One of his sons, Pratap Rudra Gajapati got the right to rule the area of Garhbeta. He was known as Gajapati Sing. His two chief courtiers were Upendra Bhatta who was saintly and Rajadhar Roy who was very skill in his office. The then Emperor of Delhi was Mamud Shah. He conferred the title of 'king' on Gajapati. Gajapati Sing died in 1420 A.D. Before his death Gajapati divided his kingdom between his two sons. The eldest son Dhanapati resided in the capital of Garhbeta. The youngest son Ganapati founded separate kingdom in Goaltore. Dhanapati suddenly died in 1440 A.D. Hambir Sing, the only son of Dhanapati succeeded the throne. He was drunken and disorderly. He reigned for five years. He built a fort named Hambir Garh. Now it is Hoomgarh. When Hambir died in 1445 A.D. his son Raghunath was minor. Ganapati Sing of Goaltore built a fort at Nayabasat. Ganapati died without any issue. Hambir's son Ragunath Sing succeeded the entire kingdom of Bagri. The King's mother,Kalyan Kumari kept a check on the kingdom on behalf of minor Raghunath. In 1470 A.D. Raghunath became adult and took over the charge of the Kingdom. He was an ideal and wise king. He built a recreation hall,a hall for prayer in the mouza of Malibagicha,a temple named Raghunath Bari.He introduced Dole festival of Sri Krishna Rai Jew. He divided land into three categories and collected, of production as revenue. To the north in the border of Malla Kingdom he installed military camp in Agragram (at present Agra). He extended his territory to Chnadrakona. He had confrontation with the king of Maina. Bagri year started from 1481 A.D. Raghunath Sing was deeply shocked at the pre-mature death of his eldest son and this shock led him to death in 1540 A.D. After the death of Raghunath Sing his second son Chitra Sing became the king of Bagri. He was arrogant, proud, worthless and fond of luxury. He eloped a woman Tulshi by name and installed her in a palace built by him in a place to the South of Garhbeta. He used to go there every now and then. Gradually the place became populated. The present name of the place is Tulsi Chati. Oppression of Chitra Sing became unbearable to the subjects and they began to flee to the kingdom of the Malla King of Bishnupur. In 1548 A.D. the Malla King availabled himself of the chance and suddenly attacked the capital of Bogri. Chitra Sing was engaged in hilarity. Unprotected helpless king Chitra Sing committed suicide with his family jumping in the pond of the pleasure garden. Original king dynasty of Garhbeta ends here.
The Malla King of Bishnupur was Dhari Malla. His representative in Garhbeta was Sur Malla. Malla representative ruled here only for seven years. Chouhan Sing killed Sur Malla and occupied power. There are two opinions about the identity of this Chauhan Sing. First opinion - when Chitra Sing committed suicide, one of his sons fled away secretly and gathered power and thereafter rescued his paternal kingdom. This person is Chauan Sing. Second opinion - Chauhan Sing was an expelled prince of the Malla dynasty. Chauhan Sing was a good ruler. He divided his kingdom into 12 Dihis and appointed a Dihidar in each Dihi. He established rule of law and peace. He rugularised collection of revenue. He surveyed the land and assessed revenue. He excavated these founds - Jaltungi, Indra Puskarini, Pathar, Hedua, Mangala, Kalas Dighi, Amra Puskarini and Kanchan Dighi in Raskundu. Chauhan died in 1570 AD after 15 years' reign. After the death of Chauhan Sing his worthless son Buttar Sing ascended the throne of Garhbeta. He reigned for ten years. He died survived by no issue.
A Kin's son of Buttar Sing named Chhatra Sing captured the Kingdom of Garhbeta. He oppressed the subjects and snatched the properties of the well-to-do families. He reigned for 40 years. In 1620 Chhatra Sing died. After the death of Chhatra Sing his honest pious and education loving son Tilak Chandra Sing became the king of Garhbeta. He was an ideal and wise king. He ruled over his subjects with paternal affection. Many talented persons began to migrate to Garhbeta from other kingdoms and permanently reside here. He reduced the rate of revenue of the subjects and thereby lightened their burden. The subjects during his reign were happy. In 1643 A.D. Tilak Chandra died. After the death of Tilak Chandra his son Tejchandra Sing became the king of Garhbeta. He was ill fated. He was the last king of the Chauhan dynasty. He did many works for the wellbeing of his subjects. The other name of Tejchandra was Rahut. He excavated a pond in the middle of the town of Garhbeta. The present name of the pond is Raota. The chief of his army was Gorakhan. The king was engaged in subduing the enemy. The Malla king of Bishnupur took the chance and attacked Garhbeta. The fort keeper Gorakhan died by canon shot. Tejchandra was deeply shocked and hid himself. Here after there was no news about him. Queen Kanakprava with her baby son took shelter in the palace of the king of Mayur Bhanja, her husband's friend. Malla King Durjan Sing became the king of Garhbeta. He was cruel and oppressor. He was devoted to the God Bishnu. He founded the temple of Radhaballav Jiu in 1686 A.D. Dacoity at that time was rampant, Khayer Malla, a leader of the dacoits killed Durjan Sing in the open field of Gangani in course of his morning walk (1710 A.D.). Khayer Malla, the leader of the dacoits became the king of Garhbeta. During his reign there were unrestrained oppression, plunder and disorder. This condition continued for ten years. Tejchandra and Kanakprava's son Dasarathi became adult in the palace of Mayurbhanja and attacked Garhbeta with the help of the king of Mayurbhanja in 1720 A.D. Khayer Malla was defeated and killed. Dasarathi became known as Samser Bahadur. Samser Bahadur ascended the throne of Garhbeta in 1720 A.D. He was a proficient ruler. He built separate palace in Monglapota and used to reside there. Samser Bahadur made some reforms in administration and revenue. He did many works beneficial to the subjects. He excavated wells and ponds. Bagri (Maratha cavalry) raid took place during his reign. Samser Bahadur died in 1744 A.D. After the death of Samser Bahadur his son Baisnab Charan Sing ascended the throne of Bagri. He was a pious honest and good ruler. He appointed governors entitled Mandal. He appointed high official entitled Rajadhyaksha. Baisnabcharan Sing reigned for 16 years. He died in 1760 A.D.
After the death of Baisnab Charan his son Yadab Sing ascended the throne. He suffered the irony of fate. In the mean time the British company won the Battle of Plassy in 1757 A.D. In 1760 A.D. Major Johnton obtained the right to collect the revenue of Midnapore district from Mirkasim. The collectors appointed by the East India Company were empowered to collect revenue all over the country. Yadab Chandra Sing paid Rupees 12549 and 4 annas as annual revenue to the collector of Burdwan. Yadab Chandra founded Yadabnagar. During his reign the devastating famine of 76 (1769 A.D., Bengali era 1176) saturated Bengal. Yadab Chandra could not send revenue to the collector of Burdwan. He informed the company of his distress. The Company suspected that the king intentionally stopped payment of revenue. The Council sent order to the king to appear before the council. The king did not respond. Suspension of the Company was confirmed. The Company suspected the king insurgent. The Company mobilized British soldiers in Sahebdanga. The British soldiers captivated Yadab Chandra and brought him to the Fort William. The company confiscated the kingdom of Bagri on the ground of non-payment of revenue. The subjects were reluctant to pay revenue to any person other than that of the royal family. In 1772 A.D. Yadab Chandra died in Fort William.There is a hearsay that Yadab Chandra committed suicide by sucking diamond ring. Company rule continued for 7 years. Failing to collect revenue the company granted Charter of Bagri to Yadab Chandra's son Chhatra Sing (II) in 1779 A.D. The subjects continued demonstration of agitation. Agitation turned into insurgency. The English writers called the offened subjects 'rowdy' (Chuar) and called the mass agitation 'Rowdy Rebellion' (Chuar Bidroha),Under the leadership of Achal Sing, the Commander-in-Chief of Chhatrapati Sing II the rebels became terrific. The British soldiers could not captivate Achal Sing. Chhatra Sing could not meet the demand of revenue. Again in 1784 A.D. Bagri Kingdom was confiscated 146 villages were conferred to the king of Bagri as freehold. Collection of revenue came under the control of the company. A permanent collector was appointed. In 1806 A.D. the revolt under the leadership of Achal Sing became very strong. The opportunist British took refuge to Chhatra Sing. As a result of joint conspiracy of the king and the company Achal Sing was caught. In the other opinion a faithful follower of Achal Sing betrayed and caused to catch him in temptation of rent-free landed property. Without trial Achal Sing and 13/14 other rebel leaders were sentenced to death by hanging. Even after Achal Sing's death by hanging the suspension of the British towards Chhatra Sing was not removed. Three hundred soldiers were sent under the commandership of Charles Richard Barwell and Henry Okbay to subdue the rebels. At first Chhatra Sing II was captivated and sent to the bunglow of Hooghly. On 11 April in 1817 his power was seized. He was endowed an annual grant of Rs. 6000/-.His entrance in Bagri was prohibited. Chhatra Sing had no son but only one daughter. His daughter had three sons - Gajaraj, Chadra Mohan and Manomohan. For extriction of their maternal grandfather Chandra Mohan and Monomohan were busy in adulation of the British. A rebel Biswanath by name was very powerful. He had a bulky body. So people called him Bhoda (Fatty). A reward was declared for his catch and it was also proclaimed that his catch would ensure the king's extrication. Chandra Mohan and Monomohan killed Biswanath and displayed his truncated head and thereby obtained a reward of Rs. 500/- and a certificate of loyalty to king. In 1823 A.D. (Bengali Era 1230, 7th Kartik) Chhatrapati Sing II was acquitted on the bond containing six conditions. After enjoying grant for sometime Chhatrapati Sing died on 25 May in 1825. Chhatra Sing nominated Manomohan the successor of his throne. On 6 August 1825 Company sanctioned Rs. 6000/- as annual grant for him. Manomohan died on 1 April 1873. Monomohan had three sons - Jagajjiban, Mitrajit and Jagattaran. They were not allowed annual grant. Afterwards H. L. Harison initiated to sanction them an annual grant of Rs. 1500/- with effect from 3 September 1878. Jagajjiban died on 25 April 1906 and thereafter the annual grant stopped for ever. Jagajjiban had three sons - Rajaram, Keshari and Ramchandra. In spite of their utmost effort they were refused annual grant. At Present their successors are at Monglapota.
The economy of this area is agriculturally based. The principal crops include rice, potatoes, wheat, jute and vegetables of different kinds. Some villagers are engaged in fishing, hawking and weaving. A small percentage of the townspeople are government employees and school teachers. Most of the people are middle class to lower middle class.
Garbeta is well connected by highways and railways with nearby cities like Midnapore, Kharagpur, Bankura, Ghatal, Howrah etc. For local transportation bus, minibus, auto rickshaws and van rickshaws are available. There is also a railway station named Garbeta Railway Station.
There are number of well known schools in Garbeta, including Garbeta High School, Banerjee Danga High School, Saradamani Girls' High School, Garbeta Umadevi Girls High School and Monglapota High School. The only college here is Garbeta College which is part of Vidyasagar University. There are also non-governmental educational organizations in or near Garbeta including "Raksha Bandhan For Education", "Kishalaya Free Coaching Center" and the "Garbeta Science Association".
There is a rural hospital in Garbeta, as well as many private medical practitioners. Overall, the population is generally healthy.
Sarva Mangala temple
There are a number of temples in Garbeta but particular mention has to be made of the temple of Sarva Mangala. It is peculiar in having its door facing the north.[why?] According to the tradition, during the days of Maharaja Vikramaditya of Ujjain a yogi was wandering about in the thick of the forests and was attracted to this particular place. He immediately brought about a temple of Sarva Mangala Devi through his mantras.
Maharaja Vikramaditya came to know of the dynamic force of this and came to Garbeta where he performed a tantric sadhana sitting on a dead body. The Devi was pleased with the sadhana of the Maharaja, blessed him with supernatural powers and gave him the services of Tal and Betal[who?]. The Maharaja wanted to test the spiritual power conferred on him by the Devi and asked Tal and Betal to turn the temple and make it face the north. Tal and Betal did so and it is said that the name Garbeta derives its name from Tal and Betal.
There are many festivals in Garbeta. There is one rural organization named Prayas which promotes all manner of cultural events. There are some religious sites, among which Sarbangala Mandir is most popular. The regular Bengali festivals like Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Saraswati Puja and Kali Puja are well attended. Other common pujas are Sitala, Jagaddhatri, Holi and Bheema.
Famous Tourist Spots
- Gangani - A natural hill on the river bank which is a very popular picnic spot.
- Sarbamangala Mandir -The largest temple on the north side of Mangala lake, it shows the influence of Oriya architecture.
- Raikota Fort - Some of the most prominent architectural remains are the ruins of an old fort. At the entrance to the fort are four massive gateways which still bear their old names: Lal Darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja, Pesha Darwaja and Rauti Darwaja. Within the fort there are seven large silted up water ponds, each with a temple in the center. They all lie towards the north of the fort and it is believed that they were excavated between 1555-1610 A.D. in the time of the Chauhan Rajas of Bagri.
- Bagri's Krishnarai Jiu Temple - The temple is situated at the left bunk of the river Silaboti. It has five pillars and is a pure example of Bengali architecture. It was built by Rajyadhar Roy, minister for the first king of Bagri, Gajapati Singha. The idol of Lord Krishna is made of black basalt stone.
- Kameshwar Temple and Radhaballav Temple - Both the temples are famous and one can see some similarity with Sarbamangala Temple . Radhaballav temple is a mixture of Oriya and Bengali architecture.
- Raghunathji Temple, Raghunath Bari - It is situated at the southern part of river Silaboti and has nine pillars. Raghunath or Bishnupur's Adi-Malla made this temple.[clarification needed]
- Uriyasaier Temple - The remains of a stone temple, made by Chouhan Singha.
- Jhalda Fort, Nayabasat - The remains of Bagri king Ganapati Singha's fort.
Gallery of Shilabati at Gangani
- History of Bagree-Rajya (Garhbeta): with Special Reference to its Anti-British Role, from Late 18th century Till the Present Times by Gouripada Chatterjee, foreword by R.C. Majumdar. Edition: 2nd rev., Delhi, India : Mittal Publications, 1987. ISBN 81-7099-014-9
- Prayas cultural club research work on the history of Garbeta.
- Prayas photogallery of Garbeta.
- Paschim Medinipur District Official Website
- Purba Medinipur District Official Website
- Midnapore - Website for East and West Midnapore
- On temples of Midnapur