It was October 2019 and after a brief spell of rain on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to take my bike for a test long ride after a recent servicing. Not finding anything within the one-hour driving range I decided to check out Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary, which is quite famous for bird photography. I was not carrying any camera but had my mobile phone for navigation. I set my GPS to take me to the location.
After driving around forty-five minutes as I was approaching the park I noticed another place of importance popping up on my mobile screen. It was showing something to do with the ancestral house of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. For long I had known the village called Subhasgram which lies to the south of Kolkata but never actually understood why was this place referred to as “Subhas” Gram.
My interest in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose started on a trip to Cuttack where there is the ancestral home to Netaji and that was the very place where he was born. Therefore, I thought it would be a good continuation and decided to skip Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary and check his ancestral house instead.
Finding the house was not that difficult considering a large concrete commemorative gate, which can be spotted from the main road. The next part was navigating the multiple turns amongst narrow roads and blind end turns. The first structure that came in view which alerted me that I have reached my destination was Kodalia Haranath Binapani Library, which had an open-air stage in front named “Subhas Moncho”.
Making it more obvious was the statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to its left followed by a huge entrance gate. By looking at its design, it is very obvious that the whole building was more than a century old. The gate had a marble plaque with the word “Haranath Lodge” written on it.
Right next to the gate was Kodalia Post Office, which by its architectural feature was a part of the original Haranath Lodge.
History of Haranath Lodge
Bose family can trace their lineage to Mahinagar, which comes under the Bardhaman district of West Bengal. At one point in history, this family was very famous and wealthy. One of their ancestors had the honorary title of “Purandar Khan” by none other than Alauddin Husain Shah. Things, however, did not remain that prosperous and over the years started declining.
The family moved from Mahinagar to Kadalia around 1760 so it can be safely said that Haranath Lodge is nearly 260 years old. So logically speaking Haranath Bose must have also been born here in Kadalia and the one who built the grand old house. The marble plaque on the gate mentioning his name is an indication that he must have built the house as this was the common norm to have the name of the patriarch who builds the house to have his name immortalized.
Janaki Nath Bose the third son on Haranath Bose was born in this very house on the 28th of May 1860. To make is clear Janaki Nath Bose was the father of Subhash Chandra Bose. Though he was born here in this very house, he did his schooling from Albert School from where he passed out in 1877. After that initially joining St. Xavier’s College for a few months before deciding to shift to Scottish Church College. In 1879, he shifted to Ravenshaw College in Cuttack where he passed his FA examination.
He came back later to Calcutta and got married in the year 1880 to Prabhabati Devi. After which he continued his educational pursuits and completed his B.A. and B.L. degrees. In 1885, he went back to Cuttack and joined the Cuttack Bar.
He had more or less settled in Cuttack and by 1891, he had become the public prosecutor. Had had his own house in Cuttack as well as another one in Puri with a fantastic view of the Bay of Bengal. It was in this very house in Cuttack that Subhash Chandra Bose was born on 23rd of January 1897.
Even though Janaki Nath Bose used to live and work in Cuttack, he made sure to return to his roots at Kadalia, Haranath Lodge during the yearly Durga Puja celebrations. The Durga Puja celebration of this house had a long history and after a few years of a gap was restarted by his wife Prabhabati Devi and made sure to keep the celebrations on year after year. Even to date the current Bose generation keeps on the tradition of their ancestors and celebrates Durga Puja in their traditional way.
Did Subhash Chandra Bose Come to Haranath Lodge
Even though Subhash Chandra Bose was born and brought up in Cuttack, he did come along with his family to Kadalia to this very house to celebrate Durga Puja. During autumn the family would travel in boats from Cuttack to Kolkata and then to Kadalia and spend a few months celebrating and distributing clothes and food to the needy.
When he was doing his higher studies in Calcutta, he did frequently travel to Kadalia even though they already had a huge house in Calcutta at Elgin Road as the Durga Puja celebrations were always at this very place. As per some relatives of his, he also did travel to Kadalia for meeting with revolutionaries away from the preying eyes back in Calcutta. This is also mentioned in the plaque installed by the state government outside his house.
Haranath Lodge Now
The entire property is on a 10 Cottah plot along with a huge pond. There are different sections within this huge property. Once you enter through the main gate bearing the marble plaque “Haranath Lodge” you will first come across the Thakur Dalan (idol room) where the Durga idol is kept during the festivities of Durga Puja. Take the narrow lane to the left and then turn right and you will reach the house where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose used to stay.
According to the local caretaker, a room to the top floor was occupied by him. Currently, the house has been renovated with the help of state government and the pond which is located right in front of this house is to be beautified.
A few years back the house had massive rain damages and the roof had collapsed but now that all has been repaired. The rooms inside would soon house exhibits belonging to Subhash Chandra Bose. Even though the house was off-limits the caretaker was kind enough to take me around for a quick tour. The state government plans to open this property as a museum soon to the public.
This place is hardly an hour’s drive from my house and all these years never managed to visit this place as this place was never promoted as a tourist destination. Hopefully, this blog will help you to make up your mind and check this place out.