Rath-jatra festival the image is placed on the car, and the crowd draws the car to the
God's garden-house to the north of Mahesh. After eight days, on the Ulta-rath day, the car
with the image is drawn back to its old place, when the image is carried to the
temple.Mahesh is an old place mentioned in the poem of Bipra Das (1495 A.D.) and in the
poem on the legend of Satyanarayana (18thcentury). But the cult of Jagannath is easily
older. The Oriya kings once had ruled this part of the country and it is quite obvious
that the cult of Jagannath was introduced then.
of pilgrims from Calcutta side used to walk by the pilgrim Road to Puri for a darshan of
Jagannath there and the receptivity for adopting Jagannath cult was easily created in
Bengal.The same festivals observed in the Jagannath temple at Puri are celebrated at
Mahesh.Guptipara is a large village in thana Balagarh of the Hooghly subdivision, in the
extreme north- east of the district, situated about 1 and half miles west of the Right
Bank of Hooghly. Guptapara 4 was a well-known place in the 18th century.
"Guptipara" is shown in the map of Stavorinus (circa 1770A.D.), but on the left
bank of the river. This, if correct, indicates an older site; for in the Bengali poems of
the 18th century, the village is distinctly mentioned as being on the Right Bank. 5
The former importance of the place is still attested by the
number of Brahmans and Baidyas residing in it, and by its temple and religious fairs. The
Revd. J. Long in 1846 remarked; "On the opposite of the rive (i.e. right bank) is
Guptapara, the people of which are famous for theiractivity and wit and the purity of
their Bengali:there are 15 tolas (tols) and many Pandits who study the Nyaya Shastra
(sic); it is also notorious for thieves and Brahmans.
4 Bengal District Gazetteers, Hooghly, by L.S.S.
O'Malley, Calcutta, 1912, pp. 261-263.
5 Satyanarayaner Katha, Shaitya-Parishad Patrika,
vol. VIII, p.63; Chandrakanta, Do.vol.X, p.130.