Wish to see a Portuguese village in the heart of Bengal?
Experience a Slice of Portugal in Bengal’s Heart: Explore Mirpur
Transport yourself to a quaint Portuguese village without leaving the heart of Bengal – welcome to Mirpur, nestled in the East Midnapore district. This enchanting village, known for its Portuguese heritage, not only boasts stunning Portuguese churches but also carries the legacy of its European ancestors in the very DNA of its inhabitants. Mirpur in Mahishadal has remarkably preserved its Portuguese connection over the years, with even the descendants displaying proud echoes of their Portuguese lineage. Some residents still flaunt captivating blue eyes reminiscent of their forebears.
With approximately 140 Christian families, Mirpur is a cultural melting pot where Christmas and Easter are celebrated with unparalleled enthusiasm by both Christian and Hindu communities. The Christmas festivities in Mirpur are a sight to behold, immersing visitors in the vibrant Yuletide spirit. The village is home to two magnificent cathedrals – the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of North India. These architectural gems are adorned in a spectrum of colors and meticulously embellished every year in preparation for Christmas. Another noteworthy celebration is the birth anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8, a tradition deeply rooted in Portuguese culture.
Delve into the legends that envelop Mirpur, tracing back to the 17th century when a handful of valiant Portuguese soldiers arrived to thwart the Maratha borgees’ raids on Bengal villages. The current residents of Mirpur are believed to be the descendants of these Portuguese warriors who gallantly defended the local populace. These bandits, arriving in groups of 50 to 100 aboard ships, pillaged villages, prompting Queen Janaki or the King of Mahishadal to implore the Portuguese government for assistance. Responding to the call, Portugal dispatched 15 convicts to protect the villagers. Once the invaders were repelled, the Queen rewarded the defenders with a generous grant of around 35 acres of land, inviting them to settle and establish themselves in Bengal.