Murshidabad … Beginning of colonial era for 200 years

Murshidabad … Beginning of colonial era for 200 years

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The year is pretty unique in many ways . Corona , national lockdown ,travel chaos and daily changing travel rules all these make travel extremely difficult . Still on 12th Dec after lockdown was briefly lifted I decided to travel to India as planned . After spending few weeks at home and binging on biryanis , I decided to travel somewhere.   Murshidabad was a good option so I booked a ticket to from Kolkata station on a Friday morning. The journey was comfortable for about 4 hours . I reached Berhampur Road station at about 12 PM. From there a rickshaw took me to the guest house. (₹ 50)

Day 1

After lunch at the tourist lodge , I took some rest and then left to explore some local attractions. Took a toto near the lodge and then left for Cossimbazar Palace of Roy’s (ছোট রাজবাড়ি) (₹ 50) .  Entry fee is ₹ 30. This heritage palace is well maintained .Current dependents live in Kolkata but still continue tradition of Jagadhatri Puja, Durga puja . Part of the rajbari is converted to a guest house where ppls can stay to experience royal traditions. I received a good hospitality from the family members.  Old furnitures, paintings, Palki, mementos all are maintained very well.

Next I walked to The Dutch Cemetery. This is located just after  Cossimbazar  railway crossing . The burials are located in a small compound. It is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India and kept well cleaned. The burials have cenotaphs built on top of them in different forms. The slender pyramidical forms catches the eye from outside.

Finally I walked to Cossimbazar Rajbari . This has completely destroyed , there is nothing much to see.

Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari

 

Day 2

I booked a car today for the whole day for ₹ 1500 for sight seeing.  Following are order I visited sights :

The Jahankosha Canon

This is  a great canon made by Janardan Karmakar. The cannon is more than 7 tons heavy. It is 17 feet and 6 inches in long and 3 feet in width, it has a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. The circumference of its mouth is more than one feet. The radius of the silt for containing fire is one and a half inch. In order to fire this cannon, 17 kilograms of gunpowder was needed for a single shelling. The orifice is 6 inches. It still shows no sign of rust.

Katra Mosque
Second spot was Katra Mosque, Katra means market. Murshid Quli Khan on reaching old age, expressed his desire to construct his tomb adjacent to a mosque, Its importance lies not only as a great centre of Islamic learning but also for the tomb of Murshid Quli Khan, who is buried under the white coloured entrance staircase in the eastern side. Nowadays visitors are allowed to enter the mosque from the west side. Mosque was partially destroyed in 1897 earth quake.
Hazarduari Palace and Imambara
Hazarduari Palace, or the palace with a thousand doors is the chief tourist attraction of Murshidabad. This three-storey palace was built in 1837 by Duncan McLeod for the Nawab Najim Humaun Jah, descendent of Mir Zafar. It has thousand doors (among which only 100 are real),114 rooms and 8 galleries, built in European architectural style. The enclosure where the palace is situated is known as Kila Nizamat or Nizamat Kila. The campus except this palace, has in addition the Nizamat Imambara, Wasif Manzil, the Bachhawali Tope, Murshidabad Clock Tower, three mosques out of which one is the Madina Mosque, and the Nawab Bahadur’s Institution. Other buildings include residential quarters. It is situated on the east bank of the Bhagirathi River, which flows just beside it. The palace is rectangular in plan (130 meters long and 61 meters broad) and is a good example of Indo-European architecture. The front facade of the palace, which has the grand staircase, faces north. This staircase is perhaps the biggest one in India.
I cannot explain how wondered I was to see the rich set of paintings, arms etc… Just go for it and get wondered by yourself.

The clock tower lies on the garden spaces between the Nizamat Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace

Tomb and Mosque of Azimunissa
Our fourth stop. This ruined Mosque was built by Azimunnisa Begum/Kalija Begum, daughter of Murshid Kuli Khan and wife of Nawab Suja-ud-daulla. Like her father she was also buried under the staircase. The remaining arch of the Mosque indicates that it was well decorated. The large raised plinth and the exterior bay of the east facade of the mosque is remaining
Cemeteries of Mir-Zafar and his descendants
Spot number six. On the other side of the road, are the cemeteries of “Shuja-ul-Mulk, Hashim ud-Daula, Nawab Ja’afar Ali Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jang” or commonly known as Mir-Jafar and his descendents. The Cemetery contains the tombs of the Nawab’s Nazim, from Mir Jafar to Humayun Jah. Mir Jafar’s father Syud Ahmed Nazafi, Alivardi Khan’s sister, Shahkhanum, Mir Jafar’s widows, Munni Begam and Babbu Begam, Mohamed Ali Khan, the brother and Ismail Ali Khan and Asraf Ali Khan, the sons-in-law of Mir Jafar, lie buried here. There are 1100 cemeteries in total. Now, this graveyard is controlled and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Nasipur Akhra
Destination number seven. Nashipur Akhara is situated in the village of Nashipur on the east of the Bhagirathi River. The motto of the Akhra is to remain a bachelor for ones life. It is actually here where every year Jhulan Yatra and the famous fair is held. People from far off assemble here to witness the dramas held on this auspicious occasion.
Nasipur Palace
Destination eight. The Nasipur Palace at Mahimapur was built by Kirti Chand Bahadur, a descendent of Debi Singh. Debi Sing, who settled here from Punjab, was a tax collector in the early days of the East India Company. Ramachandra Temple, one of the largest temples in Murshidabad district is inside the palace compound. The temple of Lakshmi-Narayana is situated nearby. The Jhulan festival celebrated in remembrance of the divine love of Radha-Krishna, is held at Nasipur Palace.
         House of Jagat Seth:  Legends has it that Jagat Seth was so rich that not only was his wealth uncountable but one could actually build a dam across the Ganga River by laying down all his jewels and even then he still had enough. Even the entire funds stored in the banks of England paled in comparison to his wealth.

 

Kathgola Garden and Palace

 

Destination eleven, The Kathgola Garden, is a 155 bigha (45+ acre) country estate that encompasses the Kathgola Palace, the surrounding Kathgola Gardens and the Adinatha Temple, also known as the Kathgola Temple. The complex was built by the late Rai Bahadur Lakshmipat Singh Dugar (1836-1888), one of the leading zamindars (landlords) and bankers of Bengal.
Nimak Haram Deori (The Traitor’s Gate)
The Nimak Haram Deori or the Traitor’s Gate is the main gate of Jafraganj Palace of Mir-Zafar.It is one Km North of Hazarduari. Within this palace Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula was killed in an act of great betrayal. This palace is protected and strictly no entry for visitors.

Motijheel

Motijhil was a big horse-shoe shaped Lake in Murshidabad. There is palace beside this lake which is called the Sang-i-dalan (“stone palace”) which is also known as the Motijhil Palace. It is located at the bend of this lake. It was used as the residence of Nawazish and Ghaseti Begum, Nawazish’s beloved wife. Motijheel was also the residence of Warren Hastings, Sir John Shore and other British high-ranking officials. So, it is also known as the Company Bagh due to its association with the East India Company. Inside the palace is a huge room having no doors or windows in it and closed on all the four sides. Some say that huge quantity of wealth belonging to the Begum had been kept hidden underneath the room. Once labours were employed to break open the masonry and excavate the treasure, but they ended up vomiting blood, so nobody dares to open it. As part of beatification project a huge garden was created around the lake in recent years which is contrast with the ruins. They arrange a light and sound show which is nice to watch.

Day 3

We started 6 AM in the morning. Took a private bus from the nearby bust stand for Lalbagh. It took around 30 mins to reach the “Lalbagh Ferri Ghat”. We crossed Bhagirathi in a big sized boat. Then I booked a Toto from local ghat to visit some site to the other side of Bhagirathi river.

 

Khoshbagh
We started 6 AM in the morning. Took a toto to Lalbagh. It took around 30 mins to reach the “Lalbagh Ferri Ghat”. We crossed Bhagirathi in a big sized boat which is free. Then I booked a Toto from local ghat to visit near by sites. Khoshbagh is the cemetery of  of Alivardi Khan, Siraj-Ud-Daula and his wife.  The place is calm and has lot less tourists.

Kiriteswari Temple

Temple is situated in Kiritkona village. This is one of the Sati peeth among the 51 peeths.

Tomb of Shuja-ud-Din Muhammad

Shuja Ud Din married Zainab un-nisa Begum and Azmat un-nisa Begum, the daughters of Murshid Kuli Khan. Murshid Kuli nominated his grandson Sarfarz Khan as his heir . Eventually Shuja – Ud – Din returned with the help of Mughals and established himself firmly . As a sign of gratitude for supporting him, he sent a huge amount of money from his revenue collection to the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and in return the Mughals recognised him as Motamul ul-Mulk (Guardian of the country), Shuja ud-Daula (Hero of the state) and Asad Jang (Lion in War). Just oppsite to Hazarduari the place was once gorgeous as residence Shuja-ud-din hence used to call as Roshnibagh.

Palashi 

I came back to hotel collected my luggage and checked out. Then I took a local train to next destination to visit Palasy.  It took around 1 hr to reach Palasy station. From there we booked a Tata Majic at Rs 150/- and visited the place. It took 10 mins to reach the battle place. The road towards the battle place was remarkable. The mango garden is still there beside the bank of the river. At the spot there is a war memorial made by the British. Just in front of that there is a statue of Siraj-Ud-Daula made by the Government of West Bengal few years back.

Finally took the train in the evening to return back to Kolkata .

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