Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-X)



Murshidabad is a district in the state of West Bengal in eastern India that is situated on the southern bank of the River Bhagirathi. It used to be the capital of undivided Bengal during the rule of the Mughals. The Nawabs of Bengal ruled this historical place for a long time. Many historical buildings with ancient architecture are a part of Murshidabad’s history. Out of them, the most popular building is the Hazar Duari Palace and others are Moti Jhill and Muradbagh Palace. Murshidabad covers a land area of about 5,341 square km.  Many agro-based industries including cotton and silk textiles are based here.

Murshidabad has witnessed a great deal of Palace politics and treachery that led to the transfer of its control from the last independent Nawab, Siraj-ud-Daulah to the East India Company. This transfer was the result of a contract between the Company and the Nawabs in the year 1757 AD due to the defeat suffered by Siraj-ud-Daulah at the hands of the English troops. 

The Nawab was later on murdered as a part of the conspiracy between the company and Mir Jafar. It was after this battle, the East India Company shifted its capital to Calcutta and in the early eighteenth century, the city got its present name and shape. The East India Company ruled this province for many years after the battle.      
Many other kings also ruled different districts here like in the capital city of Sasanka, the king of Gouda ruled in the seventh century AD. The other Pala kings of Bengal were in this district in parts of Mahipala. After the seventh century, Nawab Murshid Quli Khan named Murshidabad as the capital city of Sube Bangla, which also included Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. There are several religions practised by different races here like Buddhism, Vaishnavism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity.      

Some of the popular places in Murshidabad are Katra Masjid, which was built in 1724 AD by Nawab Murshid Quili Khan. Jahankosh, which is a huge cannon, about 17.5 ft long, was built by Janardhan Karmakar in Decca. Other than these ancient sites, there are palaces like Wasef Manzil that was built by the Nawab of Murshidabad, Sir Wasef Ali Mirza. The main attractions in this palace are the marble stairs and statues. Other attractions here include Traitors Gate, the place where Siraj-ud-Daulah was assassinated, Hazar Dwari Palace and Kathgola.    

Places to visit:


The Hazarduari Palaceor 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 900 are real) and 114 rooms and 8 galleries, built in  European architectural style. 

Painting Gallery

The total area of Hazarduari Palace is 41 acres. It is now a museum and has an exquisite collection of armoury, splendid paintings, exhaustive portraits of the Nawabs, various works of art including beautiful works of ivory (Murshidabad school) of China (European) and many other valuables. 

Ivory Jhapanak or Palanquin

The Armoury has 2700 arms in its collections of which only few are displayed. Swords used by Shiraj-ud-Daulla and his grandfather, Nawab Alivardi Khan, can be seen here. The other attractions in this floor are Vintage Cars and Fittan Cars used by the Nawabs and their families. 

Library and the record room

The library containing rare collections is not accessible to the public unless special permission is obtained. The building, rectangular on plan ( 424 feet Long and 200 feet broad and 80 feet high). The Palace was used for holding the "Durbar" or meetings and other official work of the Nawabs and also as the residence of the high ranking British Officials.

Nizamat Imambara

It is parallel to the north face of the Hazarduari Palace, stands the Nizamat Imambara, built in 1847 AD. by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah, son of Humayun Jah, at a cost of more than 6 lacs, after the Imambara built by Siraj-ud-Doula had been destroyed by fire. It took only eleven months to construct this Imambara. The Imambara, which is the largest in Bengal, is perhaps the largest in India.

Moti Jheel

Moti Jheel is situated 3 km from Hazarduari, the idyllic Motijheel Lake stands before a lovely three-storeyed palace, called 'Company Bagh', built by Nawab Naoajes Mohammad Khan. Rumor has it that the treasures of the Nawab are still hidden somewhere beneath the lake’s surface. 

Katra Mosque


Situated one and a half km away from Murshidabad Railway Station, on the Berhampore-Lalgola Road, Katra Mosque is one of the must-see places in the Murshidabad district. Built by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, in 1723-24, the mosque flaunts an imposing structure, what with the gorgeous building having huge domes and high minarets.


It is situated half km north of Nasipur palace, and approx 3km from Hazarduari Palace. It is one of the most beautiful tourist destination of Murshidabad. Actually it was the place garden of Raja Dhanpat Singh Dugar and Lakhmipat Singh Dugar. It lies about half a km southeast of Mahimapur. This ruins and remnants is also known as the old banking house of the Jagat Seths'. Enclosed by striking gardens, the palace boasts of some of the most amazing and hard to find collections of the luxurious western goods of that age.

Wasef Manzil


Wasef Manzil was built by Sir Wasef Ali Mirza, Nawab of Murshidabad. It is a beautiful palace that displays the imperial glory and majestic charm of the yesteryears. Once the residence of Nawab Wasef Ali Mirza, the beautiful palace has now been converted into a museum. Wasef Manzil is located extremely close to the Hazarduari Palace. The beautiful statues of this palace are worth seeing.

Nasipur Palace

Nasipur Palacewas built by King Kirtichand Bahadur, towards the end of the 19th century. Nashipur Palace is a miniature replica of Hazarduari Palace. It is about 2.7 km from Hazarduari Palace and Just north of Kathgola Bagan. The Palace has two lovely temples inside its premises - the Ramachandra Temple and the Lakshmi-Narayana Temple. The age worn Palace continues to exude a mystical beauty with its wide ranging depictions of Hindu iconography.

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