India is indeed incredible. To explore the past of this phenomenal country my family planned a tour to Murshidabad, which is the ground for the Hazarduari palace. Yes off course, places like Murshidabad rarely crosses the minds of today’s youth, but the unparalleled beauty of the place can keep you awestruck.
In the state of West Bengal, Murshidabad is a small district that is divided into two nearly equal portions by the river Bhagirathi, the ancient channel of the Ganges. The traditional beauty of India oozes out of this place. The mild sound of the calm Bhagirathi flowing along with the occasional chirping of birds (in city life we barely do get time to listen to birds chirping ) will actually wash out all the problems of daily schedule.
As soon I stepped out of the train on Murshidabad station, the scent of “Kacchi mitti” (wet soil) greeted me, this reminded me of the time when even my city had soil which is now all hidden under cement works. Staying in a place like Tatanager we are said to breath in iron and steel, so scent of wet soil is long lost.
Then came our journey to the lounge, one of the most memorable one, the “tanga” ride. A “Tanga” is a horse drawn light carriage or curricle used for transportation, they have a canopy over the carriage with a single pair of large wheels. A city life never offers me such rides, so I tried to seize the moment in my Sony digital camera.
Murshidabad offered me an insight into Indian history, as well as gave me a bleak idea of how deprived we are from the peaceful nature. We all crave to take a ride in all sorts of luxury cars but the fun in animal driven carriages remain unattended. The technological boom has given us the opportunity to drive all sorts of cars but communicating with an animal and directing it to take us to the right destination is something we have never even thought of.
Murshidabad district grounds a lot of historical places. One of them is the Kathgola palace. The Kathgola palace, also known as “The Kathgola bagan bari” is a neighbourhood in Murshidabad ,built by Laksmipath Singh Dugar ,and was at one time the capital of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The palace is a 4 storied palatial building. It has an ornamental facade with valuable paintings and furniture.
At one time black roses were grown in the garden around the palace, but now only mango trees are seen here. It is also said that the floor of the palace was made up of the broken pieces of wine glasses which Laksmipat Dugar broke after consuming the wine.
One can also see the statue of Michelangelo in the gardens.
Murshidabad has history embedded in every corner. One of the most remarkable places, that helps us to comprehend a lot about India’s past, is the Hazarduari palace, built by Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah. Hazarduari means a palace with 1000 doors, out of which only 100 are real and the rest 900 are false. They were purposely built so that the perpetrators of crime could be detected and arrested by the Nawab.
The palace is a three storied building on a rectangular plan. It is an excellent example of Indo-European architecture, strongly reminiscent of Italian style as can be seen from the huge flight of stairs in the front.
Hazarduari is now turned into a museum displaying the artifacts of the Nawabs reign. Since, visitors are not allowed to take in cameras inside this humongous palace I used my mind to capture the memories. One of the artefact that I must mention is the two mirrors in the hallway of the palace, the exceptional quality of these mirrors was that a person cannot see himself, rather have a look at everyone else. This spectacular mirror was kept in such way that during any conferences if anyone tried to eavesdrop then he will be faked and caught.
Yes, Murshidabad is one of the root places of Indian history, but one cannot oversee the scenic beauty that the place offers. The peace along with an essence of traditional India is a worth watching feature in this last capital of independent Bengal.
Next time do include this small district of Bengal in your travel plans, as it has a lot to offer to you.
Pack your bags! Get going.
This entry has been shortlisted for Holidify’s Travelogue Writing Contest in association with Linger. The content and pictures may not be used without prior permission of the author.
Submitted by: Shilpa Sarkar