Murshidabad tour is definitely for history buffs who want to get acquainted with the last days of the Mughal rule in India before it became part of the British Empire. Murshidabad was established by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan and was once the last capital of independent Bengal. Murshidabad is filled with many beautiful 18th century monuments. Impressed, Lord Clive once called Murshidabad the eastern equivalent of London. No doubt he was impressed by the several palaces and over 700 mosques in Murshidabad at that point in time.
Murshidabad is a historically enriched town in West Bengal and is situated on the eastern bank of the river Bhagirathi. The name originated fron Murshid Quli Khan who was a dewan and shifted his office from Bangladesh to this place. Suja ud Daulla and Alivardi Khan contributed to the cultural and constructional activities tremendously. There are large number of gardens, tombs, mosques and palaces here. The palaces display Italian architecture and are a feast to the eyes.
Murshidabad’s enduring traditions are sure to capture your fancy. You will definitely come away more knowledgeable about Indian history. The city of Murshidabad is famous for its several palaces, mosques, tombs, gardens, raw silk and silk products, and of course for producing delicious mangoes and litchi. Too much for a small town!
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The nearest airport to Murshidabad is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International, Kolkata, located at a distance of 195 km from Berhampore. There are regular flights that connect the airport to other cities in India and abroad. After reaching Kolkata, Murshidabad can be reached with the help of roadways or railways.
Berhampore (12 km from Murshidabad) is the nearest major railhead, with connecting trains to Kolkata; and Khagraghat station, on the opposite bank of the Bhagirathi river (beside which Murshidabad is located) also receives trains from Kolkata and other towns in the state. If you’re coming from further afield- which includes towns outside West Bengal, the Farraka station (98 km from Murshidabad) is your best bet: it has trains linking it to cities as distant as Delhi, Darjeeling and Guwahati.
Murshidabad is connected to the state capital, Kolkata, by road. It’s 211 km from Kolkata, and frequent buses ply between Kolkata and Murshidabad; in addition to that, there are also buses to and from other major towns in West Bengal, including Burdwan, Malda, Durgapur and Berhampore.
Getting around Murshidabad, unless you’re keen on using your legs, is limited to cycle rickshaws: they’re the only mode of public transport available here.
Murshidabad things to do list centers around the historical, so be sure to visit the monuments that have survived the onslaught of time. A prominent landmark in Murshidabad is the Hazaar Dwari Palace, now a museum, which boasts of a fantastic collection of paintings, curios, china and weapons, including the swords of Ali Wardi Khan and Siraj-ud-Daulah and the cannon fired by Murshid Quli Khan. The skill of gifted craftsmen is still on display at the Khagra Bazaar in Murshidabad, but ivory carving has given way to sandalwood etching. Also interesting are the Khush Baag on the banks of the river in Murshidabad where lie the tombs of many Mughal nawabs. Other notable monuments in Murshidabad are the Imambara, the Kaath Golar Bagaan estate, and the five-domed Katra Masjid, a mosque where 2000 people could read the Quran together.
Although there are limited places to see in Murshidabad, the history buffs will surely enjoy their visit to its well known palace. Most of India’s best-known palaces are named after the cities or towns where they stand. This one’s a different one: Murshidabad’s Hazarduari Palace, named after the number of doors it has. Which, considering the fact that it’s called `Hazarduari’, should strictly speaking be thousand (`hazar’ being thousand, and `duar’ being door), but is actually just nine thousand. You can also check out an amazing museum that is a part of the palace.
The Hazarduari Palace in Murshidabad (West Bengal) was designed in 1837 by General Duncan McLeod of the Bengal Engineers for Murshidabad’s Nawab Najim Humayun Jah. An imposing three-storied rectangular building, it lies amidst sprawling gardens (covering a total of 41 acres) and is a fairly unblemished example of Italian-style architecture. The palace consists of 8 galleries and 114 rooms, with a colonnaded façade, a domed tower, high windows, beautifully ornate pillars and more, all of it a befitting venue for the Nawab’s durbar, which was held here. The Hazarduari was also used as a residence by the Nawabs and by high-ranking British officials.
Much of the palace is now a museum, which contains an impressive array of memorabilia from the days of the British Raj. The collection on the first floor and the ground floor is a merry mishmash of artifacts, from marble statues to oil paintings, crystal chandeliers, ivory and teak furniture, fossils, stuffed animals and other belongings dating back to the time of the Nawabs of Murshidabad. Spread across the Dining Room, the Landscape Gallery, the British Gallery, the Nawab Gallery, the Dewan Gallery, the Prince Gallery, the Committee Room, the Durbar Hall and about half-a-dozen other areas, the museum’s display includes some truly interesting items, like testing plates (which are supposed to crack if poisoned food is placed on them), a cannon used at the fateful Battle of Plassey, royal thrones, howdahs of silver and ivory, palanquins, phaetons and even two cars, purchased way back in 1914.
The second floor of the Hazarduari Palace is definitely a place to see. This floor houses an equally (if not more) interesting collection of about 12,000 books and 3,000 manuscripts, in Persian, English, Arabic and Urdu. The Nawabs may or may not have been of a literary bent of mind, but their library certainly is well stocked. Wander through, and you’ll see examples of some of India’s most priceless manuscripts, such as the original Ain-e-Akbari and the Akbarnama, written by Akbar’s court historian Abul Fazal; a copy of the Holy Koran penned by the emperor Aurangzeb and another, weighing close to 20 kg and measuring around 4′ x 3′, written by the famous Haroon-al-Rashid, the caliph of Baghdad.
NIZAMAT IMAMBARA: Stands tall to the north face of the Hazarduari Palace and was built in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah who was the son of Humayun Jah. The Imambara is one of the largest in Bengal.
KATRA MOSQUE: situated 1. 5 km from Murshidabad Railway Station, this fascinating structure was built by Nawab Murshid QuliKhan in 1723 and is one of the chief attractions. It is conspicuous of its lofty domes and minarets with a simple cemetery of the Nawab.
JAHAN KOSHA CANNON: about 1 km of Katra was built in 17th century by a craftsman Janardhan Karmakar. Kadam Sarif is anaesthetic mosque near this spot and is believed to be containing replica of the footprint of the prophet Hazrat Mohammad. The canon has a length of 17. 5 ft with a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole.
JAFARGANJ CEMETERY: contains the tombs of the Nawab’s Nazim from Mir Jafar to Humayun Jah. It was built by Mir Jafar in an areaof 3. 5 acres.
KHOSH BAGH: contains the grave of Nawab Alivardi Khan, his mother, Siraj ud Doula and his wife. It lies on opposite banks of river Bhagirathi and is built on an area of 7. 65 acres.
KATGOLA: is the palace garden of Raja Dhanpat Singh Dugar and Lakshmipat Singh Dugar and their famous Adinath Temple was built by Harreck Chand in 1873. The temple exhibits beautiful architectural ornamentation.
HAZARDUARI PALACE: popularly known as Bara Kothi is located in the Kila Nizamat campus in Murshidabad. It was built underregime of Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah. It means palace with thousand doors. The palace is now transformed into a museum which preserves the old relics of ancient times. The palace used to hold official meetings between the Nawabs and the Britishers and was also used as a residence by high ranking officers.
MADINA MOSQUE: The peculiar feature is that the foundation of this mosque has holy soil of Mecca. A dome surmounts thepillars and arches of this mosque. The old mosque was built by Nawab Siraj Ud Daullah and the new mosque built byNawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan is constructed on a raised platform embellished with China tiles.
CLOCK TOWER of Murshidabad is located in the Nizamat Fort campus and is of great architectural beauty. The dial faces east and the bell can heard from a long distance. On the four platforms of the ground floor are the four masonry shields. Termed as Big Ben of Murshidabad.
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