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Murshidabad Tourism And Travel Guide
27.5° C / 81.5° F
October to February
2 to 3 Days
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (200 kms)
Murshidabad Railway Station (1.5 kms)
A historic city on the banks of River Bhagirathi, a tributary of River Ganges, Murshidabad is an interesting tourist destination in West Bengal. A town that rose in prominence during the rule of Bengal Subah under Alivardi Khan and Murshid Quli Khan, Murshidabad and its adjacent town of Cossimbazar continued to play a significant role during the early years of British rule in Bengal. Siraj-ud-Daullah who was the last sovereign ruler of Murshidabad aka Bengal was defeated in Plassey which marked the beginning of the British rule in India. Today Murshidabad has lost its place of glory but continues to draw people with its colourful past and architectural splendour. It is among the most popular weekend getaways in the state. Here is a snippet of travel guide and some tourism insight on Murshidabad.
How to Reach
Small town that it is, Murshidabad does not have air connectivity. Travellers arriving by flight will have to disembark at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Dum Dum, Kolkata. It is one of the major airports in the country that enjoys great connectivity with almost all parts of India and has international flights as well to some of the east Asian countries. Private and public carriers operate regular flights to and from Kolkata. For those travelling to Murshidabad they need to take a cab, taxi or bus to reach the historic town.
Murshidabad boasts of its own railway station, namely, the Murshidabad Railway Station. It is fairly well connected with Kolkata and neighbouring towns and cities. It lies on the sealsah-Ranaghat-Krishnanagar-Berhampore-Lalgola line in Bengal. There are some popular express trains that pass through Murshidabad and make a halt. Dhandhanya Express, Bhagirathi Express, Hazarduari Express are some of the trains that connect Murshidabad to other areas of the state. For those visiting Murshidabad from outside Bengal, they need to change trains at Sealdah. From the station, local transport like taxis are available to ferry people to their destination.
Given the presence of Grand Trunk Road in Bengal, Murshidabad is well connected to most parts of the state. Murshidabad and the capital city of Kolkata have buses plying regularly between them. It is located about 200 km from Kolkata, 177 km from Asansol, 39 km from Kandi and 164 km from Durgapur. West Bengal State Road Transport Corporation (WBSRTC) and private bus companies offer regular bus services from Murshidabad to different parts of the state. From Kolkata it is a comfortable 4 hours drive and some people choose to drive themselves.
Though a town, Murshidabad is not small or obscure. They have a well developed transport system which makes travelling within Murshidabad and outside hassle-free and simple. Most of these services are state-run. Cars and cabs are available easily for sightseeing and exploring the town. There are now a fair number of hotels in Murshidabad and upon request they too make transportation arrangements for the tourists however, at a higher cost.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (April to June):
Any visit to Murshidabad during summer is highly unadvisable. Like most parts of the state, the town experiences hot tropical climate which makes summers unbearably hot, humid and sultry. The land becomes completely dry and the mercury registers a steady increase. Temperatures cross 40°C with ease. May and June in particular are the hottest months of summer. The early months are comparatively better because the evenings are accompanied by hailstorms, thunderstorms and showers.
Monsoon (July to September):
Monsoon sets in gradually and is in full force by the month of July. The rains bring much needed relief for the parched land. Come August however the showers gain strength and Murshidabad witnesses occasional flooding. The entire district reels under the effect of flood and it makes travelling within the city and outside extremely difficult. Local transport facilities are affected. Ice sleet and rain cover the town. While you can get some attractive hotel deals being off season, it is recommended not to visit the town as sightseeing is made difficult because of incessant rains and flood.
Winter (October to March):
After the terrible heat and floods of the past few months, Murshidabad decks up to welcome winter in all its glory. The skies clear up, the clouds disappear, and a chill sets in much to the joy of the people. Temperature remains on the lower side but never goes below 5°C. Winter also coincides with some of the biggest festivals of the region. Durga Puja is celebrated with much fervour and the entire city is lit up. There are pandals everywhere where Goddess Durga is worshipped. This is followed by Kali Puja, which is celebrated during Diwali. The entire town comes together to enjoy. It is a good time to visit the town, participate in the festivities and enjoy the lovely weather.
Things to Do
Visiting the Hazarduari Palace Complex:
Murshidabad and Hazarduari Palace are names that are often taken together. It is the biggest attraction of the town. As the seat of power of Bengal Subah, Murshidabad has remnants of the royal dynasty. The magnificent Hazarduari Palace or the Palace with 1000 doors is the best among the structures that one comes across here. This palace is accompanied by several small and big buildings strewn across a huge area. There is the Nizamat Imambara, the congregation hall; Madina Masjid, Ghari Ghar, Katra Masjid, the jahanKosha Cannon, Nasirpur Palace, the Jafaganj Cemetry where several members of the royal family like Mirzafar is buried.
A Trip to Cossimbazar:
17 km from Murshidabad is another interesting destination, Cossimbazar. The town rose in prominence when the European trading companies like the British, French and the Dutch built their factories here. A flourishing river port, it allowed trade to flourish here. Because of European influence one comes across a beautiful Armenian Church which was built in 1758. A Bengali family who made enormous wealth from silk trade, the Roys were an influential family here. There are two palaces known as Cossimbazar Palace of the Roys. The smaller one has survived the test of time while the bigger one is in ruins today. A quick trip to Cossimbazar could be historically enriching.
A Short Trip to Azimganj:
Another place of interest located a stone’s throw way at 9 km from Murshidabad is Azimganj. Here one comes across some stunning temples with Bengal architectural features. The Char Bangla Temple Complex comprises four temples with ‘do chala’ features which are typical of Bengal architectural style. They are embellished with rich terracotta work. The Gangeshwar Temple also boasts of rich terracotta sculptures. The Bhabaniswar Mandir has fascinating stucco work.
Walking Down Bhagirathi River:
Murshidabad town is situated along the banks of River Bhagirathi, a tributary of Ganges. Take a walk down the banks, enjoying the scenic beauty. Along the banks too one comes across some structures like Hazarduari Palace and Nizamat Imambara. There is Khosbag which houses the tombs of members of royal family like Alivardi Khan and Siraj-ud-Daullah. Rosnaiganj is located on the bank opposite to Hazarduari Palace which also has tombs of some other members of the family.
Eating in Murshidabad
Food features significantly on any trip across the country. Every place has different cuisines bursting with flavours, each distinct from the other. Murshidabad is no exception. West Bengal is known for its love for food, delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and sweets. In Murshidabad the Mughal influence is strong. However the Mughal influence here is different from other parts of the country because there is much overlapping of flavours, whether it is Bengali cuisine or North Indian. Like most parts of the state, Murshidabad too is known for its amazing sweets. The Chhanabhora is a delicious sweet that is found in different corners of the town and it is mindblowing.
Shopping in Murshidabad
Murshidabad is very popular for silk sarees. The Baluchari silk sarees in particular are famous across the country for their vibrant colors, weave, and intricate designs. They come in solid primary colours of red, blue, green, yellow and scarlet. The beautiful flower motifs are typical in Balucharis. Though most of the silk weavers are said to have migrated to other parts of the state, we still associate Baluchari with Murshidabad. Copper and kansha items, utensils and souvenirs are very popular here and make for good gifting objects.