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Tourist Places To Visit In Murshidabad
The historic town of Murshidabad lying on the eastern banks of River Hoogly in West Bengal is a popular tourist destination in the state. It has been a frequently visited weekend retreat for the people from neighboring towns and the city of Kolkata. Murshidabad had been the capital of Bengal Subah during the Mughal dynasty and became the district headquarters for Bengal Presidency during the British rule. Center of flourishing art culture, classical music and painting, Murshidabad has continued to enthrall people over the years. Let us take a quick look at the places to visit while in Murshidabad.
The biggest attraction of Murshidabad is the Hazarduari Palace. Spread across 41 acres in Kila Nizamat campus, the palace is a stunning piece of architecture. The palace is located along the banks of River Bhagirathi and the awe-inspiring architectural specimen has time and again enthralled visitors with its grandeur and beauty. Boasting of a thousand embellished and ornamental gateways which are earned it the name of ‘Hazarduari’ or 1000 doors, the building is truly a wonder. It is a confluence of Greek and Italian architectural styles. The royal palace has now been converted into a museum that displays some of the finest relics from the days of the Bengal Subah.
Built in the year 1847 by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah, the Nizamat Imambara is located on the northern side of the Hazarduari Palace. It is the largest Imambara in Bengal certainly among the biggest in the country. It was constructed after the Imambara built by Siraj-ud-daullah was destroyed in a fire. The Imambara is 680 feet long and lies in the vicinity of other famous structures like the Tripolia Gate, Chak Darwaza, Wasef Manzil, Madina etc.
Wasif Manzil is a palace that was built during the rule of Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan, the Nawab of Murshidabad. It is located on the south side of Hazarduari Palace. Constructed much later, the palace is known as the ‘new palace.’ It is smaller but equally stunning and amazing to look at. The new palace houses some beautiful marble statues. There used to be an artificial hill and landscape next to the palace but got destroyed during the earthquake of 1867. While the palace was restored the hill was never rebuilt.
Located about 1.5 km north of Hazarduari Palace, opposite the Deuri, is Jafarganj Cemetry. Tourists can come across more than 1000 burial sites of Mirzafar and his family. Mirzafar along with his wives was buried here. Mirzafar was the first dependent Nawab of Bengal who came to the throne with the help pf the British after conspiring against and overthrowing the then Nawab, Siraj-ud-Daullah. This conspiracy has become part of the folklore. Sir-ud-Daullah’s downfall and the crowning of Mirzafar are believed to be the official beginning of British rule in India.
Motijheel is a charming horseshoe-shaped lake that was excavated by Nawazesh Mohammed, husband of Ghasseti Begum. She was the eldest daughter of the Nawab of Bengal Alivardi Khan. Later she is believed to have conspired along with Mirzafar against Siraj-ud-Daullah. Motijheel comprised of a palace and lake. While the lake still survives the palace perished a long time back. Motijheel has political significance as they served as a residence for Robert Clive, Warren Hastings and a number of important British personnel. Owing to its association with British and east India Company, Motijheel was also referred to as ‘Company Bagh.’
Madina is a small church lying between Hazarduari Palace and the Imambara. It is considered to be one of the most sacred places for Muslims in Bengal. It is built as a replica of the Hazrat Mohammad’s tomb in Madina. The original mosque, which was later destroyed in fire, was built with soil brought from Mecca. The mosque which was constructed later had soil brought from Karbala. The Madina church as it stands today can accommodate as many as 700 Quran readers. The mosque boasts of five domes and two minarets measuring 70 feet each.
On the north-eastern side of Murshidabad town is Katra Masjid, located only 3 km from the railway station. The mosque was built during the reign of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan in 1723 AD, it was constructed within one year by architect Murad Farash. The mosque stands on a 54 meter high plinth and is surrounded by doubled storied domed cells. The structures are built in a spacious courtyard. There are four huge minars built at four corners of the quadrangle. The mosque is large enough to accommodate 2000 people at a time during Namaz.
Murshidabad District Museum
Murshidabad District Museum took 20 years to be constructed. Started in 1965 the museum became operational in 1985. The museum was constructed on land that was granted by Late Rai Bahadur Surendra Narayan Singha of Jiaganj. The museum displays artifacts that were part of his personal collection. Some of the items tourists will come across here are Black stone sculptures dating back to 8th and 13th centuries, houses manuscripts on tantra, Ramayana and Ayurveda, potteries and some rare books.
Located close to Jagath Seth’s house, the Nasirpur Palace is a miniature version of Hazarduari. The palace was constructed in the latter half of the 19th century by raja Kirtichand Bahadur, a businessman who had come from Panipat. He gained recognition during the famine of 1876 as a revenue collector under the British. Also known as the house of Debi Singha, the palace has lost much of its past glory and lies in ruins. However, the building continues to house the idols of Gods and Goddesses. The Jhulan festival of Nasipur is very famous even till today.
Jahankosha is located about a kilometer from Katra where we come across an imposing cannon that was built by a small craftsman from Dhaka, Janardhan Karmakar. The canon weighs 7 ton and means ‘Destroyer of the World.’ the canon had originally rested on a carriage with wheels embedded in a peepal tree that had grown on its side. While the wheels are no longer there the ironwork of the carriage is still visible. The cannon is more than 17 feet in length and has a girth of 5 feet at the touch-hole end. It is believed that the cannon needed 17 kgs of gunpowder for a single shelling.