Bari Kothi, Azimganj, a boutique heritage hotel

Bari Kothi, Azimganj

A Boutique Heritage Hotel

Also see: FAM Tour of Bari Kothi, Azimganj

After a tiring train journey and at the very dead of the night the light up facade of the Bari Kothi was enough to ignite your spirits. The doric and corinthian columns, the lit up pediments, the black and white chequered floor and the chandelier lined corridors welcomed us into the lap of luxury.

Bari Kothi 12

Bari Kothi at night, Azimganj

Located in Azimganj, near Murshidabad, Bari Kothi, which means house of the elder brother, is a two hundred and fifty year old mansion of the Dudhoria family. Recently it has been restored and renovated into a boutique heritage hotel.

Bari Kothi 9

Bari Kothi, Azimganj, Near Murshidabad

A decade after the death of the last great Mughal Aurangzeb, Murshid Quli Khan in 1727 declared himself the independent nawab of Bengal Province. A province which consisted of present day Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Bari Kothi 10

Bari Kothi at night, Azimganj

As the Murshid Quli Khan took up his charge, the trade and commerce flourished and historical records even suggested that Murshidabad contributed about 20% of the Indian economy and a staggering 5% of the world GDP.

The economic success of the Murshidabad soon attracted traders from far and wide, in came the Europeans and Armenians, turning Murshidabad into a international trading hub.

The Marawaris, a thriving business community from Rajasthan, were not far behind. In came the Dudhorias, Nawlakhas, Dugars, Singhis and with the growth of their wealth they started bringing in their families from home.

Bari Kothi 8

Bari Kothi, Azimganj

They settled in the twin towns of Azimganj and Jiaganj. Jiaganj is located just north of the Murshidabad, while Azimganj is west of Jianganj and across the Baghirati river.

As their wealth swelled they started building spectacular havelies (mansions) complete with doric and corinthian columns and turning the twin towns into into a city of havelies or mansions.

The Jain Marawari community travelled one town to other looking for better opportunities and came to be known as the Sheherwali, an identity which they continue to use to this day.

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Bari Kothi, Azimganj, near Murshidabad

But Murshidabad soon lost out with the race with Calcutta, the capital of British India, and the Shehrwali, community left their abode for Calcutta (now Kolkata) in search far an another change of fortune. Azimganj and Jiaganz soon turned into forgotten cities with crumbling mansions.

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Inside the Indara Chawara, Bari Kothi, Azimganj

About a decade back the Dudhorias, decided to give their Bari Kothi, house of the elder brother, a new lease of life. They decided to turn it into a boutique heritage hotel. The Bari Kothi with Greek, Roman and French architecture influence was spread over three – fourth acre of land. It was no easy job as large chunks of the mansion had already collapsed.

Bari Kothi 4

Darbar Hall, the dinning room of Bari Kothi, Azimganj

In came Samar Chandra, a Canadian based Bengali architect and designer, who  took up the job of turning a virtual ruin into a boutique heritage hotel, complete with all modern amenities.

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Baul performance at the fountain, Bari Kothi

Today the Bari Kothi consist of Sheesh Mahal, Library, Music Room, Durbar Hall, Janana Chowk, Gaddi Ghar, Halwai Khana, Gulabi Chawara amongst other parts of the house.

There are 15 rooms under the three categories of Heritage, Royal Heritage and Maharaja Heritage.

Heritage rooms are our base category rooms beautifully done with traditional interiors & furnished with antique decor.

Royal Heritage rooms opens up to the sheesh mahal and have have high ceiling. They are decorated with antique furniture. To top the list is the Maharaja Heritage Suites, adorned with High-wood beamed ceilings, antiques, intricately carved archways and traditional furniture.

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Breakfast by the river, Bari Kothi

The Bari Kothi houses several chowks (courtyards) and the chowk with the fountain is reserved for cultural program. Standing on the first floor verandah one can enjoy amazing baul music.

The grand Durbar Hall on the first floor is the place for dinner. The long hall approached through arched gateways is beautifully lit up with chandeliers.

The food served in Bari Kothi is strictly vegetarian and onion and garlic is also off the menu.  They specialize in Sherwali Cuisine. The Sheherwalis, who came all the way from Rajasthan,  adopted to the Bengali spices and green vegetables as part of their cuisine. It is a wonderful melange of the cuisines of the west and the east of India.

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Panoramic view of the Bari Kothi, Azimganj

Breakfast is served by the river and usually a mixed affair, consisting of mixed platter of Sherwali, Continental and North & South Indian dishes. Lunch is usually a outdoor affair and is served as a elaborate spread atop country boats.

Boat 1

Lunch on the boat

The entire staff members of Bari Kothi consists of local people. Tours generally happen on local totos (electric rickwas) and county boats. Thus creating local employment and developing sustainable tourism.

Guest at the Bari Kothi, Azimganj are offered a host of activities, including:

  1. Jain Temple Walk of Azimganj
  2. Terracotta Temple tour of Baranagar
  3. Murshidabad Tour
  4. Textile tour of Tantipara, Jiaganj

    Tantipara 2

    Weaving at Tantipara

  5. Cooking class of Sherwali food
  6. Sunset river boat ride with tea and snacks

Azimganj Bari Kothi quick facts:

  1. Official website
  2. Location: Near Azimganj City station (Google map location)
  3. Tariff: Stay at Bari Kothi comes in as a complete package with food and activities. Tariff depends on the food and activities opted by the guest. For more details please contact the Bari Kothi management

Note: I visited Bari Kothi, Azimganj as part of a FAM (familiarization) trip organized by the hotel itself

Special thanks:

  1. Lipika Dudhoria and Darshan Dudhoria our wonderful host at Bari Kothi
  2. Dipti and the entire staff members of Bari Kothi
  3. Bikram for guiding us through Murshidabad, Azimganj, Jiaganj and Boronagar
  4. My fellow FAM mates Amrita & Agni (Tale of 2 Backpackers), Tanayesh (Shoe String Travel), Debjani (The Vagabong) and Masood (Photo Stic Life)
  1. Subhabrata Ghose
    November 7, 2019 at 12:45 PM

    Great Rangan.

    We were at Bari Kothi on Mahalaya and it was indeed a wonderful experience. Lipika indeed is a wonderful host.

    Subhabrata

    • November 8, 2019 at 8:26 AM

      Subhabrata, nice to know that if have already been to Bari Kothi. Did you spend a night? Also Lipika is a great host

  2. November 7, 2019 at 3:39 PM

    Another great post! Interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. DR ANIRUDDHA KAR
    November 8, 2019 at 10:47 PM

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog. Way back I passed my childhood in Azimgunj and one boy from the dudhoria family was my class mate 19 school. Love to visit the place.

    • November 12, 2019 at 2:50 PM

      Thanks Anirudha da. Can you remember his name??

  4. Ranjoy Sinha, Nashipur Rajbati, Murshidabad.
    February 17, 2020 at 2:45 PM

    Best wishes for the grand success of the your new venture.

    • February 17, 2020 at 3:06 PM

      Thanks. More such properties needs yo be developed in West Bengal

  5. March 30, 2020 at 8:00 PM

    Thanks for such a nice place

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