Home > Bari Kothi Fam, Bengal History, FAM (Familiarization) Tour, General > Murshidabd from Bari Kothi, exploring history with lunch on country boat

Murshidabd from Bari Kothi, exploring history with lunch on country boat

Murshidabd from Bari Kothi

Exploring history with lunch on country boat

Also see: FAM Tour of Bari Kothi, Azimganj

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.

Hazarduari 1

Panoramic view of the Hazarduari Complex, Murshidabad

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.

Boat 4

The boat is all set to sail to Murshidabad

After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, Murshidabad was considered as prosperous as London.

Sadly Murshidabad has long lost its former glory and only traces of its glorious past survives to this day.

What ever has survived is still enough to turn Murshidabad into a leading historical tourist destination of India, but due to lack of proper infrastructure Murshidabad only attracts a handful of tourist.

During our FAM trip of Bari Kothi, Azimganj we had a opportunity of exploring the historical sites of Murshidabad.  As time was short we did miss out on sites like the Khos Bagh, Wasim Manzil and Cossimbazar but the boat journey from Azimganj to Hazarduari, Murshidabad was definitely out of the world. But the greatest part was the amazing lunch served on the boat itself. (A blog post on food at Bari Kothi is coming up soon in my blog)

Hazarduari 5

Hazarduari Palace and Clock Tower, Murshidabad

Our journey for Murshidabad started from Bari Kothi, Azimganj, on a country boat. A simple wooden country boat topped with a bamboo platform, something which is used for ferrying people across the Baghitati River.

Hazarduari 3

Panoramic view of Nizamat Imambara, with Media, Hazarduari Complex, Murshidabad

But the simple boat was laid out with two tables and six chairs topped with garden umbrellas. As we sat on the nature watching the beauty of the river banks we made our way down the river and in less than a hour of time we were in Hazarduari Complex.

Jahankosh

Jahan Kosha Canon, Murshidabad

There were no jetties but the extended bamboo platform ensured safe landing. We entered the Hazarduari Complex walking past the Zurad Masjid (Yellow Mosque).

The grand Hazarduari Palace dominates the complex. Literally meaning 100 doors the palace has 900 real and 100 fake doors.

It is built in 1837 by Duncan Macleod and was funded by Humayun Jah, Nawab of Bengal (reign: 1824 – 38)

It has been converted into museum housing 20 galleries containing 4742 antiquities out of which 1034 has been displayed for the public. Sadly photography inside the museum is prohibited but photography in the complex is allowed.

Katra Masjid 1

Panoramic view of Katra Masjid, Murshidabad

Bang opposite the Hazarduari Palace stands the Nizamat Imambara. The 680 feet long two storied white building is closed to public. In between the Imambara and the place is stands the Clock Tower and Medina, a white domed structure containing soil from holy Mecca.

Futi Masjid 1

Inside Fouti Masjid, Murshidabad

Next to the Medina is the Bachchawali Topp, a gigantic canon which was fired only once and led to the miscarriage of several pregnant ladies in the neighborhood and hence the name.

After the Hazarduari Complex. we changed the mode of transport and hopped into a toto (electric rickshaw).

Next stop was the gigantic Jahan Kosha Canon, meaning the destroyer of the world. It was brought from Dhaka by Murshid Quli Khan.

Next stop was the gigantic Katra Masjid, one of the oldest standing structure of Murshidabad. It was built by Murshid Quli Khan in 1723 and it also house his mortal remains. The mosque was severely damaged during the earthquake of 1897, but today the structured is well maintained.

Azimunnisa 1

Tomb of Azimunnisa Begum

Next stop is the ruined Fouti Masjid, the mosque was never complete and there are many stories behind the reason for incompleteness.

Next we moved to the sites north of the Hazarduari Complex. The first stop was Tomb of Azimunnisa Begum, she was was the daughter of Murshid Quli Khan.

According to legend she was diagnosed with a incurable disease. To get cured she was advised to eat the liver of infants. She got addicted to it and continued the practice even after she was cured.

Ultimately it came to the attention of her father and he had her buried alive. There are several versions of the story. She was buried under a mosque and only a small portion of the mosque wall stands to this day.

Jafazganj Cemetery 2

Jafarganj Cemetery, Murshidabad

Next stop is the Jafarganj Cemetery, it is the family cemetery of Mir Jafar. The cemetery has over 1100 graves and is still active. It contains the grave of Mir Jafar and his three wives. Four of his five sons are buried here. There are two graves of Mir Jafar’s favorite hawk and pigeon.

Nimak Haram Deuri

Nimak Haram Deuri, Murshidabad

Bang opposite the Jafarganj Cemetery is the Jafarganj Mosque, which once served as the private mosque of Mir Jafar.

A little further north is a giant ruined gateway, it once served has a gateway of the Mir Jafar’s Palace but the palace is long gone, only the gateway remains. It is known as the Nimak Haram Deuri.

Next stop is little further north and is the Nasipur Rajbari. It looks like a scale down version of the Hazarduari.

The palace was built by King Kirtichand Bahadur in 1865. Within the palace compound are several temples, including the Ramachandra temple and the Lakshmi-Narayana temple.

Jagat Seth House 2

House of Jagat Seth, Murshidabad

Next stop was the house of Jagat Seth, the banker known for its enormous wealth. His house has been restored and converted into a museum.

The complex also houses a Jain Temple dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankar Parshanath.

Finally we arrived at our final destination of Katgola Bagan Bari. Belonging to the Dugar Family the complex houses the Katgola Palace and a Jain Temple.

The landscaped garden, complete with ponds and flower beds, consists of a small zoo, a step well and even a Michelangelo sculpture. Interior of the palace have been turned into a museum.

Katgola 4

Kathgola Palace, Murshidabad

Finally it was time to get back to Bari Kothi, Azimganj. The toto took us back to the Hazarduari Ghat where the boat was waiting for us. The lunch has already been brought from the Bari Kothi and was ready to be served.

Boat 5

Lunch being served on the boat

It was strict veg meal, excluding onions and garlic, but not a Sheherwali Cuisine. It was a several course meal and with the finishing of each course the plates were cleared and the new course served on a new plate. (A blog post on food at Bari Kothi is coming up soon in my blog).

Doing this on a moving country boat is no easy task but the well trained staff of Bari Kothi, who are all from the locality, handled it with perfect harmony.

It was sunset time and incidentally it was Chatt Puja and the ghats along the Bhagirati were lined up with devotees offering prayer to the sun god.

Note:

  • I visited Bari Kothi, Azimganj as part of a FAM (familiarization) trip organized by the hotel itself
  • The tour of Murshidabad is not exhaustive, a detailed article will be coming up soon in my blog
Boat 2

Lunch on a country boat with a passing cruise ship, Bhagarati River

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

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. November 13, 2019 at 12:56 AM

    Really good post and very informative!

  2. November 16, 2019 at 5:26 PM

    Thanks for writing.

  3. April 16, 2020 at 9:36 PM

    Historical heritage of Bengal

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