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Old 17th November 2015, 16:20   #1
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Default Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad

Starting with the famous disclaimer – “This is my first attempt at writing a small travelogue. Please pardon me for any minor discrepancy in facts and figures. Also, hoping against hope – that you bear with my writing”.

Though I am a believer of the quote made by an anonymous – “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us” – but a simple sentence uttered in a light hearted yet soulful voice by our very own Feluda in the famous scene where he, Topshe and Jatayu starts the camel ride in the desert in the iconic movie Sonar Kella and says – “Chaliye ji Ramdeora !” – strikes a chord or two more in my ears than the above quote.

Indecisiveness regarding getting leaves sanctioned from office, kids’ tutor and activities takes a second seat invariably when I hymn the words “Chaliye Ji Ramdeora !” And that’s how the trip to Murshidabad was planned.

Murshidabad, the last capital city of independent Bengal before the British rule was named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the Dewan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi, it is a city of splendours and is famous for its silk. It was made the capital of Bengal in 1717. Basked in the history, the town has witnessed the rise and fall of the Nawabs of Bengal and shifting of powers to the British empire. Nearby attractions include the famous Hazarduari, Nizamat Imambara, Katra Mosque, Jahankosa Cannon to name a few.

Based on the reviews in TRipadvisor and some Googling, booked Hotel Fame in Baharampur which is about 12 odd kms from Murshidabad town. Next job was the all important Drive Route Finalization. A loud shout out to BHPian gmhossain for all the help in finalizing the route.

Here’s the finalized route:
New Garia – Airport – Madhyamgram crossing – Kalyani Expressway – Kampa crossing – Bara Jaguli
NH-34: Bara Jaguli - Krishnanagar
SH-11: Krishnanagar – Tehatta – Betai --Karimpur - Domkal – Berhampore (Baharampur)
Total Kms – 286
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The Tourists:

Son
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Daughter

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Better Half

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Myself

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And …..Our Chariot..our LUV..Ertiga

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Day 1:
The cool breeze of the November morning was blowing , the soft rays of the sun was just beginning to spread in, the dew drops still keeping the grass fresh – our beloved LUV Ertiga set out towards Baharampur – it was 5:50 AM by my watch.
Soon crossed airport, Madhyamgram and took the Kalyani Expressway.

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One thing that caught our attention in this stretch was some local motor vans plying full sized boats. We tried to take snaps of them but they crossed us in no time. Speed 2 in different avatar..ehh : )
After Cola (read Kampa crossing), Milk (preaching to kids on milk production at Haringhata) and jug full of tea – Bara Jug-guli (read filling the flask at Bara Juguli ) – lots of drink, I believe
3-4 Kms after Bara Jaguli is having not-so-good roads but once that ends, there’s no looking after. One can see the 4-lane work is in progress on NH34.

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Reached Krishnanagar around 9:45 and stopped for breakfast at a local roadside eatery near Nabadwip more. Had a relishing breakfast with Luchi, Cholar Dal, Rajbhog and Tea. Its time to hit the road again..
The town of Krishnanagar was preparing for the Kali Puja with last minute decoration of pandals and lighting.
Left the NH34 and took SH11 instead and passed by Ghurni, the pottery area famous for clay and fibre glass idols.
Once we zipped past the outskirts of Krishnanagar, road quality became excellent coupled with good scenic beauty. Shutterbugs would have loved to capture the contrast of the high and low keys created by the intermittent shadows by the trees forming a canopy on the roads and rays of sun emanating from it.

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With “Aao Milo Chalo” by Shaan from the film Jab we Met creating melodies and reaching every corner of the cabin of Ertiga, wished the drive continues for miles ahead…and it did continue. Continued on SH11 and crossed Betai, Karimpur, Domkal and reached Baharampur town at around 12:45. Thereafter it took another 45 minutes to negotiate the unruly traffic of the town and reach our hotel. Hotel Fame was really cozy and had all the necessary amenities.

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Oops !! This doesn’t look good for a family pic : ) Forgot to switch between the specs and the sun shade

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View from our room
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Lunch at Hotel Fame
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Getting ready for some shopping
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No wonder, the evening was spent in the Khagra region shopping for the famous Murshidabad silk as it was “the” agreement set previously before the tour

Day 2:
The day started with sipping on hot tea and standing on the small balcony of our room and breathe in the fresh air and soaking in the quiet charm of the place around our hotel

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After breakfast, set out for the drive to Murshidabad
The feeling of frustration in again negotiating the unruly traffic of Baharampur soon after getting out of the hotel transformed totally when we took the road to Murshidabad. With Bhagirathi flowing beside us and the road taking turns and with less traffic, the drive was an instant mood-lifter.

Historical places have its own little bitter-sweet stories apart from the famous ones depicted in history, and who else but a local guide can string those stories !! The guide named Pokhraj Hossain first took us to the Moijheel and the associated Jama Masjid. Motijheel, is a horse-shoe shaped lake created by Nawazish Muhammad Khan, the son-in-law of Nawab Alivardi Khan. He constructed a precious palatial palace beside this lake which is called the Sang-i- dalan ("stone palace") which is also known as the Motijhil Palace.
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According to local saying, Nawab Alibardi Khan used to come regularly to the mosque to offer prayer. His eldest daughter Ghasati Begum adopted Ekramulla ,the younger brother of Siraj-ud-Daula, as her son. When Ekramulla died at a young age, Nawaej Muhammad Khan, the husband of Ghasati Begum could not bear the shock and died shortly afterwards. Both of them were buried side by side in the precinct of the mosque.

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The wall that survived cannon attack when British tried to find the said hidden treasure of Ghasseti Begum
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A family pic right at the entrance of the Motijheel and the mosque
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Keeping Murshidabad station on our right our next destination was Jahankosa cannon. The cannon is made of 8 metals (aastadhatu) and more than 17ft long. There is a saying that previously it rested on a cart and was surrounded by the roots of a Peepal tree. Later on this cannon was lifted four feet from the ground but the roots surrounded it so beautifully that it had no chance of falling down. The cannon is currently being rested on the erstwhile Topekhana or the artillery park of the Nawabs.

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Kids having fun

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We all posed for photo shoots at some point of the time by now. How can we leave our LUV behind!! Our dusky brown Ertiga, isn’t it photogenic on the backdrop of the famous Katra Mosque !!
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The Katra Masjid (also known as Katra Mosque) is a mosque and the tomb of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan built between 1723 and 1724. Erected on an elevated platform with an open courtyard surrounded by double-storeyed cells, with four massive Minars at four corners with staircase inside, it commences a special style in Bengal.
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The art work
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Last edited by subhojitb : 17th November 2015 at 16:42.
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Old 17th November 2015, 16:37   #2
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Its time to pose with different combinations
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Post lunch, driving down the swirling alleys, crossing by the Murshidabad Jail, Couple of faded Haveli’s and past the Tripolia Gate took a left turn to see Bara Imambara ----- The new Imambara was built by in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah under the supervision and direction of Sadeq Ali Khan just opposite the Hazarduari Palace--- on my left, followed by another left --- and the charm of Murshidabad – the famous Hazarduari. The Bhagirathi quietly flowing on the right side.

The Hazarduari Palace, or the palace with a thousand doors is the chief tourist attraction of Murshidabad. This three-storey palace was built in 1837 by Duncan McLeod for the Nawab Najim Humaun Jah, descendent of Mir Zafar. It has thousand doors (among which only 900 are real) and 114 rooms and 8 galleries, built in European architectural style. It is now a museum and has an exquisite collection of armory, splendid paintings, exhaustive portraits of the Nawabs, various works of art including beautiful works of ivory and many other valuables. The Armoury has 2700 arms in its collection. Swords used by Nawab Shiraj-ud-Daulla and his grandfather, Nawab Alivardi Khan, can be seen here. The other attractions in this floor are Vintage Cars and Fittan Cars used by the Nawabs and their families. Special mention to few paintings by famous painter Benjamin Hudson. One of the paintings involve two young princes sitting side by side. The extraordinary feature is the eyes of both the prince appear to be looking at you from any angle you see the painting. Awesome, indeed !!
Unfortunately, mobiles and cameras are strictly prohibited inside the museum.
Fortunately, one can see with heart’s desire through his or her own eyes.

Its time for some photo session
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Clock Tower

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Bara Imambara

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Panoramic View
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A try at some abstract

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Our next hop was Kathgola Palace. Built by Lakshmipat Singh Dugar, this palace is known for the temple to the Jaina tirthankara Adinatha. As far as the connection to the story of Nawabs related to this place, there is a tunnel (now filled with water) that is said to have its other end right at the Bhagirathi and Nawabs used this tunnel to flee from enemies in terms of crisis.
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The serene water of Bhagirathi and sun setting down the horizon – a photo to be cherished forever on our way back.
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Always wanted to visualize how Hazarduari would look at night and here’s the pic
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Kids’ vociferous “request” ensured that another reminiscent aspect of that golden era was touched upon – The Tonga ride

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As Ertiga’s wheel rolled for one last time beside the banks of Bhagirathi, the driver in me took no offence and allowed the person in me to be transported into the world of dreamland era of flourishing royal epitome to gradual degradation of glory.
The above poetic justice had to be and again I repeat – had to be curbed and put shackles – the day ended with the movie “Goozebumps” at Silver Screen, just beside our hotel – and who else but the kid (in me) was the culprit – thought of giving the kids a pleasant surprise. The kids’ smile after coming out of the theatre made the day one of the contrasting yet so mind-blowing one.

Back to hotel
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Day 3:
The day after, the morning was spent leisurely – actually what else can I do instead of taking a leisurely stroll inside the premises of PC Chandra jewellery shop --- while wife was busy selecting a “Dhanteras” memento.
The “bitter” taste had to be replenished with some activity for the sweet taste buds at the famous Ananda Sweets at Gorabazar, Baharampur. The Baharampur-Murshidabad special “Chanabora” is a must try.

The famous traffic snarl at Baharampur made us poorer by 1.5 hours, but could not take away the seeds of planning for the next wanderlust.

Bye for now.. Auf Wiedersehen !!

Last edited by subhojitb : 17th November 2015 at 16:48.
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Old 17th November 2015, 17:02   #3
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Default re: Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad

Lovely travelogue Subhojitb. I visited the place in 2012 November. Your pictures are taking me down the memory lane. Eagerly waiting for the rest of your travelogue.. The land of the Nawabs of Bengal is always a fascinating place to visit.
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Old 17th November 2015, 18:25   #4
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A very nice and crisp travelogue. All the pictures along with descriptions are very good indeed.
Both the kids are looking really cute in all the pictures!

I find the historical constructions here pretty much similar to the Gour ruins in Malda (refer my travelogue). Keep traveling and posting such beautiful travelogues.
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Old 18th November 2015, 10:16   #5
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Thanks Safedriver76 and gearhead_mait for liking my travelogue.

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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post

I find the historical constructions here pretty much similar to the Gour ruins in Malda (refer my travelogue).
Read the Gour travelogue and its really very detailed and wonderfully written. Do keep them coming
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Old 19th November 2015, 14:01   #6
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Default Re: Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad

Definitely one of the most educating and informative travelogues I've come across and a very interesting trip to take. Thanks for taking out the time to walk us through each location, giving us a deep understanding of the backgrounds. So many of these pictures would make great postcards!
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Old 20th November 2015, 16:21   #7
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Thanks Tushar for liking the travelogue
Missed out the important landmark Plassey -- the place where the famous battle of 1757 was fought --The battle was between Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company-- as NH34 in that area is in tatters and had to take detour via Karimpur (SH11). For anyone having interest can view the update made by BHPian AJ-got-BHP in the following link
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3645981 (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists)

Last edited by subhojitb : 20th November 2015 at 16:34.
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Old 20th November 2015, 23:52   #8
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Very informative, Subhojitb. Inspiring Trip. Superb pictures.
Am amazed to see the carvings (even on the canons) & tunnels are always fascinating.
It is important to teach the next generation our history, art, palaces, forts & canons too! Am certain your kids had a good time & learned a lot.
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Old 21st November 2015, 14:06   #9
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Wonderful write-up subhojitb. I have faint memories of Hazarduari as a child. Once I went with my parents and then after that, from my school excursion. All my nostalgic feeling came alive after going through your travelogue. Cannot wait to visit once again.

Regards,
Avishek.
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Old 21st November 2015, 17:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subhojitb View Post
... Historical places have its own little bitter-sweet stories apart from the famous ones depicted in history, and who else but a local guide can string those stories !!
Indeed, I could not agree more! These stories are often told after inserting a fair dose of fantasy to sound them out of the world I still remember few of them from our school excursion to Murshidabad.

It was quite refreshing to read your travelogue with beautiful pictures. All of you seem to have enjoyed a lot. Wish you many more miles and hope to read your next travelogue soon.

Cheers,
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Old 21st November 2015, 19:33   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subhojitb View Post
...the swirling alleys, crossing by the Murshidabad Jail, Couple of faded Haveli’s and past the Tripolia Gate took a left turn to see Bara Imambara ----- The new Imambara...
The Hazarduari Palace...
Thank you, subhojitb, for a quick virtual tour of Murshidabad and its Nawabi buildings.

I had been researching about Murshidabad, its Nawabs and the buildings they constructed, for some time now.

I wonder if you came across a palace building called the Wasif Manzil (near the Hazarduari Palace), and whether you have any photographs of it.

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Old 23rd November 2015, 14:00   #12
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Originally Posted by Raaj* View Post
Very informative, Subhojitb. Inspiring Trip. Superb pictures.
It is important to teach the next generation our history, art, palaces, forts & canons too! Am certain your kids had a good time & learned a lot.
I could not agree more. Thanks Raaj* for liking the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Panda View Post
Wonderful write-up subhojitb. . All my nostalgic feeling came alive after going through your travelogue. Cannot wait to visit once again.
Thanks Red Panda (Abhishek) for liking the travelogue. Its an ideal time to visit now considering the weather and the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post

It was quite refreshing to read your travelogue with beautiful pictures. All of you seem to have enjoyed a lot. Wish you many more miles and hope to read your next travelogue soon.
Thanks gmhossain for liking the travelogue and the encouragement as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Thank you, subhojitb, for a quick virtual tour of Murshidabad and its Nawabi buildings.

I wonder if you came across a palace building called the Wasif Manzil (near the Hazarduari Palace), and whether you have any photographs of it.
Thanks SS-Traveller for liking the travelogue. We did see the Wasif Manzil and the ad-joint artificial hill near the haveli as well -- but only from the car as were in a hurry to see Hazarduari and unfortunately doesn't have any picture, though did capture in camcorder. Currently, collectorate office is situated in this building as told by our guide.
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Old 23rd November 2015, 17:20   #13
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Default Re: Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad

Wonderful travelogue dada. What more can one ask for when the family is equally delighted with the road trip. Great way to spend quality time
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Old 25th November 2015, 13:26   #14
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Good and crisp write up there Subhojitb. This travelogue would really help people to plan a weekend getaway from Kolkata to the place of the Nawabs. Good to see that you and your family had a wonderful time exploring the unexplored treasures of Bengal !!

However, I would like to mention that the road (NH-34) within the township of Behrampore is in utter tatters and is extremely dusty at any point of time during the day. People travelling with family, please try and stay away from the main NH-34 road or opt for an (AC) accommodation not facing the main NH-34. I was in Behrampore last week for a business trip and would like to share some pictures.

Near Panchanantala, Behrampore (late at night) :
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Notice the overnight dust on the windshield of my car at the hotel premises :
Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad-p_20151122_090404.jpg
My car faces the parked swift
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Old 6th February 2017, 23:05   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I wonder if you came across a palace building called the Wasif Manzil (near the Hazarduari Palace), and whether you have any photographs of it.
This is a picture of Wasif Manjil Doctor Sahab, specially for you. This is taken yesterday.
Driving to the place of the Nawabs of Bengal - Murshidabad-img_0226.jpg

But while visitors were allowed inside earlier, entry has now been restricted. I had visited it previously. There was a small museum inside where mostly furniture, paintings and other small objects were on display. But this time the tanga-wallah (the horse cart owner who took us on a ride) told us that the building was now closed for visitors.
Regards,
Rahul
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