India has been the land of all who came or were born here. The Zamindars of yesteryears are also a part of this history in their own way. The various princely states of India, Bengal included, have had their share of Royalty and Zamindars. Today’s post talks in brief about one such royal family, the Mahishadal Raj Family. This post is from the series on Bengal explorations and is therefore aptly titled “Mahishadal Rajbari, A day trip from Kolkata”.
History of Mahishadal Kings
Mahishadal is a historical place of Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal state. This place is famous for the opulent Mahisadal Rajbari( palace ) and the Rathyatra festival.
The history of the Mahishadal royal family goes back hundreds of years ago. It is amazing how a family tree can be traced back to see how dynasties survive and evolve. So the initial ruler was Bimanarayan Roy Chaudhury. Generations later, Janardhan Upadhayay became the firm rulers of Mahishadal with the region, including the nearby areas. The delightful Madan Gopal Jiu temple Mahishadal Rajbari grounds is credited to Rani Janaki in the year 1770.
As generations went by, the Zamindari of Mahishadal finally came under the Indian Government. The vast estate that one sees today bear testimony to the past glory of Mahishadal rulers.
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What is my blog all about ?
My blog focuses quite a bit on ancient history among other places of travel which I keep doing. The history posts comes up because there is in ancient Indian History so many monumental architectures which are created. Read through the posts on the Land of 1000 temples, Tamil Nadu or Stunning churches of Goa. I am sure a visit to them would be fascinating to just about anyone purely from an architectural magnificence prism of view. In case interested read about HAMPI here. How about some thoughts on Manikarnika Ghat, Varanansi.
Day trip from Kolkata
So in the context of day trips from Kolkata or weekend trips from Kolkata. I would recommend you to browse my journey to Khirai, Baranti, Purbasthali, Bishnupur, Serampore, Bandel and Gongoni. There is so much to see in this state much similar to like the Northern Karnataka architectural circuit of Hampi and Badami.
Mahishadal Rajbari, A day trip from Kolkata
The essential points of interest are
- Mahishadal Palace
- Gopal Diu temple
- Old palace
- Tamluk Shakti peeth
Old Mahishadal Rajbari
Mahishadal Place: Mahishadal raj palace comprises an old castle as well as a new one. The old palace is known as Rangi Basan Palace, constructed in 1840. When I visited, there were signs of refurbishment and repairs in progress. The palace has a grand edifice that can be seen by the discerning eye.
Mahisadal New Rajbari.
But it the new palace which attracts visitors the most. Also known as Phulbagh palace built-in 1926. The central hall is open to visitors, known as Durbar Hall on the ground floor. This is accessible to visitors, and decorative wooden furniture displays the opulence of the heydays. There are huge oil paintings that adorn the walls. I must say that oil paintings, mainly life-size, used to the In Thing in the previous century, everyone used to have them made of their family.
There are once magnificent carpets that adorn the room with vases and artefacts that display a touch of royalty. Then there is the Shikar room, and I was actually horrified, more than amazed to see the sport that the erstwhile royalty used to indulge in. Maybe today we think that way, while in those days, the mindset would have been different. One would find rows of stuffed animals ( large carnivores included ) on display after being killed. They should just do away with this room and give a proper ending to these animals killed.
Gopal Jiu Temple
A little distance away, following a mud path through the palace grounds, the temple arch is seen in the distance. I reached the Gopal Jiu temple, built in the year 1774 by Rani Janaki. The main deity is Lord Krishna. The temple built in the Navratna style as was prevalent during this period and bears a striking resemblance to the Dakhineswar Temple. There are two Shiva temples and two Nahabatkhanas on the two side entrances as one walks through the long narrow pathway to reach the main temple.
My thoughts on Mahishadal Rajbari, A day trip from Kolkata
These have been the places that I would like the readers to visit the next time you travel to this part of Bengal. I was satisfied that I got to look at a slice of history from the Zamindari culture as it was in the bygone days. The walk through the palace grounds towards the Gopal Jiu temples and watching young boys fishing in the palace ground ponds made me reminisce about how life can be simple in certain pockets. These vast fields, orchards and ponds would be idyllic places for lunch during the winter months coupled with some classical Rabindra Sangeeth.
In case one is interested, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Barghabhima Tamluk Shakti peeth. The 1150-year-old Kali temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. I was fortunate to have been able to visit here. Do read here about Tamluk here.
West Bengal has a chequered history, and I feel that the readers (who stay in this region ) should make an effort to visit and see history. It is, of course, understandable that not all will be understood by us, but then a glimpse of it and memories of the incidents and events will definitely enrich the thoughts and experiences. So do explore Mahishadal Rajbari, A day trip from Kolkata .
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FAQ on Mahishadal Rajbari A day trip from Kolkata
Reaching Mahishadal. Mahishadal is around 100 km from Kolkata via Kolaghat. I would recommend a road trip. However, I believe trains are also a good option, especially those which depart from Howrah.
Stay options. There are no stay options in Mahishadal; however, one could opt to stay in Tamluk nearby. HOWEVER, I have understood that a few rooms are available in the new palace, which can be let out to visitors.
Eating options. Again there are basic road eateries once one is out of Mahishadal town on the highway itself
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