Historical Monuments of Murshidabad
Murshidabad is a land of rich heritage located in the north-central part of the district of West Bengal. Being the seat of power in Eastern India during Nawabi era, Murshidabad holds invaluable heritage. The major historical landmarks are Hazarduari Palace, Katra Masjid, Kathgola Gardens and so on.
What to see
Hazarduari Palace facade
The palace was built during 1829 to 1837 with an Indo-European architectural style.
On the banks of Bhagirathi river the palace stands tall at a height of 80 feet containing three floors.
It was handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India in 1985.
Presently it serves as a museum divided into twenty galleries displaying exquisitely fine artefacts such as European paintings, bronze and marble statues, various objects of gold, silver and ivory and relics of immense historical value such as important documents, weaponry, costumes, jewellery, palanquins and carriages used by the Nawabs including Alibardi Khan and Siraj-Ud-Daula and their family and army. From the vaulted ceiling of the central gallery, which used to be the ‘Durbar’, a crystal chandelier is suspended, which was gifted by queen Victoria and is supposed to be the second largest in the world.
The museum is well guided and documented, with Braille description of the artefacts.
Some of the points to be noted while visiting the Hazarduari Palace:-
- Photography is not allowed inside the museum and camera and mobile are to be handed over before purchasing the entry ticket.
- The museum is closed on Friday and open from 9am to 5pm on other days
- Entry fee is Rs. 10/-.
- Though guides will try to allure visitors for a grand visit, but it is useless to take a guide as they are allowed only up to the gate and not inside the museum.
Nizamat Imambara upfront
In the same complex, facing the palace, stands Nizamat Imambara, built in 1847, known to be the biggest place of meeting of Shia muslims in India.
The palace ground houses other historical monuments such as Bacchawali tope cannon, Madina Masjid, Yellow mosque and ancient Murshidabad Clock Tower.
The Madina Mosque or Madina Masjid as we call it, is a beautiful white domed mosque inside the Nizamat Fort Campus. It is a treat to the eye.
The Yellow Masjid is another mosque which is completely yellow, and in bright sunlight seems to glow.
Clock tower of Murshidabad
The gongs of the large bell of the Murshidabad Clock Tower once penetrated far into the city of Murshidabad. It is situated between Hazarduary Palace and Nizamat Imambara. It is popularly known as the Ghari Ghar in the surrounding locale. It was designed by Sagore Mistry, an assistant to Colonel McLeod who was the architect of the palace.
Clock tower of Murshidabad
Most remarkable mosque is the Katra Masjid. It is the largest and most prominent one in the area.
Katra Masjid was built in 1724 as a tomb of Murshid Quli Khan, after whom Murshidabad is named. The body of Murshid Quli Khan is buried under the stairs of the entrance of the mosque. The mosque has two seventy feet tall minarets with holes which used to hold weapons. It is said that around two thousand people could pray together at the mosque. At present the mosque and the surrounding beautifully landscaped garden is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
The Kathgola Gardens area has many structures including a palace, a few Hindu temples, Adinath temple, which is a Jain temple, mango orchards etc. on a land of approximately 30 acres.
The palace is a four storied structure, overlooking a beautiful pond. There is a small museum inside the palace.
Kathgola Palace and its lake
The beautiful Adinath temple, a place of worship of the Jains, is made of white stone with an onion shaped dome.
How to reach
The nearest railway station is Murshidabad, but there is no decent place to stay nearby. It is better to stay at Berhampur Town. Berhampur to Hazarduari Palace is approximately 14 km, from there Kathgola Gardens is approximately 4 km. Kathgola Gradens to Katra mosque is around 5 km.
In a day tour these three places can be covered.
The surrounding areas of these monuments are dirty and there is no proper place to eat, so it is advisable to carry lunch.
When to visit
Summer is harsh in Mushidabad and it becomes difficult to move around during rainy season, hence November to February is the most suitable time to visit.