Category Archives: Bengal

Murshid Quli Khan’s Murshidabad

Murshidabad was founded by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century. It was named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the Dewan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa under Emperor Aurangzeb. In 1704, the nawab Murshid Quli Khan (following Aurangzeb’s orders) moved the capital ( of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa) to Murshidabad from Dacca. During the regime of Siraj-ud-daula  the British started interfering into the subcontinent’s affairs. The Nawab, peeved by the persistent British defiance of his wishes, marched to Calcutta and drove the British out of Fort Williams to their ships offshore. Months later, the British, led by Robert Clive, retook Calcutta and plotted with Mir Jafar, Siraj-ud-Daula’s general, to overthrow and assassinate the Nawab in 1757 after the battle of Plassey (now Palashi). Murshidabad remained the capital under the British until 1790 and is still the seat of the descendants of the Nawabs of Bengal. The palace of Mir-Jafar  where  his descendants lives is called by people as “Nimak Haram ki Deori”.

Bhagirathi (Ganges) River at Murshidabad.

The remains of the palaces and garden speak of those times. But the history of this region date back perhaps further. The famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsiang, who made the long journey to India in 629-645 AD, in his world famous travelogue describes Karna-suvarna near Murshidabad as the first capital of the ancient Bengal. Murshidabad was also the major trading town between inland India and the port of Kolkata, 221 km south. Today it’s an insignificant town on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. River Bhagirathi is the witness of many ups and downs of Murshidabad.

Hazarduari Palace literally means “palace with thousand doors” was the palace of the Nawab. It was built in the 1830s by General Duncan McLeod of the Bengal Engineers. It has a banquet hall lined with mirrors and a circular Durbar Hall. The palace comprises of 1000 doors of which only 900 are real and 114 rooms and 8 galleries. The palace is now a museum with many fine exhibits, such as a gigantic chandelier, presented by Queen Victoria. Camera is not allowed inside. Hazarduari Palace Museum at night

Hazarduari Palace museum Murshidabad.

Nearby the Hazarduari palace, which were built between 12th and 14th century, there are some other attractions :  Asia’s biggest Imambara, Siraj’s Madina, Ghori Ghar (Clock Tower ), Bachchawali Tope (a canon), Tripolia Gate, Dakshin Darwaza and Chak Darwaza.

The kathgola palace (above picture) and garden was built by a business man named Lachmipat Singh and the descendents of his still maintains the garden. The Garden is huge and covered with big trees. Near the palace, there is a tunnel which ends at the palace of Jagat Seth. Jagat seth was a rich man, a Banker having money lending business. As per the authorized guide of the palace the tunnel was used for illegal trades by these two families like smuggling etc.A marble statue  facing the swimming pool at Kathgola Palace

It is said that once Siraz Ud Daula slapped Jagat Seth in the open court in front of all ministers . This insult lead him to join hand with the other enemies. This way the regime of  young Siraz  Ud Daula collapsed within two years (1756-57). He was defeated in the battle of Palashy  and later when he wanted to escape from the palace but he was caught and killed by his  enemies . Mir jafar succeeded to get the throne with the help of Aurangzeb and since then the Bengal was ruled by the descendants of Mir Jafar.

A marble statue of a dancer at the palace of Jagat Seth


Posted by on 01/03/2011 in Bengal, Indian History


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Train to Bangladesh

“That is my country …. How near is it. Still, I can never reach there.” This was a dialogue in Ritwik Ghatak’s film “Komal Gandhar”, which captured the pain and grief of partition and his dream of reaching there remained just a dream . But on the day of poila Baisakh, Bengali New Year 1415, the Bengalis of both side of the International border got a gift to cherish and to make their dreams of “reaching there” fulfilled.

“Maitree Express” (Friendship Express) a train to Bangladesh from India, (Kolkata to Dhaka) started its journey on the auspicious day of Poila Baisakh that is 14th april 2008, after 43 years of snapping rail link between India and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). The rail link between India and the then East Pakistan was snapped during Indo-Pak war in 1965.

The two countries, India (particularly West Bengal) and Bangladesh supposed to be very close at hearts to each other because of their common bond of language, culture and food habits. But we are not so due to politics and misunderstandings. An International Boarder separated us from each other. India always respect sovereign state of the neighboring countries and never believe in aggressiveness or Dadagiri to any neighboring country. India always stood by the side of Bangladesh, at the time of distress like a good friend.

“Maitree Express” alone can not bridge the gap or erase the border between two nations built or created through many years unless there is heart to heart communications by way of cultural exchange and tourism. Let there be more “Bharat Bangaldesh friendship society”, and let us extend our hands for friendship with each other. The same was reflected on the first day run of “Maitree Express” when the passengers reaching Kolkata expressed their happiness shouting “we are very happy to be here. We Bangladeshis share a common bond with you people. We especially thank you for standing by us during our war of liberation”.

If East and West Berlin can unite by breaking their “Wall of Berlin”, why can’t we work for union of two Bengals ?

Note : During united India (before Independence) the present Bangladesh was known as “East Bengal”. Then came the partition of INDIA in 1947 on the basis of religion and then “East Bengal” became “East Pakistan” ruled by Pakistan. In 1971, “East Pakistan” was freed from the clutches of Pakistan by India and a new nation was born , thats “Bangladesh”.

Train reached Kolkata from Dhaka. ( Pic : Times of India)



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