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”.
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
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.