Kathgola Palace, Murshidabad

It was a long hectic day of sight seeing. At 8 in the morning we set off from Mayapur to Murshidabad in West Bengal. 96kms in 2hrs approx. Why Murshidabad? My daughter had just completed her 7th grade history lessons and was eager to visit it. I too learned some history from her: Murshidabad, was the capital of Bengal during the Mughal period. The nawabs (Mughal rulers) here played crucial role during the initial days of British Raj, when the East India Company was trying to get its foothold from this place.

The picture below is the view of the entrance from inside the gardens. It seems the guests were greeted with shehnai vadan (music from flutes) and nagaras (drums) from the upper decks of this structure. Another set of people welcomed with the sprinkling of rose water and flowers from the lower decks in traditional style. The garden seemed hardly maintained. We headed straight to the palace which is now a museum.

We missed more places than we could see in the few hours we spent there. The Kathgola gardens; a huge 45acres area with garden, palace and Jain temple was one of the spots where we spent time after Hazarduari palace. The palace was built by late Rai Bahadur Lakshmipat Singh Dugar (1836-1888). It is well maintained and in good condition, but there are some mansions which were in ruins, scope for good adventure if you go exploring inside. The guide discouraged us saying not permitted.

Three storied lovely bauli (step well) close to the palace. 

Rai Bahadur was a passionate collector of exotic animals, these were
displayed in the little zoo here.This is an abandoned building now.

They employed a Bengali sculptor to create European style statues and murals. A very beautiful work by sculptor Dibakar Paul.

A reflecting sphere made of Belgium glass hanging from ceiling of dining room of the palace; all movements through the different doors can be seen at a time from a single place.

It will be wise to hire a guide here; they are knowledgeable about the history of the place. Not many sites have good compilation of info; I couldn’t get any book on this either.  Murshidabad doesn’t stand high in places to visit in West Bengal, but it does have lot of historical importance. Hope the city gets a boost in terms of tourist visits. West Bengal Tourism should work to promote this place in a big way.

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