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Exploring West Bengal: Mahishadal and its Rajbari


It was in the 16th century in West Bengal that a north Indian businessman titled Janardhan Upadhyay Garg bought a big estate in Midnapore district. Starting off as another affair of Zamindari, it grew up to utmost proportions by 18th century during the reign of Rani Janaki Devi. What started off as a mansion turned into a glorious “Rajbari” and by the 18th century, a new monumental structure was also built adjacent to the former. As of today, the original Mahishadal Rajbari remains in its ruins, while the newly built palace serves both as a museum of age old collectives. Both these structures are often the common destinations for young and polished film-makers for shooting period dramas.

The original Mahishadal Rajbari

The original Mahishadal Rajbari

While the old structure is hardly being maintained by any authorities till date, the newer version of it caters many of the visitors as a must weekend visit. Being no more than a half hour trip from Haldia, excursions are not an issue for anyone willing to witness age old history of Midnapore district. The mansion hall and other attached rooms preserve variety of collectibles including the hunts, the medals, manuscripts, photographs, artillery and other cultural facets pertaining to Rani Janaki Devi, who, as per the locals, was an entrenched anti-British advocate.

The Ramjew Temple

The Ramjew Temple

Nearby to both the monuments are variety of not to be missed temples, which include the Gopaljew Temple and the Ramjew Temple. The original idols of Ram, Laxman, Sita and Hanumas were stolen during 1967, while the current installations of these deities are made of brass. It is these avenues which easily attract thousands of locals during the various annual doings. Nearby to these monuments is the Natshalbuilt on the bank of the river Rupnarayan. This is where Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev started the Ramkrishna movement. The place is equally well-known for the excavation of historic artifacts older than Indus Valley Civilization. The other side of the bank of Rupnarayan river is stood guard by lane of palm trees, adding up to the scenic beauty of this place.

The encapsulating glory of Mahishadal Rajbari might be lost in time, but this trifling settlement is still proficient of publicizing its delectable mihidana and chhanar murki, by which the local sweet connoisseurs see to it that Mahishadal remains more than a dot on the map and history of West Bengal.
The Rupnarayan River
The most convenient way to reach here would be to hire a cab from Kolkata or Haldia for a one day ramble, which would be around 3-4 hour journey from one end. Other subtle options include the Howrah-Haldia local, by which one needs to get down at the Satish Samanta Halt Station and opt for an auto or rickshaw to reach Rajbari.

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