Places to vist - Lalbagh লালবাগ Zone

Lalbagh is part of the town of Murshidabad and the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name. It is bounded on the north by the Jangipur subdivision, on the east by the Sadar subdivision and the river Padma, which separates it from the Rajshahi district, on the south by the Sadar and Kandi subdivisions and on the west by the Birbhum district.

When Prince Farrukhsiyar came to Murshidabad from Dacca, after Murshidabad had been made the capital of Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan assigned him a palace at Lalbagh, of which no trace now remains.
go top

Hazarduari Palace

'Hazarduari' i.e. the Palace with thousand doors is situated on the eastern bank of the river Bhagirathi. The Palace derives its name from its thousand real and false doors (It has 900 real doors and 100 doors for the imagination). It is the chief object of attraction in Murshidabad and has more points of interest than probably any other secular building in India. It is the most magnificent edifice, holding a most distinguished place in works of architecture. The enclosure within which the Palace is situated is also called the Nizamat Fort or Nizamat Kila. It was built by Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah হুমায়ুন জাঁ during the period of 1829-1837 A.D. The foundation of this building was laid by the Nawab on 29th August 1829 in presence of the then Governor-General Lord William Cavendish Bentinck. The construction of this building was complete in December 1837 AD.

The total area of the Hazarduari complex is 41 acres. This magnificent building was built at a cost of Rs. 20.5 lacs. The Palace has 114 rooms and 8 Galleries. The architect of the building wasColonel Duncan McLeod of the Bengal Corps, who has also personally supervised the work. [Location Map - Hazarduari Palace, Lalbagh : 24°11'11"N 88°16'07"E]

The Nizamat Kila or Fort Area : nizamat-fort.pdf

HAZARDUARI PALACE MUSEUM
Assistant Superintending Archaeologist PH : 91 (03482) 271605
Address of ASI Kolkata :
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA
Kolkata Circle
CGO Complex (4th floor), Block-DF, Sector-1, Saltlake, Kolkata-700 064
TEL : 91 (033) 23344389, 91 (033) 23343775, FAX : 91 (033) 23344389 EMAIL:asical@vsnl.net
 7 Wonders of India :: Hazarduari Palacego top

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower
Between the Imambara and the Palace, corresponding or rather contrasting with the rounded cupola of the old Madina, is the tall tower of great architectural beauty and majestic height, which affords a magnificent frame work for purposes of effective illumination. It is surmounted by a heavy sounding bell which can be heard from a great distance. On the four corners of the roof of the ground floor are placed four masonry shields, supported by four masonry lions. The dial faces towards the river, the handles and figures are visible from the opposite bank and the clock may be called the "Big Ben of Murshidabad", except that it does not chime quarter hours. The tower was designed by Sagore Mistri, the native assistant ofColonel McLeod the architect of the Palace.
go top

Bacchawali Tope

To the east of the Old Madina, stands on two masonry pedestals 5 feet high a big cannon called the Bacchawali Tope (বাচ্চাওয়ালি তোপ), consisting of two pieces of different diameters. The smaller portion which is the chamber, is 3 feet and 7 inches long, with a girth of 4 feet and 4 inches; and the larger portion, namely the barrel is 11 feet and 6 inches long, with a girth at the middle of 7 feet and 9 inches. The diameter of the muzzle is 1 foot and 7 inches. Eleven rings are fixed on the wrought iron barrel. The rim round the muzzle is ornamented with petals, while one of the rings resembles a string of beads. On the upper half of the barrel surface, near the muzzle 14 lines, 7 on each side, are inlaid with brass. 8 smaller rings are attached at various points. The breach plug is driven until its chamfered end dovetails and fits tightly into the chamber of the barrel, which are tied together with the rings attached to each. The cannon weighs around 16,880 pounds (or 7657 Kg). The cannon requires about 18 Kg of gun powder for a single shelling.

The gun was made between the 12th and the 14th century, probably by the Mohammedan rulers of Gour. It rested originally on the sand banks adjoining Ichaganj (how it came there is not known), protecting the city from attack from the north west. On the completion of the Imambara, at the suggestion ofSir Henry Torrens, Agent of the Governor General at Murshidabad, it was removed to its present site by Sadeq Ali Khan, the architect of that sacred Imambara.

Etymology

There is an old story about this cannon, that it was fired only once, and due to the huge explosive sound, within a radius of 10 miles, most of the pregnant women had their child birth. This cannon is believed to get it's name from this incident (Bacchawali - "one who produces child birth").
go top

Nizamat Imambara

Parallel to the north facade of the Hazarduari Palace, stands the Nizamat Imambara, built in 1847 AD. by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah (ফেরাদুন জাঁ), son of Humayun Jah(হুমায়ুন জাঁ), at a cost of more than 6 lacs, after the celebrated Imambara ofSiraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) had been destroyed by fire. The foundation of the Old Imambara was done by Siraj-ud-Daulla himself, who brought bricks and mortar with his own hands, and laid the foundation of the building. The plot of land on which this "Madina" was built had been dug out to the depth of six feet, and had been re-filled with the sacred earth from Mecca. In the year 1842 A.D. the original imambara which was made of wood caught fire and was partly burnt down, and again on 23rd December, 1846 A.D., during the ceremony of Khir Khotal(or weaning) of five months old Nawab Hassan Ali Mirza (হাসান আলি), at midnight it caught fire from the fireworks let off on the occasion of a party given to the Europeans, and was completely burnt down. Not a single thing was saved except the "Madina". The old "Madina", was left in its place; and a new one was erected inside the new Imambara. The present Imambara is 680 feet long with varying breadths, that of the central block being 300 feet. Its site is slightly to the north of the old building. It took only 6 to 7 months in construction, under the supervision and direction of Sadeq Ali Khan. During construction the workmen received food in addition to their wages, so that they could work day and night without interruption.

The Imambara, which is the largest one in Bengal and perhaps the largest in India, is divided into 3 large quadrangles, in the central one of which is the present "Madina", the plinth of the raised floor of which is decorated with ornamental China tiles. Its massive pillars and arches are surmounted by a dome of majestic proportions. The space within the pillars and the arches are in the shape of a moat in which fountains were provided and which encircles the Shrine of Madina, surmounted by a dome. On the top of the arches and the spaces between them the walls are decorated with extracts of texts form the Koran. The chambers on the north and south were set apart as storehouses and workshops, where hundreds of men were employed for the management of the lights during the Muharram. The rooms of the second storey were surrounded with screens of meca, on which were painted various designs of flowers, beasts and men etc.. with thousands of cressets behind them. Various kinds of cut-glass chandeliers, wall lamps, and Girandoles, adorned these various chambers, and, during the Muharram the building was magnificently illuminated.

Inside Nizamat Imambara, Lalbagh
Inside Nizamat Imambara
The eastern hall of the central block is called the "memberdalan", where there is a pulpit (An elevated platform used in preaching or conducting a religious service) from which elegies (A poem composed in elegiac couplets) are recited. The floors of this spacious hall and its verandah (roofed opened gallery or porch) are covered with polished marbles. There is a spacious side room for ladies. Between this and the Madina is a vat in which there existed several fountains provided with silver head pieces, which worked when the singing of the elegies were over. The two other quadrangles are equally spacious. The eastern quadrangle is reached through a big gate, of what is called the Imamia architecture, which is surmounted by a "Nowbat Khana". The western quadrangle terminates in a two storied mosque, standing on the Mint Ghat and rising almost from the river. With its large proportions, its stately pillars, spacious marble floors, its innumerable chandeliers, some of which form part of the presents given by The East India Company, and its other magnificent equipments, the Nizamat Imambara stands unrivalled.

Nizamat Imambara Plan
Hover the mouse over the Plan view of Nizamat Imambara shown on left ::
Every year Muharram is celebrated here with much gaiety and joy. The majestic Nizamat Imambara is normally closed to visitors except on special occasions such as Muharram. Between the palace and the Nizamat Imambara lies the old "Madina", with colourful tiled verandahs. The Mosque has an ornamented replica of Hazrat Muhammad's tomb at Madina. The middle portion of the inner walls is designed with coloured china-clay tiles. During Muharram festivities, the Mosque is closed to the public for ten days.
[Location Map - Nizamat Imambara, Lalbagh :24°11'19"N 88°16'07"E]go top

Nizamat School

Despite the growing demand for Western education the foundation of the Nizamat College at Murshidabad in 1826 AD could not be hailed with joy because of its sectarian and exclusive character. The idea of founding a Nizamat College was for the first time conceived in 1823 AD by Nawab Nazim Wala Jah (ওয়ালা জাঁ), but he died the next year and was succeeded by Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah (হুমায়ুন জাঁ), on the 31st August, 1824 AD, William Loch, the Governor-General's Agent at Murshidabad, submitted to the Governor General a scheme for the foundation of a School and College for the education of Sahebzadas and Akrobas or blood relations. On the 27th May, 1825 AD, the Governor General approved the plan for the establishment of "A School and College for the education of the youth connected with the Nazim's family and eventually of children of respectable Mussalman parents generally residing in Moorshedabad". The College was started in 1826 AD in the Mubarak Mahal and Rs 20,000 was fixed as the annual charges of the College to be spent from the Nizamat Deposit Fund.

In 1831 AD, when Raja Gangadhar Roy was the Dewan of the Nizamat, the College was thrown open, at the discretion of the College Committee, to respectable Hindus. The proportion of the students in 1826 AD was 24 Muslims and 32 Hindus. A handsome and extensive building for the College was completed in 1843 AD. The building was designed by Colonel McLeod of the Bengal Engineers and was completed at a cost of Rs 76,500, F.J.V. Seddon, an Oriental Scholar of eminence, who knew 32 languages, was the Principal of the College from 1841 AD to 845 AD.
[Location Map - Nizamat College, Lalbagh :24°11'26"N 88°16'04"E]
go top

Wasef Manzil or New Palace

The Nawab of Murshidabad, Sir Wasef Ali Mirzabuilt this beautiful Palace as his residence just a few steps ahead of the Hazarduary Palace and lies between Hazarduary and Dakshin Darwaja (South Gate). It was built by Mr. Vivian, Public Works Department officer of the Nadia rivers division, and Surendra Barat, a Bengali engineer directed and supervised the building work. A handsome iron railing encloses a garden space in front, and the main entrance is a fine Norman archway with open-work iron doors. In the earthquake of June 12th 1897 AD, the whole of the upper storey came down with a crash within few seconds. It was repaired later but without the second storey. There was also an artificial hill and a landscape garden adjacent to the Palace, but now they cease to exist. The staircases made of marble and beautiful statues of this Palace are worth seeing.
[Location Map :24°10'58"N 88°16'08"E]
go top

Chowk Mosque

Chowk Mosque
Chowk Mosque
The Chowk Mosque was built by Munny Begum, wife of Nawab Mir Jafar (1757-1760 and 1763-1765 AD) in 1767 AD on the site of "Chahel Setun" (The forty pillar audience hall Palace built by Murshid Quli Khan). It presents a majestic appearance even today with the graduated size of five domes in the centre and two chau-chala end-vaults on the sides. Both the exterior and interior facade of the mosque are decorated lavishly with vegetal motifs, cartouche patterns and arch shaped niches in stucco. It is situated to the south-east of the Hazarduari Palace. Five roads through arched gateways lead to the pavement in front of the mosque, which with the shops round is called the Chowk, the principle market place of the city. This mosque is used on occasions of the Idul Zoha and Idul Fitrfor public prayer. The ceremony of Idul Fitr is performed on the completion of the thirty days great fast of the Ramzan, the 9th month of the Mohamedan year. The fast is from dawn to sun set each day and more than one meal may be taken at night. The fast begins when the new moon is visible. The daily fast is completed at sunset. Earlier a single gun was fired from the Palace and several guns were fired at intervals proclaiming hours for meals or prayer.

Munny Begum (or Mani Begum), the founder of this Mosque, was favorite of Clive and Hastings, on account of her lavish present distribution, and was styled the "Mother-e-Company" She in her turn received several gifts, one of which was from Rani Bhavani, a Palki with 30 bearers gifted with service tenures, which they were to enjoy in lieu of wages. Munny Begum was the first of a class of chief ladies to whom separate allowances were assigned. These were called "Gaddinashin" Begums. From the time of Mir Jafar, there have been six such ladies of the first class and three of the second class. Until 1769 AD, the chief ladies wereMunny Begum [Died 10th January 1813] and Babbu Begum [Died 1809], both widows of Mir Jafar, who were on receipt of Rs 12,000 and Rs 8,000 respectively per month as their seperate allowances. Faiz-un-nisa or Walida Begum [Died 30th December 1820], widow of Mubarak-ud-Daulla,Bohu Begum [Died 24th October 1849] and Amir-un-nisa alias Dulhan Begum [Died 21st January 1858], wives of Ali Jah,Najib-un-nisa Begum [Died 23rd August 1858], widow of Wala Jah, and Rais-un-nisa Begum [Died 4th May 1893], widow of Humayun Jah, were Gaddinashin Begums.

Munny Begum paid out to Clive the large legacy which Mir Jafar had bequeathed to him. Her acts of munificence to the East India Company and their servants were numerous.Warren Hastings writing to his wife from Bhagalpur said :: "I forgot to tell you that Munny Begum expressed her regret of your departure in terms which seemed too natural to have proceeded from mere civility. I was pleased to hear her say that she grieved on my account as much as for her own loss in your departure and the necessity which occassioned it". The Government of the East India Company treated Munny Begum with distinguished consideration and viewed her with cordial regard. On her demise, a salute was fired by Government corresponding to the number of years of her age.
[Location Map :24°11'07"N 88°16'16"E]
go top

Nashipur Palace

Just north of the Kathgola Jain Palace is the Nashipur Palace, a miniature replica of the Hazarduari Palace. It is about 2.7 km from the Hazarduari Palace. It was built in the 1900's by Raja Kirti Chandra Sinha Bahadur. The age-worn palace continues to exude a mystical beauty with its wide ranging depictions of Hindu iconography. The Raj premises occupy a large area and comprises the Thakur Bari, in the principal temple of which is located the family deity, Sri Ramchandra Deb Thakur. In the inner quadrangle of the Thakur Bari a niche or room is allotted to each one of the images that receive their daily worship.

The main building of the Raj Bari, which is a two storied house with a grand flight of stairs, has an imposing facade. The large and spacious drawing room is well furnished and upholstered. The viceroy, Lord Curzon, who paid a visit to the Raj Bari, is reported to have said :: "I do not agree with you when you say yours is a humble house. It is better than ours. It is a princely abode". The present Raj Bari was construted by Raja Kirti Chandra Sinha Bahadur. The Jhulan Festival, celebrating the divine love of Lord Radha-Krishna, is very popular. Held at the Nashipur Palace, this festival is conducted by the Hindu Vaishnav sect.
[Location Map :24°12'26"N 88°15'48"E]
go top

Kathgola Garden House

Kathgola Garden House
Kathgola Garden House
At Mahimapur, a few yards from the Nashipur Raj Bari, are visible the ruins and remnants of the old banking house of the Jagat Seths at Kathgola containing rare curios, whose history is connected with some of the most critical revolutions in Bengal. By "Jagat Seth" (জগৎ শেঠ) is meant "The bankers of the world" and their transactions have been characterized to have been as extensive as those of the Bank of England. The name of "Jagat Seth" is known to every Indian as the one of the most famous names in the history of Bengal. By religion they were Jains, and Marwari by caste. Originally, the "Jagat Seth's" came to prominence for the vast wealth he accumulated as the Nawab's banker. The "Jagat Seth's" made their original fortune in the Jade trade - in those days green jade from Burma was highly valued by Mughal courtiers because of the belief that it would shatter or discolour if poisoned food was served on it. Emeralds were highly prized by Mughal rulers and their courtiers at that time. [Location Map :24°12'25"N 88°16'01"E]

The Kathgola is an ornate, four-storey, palatial mansion fringed with picturesque gardens. The front approach to the mansion is crafted with precision. The Kathgola's interior was created with imported materials in the late 19th century. Here at Kathgola Garden House William Watts and Walsh met Mir Jafar and Raja Rai Durlabh, three days after the battle of Plassey, and conferred concerning payment of the amounts stipulated for by them before the battle was fought. Clive, Watts, Luke Scrafton, Miran and Rai Durlabh were also present here on 29th June 1757, when Clive repudiated the agreement with Omichand. The Kathgola complex includes an 18th century Adinath Temple enclave, built by Harreck Chand in 1798 AD. A typically Jain style of ornamentation lends a unique beauty to this Jain temple. The Kathgola and the Adinath Temple were retreats into solitude for the wealthy Jain merchant, Dhanpat Singh Dugar, and his family.

The origin of the Seths of Murshidabad is traced to Heeranand Sahu, who belonged to the Marwari tribe of Rajputs and who migrated from his native village of Nagar near Jodhpur, in 1652 and settled in Patna. The eldest of his seven sonsManick Chand, proceeded to Dacca, from where he followed the gerat Dewan and his friend Murshid Quli Khan, to Murshidabad. Murshid Quli Khan built his palace named "Chahel Setun" and Manick Chand's palace was at Mahimapur 3 km from "Chahel Setun" [Location Map : 24°12'33"N 88°15'44"E]. Here Manick Chand became the Banker and councellor to the Nawab, and was charged with the remittance of Bengal's contribution to Delhi, namely one crore and fifty lacs. The Nawab's personal treasures used often to be kept with him. On Murshid Quli Khan's recommendation, he got the title of "Seth" from the EmperorFarrukhsiyar at Delhi, in 1715. On the Same recommendation, his adopted son, Fateh Chand, got the title "Jagat Seth" from the EmperorMuhammad Shah in 1724 AD. [Location Map :24°12'N 88°16'E]
go top

Jafarganj Cemetery

Jafarganj Cemetery
Jafarganj Cemetery
Within an enclosure of waved walls at Jafarganj, proceeding further north, about half a mile from the Hazarduari Palace, one reaches Jafarganj the ruined palace of Mir Jafar. It contains the tombs of the Nawab Nazim's, from Mir Jafar Ali Khan toHumayun Jah. The remains of the last Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Syud Mansur Ali Khan, were temporarily deposited in a vault and subsequently removed to Karbala (burial ground) in Arabia under his testament. Mir Jafar's father Syud Ahmed Najafi, Alivardi Khan's sister Shah Khanum Begum, Mir Jafar's widows,Munny Begum and Babbu Begum, Muhammad Ali Khan the brother of Mir Jafar and Ismail Ali Khan and Ashraf Ali Khanthe sons-in-law of Mir Jafar, lie buried here. Each Mohammedan corpse is laid low into the grave resting on its right side with the head towards the north and the face towards the west. This cemetery was built by Mir Jafar, over an area of 3.51 acres. Now this place is under control of the Archeological Society of India. The entry free for this cemetery is Rs 3 only.
[Location Map :24°12'04"N 88°15'53"E]
Jafarganj Cemetery
go top

Nimak Haram Deorhi

Almost opposite to the Jafarganj cemetery, near Mahimapur is the Jafarganj Deorhi the residence of Mir Jafar, before he ascended the musnad of Bengal, that is when he was Commander-in-chief of the Subha. It was fortified with towers and provided with cannon. Though nothing remains of this palace only a hugeDeorhi (gate) stands as witness of the past. People call this gate Nimak Haram Deorhi or the Traitor's gate. Here the last secret conference before the battle of Plassey, took place between William Watts, (The East India Company's chief factor of Cossimbazar, who entered the Deorhi in a palanquin, disguised as a purdanasheen lady of the harem) and Mir Jafar and his son Miran. Miran received Watts in one of the apartments of the seraglio (enclosed courts for the wives and concubines of a Muslim). Then placing the Koran on his head and his hand on the head of his son, Mir Jafar swore with great solemnity that he would faithfully perform all he had promised.

The place, where according to the Seir Mutaqherin,Siraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) was murdered was in the compound of the Deorhi, by the side of the public road under a Neem tree on 2nd July, 1757 after the decisive Battle of Plassey in 1757 AD. The walls which witnessed Muhammad-i-Beg's act do no longer exist. According to Robert Orme (1728-1801 AD), the scene of the murder would seem to be in the Mansurganj Palace, on the other side of the river (opposite to the Jafargang Deorhi). Some are of opinion that Siraj-ud-Daulla was killed at Mansurganj where Miran resided, and his mangled body was crossed over the Bhagirathi river and kept at Jafarganj at night. In the next morning it was placed on an elephant and paraded through the streets of the city past his mother's house and then taken across the river to Khosh Bagh.
[Location Map :24°12'08"N 88°15'52"E]go top

Cemetery of Azim-un-nisa

Cemetery of Azim-un-nisa
Cemetery of Azim-un-nisa
On the way towards Nashipur, opposite of Mahimapur police station lies the grave of Murshid Quli Khan's daughter Azim-un-nisa. It is heard that once Azim-un-nisa fell seriously ill and the hakim (doctor) prescribed her a medicine prepared from child's lever. Azim-un-nisa used to take this medicine secretly. Later after her recovery from illness, she became addicted to this medicine. When Murshid Quli Khan came to know about this taking of innocent lives, he buried his daughter alive.

But some historians say Azim-un-nisa died in 1730 AD i.e. 5 years after her fathers death. When Murshid Quli Khan came to know about the killing of innocent children for his daughters medicine, he had sent Azim-un-nisa to Orissa. Later she returned to Murshidabad afterSuja-ud-Daulla became the Nawab. But Suja-ud-Daulla buried his wife Azim-un-nisa alive for her act.
[Location Map :24°11'54"N 88°15'54"E]go top

Fauti or Phuti Masjid

About three quarters of a mile to the east of the Hazarduari Palace, at Kumrapur, is the Phuti Masjid, reputed to have been built by Sarfaraz Khan in a single night in 1740 AD. It is one of the largest mosques of the city, being 135 feet long and 38 feet broad. It is surmounted by five domes, some of which are incomplete. At the four corners are four spiral stairs surmounted by four cupolas. The Phuti Masjid is now overgrown by jungle.

According to another account, masons were employed for several months in the construction of the huge mosque. When the master roll was called one day it was found that one person was missing. This mysterious fact was verified for several days, when it became so notorious that the mysterious excess workmen suddenly disappeared, the work was left incomplete.
[Location Map :24°11'09"N 88°16'50"E]go top

Katra Mosque

Katra Masjid (so named because of the Katra or market which used to spread nearby) is situated about a mile in the north-eastern side of Murshidabad town and is only 3 Km from Murshidabad Railway Station. It was built by Nawab Murshid Quli Khanin 1137 A.H., 1723 A.D. The Mosque was built within 1 year by an architect named Murad Farash. Standing on a 54 meter high square plinth, this brick-built mosque is surrounded by a row of double storied domed cells which form a cloister to the spacious courtyard in its front. Four huge minars were built at four corners of this quadrangle of which one in the north-west and the other in the south-west are now surviving. Octagonal in shape the minars taper upwards. There is a winding staircase inside each minar which leads to the top. The mosque is approachable by a flight of fourteen steps from the east. Below the steps of the mosque Murshid Quli Khan's mortal remains lie buried from 1727 AD. It is said that Murshid Quli Khan ordered this out of humility, so as to be trodden on by all who passed up and down; there may be an allusion to this in the inscription, which runs - "Muhammad, the Arabian, the glory of both worlds. Dust be on the head of him who is not the dust of his portal".

The mosque stands on a high platform within a square courtyard measuring 50.60 m on each side. The mosque proper is rectangular in plan (45.5 m x 7.32 m) is divided into five bays, each opened by a multicusped arch, the central one being prominent and flanked by slender turrets. The mosque has 5 domes of which the two next to the central one have collapsed. The central and the other two last on the other side, have survived the great earthquake of 1897 AD, which almost completely ruined the whole building. The total area of the mosque is about 19.5 acres. The facade is decorated with rectangular panels, battlements and corner minarets. Each of the five bays contains three mihrabs with transverse arches springing from their side walls to give rise to a bulbous dome at the top. The minars and portions of the mosque have collapsed in the past. Some of the roofless halls attached to the mosque were used as Madrasa (School). The Katra compound can accommodate 700 Koran readers. In the compound within the Mosque 2000 people can offer Namaz (prayer) at the same time. The two sides of the mosque has two big towers of about 70 feet in height and 25 feet in diameter. On reaching the top of these towers a large portion of the Murshidabad town could be seen. In 1780 AD a traveler named William Hodges wrote that 700 Karis or Koran Readers once lived in this huge mosque. Hodges in his book 'Select Views in India' [1], describes it as "a grand seminary of Musalman learning, adorned by a mosque which rises high above all the surrounding building". The two-storey cells round the mosque and the terrace, which accommodated 700 Koran readers, have nearly all gone, Between the mosque and the arched cells, there are open spaces 13 feet wide on either side and 42 feet wide at the back of the mosque. The cells are about 20 feet square, each having 6 arched doorways and windows. 15 steps edged with stone lead up to the gate, which has 5 arches on either side, through the central one of which, a pathway paved with stone runs up to the central door of the mosque, across the terrace which in front of the mosque is 166 feet by 110 feet. The compound of the Mosque retains a Hindu Shiva Temple.
[Location Map :24°11'05"N 88°17'17"E]

Download Plan of Katra Mosque : katra-mosque-plan.pdf

go top

Jahan Kosha

Jahan Kosha
Jahan Kosha
A quarter of mile to the south east of Katra mosque is "Tope Khana", the site of the Nawabs Artillery Park and the east entrance gate of the old capital, protected on the east, throughout the length of the eastern limits of the city, by Gobra Nala, known locally as the Katra Jheel. Here lies the great gun called the Jahan Kosha "destroyer of the world", which originally rested on a carriage with wheels, and embedded in a peepal tree (Ficus religiosa), which had grown by its side and held it about four feet high from the ground lifting it up enmasse. The wheels have disappeared. The iron work of the carriage and the trunions are still visible. The cannon is made of a composition of eight metals, namely gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, iron and tin. It is 17 feet and 6 inches long, with a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. The diameter of the touch hole is 11/2 inches, and that of the orifice is 6 inches. The cannon weighs about 7,900 Kg and 17 kg Gunpowder was required for a single shelling.

The gun was made at Dacca during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1637 AD) when Islam Khan was the Subahdar of Bengal. It was made by the then famous Janardan Karmakar, under the instructions of Daroga Shere Mahomed and the supervision of Hara Ballav Das in 1637 AD. [Location Map :24°10'39"N 88°17'36"E]
The following account about the gun was given by Major Showers in 1847 AD. "To the naturalist and the general observer, the Jahan Kosha is curious from the position in which it is lying. It is grasped by two trunks of a peepal tree and supported by them about 18 inches from the ground. Native tradition states that it was brought to the spot on a carriage, and was left there as the wheels sunk into the mud and could not be extricated. The tree must have sprung up under it, and the trunks, as they grew, grasped the gun and continued to support it after the carriage had rotted away and fallen from it. The back trunnion is imbedded in the trunk and cannot be seen; but two stanchions and a ring are visible, which evidently belonged to the carriage. The front trunnion, with the iron work attached, was until lately, also imbedded in the tree.........There is another peculiarity which it may be proper to notice, as exhibiting a second phenomenon in the growth of the tree. There are two trunks which support the gun, but I am inclined to think that they are branches of one tree". [Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, June 1847]

On the gun are plated nine brass tablets with inscriptions. Major Showers has also given the Persian, as well as a translation of the inscription. "The Lord of the world; the great Shah Jahan, Unequalled - a second Sahib Qiran, the King of Islam. Such the dignity of this gun, that in the highest heaven. The times asigned it a station in the most exalted place From the report of its power and omens dreadful and awe striking. The fortifications of the enemy shook as by an earthquake. In the time of the Chief of noble qualities, By whom the kingdom of Bengal was organized, The cloud of beneficence, the famed Islam Khan, At whose door prosperity waited as the lowest menial; when thus gun of serpentine from was constructed. For the purpose of destroying the enemies of the king. I sought in the path of reflection the year of its completion; Came the "tope Jahan Kasha" by inspiration.

The ninth plate is in prose and is rendered as "This Cannon by name Tope Jahan Kasha was manufactured at Jahangirnagar alias Dacca under the supervision of Shere Mahomed and the clerkship of Haraballav Das by Jonardan Karmokar in the month of Jumadi-us-Sani, in the year of the reign corresponding of 1047 (October - 1617) weight 212 maunds, the measure (?) 36 dams til Shamari, Charge of power 28 Seers"

Interesting Fact :

Major James Rennell, who visited Dacca in 1764 AD, in his book "Memoir of Hindustan" describes about a gun 22 feet 101/2 inches in length, weighing 64,814 pounds. Rennell further remarks that the gun "has since fallen into the river, together with the bank on which it rested". The big cannon which was placed at Sowari Ghat and the other cannon which, together with two big cannon balls, went down into the water at Mughlani Char, were built for the purpose of training the soldiers of Mir Jumla [2] (1660-1663 AD), and also for serving as a protection against danger. These cannon's were brought to Dhaka by Mughal Subedar Mir Jumla during his military campaign in Assam. In 1246 AH. (1830-31 A.D.) Mr. Walters the Magistrate had the remaining cannon, called "Bibi Mariam" at the Sowari Ghat taken away from there and placed at Chawk Bazar. From Mughal and through Colonial times, Chawk Bazar was the main marketplace / square of Dhaka. The cannon which went down in the river, known as "Kale Jamjam", was very similar to "Jahan Kosha"".go top

Moti Jheel

Moti Jheel or Pearl lake is situated about one and a half kilometre south of Lalbagh and about three kilometres south-east of Hazarduari Palace. The horse-shoe shaped lake, according toJames Rennell, was one of the meandering courses of the Bhagirathi that once flowed near this area. Within the bend of the lake were built a beautiful palace called 'Sang-i-dalan' (stone palace), a lofty gateway, a mosque, a Mahalsarai or harem and some other structures byNawajesh Muhammad Khan alias Shahmat Jang, nephew and son-in-law of Nawab Alivardi Khan. The palace of Nawajesh Muhammad was built using materials, especially the black basalt pillars brought from the ruins of Gour and thus assumed the name Sang-i-dalan. After his death, his widowGhaseti Begum [Mehar-un-nisa Begum] lived here untilSiraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) took over the palace and seized enormous amount of treasures in 1756 AD.

The Mosque of Nawajesh Muhammad, also known as 'Kala Masjid' [Location Map :24°9'42"N 88°16'31"E], is situated at the north to the neck of the lake and was constructed in the year 1153 AH (1740 AD), as mentioned in a Persian inscription affixed to the facade of the monument without referring the name of the king or dynasty. The following couplet in Persian appears on the doorway of the Mosque : - "Dilpae terikh ze sed ko safa Goft uzoo Kurdut masjed ba pa 1153". The mosque is rectangular in plan and is covered by three hemispherical domes. The plinth area of the mosque is 5986 sq ft. Resting on octagonal drums with ribbed decoration, the domes are crowned by lotus and kalasa finials. On the four corners of the mosque, rise octagonal minarets capped by bulbous kiosks supported on slender pillars. The shafts of the minarets are decorated with shallow niche motifs and moulded bands. The portal is projected from the main wall and flanked by guldastas on either side. The battlemented parapet with ornate merlons adds some beauty to the building. The Mosque is a protected monument of Archaeological Survey of India.
To the east of Nawajesh Muhammad's mosque, is a small enclosure within which are four tombs and to the east of which and outside it is one tomb. Of these five tombs, two are of marble [Nawajesh Muhammad and Ekram-ud-Daulla], one of black stone [Ekram-ud-Daulla's tutor], one of ordinary sand stone [Shumsheree Ali Khan General of Nawajesh Muhammad] and the fifth is ordinary masonry [Ekram-ud-Daulla's Nurse]. Ekram-ud-Daulla was the younger brother of Siraj-ud-Daulla and had been adopted in his cradle by his uncle, Nawajesh Muhammad Khan, who had no children. The total area of the Mosque and the Cemetery are 2.52 acres. The Bhagirathi was much nearer to Moti Jheel in 1766 AD than it is now. The garden or park of Moti Jheel was almost surrounded by water and connected with the city by a neck. At its apex was the site of the 'Sang-i-dalan' [Location Map :24°9'18"N 88°16'57"E] palace built by Nawajesh. To the north of the neck, was an enclosed compound containing the mosque 'Kala Masjid', opposite to which, on the east bank, was a beautiful mosque at 'Raesh Bagh'. The portion of the Jheel to the south of the neck contained a deep dug tank, known as 'Santhi Pukur', on the banks of which were the offices.
[Location Map :24°09'39"N 88°16'55"E]
Moti Jheel Graves
Moti Jheel is also known as the "Company Bagh", from the fact of its having been in the occupation of The East India Company. In 1758 AD (after Siraj's defeat at Plassey) Mir Jafar built a palace with twelve doors here, named "Bara Duari" (twelve doors) [Location Map :24°9'35"N 88°16'47"E]. In 1765 AD, Lord Clive stayed here for six days to negotiate with the Nawabs for the transfer of the Dewani to The East India Company. In April 1766 AD, Clive, who had returned to Calcutta after securing the Dewani, again came and stayed at Moti Jheel, and on the 29th of that Month, held here the first EnglishPoonneah or the ceremony of commencing the revenue collections, sitting side by side with the Nawabs (Clive sat as Dewan while Najam-ud-Daulla sat as Nazim). Moti Jheel was the home of Warren Hastings when he became the Political President at the Durbar of the Nawab Nazim (1771-1773 AD). John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth, also lived here and admired its "cooing doves, whistling black birds and purling streams".

"Apart from historical associations Motijhil is well worth a visit on account of its beauty. The lake curves round a long, broad promontory, and its bright waters and verdant banks form a charming spectacle on a spring morning. When the palace, with its colonnades, stood on the edge of the lake, and the grounds were tended, as tradition says they were, by a hundred gardeners, it must have been a pleasure-house fit for Kubla Khan. An Englishman might, perhaps, prefer the ruddy cliffs and breezy upland of Rangamati, but a Bengali would regard Motijhil as the most beautiful spot in the district, and as a Bhukailas or earthly paradise. The promontory is still known as the Agenti Bagh, or Agent's Garden, but most of the fruit trees have disappeared." -- Henry Beveridge, Old Places in Murshidabad Calcutta Review, 1892.

In Moti Jheel there is also the grave of Ewan Keating, the son of Mr. Christopher Keating, who in 1774 AD was Superintendent (Mint Master) of the Murshidabad Mint and in 1793 AD rose to judge of the court of appeal. The tomb stone bears the following inscription :: "Here Lyeth the Body of Ewan Keating who was born on the 20th of December 1779 and departed this life on the 3rd of March 1785 aged five years two months and eleven days".

Myth

There is a mysterious bricked chamber near the Mosque of Nawajesh Muhammad and is said to contain countless treasures (65 feet Length x 23 feet Breadth x 12 feet Height plinth area 1,339 sq ft) with no doors, windows or entrances still stand intact. Nobody dares to break open this masonry box, as labours once employed for the purpose are said to have died of spitting blood on the spot.

Moti Jheel Gallery


go top

Radha Madhav Temple

This Hindu temple is situated at a place named "Kumar Para" lying east of Moti Jheel. The temple contains the deity of Lord Krishna and Radha (around 400 years old). In 1609 AD Srimath Sreejib Goswami sentSree Banshibadan carring this deity of Radha-Krishna and aMadhabi Lata Plant (Family: Malpighiaceae, Scientific Name: Hiptage benghalensis) and established a temple on the east side of Moti Jheel.

There is an old story about this temple :: When Nawajesh Muhammad lived in Moti Jheel with his wife Ghaseti Begum, the sound of bell metal chymbals and blowing of conch shells from this temple, disturbed him during the time of Namaz (prayer). To punish the priest and teach him a lesson, Nawajesh sent a piece of beef (forbidden by Hindus) in a pot hidden under flowers through his messenger, to offer at the temple. The priest knowing nothing about it performed the ceremony and returned the pot. But when the messenger checked the pot afterwards he found it filled only with flowers. When Nawajesh Muhammad heard about the story of supernatural power from his messenger, he was spell bound. He repented for his act and later donated land for the temple complex. [Location Map :24°9'16"N 88°17'8"E].

Radha Madhav Temple Gallery


go top

Khosh Bagh

Khosh Bagh lies on the opposide banks of the river Bhagirathi on the west. One can reach Khosh Bagh from New Palace Ghat (jetty) or from Lalbagh Sadar Ghat by motor-boat. It is about one mile from the opposite banks of river Bhagirathi. Khosh Bagh (Garden of happiness) was built by Nawab Alivardi Khan (আলীবর্দী খাঁ) along the lines of the Jama Masjid of Delhi. It consisted of walled enclosures, the outer walls, which were loop holed for musketry and flanked by octagonal bastions. Here lies the grave of Nawab Alivardi Khan, Mother of Alivardi, Siraj-ud-Daulla (সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা) inside a square flat-roofed chamber surrounded on all sides by an arcade verandah, Siraj-ud-Daulla's wife Lutf-un-nisa and other members of the Nawab family. After the death of Siraj-ud-Daulla, Lutf-un-nisa, who refused to join the harem of Mir Jafar fled to Dacca (Bangladesh). Later she returned and lived for several years in the bagh (garden) tending the grave and the rose bushes of which 108 varieties existed. Lutf-un-nisa used to spend Rs 1000 for the maintenance of Khosh Bagh, and after her death in 1786 AD she was buried near Siraj-ud-Daulla.

The cemetery is built over 7.65 acres of land. It is surrounded by a 2,741 feet long wall. The mosque here (built by Alivardi Khan) is of 2,675 square feet plinth area. [Location Map :24°09'45"N 88°15'32"E]

References :
  • Bengal District Gazetteers, Murshidabad - By L.S.S. O'Malley (1914)
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) With Biographies Of Some Of Its Noted Families (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • [1]William Hodges (1744-1797), born in London on 28th October 1744, was the first professional landscape painter to visit India, working for the East India Company and the then Governor-General, Warren Hastings. Hodges published an account of his Travels in India in 1793. He also published a dissertation on Indian architecture and a series of lavish prints, drawn on the spot, in the years 1780, 1781, 1782, and 1783, and executed in aqua tinta, entitled Select Views in India. Back
  • [2] Mir Jumla : He was the subahdar of Bengal under Emperor Aurangzeb. He was Iranian by birth and his original name was Mir Muhammad Said. He received various titles from the Mughal emperor such as Muazzam Khan, Khan-i-Khanan, Sipahsalar and Yar-i-Wafahdar. Back

Page Updated : April 26, 2013 03:00 pm