If you’re planning to immerse yourself in the past and learn some history in the process, Murshidabad is the place you must go. Situated on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, Murshidabad is beautiful and famous for its rich cultural heritage. Notably, the best time to visit is in the winter months, from October to December, as temperatures can soar during the summer. Furthermore, to check out all the tourist attractions, it is necessary to stay in Murshidabad for at least 2 to 3 days so that the tour doesn’t become too hectic. So, keeping all of this in mind, check out this list of 10 must see historical places in Murshidabad, which you definitely cannot miss!
1. Hazarduari Palace
Located within an enclosure called Kila Nizamat, Hazarduari Palace lies on the Eastern banks of the Bhagirathi River. It spreads over an area of 41 acres. The name “Hazarduari” literally translates to “A Thousand Doors”. Out of these thousand doors, 900 are real and the rest are fake, to confuse intruders. Also, the beautifully embellished doors don’t fail to dazzle the tourists. Presently, the Government has turned the Palace into a museum. The numerous artefacts available here for the tourists is a must see.
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: Rs 5
2. nizmat imambara
This beautiful mosque is situated on the northern side of the Hazarduari Palace. Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah built this mosque after the Imambara built by Siraj-Ud-Doula burnt down. Additionally, the Imambara is probably the biggest mosque in both Bengal and India.
The 3 parts of the present Imambara are:
- The central part has the Medina Mosque and the Memberdalan.
- The Eastern part has the Naubat Khana.
- The Western part consists of a two-storied mosque.
3. moti jheel
Nawazesh Mohammad excavated the beautiful horseshoe-shaped Moti Jheel. It originally comprised of a lake and a palace. Nawazesh Mohammad called this splendid palace the Sang-i-Dalan or Moti Jheel Palace. Later, unfortunately, the palace perished, leaving behind only the lake. At the vicinity of the lake stand two mosques, the Shahamat Jang and the Kala Masjid. Moti Jheel is about one and a half kilometres away from Murshidabad.
Timings: 7 AM – 7 PM.
4. khosh bagh
The literal meaning of “Khosh Bagh” is “The Garden of Happiness”. This was a garden cemetery for the Nawabs of Bengal. You can find the graves of Siraj-Ud-Doulah and Alivardi Khan, along with others, here. A flat-roofed, square mausoleum houses the graves, surrounded by an arcade veranda. Furthermore, after Siraj-Ud-Doulah’s death, his wife tended to the grave and the 108 varieties of roses, that once grew here. Today, she rests peacefully beside her husband.
Timings: 7 AM – 7 PM.
5. Murshidabad district museum
The Late Rai Bahadur Surendra Narayan Singha of Jiaganj donated the land on which the Murshidabad District Museum presently stands. Its construction first started in 1965. Consequently, the museum started operating in 1985. Its artefacts include mainly, but not only, those belonging to the Late Raja. Some of these artefacts include black stone sculptures, early potteries, manuscripts, and rare books.
Timings: 9 AM – 6 PM. Closed on Wednesday.
Entry Fee: Rs 5.
This palace complex is situated a few kilometres from Murshidabad. Consequently, KathGola was a lumber yard before. The name came into being after that lumber yard. Additionally, the ponds, endless gardens, a statue of Michelangelo and a temple dedicated to Adinath all add to KathGola’s beauty. There’s a lot to see over here!
7. katra mosque
Murad Farash Khan built the Katra Mosque in the year 1724. This mosque is said to be a tomb of Quli Khan. Apparently, he is buried under the flight of stairs at the entrance to the mosque, from the Eastern end. Actually, Murshid Quli Khan, on reaching old age, wanted to be put to rest in a mosque. Murad Farash Khan, his loyal follower, and an architect fulfilled his wishes. Katra Mosque is also important as a centre of learning. The most striking features of the mosque are the two loopholes in the large corner towers. People used to use them for musketry. At present, this mosque is maintained by both the Archeological Survey of India and the Government of West Bengal.
8. wasif manzil
Wasif Manzil was built by Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan, the Nawab of Murshidabad. It lies at the South end of Hazarduari Palace. The Palace is smaller, but not less beautiful. Along with the architecture, the numerous marble statues are a fair sight to behold. Earthquakes destroyed the artificial hill and landscape on the side of the Palace. Although they restored the Palace, the hill, and the landscape perished.
9. footi mosque
Footi Mosque is located on the East of Hazarduari Palace. It is said to be the brainchild of Sarfaraz Khan. According to legends, it was built in one night. But actually, the plan to build the mosque was dropped due to insufficient funds. Furthermore, no one has ever read Namaz here. Probably, Sarfaraz Khan’s successors concocted this story to glorify him.
Pro Tip: Try not to enter the mosque. Just take a glimpse of it from outside. The surrounding jungles are not that safe.
Siraj-Ud-Doulah built the original Madina Mosque. It is located between the Hazarduari Palace and the Nizmat Imambara. Nawab Mansure Khan rebuilt the mosque after the destruction of the old mosque in a fire. This mosque is supposed to replicate Hazrat Muhammad’s Tomb at Madina. Furthermore, the original mosque contained soil from Mecca. Apparently, 700 Quran readers can fit inside the room of the mosque. The mosque is divided into 5 inlets. Each of these entrances is curved, and the central one is the most beautiful, as it contains a lean steeple. The mosque has five domes.
Special Mention: The Bacchawali Tope is present between the Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace. The Muhammedan rulers of Gaur probably made this Tope between the 12th and 14th century. It has two pieces of different diameters. Previously, it was found lying on the sand banks of Ichagunj. It protected the city from north-western invaders. Sadeq Ali Khan, the architect of the Imambara, moved it to its present site, after rebuilding the Imambara.
So here is a list of historical places to visit in Murshidabad which will surely open your eyes to the beauty and rich cultural heritage of the place and make you want to come back here again and again. Time to start packing your bags, happy travelling!
Contributor: Archi Sengupta.