named after Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the Dewan of Bengal, Bihar
and Orissa under Emperor Aurangzeb, is related to events that ultimately
changed the history of India, At Plassey near Murshidabad
the histortc battle between Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula and Lord Clive
had taken place. The relics strewn today 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 Karanasubarna
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, a chance to see typical rural Bengali life.
The region is rich in textile and handicrafts. Baluchari sari, now
a product of Vishnupur was originally woven at Jiaganj.
The main attraction is the Hazarduari, the classical-style Palace
of a Thousand Doors built for the nawabs in 1837. In the recently
renovated throne room a vast chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria,
is suspended above the nawab's silver's throne. There are portraits
of British dignitaries, an ivory sofa, ivory palanquins and silver
sedan chairs. In the armoury downstairs is a cannon used at Plassey.
Across the grass from the palace is the rapidly deteriorating Great
Imambara. Murshid Quli Khan, who moved the capital here in 1705,
is buried beside the impressive ruins of the Katra Mosque. Siraj-ud-daula
was assassinated at the Nimak Haram Deohri. The Jain Parswanath
Temple is at Kathgola, and south of the railway station there's
the Moti Jhil, or Pearl Lake, a fine place to view the sunset. It's
worth taking a boat across the river to visit Siraj's tomb at Khusbagh,
the Garden of Happiness. There are a number of other interesting
buildings and ruins.
Air: Nearest airport - Kolkata 223 km
and Road: Easily accessible by rail (197 km ) and road. Several
buses ply between Kolkata and Behrampore. Behrampore, the district
headquarters, is about 12 km from Murshidabad.