West Bengal is no wonder a place that bears testimony of the rich past of the Zamindars, the feudal lords. Their glorious life, royal lifestyle, luxurious living can be seen writ large on the mansions or “Rajbaris” as they are called in Bengal and some of which stood against the test of time. Some of these Rajbaris are now turned into heritage properties with the present generation living miles away in foreign lands. My first trip of 2020 with my friends was to one such beautiful palaces of Bengal named Itachuna Rajbari, situated in Hoogly district of West Bengal. Here I must mention that if you have seen the Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh starrer movie Lootera this is the exact palace where the entire shooting took place.
Since our last year’s all girls’ trip to Bolpur Shantiniketan was a hit , we were determined that this thing should be kept going. For our girls’ trip we always select a place which can be easily reachable, that wich takes less travelling time and also a place which is safe for girls. And what can be a best place other than Itachuna Rajbari. There was one hurdle which is we need to do prior booking before reaching Itachuna Rajbari and that’s were we took a big risk as the rooms were quite expensive.
How to Reach Itachuna Rajbari
Itachuna Rajbari can be reached both by train or by car. It is around 70kms from Kolkata. If you are traveling by train take any Bardhaman main line bound train or Memari/Pandua local from Howrah Station and it will take hardly an hour to reach. You need to get down at Khanyan railway station which is next to Talandu Station and from there hire a toto rickshaw to reach Itachuna Rajbari. If you book the Toto it shall take Rs 50. To reach by car you need to go straight from Kolkata to Durgapur Expressway via Vidyasagar setu and proceed towards Bardhaman.
A little history about Itachuna Rajbari
Itachuna was also called as “Bargee Danga”. The name is derived from the word “Bargee” which refers to the Marathi warriors who attacked Bengal for collecting tax centuries ago. Many Marathi warriors later settled down in Bengal and flourished in trade and later became Kundus of Bengal from Kundans of Maharastra. According to the official website Itachuna Rajbari was built by the ancestors of Shri Shafallya Narayan Kundu in 1766. The Rajbari spreads over 20 bighas of land and the terrace itself is of 10 bighas. On arrival we were received by the office staff and they explained to us about the lunch, dinner and breakfast timings and various other activities that we can participate during our stay. Prior bookings are mandatory if you are planning to stay in the rajbari.
A royal stay at Itchuna Rajbari
All the guest rooms inside Itachuna Rajbari are located in an area called as “Andarmahal”. The rooms are named after various Bengali names used to address relatives for example Boropishir Ghar, Thakumar Ghar, Bodo Boudir Ghar, Choto Boudir Ghar, etc and the room tariffs varies accordingly. Just as we entered through the main entrance the beautiful “Thakur Dalan” caught our attention. Here three times Puja is offered to their “Kul Guru Shreedhar Jeeu”. First in the morning at 6:00 am, then 10:00 am and the evening Araati at 5:30 pm. Ever year two main festivals Dol Utsav and Janmastami are celebrated on a grand scale in the palace.
Along with great hospitality, food was also exceptionally great. In the evening a guide was arranged to let us know more about the place. I came to know most of the facts about Itachuna Rajbari . But before we went around with the guide we had our own small tour around the palace right after lunch as we had nothing less to do and we didn’t want to spend sitting inside the room. The palace has some marvellous locations for photography. So it can serve as a good location for photo shoots, but I am sure you must take prior permission for that.
Our Guide narrated us about the history, showed us around some rooms in the palace like the main hall where dance, music etc. were organized for the entertainment of the landlords. He also told us that the irons used in the construction of the house were bought from abroad, at some places Italian marble were used for the floors, the wood used in the rooms and all furniture are made of wood bought from Burma and glasses are from Belgium.
A 300 years old Shiv Mandir lays just outside the palace gates on the opposite side of the road which was in fact within the campus years ago. But due to the sudden death of a family member on the day of a Puja no more Pujas are conducted in the temple, later a Shiva Linga was constructed outside for devotees. There are also some mud cottages at the backyard of the palace for guest accommodation. These looked quaint and perfect. But to get the real feel staying in one of the palace rooms is highly recommended.
The palace also has provisions for day trips that can be arranged on prior booking but for day trips a group consisting of 15-20 members is required. They don’t allow groups less than that to even enter the premises of the palace. In the evening we attended the ‘Araati’ and then went to the Cha-Ghar, a place in the backside of the palace allotted for enjoying evening tea along with soothing flute music. There were also lots of activities for recreation like Badminton, Cheese, Carrom board, Table-Tennis to enjoy. We enjoyed two rounds of carrom and badmintion after years and had a great time.
It is also believed that Itachuna Rajbari is one of the most haunted palaces in West Bengal but with God’s grace we didn’t encounter any ghosts but yes there was something eerie about the whole place. So many stories, untold tales must have been buried within the huge pillars. It is so grand and majestic that we were awe-struck just at the first look of the palace. Everything looked like a scene out of some historical movies showing how grand and luxurious life these rich landlords must have lived. Next day after a delicious breakfast we checked out of Itachuna Rajbari with bag full of memories and camera loaded with photographs.
On way back we took the same route and reached Khanyan Railway station and booked three tickets for the next local train upto Serampore station and we had plans to explore this old town which is a pre-colonial city on the banks of river Hoogly. Let’s keep Serampore for the next post. Hope you liked reading about this post and would love if you feel free to like and share. Thanks
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