Murshidabad, 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 historic 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 traveler 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.
Major Tourist Attractions in Murshidabad
The Hazarduari Palace
Spread in 41 acres, the Hazarduari Palace, (palace with thousand doors) is a chief tourist attraction of Murshidabad. The palace was constructed by Duncan Macleod in 1837.
The palace was built in typical European style of architecture. The palace has been converted to a museum, which holds a collection of armoury, paintings, portraits of the Nawabs, Ivory works of China and many other valuables. There are also the vintage cars, used by the Nawabs, in the museum.
The palace was built by King Kirtichand Bahadur in late 19th century. Within the palace compound are temples: the Ramachandra temple and the Lakshmi-Narayana temple. Closely situated is the Ashram of Mohandas and Jafraganj Deuri. The two cannons present here are said to be gifted to Mir Jafar by Clive.
Motijheel is a lake, located 3 km from Hazarduari. The lake stands in front of a beautiful three-storeyed palace, built by Nawab Naoajes Mohammad Khan. People say, treasures of the Nawab are still buried in the lake. This place was also called 'Company Bagh' as it was occupied by the East India Company.
Kath-gola is palace built by a Jain businessman. The palace is surrounded by good-looking gardens. The palace has some of the rarest collections of the luxurious western items of that age. In 1873, the well-known Adinath Temple was built by Harreck Chand.
The temple has beautifully designed walls. The temple is also a major tourist attraction.
Air : Nearest airport - Kolkata 223 km
Rail : (197 km) and road. Several buses ply between Kolkata and Behrampore.
Behrampore, the district headquarters, is about 12 km from Murshidabad.
Road : Easily accessible
A number of options for stay are available in Murshidabad, Berhampore and Lalbagh. These include luxury, budget and government owned hotels. Lodges, guest house are also available in these areas.