Some of the surviving rajbaris, or old royal houses, are still inhabited and others transformed into heritage hotels, offering a taste of the rich heritage of West Bengal.
Although there were numerous rajbaris in and around Kolkata, few of them have survived the test of time with accelerating costs of maintenance and changing family structures. Kolkata, once the capital of India under the British, is the capital city of the state of West Bengal in the eastern part of the country, and is home to a large number of such royal houses. Some have lost their glory while some were abandoned and dilapidated. Of the remaining ones, here are some that are definitely worth a visit to.
A well-known place to locals and visitors alike, the Sovabazar Rajbari is a place where the British, as colonisers, would frequent for cultural festivities. A rajbari laden with a long lineage that still works to preserve the heritage of Bengal, Sovabazar is prominently known for its celebration of the Durga Puja festivities that opens parts of the home to visitors. The house was founded in the 1700s by the Deb family and at its present venue in Naba Krishna Street in Kolkata can be visited to soak in a taste of this house. The splendid architecture adds to the charm of this famed rajbari in north Kolkata.
— Indranil Mutsuddi (@i_mutsuddi) August 7, 2015
A well-preserved rajbari that has now been transformed into a heritage hotel and located barely two-and-a-half hours from Kolkata, the Itachuna Rajbari, also called the Bargee Danga due to its history, has guided tours and daily evening aartis for those looking to immerse themselves in the cultural grandeur of this palace-like home. The red and faded yellow colours of the main building and the cute, newly-constructed mud huts make the ambience of the place quite interesting. With explorations of the thakurdalan (ceremonial platform), the terrace, temple and many interesting things in and around the rajbari, it can make for a great day trip from Kolkata.
— jaideep chatterjee (@jaideepchat) April 6, 2016
Dating back to early 1800s, the Serampore Rajbari of the Goswami family is located in Serampore, which was formerly a part of Danish India. An old house that still holds its distinct charm, the rajbari has two different sections, the north and the south. A chandni, in a space which was formerly a water tank, transformed into a ceremonial space for celebrating festivals and hosting marriages. The northern complex of the rajbari is a delight for those looking to explore architecture. With pillars and interiors that have taken influence from various sources, and a Radha-Madhav Jew temple within, the rajbari is a visual treat.
The rajbari at srerampore where the film bhooter bhobyshot was shot pic.twitter.com/cEIs3gCO
— Anjana Basu (@AnjanaBasu) July 4, 2012
Located close to the outskirts of Kolkata in Budge Budge, the Rajbari Bawali dates back to the 1700s and is now run as a heritage hotel. With a fascinating courtyard where musical and cultural performances are held, a terrace above it where one can enjoy a leisurely meal, a visit to the Rajbari Bawali can bring in a feeling of the royal, opulent life led by the original owners of the compound. The architectural structure of the building, an impressive dining area and heritage items to be seen across the compound only add to the experience of a royal and indulgent past of Bengal.
— Amrita Shindal (@AmritaShindal) June 6, 2017