Monday, February 6, 2012

Dynamic Day Trips : Andul Rajbari


It was an impulsive decision to visit the heritage building of Andul Rajbari. Santanu, Anirban and I boarded a local train from Santragachhi and got down after a couple of stations at Andul. From Howrah, it is a half an hour ride by train.

The Rajbari, spread over 10 bigha and comprising more than 100 rooms, can be reached in about 10 mins from the Andul station in a cycle rickshaw. The building is in dilapidated state now but the massive structure and lofty pillars speak of the affluence the royal family must have enjoyed in the past. It is heartbreaking to witness the neglect and ill-maintenance which is driving the grand heritage building into ruins. The large open ground in front of the Rajbari has now been converted into a football playing ground for the locals.


Interestingly, the building is still being used as residence by a handful of people although sections of it looked dangerously in need of immediate attention. A part of the building however has been renovated recently and newly painted adding a contrast to the remaining majority.



After taking some snaps from the outside we were a bit jittery about whether to enter the building or not. At the end, setting aside our apprehension of whether we were committing trespassing, we did take a small tour inside, and had we not entered we would have definitely repented afterwards. There is a small courtyard (may be the erstwhile naach mahal) inside which has withstood the test of times and still depicts the elegance and grandeur of the bygone era. The intricate decorations of the pillars have remained relatively unimpaired and transports oneself to an altogether different time and the presence of the pigeons flying around flapping their wings and making intense sound somewhat renders a haunted feeling to the mansion.


There is precious little history that can be found on the history of the palace. A signboard in front of the building acknowledges that the palace was built in 1834 by Raja Rajnarayan Roybahadur. However from a website (which is the sole reference that I came across on the internet) I could gather that the Andul Raj Family was founded by Ram Charan Roy even before the Battle of Plassey (1757) and the construction of the palace building was started by Kashinath Roy. However, I could not crosscheck the authenticity of the information. Interestingly, in a recent article in Times of India on heritage buildings, someone with a surname of Mitra was quoted as one of the descendants of the Andul Raj Family. Not sure if he belongs to the extended family or whether the palace changed hands (which seems less probable).



Just beside the palace building, there is an old Annapurna Temple surrounded by Shiva shrines. The temple complex also houses an old cannon (supposedly gifted by Lord Clive as per the same source mentioned earlier).


16 comments:

  1. Nice place indeed!!
    Wish I will be there very soon.

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  2. Really nice and interesting to read ...can u let us know how to reach there from Howrah.
    Mail me the details pls : fotofi9@yahoo.com

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  3. Just board any local train like khragpur locl, midnapore locl, mecheda, panskura locl, etc & step down at Andul railway station. From there, rickshaws are available to andul rajbari (Royal palace)

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  4. Replies
    1. A name plaque in front of the building acknowledges that the palace was built in 1834 by Raja Rajnarayan Roybahadur.

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  7. Great site and great pics. Seeking permission to use Andul Rajbari pics as mood setting in my blog with a ghost story about rajbari in bengal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suraj, you may of course use my pics. Please share your story link here afterwards. I am excited to read your story. Is it a haunted palace?

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  8. Hi ! My maternal grandmother and my fathers aunt are both from andul raj parivar. Their surname is Mitra. They have indeed come upon hard times and cannot refurbish their property. The govt should come forward and do it.
    The cannon was given to them by the Briitish . They would fire it once a year during durga puja . Later as city encroached, it became too dangerous . So they stopped. Its a wonderful family with lots of great stories.

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  9. This palace should be announced as a heritage building...

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  10. Now the Owner of The Rajbari is Arunava Mitra,he is very polite snd amicable man.Recently I met him.

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  11. Now the Owner of The Rajbari is Arunava Mitra,he is very polite snd amicable man.Recently I met him.

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  12. I came across your web link by chance. I found it very interesting and already planning a trip. please let me know that upon my visit I will be allowed inside the building or not.

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    Replies
    1. Some part of the building is inaccessible as it is locked. But in other parts people still reside. We entered into the courtyard and took some snaps. No one objected. But we could see glimpses of the some households.

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