Built during the reign of Nazim Humayun Jah (the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa), the Hazarduari Palace or Bara Kothi is one of the prime attractions of Murshidabad. Hazarduari Palace means ‘a palace with a thousand doors’. Interestingly, out of these 1000 doors, 900 are false. These were built with an intention to confuse the predators and to help the guards trap them with ease.
Location: Murshidabad, West Bengal
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entry Fee for the museum: Rs 5 (Indians), Rs. 100 (Foreigners), (Closed on Fridays)
The Indo-European architecture of the palace and the royal staircase add to the grandeur of the palace. River Bhagirathi flows besides the palace and the view looks stunning in the evening when the palace is beautifully illuminated. The main palace along with other structures including Nizamat Imambara, Murshidabad Clock Tower, Madina Mosque, Chawk Masjid, Zarud Mosques are enclosed in the Kila Nizamat. Following are some prime sections of Hazarduari Palace that one must explore:
- Nizamat Imambara – It was built by Siraj-ud-Daulah and is the biggest Imambara in India.
- Madina Mosque – The mosque is opened only during Muharram Festival
- Bacchawali Tope – A huge cannon in the Kila Nizamat
- Hazarduari Palace Museum – The main palace that was once used officially by the Nawabs to conduct meetings with the British and as a residence for officials, is now a museum. It preserves the antiques, artifacts and valuables associated with that time. The chandelier looks stunning. It has 20 galleries with lot of interesting pieces of art like marble statues, weapons, stucco artwork, maps, manuscripts and more.
- Library: You need to seek special permissions to visit the library that has a rare collections of manuscripts and books.
The palace has something for everyone. Spare some quality time to explore the museum. Guides are also available to get a deeper insight into the Nawabi history with interesting tales and legends.