Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata

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Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

The Rajbari Bawali stands majestically amidst an idyllic Bengal village. The sprawling property once belonged to the Mondal family, a zamindar of erstwhile Bengal. Bawali is a nondescript village around 30 km from Kolkata in Achipur near Budge Budge where the 300 year old zamindar house stands. The place is steeped in history.

It is said that the Mondals were originally Roys. Shovaram Roy was awarded the title of Mondal. Sovaram’s grandson Rajaram was the commander of the king of Hijli. Pleased with his bravery, the king had made him the owner of 50 villages including Budge Budge and Bawali. The family had set up its residence in Bawali. Their Zamindari flourished for yeas and Rajaram’s grandson Haradhan brought much glory to his family. He enjoyed the patronage of the East India Company and he built many temples around the village. The tradition of building temples were followed by his sons also and soon a number of temples were found in the area.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of The Rajbari Bawali, Hasnecha, Raypur, West Bengal, India by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

The Rajbari building is a great piece of architecture. It was said to be built around 250 years ago. It saw over 170 years of grand living, parties and eminent guests; but unfortunately after the independence, the Zamindars of India lost much of their sheen and wealth. And as such the fate of the house also changed. The temples and the mansions started crumbling and were soon in ruins.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

It is only in 2012 that crumbling mansion of the Mondals were taken up by Kolkata based businessman Ajay Rawla and he turned the ruined mansion into a heritage hotel. Much of the building has been salvaged and exquisitely restored to reflect the opulence, style and grace of the Zaminders of Bengal.

The Rajbari Bawali, as rechristened by Ajay Rawla has a large courtyard in front. The building itself had nuances of Greek architecture. The dining room is a elaborate room with tables and chairs and ornate ceilings. The furniture belongs to the bygone era. There are a few other rooms that had beautiful old furniture and were decorated tastefully.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

The rooms were beside a long verandah. At present there are 30 rooms and suites carefully designed to provide authentic heritage experience without compromising on the comfort and luxury. The main feature of each guestroom is the traditional, Bengali, hand-crafted, wooden, four-poster bed all decorated by high quality cotton and linen fabrics. A collection of photographs showcasing the various stages of the property adorn the walls amongst other classic art, photographs of famous film shoots which have happened here. Currently there are four types of rooms where you can spend the night. The Classic heritage Rooms are the beautifully decorated rooms with four poster beds. The Zamindari Jr Suite is a little larger than the Classic Rooms. The Royal Suites have a separate Living Room and a bed Room. And finally, the star is the Dak bungalow. It is a two bedroom separate bungalow elegantly furnished.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

There is a huge pond in the middle of the gardens surrounded by old gates and other metal structures. All the arrangement exuded an old world charm. There is a long pavilion at the end of the pond called the Lotus Pavilion. The complex also has a spa catering to the modern needs of luxury stays.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

The swimmimg pool is also a modern addition to this heritage stay. The clean blue water of the pool looks simply stunning. There are gazebos around the pool and also a Poolside Bar.

Activities at the Rajbari Bawali

1. Village Walk

It is a 2 hour curated experience where you can go around the village and look around the place. The friendly villagers can even offer you to taste some puffed rice from their home. Enjoy the gentle, slow pace of life in the village surrounding the Rajbari, where the villagers welcome you with warm hearts and brilliant smiles.

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Budge Budge, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Courtesy: A. Bose

Photo of Budge Budge, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

2. Bicycle ride

You can borrow a bicycle and go for a 12 km ride along the zig-zag stretch of roads. You can enjoy your rode along the village meeting the villagers and also paying a visit to the village temples. A cycle ride around the Rajbari is a fascinating and fun experience and indeed a photographer’s delight!

3. Culinary Demonstrations

This is perhaps one of the most interesting activities around the Rajbari. The Bengali cuisine is mainly dominated by fresh water fish, prawns, mustard and poppy seeds and rice. In this activity, get to know how the Bengali cuisine has been influenced by the Mughals, British Portuguese, Armenians, Jews and Bangladeshis. And of course, taste the heavenly Bengali cuisine as you know more about it.

Courtesy: Wikimedia

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

How to Reach Rajbari Bawali:

The property is about 50 km from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, Kolkata and takes around 2 and a half hours.

Rajbari Bawali is around 33 km from Esplanade, the city centre and takes around one and a half hours from there.

The best way to go there is by hiring a vehicle.

There is a railway station at Budge Budge (local suburban rail). Regular suburban trains are available from Sealdah station. From Budge Budge station, autos are available to Bawali.

Photo of Heritage and Luxury at 250 year old Rajbari near Kolkata by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Don’t Miss:

1. Take a boat ride on the Ganges. During the trip, learn about the region’s history and watch the sunset from the river.

2. Visit the ancient Navratna Gopinath Temple built around the same time as the Rajbari Bawali.

3. If you are a history addict, make a trip to Achipur on the banks of River Ganges. Achipur is the first Chinese settlement in Bengal founded by the Chinese businessman – Tong Achi who established a sugar mill here during the 1770. There is a Chinese temple also there.

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