A famous centre of trade in the Mughal era, Murshidabad was the seat of government of the Nawabs of Bengal. This historical place in the state of west Bengal is closely associated with events that ultimately changed the course of Indian history. Robert Clive, the architect of the British power in India, managed to defeat the Bengal Nawab Siraj-ud-daula at the Battle of Plassey (now Palashi) in 1757 thus paving the way for the gradual ascendancy of the British power in India.
Located on the southern banks of the Bhagirathi, Murshidabad is also known for its silk, ivory carvings, handicrafts and brassware and still has the air – and appearance – of a medieval city. As a matter of fact, Murshidabad is a place that seems to exist suspended in time somewhere between the medieval and the modern.
The famous landmark of Murshidabad, Hazar Duari is known for its 1000 real and false doors. Built during the reign of Nawab Humayun Sah (1824–1838), a descendent of Mir Jafar in 1837, the three-storey, 114-room palace, which has now been converted into a museum, has a rich collection of antiquities and antiques including armory, paintings, art works, stucco statues and other valuables. The palace was designed by British architect McLeod Duncan.
One of the attractions in Murshidabad Nimak Haram Deohri is the place where Siraj-ud-daula was killed by the orders of Miran, the son of Mir Jafar who was now made the Nawab of Bengal by the British after the Battle of Plassey.
Moti Jheel or Pearl Lake palace was the residence of Ghasiti Begum, daughter of Nawab Alivardi Khan. It was built by her husband Mohammed Nawazish Khan. Nawab Alivardi Khan was the grandfather of Siraj-ud-daula who was the son of his youngest daughter. Within the Moti Jheel complex one can find a big mosque now under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Here you will also find the tombs of Mohammed Nawazish Khan. Spread over an area of 750 acres Moti Jheel lake was once used for pearl cultivation. Hence the name.
Built by Munni Begum, the second wife of Mir Jafar, in 1767 is now under the protection of ASI.
Built by Murshid Quli Khan who transferred his capital to Murshidabad in 1700 and after whom the city takes its name, Katra Mosque has been designed on the model of the Mecca Mosque. His tomb is beneath the staircase of the mosque. Medina mosque is another famous one in Murshidabad.
Another popular tourist spot in Murshidabad is the Palace of Jagat Seth, one of the richest bankers of the 18th century. He had joined forces with Clive and Mirzafar against Nawab Siraj-ud- Duala. He was killed in 1763, during the reign of Mir Kasim.
Located across the river from Lalbagh contains the graves of Nawab Siraj-ud- Duala, his wife Begum Lutfunessa and Alivardi Khan.
The historical four-storeyed palatial palace was the venue where representatives of the British East India Company had met Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
Air: Nearest airport Calcutta is 221 kms away from Baharampur (Murshidabad).
Rail: Murshidabad and Baharampur Court, 219 kms and 209 kms away from Kolkata (Sealdah) respectively, is the two nearest railway stations.
Road: Murshidabad is well-connected by good motorable road with Baharampur (11 km), Palashi (43 km), Kolkata (219 km), Bus: There are regular bus services from Bahrampur to Murshidabad. Bahrampur, the district town and the base point for Murshidabad, is well connected by regular bus services with Calcutta, Durgapur, Shiliguri, Malda, Balurghat, Raiganj, Siuri, Rampurhat, Bolpur etc.
Local Transport: Cycle Rickshaws available at the Murshidabad and Baharampur Court railway stations and Murshidabad (Astabal) bus stand.
Baharampore Lodge, White House, Hotel Manjusha, Modern Hotel, Hotel Samrat, Royal Hotel are some of the accommodation options in Murshidabad. Tourist Lodge, Circuit House and Dak Bunglow are other accommodation options.
11 km from Murshidabad is located Bahrampore which brims with many historical buildings. Krishnanath College, built in 1853, is a beautiful structure. One of the alumni of the college was famous revolutionary and freedom fighter Surya Sen. Another major calling card for tourists is the British cemetery in Cossimbazar. Mary, wife of Warren Hastings, and her daughter Elizabeth are buried here. Cossimbazar is also home to a Dutch cemetery. The Cossimbazar royal palace is home to Lakshminarayan temple.
25 km from Murshidabad is located Baronagar near Azimganj. Baronagar, which means 'a big town', is home to beautiful temples built by Rani Bhabani (1716-1795) of the Natore royalty (now in Bangladesh) in the 18th century. The Panchanan Shiva temple is one of the magnificent structures at Baronagar. The crowning glory of Baronagar is the Charbangla Mandir complex which was built in 1760 by Rani Bhabani. The walls of these temples are embellished with beautiful terracotta work. The Bhabaneshwari temple, Gopal temple, Ghaneshwar, also known as Jorbangla temple, and Nageshwar temple are other shrines. Gopal temple was built by Tarasundari, daughter of Rani Bhabani.
Azimganj is also known for its Jain temples. The palace of Rani Bhabani at Baronagar is an added attraction. Mid range hotels are available at Azimganj. Accommodation facilities are also provided by the Jain dharmashalas.
114 km from Murshidabad, Shantiniketan is known for the world famous Viswa Bharati University founded by the revered poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921.