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It was a spontaneous decision to see the heritage building of Andul Rajbari. Santanu, Anirban and I boarded a local train from Santragachhi and got down after a few stations at Andul. By Howrah, it’s a half an hour ride by train.
The Rajbari, disperse over 10 bighas and containing more than 100 rooms, could be reached in about 10 mins in the Andul station in a cycle rickshaw. The building is in dilapidated state now but the huge structure and lofty pillars talk of the affluence the royal family needs to have enjoyed in the past. It’s heartbreaking to witness the neglect and ill-maintenance that is driving the grand heritage building into ruins. The large open ground in front of this Rajbari has now been transformed into a football playing ground for the locals.
Interestingly, the building is still being used as residence by a small number of people although sections of it looked dangerously in need of immediate attention. A part of the building nonetheless was remodeled recently and newly painted adding a comparison to the remaining bulk.
After taking some snaps in the exterior we were a bit jittery about whether to enter the building or not. In the end, putting aside our anxiety about if we had been committing trespassing, we did take a little tour indoors and had we not entered we’d have certainly repented afterward. There is a small courtyard (maybe the erstwhile naach mahal) inside that has withstood the test of times and still depicts the sophistication and grandeur of the bygone age. The complex decorations of these columns have remained comparatively unimpaired and transport oneself to a completely different time along with the presence of the pigeons flying around flapping their wings and creating intense sound somewhat leaves a haunted feeling to the mansion.
There is precious little history which may be located on the history of this palace. A signboard in front of the building acknowledges that the palace was built in 1834 by Raja Rajnarayan Roy Bahadur. However, from a website (which is the sole reference which I came across online ) I could collect that the Andul Raj Family was founded by Ram Charan Roy before the Battle of Plassey (1757) and the construction of the palace building was launched by Kashinath Roy. However, I couldn’t crosscheck the credibility of the information. Interestingly, in a recent article in Times of India on heritage buildings, someone with a surname of Mitra was quoted among the descendants of the Andul Raj Family. Not sure if he goes back to the elongated family or whether the palace changed hands (which appears less probable).
Only beside the palace construction, there’s an older Annapurna Temple surrounded by Shiva shrines. The temple complex also houses an old cannon (supposedly gifted by Lord Clive as per the exact same source mentioned earlier).
How to reach Andul Rajbari
Road: Kolkata is the nearest major town situated only 14 kilometers away. Cabs for hire can be found from Kolkata.
Raol: Andul channel is your nearest station, which is connected with all the Howrah station. Regular trains are available from Howrah as well.
Air: NSCBI Airport is the closest one, situated just 17 kilometers off. Cabs are available here as well.
Tourists can go to this area throughout the entire year. However, it’s advisable to not venture into this place during the monsoon.
Attractions Places of Andul
Chandi Mandap: This really is a family temple, which belonged to the Dutta Chaudhury loved ones, who whined here.
Andul Palace: It is also known as the Andul Rajbari. Ths huge mansion was once owned by the Kar Family. Afterward the possession was transferred to the Mitra Family. The huge mansion as been constructed in European style.
Hawakhana: This is basically a resting place built by the king of Andul. The area lies in ruins, however, tourists visit this place so as to become acquainted with the history of this location.
Things to do
Andul is much more of a historic website. Sightseeing and photography would be the actions that may be accomplished here.