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Shobhabazar Rajbari- a heritage destination of Kolkata
The famous Rajbari or the king’s palace of Kolkata, Shobhabazar Rajbari is a palace where the old traditional culture of West Bengal is still alive. Presently the descendants of the royal family of Shobhabazar lives here. It is famous since the rules of the British East India Company. Durga Puja is the main activity that is celebrated here till now in the month of October every year. It is celebrated with great vigour and is a major attraction of public among all the Hindu festivals. Many famous personalities are said to have been arrived here. Among those dignities are Sadhak Ramprasad( the song writer of (Shyama sangeet), Si Ramkrishna and his disciple Swami Vivekananda, Rabindra Nath Tagore and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Raja Naba Krishna Deb, the founder of the Rajbari is an ideal aristocrat and was the supporter of the Brahmo Samj Movement, which was initiated by Raja Rammohan Roy.
Being the founder of the property, Raja Nabo Krishna Deb who acquired enough wealth from his service to the British raj managed to build such great Rajbari in the region. He insisted the British and helped them to fight against the Nawab of Bengal, Ssiraj-ud-Daula. The Raja constructed two houses all through his lifetime. The building that stands n 35 Raja Naba Krishna Street is said to be the first house built by him. This house is also known as ‘’singhabari’ which means house with lions as there stands the statues of two lions at main entrance gate of the house. This house is inherited by his son-in-law who was then adopted by him from his elder brother. His own son Radhakanto Deb also inherits the property. The other house that stands on 33 Raja Naba Krishna Street was built by his younger son.
Cultural importance of the palace
After the British defeated the Nawab of Bengal at Battle of Plessey, the Raja started celebrating Durga Puja at his palace since the year 1757. On the occasion, the British rulers like Warren Hastings and Lord Clive used to be invited. The second famous incident that happened is the civic reception which was organised by the Raja’s descendent, Binoy Deb Bahadur, where Swami Vivekananda was invited after he returned from Chicago.
Feature of the Rajbari
- There is a Nat mandap that is known to all as Thakurdalan that made its place in between the Rajbari palatial building. It is supported by columns along with multifoil arches on the top for supporting the airs of columns. Special festivals and occasions are held in the courtyard.
- To the south there is a nachghar( dance room) that is connected to the thakurdalan through the dual storey wings this nach ghar is almost in ruins but the courtyard where Durga Puja takes place is still intact.
- Radharani devi, other half of Gopinath Jiu( Lord Krishna) is believed to be incarnation of Goddess Laxshmi and so her idol is worshipped with that respect.
- The idol of Radha Gobindo is being worshipped since a period of 250 years in the New Rajbari Nabaratna temple. The name Gopinath Jiu is lovingly called by the family members to show immense dedication and love to Lord Krishna.
- Many famous dancers such as Noor Baksh, Gohor Jaan, Malkajaan etc. have said to performed in Shobhabazar Rajbari naach ghar.
- The artisans that have designed the idols of the rajbari 250 years ago, their descendents are still now engaged in same activity. The raj family is against any new changes. Same culture is being followed by the descendents ever since two centuries. The idols represent ‘bonedi ghorana’ or traditional systems.
- Daker saaj or the silver foil is being used to beautify the idols of the goddess. The idols look more divine and lively in these ornaments and have gained popularity more than the ordinary barowari Durga pujo.
How to reach Shobhabazar Rajbari
The metro rail service is very easy to access and runs frequently in between Dumdum and Tollygunge (Mahanayak Utamkumar). On the way you have to get down at the Shobhabazar Sutanati metro. From the metro it is located just a few meters away which can be reached by walking three to four minutes.