Thursday, 21 September 2017

Hetampur Rajbari palace with 999 doors - lost glory




Hetampur Rajbari pixels-memories.blogspot.com

Hetampur Rajbari is a small town in Birbhum Dist, West Bengal and is famous for a huge historical palace, an exotic one with architectural significance. It is a place of attraction and lots of tourists flock there to visit the palace and other monuments. The name of this unique palace is Hetampur Rajbari (Rajbari means royal residence) Or  Hitampur Hajar Durai. What is so special about this palace that is built in a small town and how is it different from other palaces built by the Maharajahs and Nawabs? Can you imagine this massive palace has 999 doors one short of 1000 (hajar is one thousand in Bengali, duari means door). 
Cathedral-like gateway Hetampur Rajbari, Flickr
 
Rajbari palace,Hitampur, WB,Travels with Gautam Sen - blogger


 Constructed by Maharajah  Ram Ranjan Chakravarty in 1905, the palace has a commanding red brick gateway which is supported by massive Corinthian pillars and interspersed by arched windows and entrances - positively a sign of affluence and power. The gateway itself is considered to be a commanding structure and appears like a grand Gothic cathedral.  The rich gateway is a clear reminder of the power and financial clout, the former rulers had  and his influence on the people there. Slender protruding eaves supported on equally-spaced brackets and topped by several feminine figurines with their arms outstretched make the gateway more impressive. Yet another  feature is the central part supported by tall pillars is higher than other parts. Earlier Rajbari was known as Ranjan Palace  named after the person who commissioned this project. After his death, the Maharajah, left behind his legacy in this fertile, isolated region.

The  disgusting part is Rajbari, after India's independence, following abolition of the zamindari system and yearly doles to the ex-rulers, had become a dilapidated structure because of severe financial burden  experienced by the descendants of the builder.
 
The House of Hetampur Raj had obscure origins  and rose  to the status of the most powerful Kingdom. But later relegated  to the status of Zamindar of Birbhum district by Lord Northbrook in 1875. Ramranjan Chakravarty, grandson of Bipracharan, was raised to the position of Raja Bahadur by Lord Lytton. In 1912, he was elevated to the rank of Maharajah, a great honour and distinction for a Zamindar then.

 
Interior, Hitampur Rajbari, WB. Pixelated Memories


 The palace once had fine pieces of wooden furniture, but now, they are broken and scattered all around the grand palace that once had un-matching sophistication and beauty in this region. Many Burma teak wood doors are either missing or stolen. The interior of the palace is in poor state. Adjacent to this worn-out palace is a large building that houses a school and an Engineering college.

Rajbari palace,Hitampur, WBpixels-memories.blogspot.com

 The majesty of the grand gateway is just overwhelming, paradoxically, but it is a gateway to the lost glory, constantly reminding us of the transient nature of the universe where permanence is a bubble. No doubt, it is an intangible cultural and architectural heritage that needs to be preserved for the posterity.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetampur