Friday, 19 January 2018

Nargona palace, Darbhanga, Bihar, a humble royal residence

Nargona Palace,Darbhanga, Bihar. en Wikipedia. org
Nargona palace located in the state of Bihar, Norh India  was once the seat of power in the erstwhile princely state of Darbhanga or Raj Darbhanga.. Believed to be the last palace built here, the palace along with the beautiful garden, was donated to 
the Bihar government in 1972 for establishing a University by the descendants of  Kameshwar Singh Bahadur. He and his forefathers were known for their acts of philanthropy and charity. The rulers were secular and donated funds to Aligarh Muslim University, Allahabad University, etc. Presently,
Flag of Darbhanga state.en. wikipedia. org.
Lalit Narayan Mithila University
is functioning there. 

One interesting fact about the ruling class  of Darbhanga is, the members belong to the Brahmin community. It is a rare case to to see a Brahmin clan ruling the kingdom. Invariably, only Kshatriyas ruled the kingdom and the Pundits or Brahmins  would take the role  as traditional  advisors to the ruling clan for generations. In the way past, the small kingdom was ruled by the Lodi Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. Akbar, a great Mogul ruler defeated the the Lodi ruler and took over the administration of Dharbanga. Upon knowing that a Branhmin clan had been ruling the kingdom prior to Lodi rulers, he thought it was appropriate to hand over the kingdom to them. Thus, Raja Mahesh Thakar became the first ruler in the early 16th century after Lodi to whom Akbar handed over the administration and bestowed the title "Raj"and called his kingdom Dharbanga. TheMaharajah  of Darbhanga was the titular head of the highest sub-caste of the Maithils. It is interesting to note Khandwala dynasty, was Maithil dynasty of zamindars (vast landowners and the rulers of territories that are not all contiguous. They comprised part of the Mithila region, which is now divided between India and Nepal.

The worst Nepal-Bihar earthquake and the 'after shock waves' of 1934 caused wide-spread destruction to the city and the beautiful palaces such as Moti Mahal, Ram Bagh, Anand Bagh palaces, etc. The latter two Palaces were  rebuilt with  better construction techniques to absorb the earthquakes. The credit goes to Darbhanga Maharajah Singh Kameshwar who was particular about construction of earthquake-proof buildings as the northern part of Bihar is prone to tremors and earthquakes. When earthquake hit this part of Bihar in 1988, the new buildings survived them and it proved the new construction technique worked well

Unlike many massive, beautifully embellished Indian palaces, this one is a huge big building with simple features. No stone ornaments, no costly decoration and expensive furnishing. Much emphasis was placed on the building 's ability to withstand serious tremors to avoid damages to the building and to the people living there. The face any visitor to this palace will be writ with disappointment as  he can not expect anything special  or unique inherent to Indian royal residences. The rulers lived in a humble residence with lofty ideals.