Thursday, 5 September 2019

Shobhabazar Rajbari structure built after the battle of Plassey (1757) in Bengal

Rajbari, Kolkata The thakurdalan inside the "palace".wikipedia

Rajbari, Kolkata  main entrance,Singhadwar ( Entrance with lions). wikipedia
The city of Kolkata is a tourist paradise and there is no dearth of colonial monuments, historical buildings, memorials, etc. Among them,  Shobhabazar Rajbari (Shobhabazar Royal Palace) located in the prime area  is a fascinating  one. Built by  the Shobhabazar royal family whose founder was  Raja Nabakrishna Deb (1737–97) who at a young age of 35 started his  modest career and had begun to move up in life by dint of hard work. However, in his anxiety to earn money, he chose the wrong path. His services to the British helped him become wealthy.  What is not palatable was his crucial role in  dethroning  Nawab of Bengal Siraj ud-Daulah  in collusion with Nawabs's traitors. The plan was hatched by Robert Clive and James Watt of East India Company as the Nawab was not cooperating with the British. to expand their trade in Bengal. So they wanted complete control over Bengal in the near future. After the war of Plassey (June1757), the EIC army defeated Nawab and later he  was put to death by his own relatives.  Raja Nabakrishna Deb  was  rewarded by the EIC for his help in getting rid of the Nawab. Soon Raja Deb  became a wealthy and influential  man having close contact with the top EIC officials.     
top floor caved in. Rajbari, Kolkata Nat mandap ,Rajbauri

The building at 35 Raja Nabakrishna Street (known as Shobhabazar Rajbari or "Baag ola Bari - House with the lions"), on the northern side of the road, was the one first built  by him. Later it was inherited by his adopted son from his elder brother Gopimohan and his descendants including his son Radhakanta Deb. The house at 33 Raja Nabakrishna Street known as Choto Rajbari)  came up when his wife bore him a son  later in life, and  it was left to his biological son Rajkrishna and his descendants.

 Soon after the defeat of
Siraj-ud-Daulah at the battle of Plassey, it is said that  Raja Nabakrishna Deb celebrated Durga Puja in 1757 with great fanfare and the invitees included Lord Clive and Warren Hastings. The same house was the venue of the first civic reception of Swami Vivekananda upon his return from Chicago where at Parliament of Religions he gave an inspiring speech  which won him laurels. The warm reception was held in 1897  under the direction of  Raja Binoy Deb Bahadur.

It is a nicely built structure with  multi-foliate arches and pairs of columns. These columns with plain shafts rise up between the arches to support the entablature above.  The residence part has a large central court yard with 'Thakurdalan'  which is a unique feature of Bengali architecture. The two-story wings on either side connect to the Thakurdalan with nacch ghar on the south. The roof of the naach ghar caved in and the superstructure is gone for ever.


As for Nat Mandap, it is characteristic of a set of eight massive Tuscan columns  that support a wide projecting cornice at roof level.  Access to the nabaratna temple at the rear is through  two rows of multi-foliate arches at the northern end. The first floor is gone because of poor maintenanc.e
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shobhabazar_Rajbari