Thursday, 19 November 2020

The historical Rangpur palace (Talatal Ghar and Kareng Ghar) of Rangpur, Assam

This brief post is about  Talatal Ghar, the  largest of all Tai Ahom monument  .in Rangpur (also called Rangapara), 4 km from present-day Sivasagar, Assam. It  an underground building and  along with Kareng Ghar  it forms  the Rangpur Palace. Talatal Ghar, a brick masonry structure consisting of  organic material (rice powder and duck eggs) as mortar. This structure assumed  military importance during the Ahom reign, hence had long secret underground tunnels. The palace was once surrounded by brick fortification and an earthen fort  with dykes all around filled with water to retard the raid by the enemies. The palace also has a store room for arms and ammunition (Gola Ghar). 

The Talatal Ghar, Rangpur, Assam, India incredibleindia.org

The Talatal Ghar, Rangpur, Assam, India upload.wikimedia.org

Kareng Ghar (Talatal Ghar)around Sivasagar., Assam, commons.wikimedia.org 

Set in the western part of Sivasagar, purported to be the earliest contraction work, the Talat Ghar  was completed in  1698 (work began in 1751 CE)  by the then ruler Swargadeo Rudra Singha  at Rangpur, the capital  town of  the Ahom Kingdom. Earlier,  Talatal Garhgaon   was the capital and with Rangpur having become the capital (1702-1703), a military station was  built to tackle security issues  and  it served as its military-station in this town. Rangpur   remained the capital of the Ahom kingdom for more than a century.  

Said to be a stronghold of the Ahom rulers  during wars, in the early stages Talatal Ghar  served only as a military base as confirmed by  certain fortification features like  two secret tunnels, and three floors below ground level which were used as exit routes during emergency in the wake of   wars. The Rangpur Palace is a seven-storied structure  and the four floors make up the Kareng Palace 

Rangpur, Assam, India, maps of india.com

It was ruler Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha)  who strengthened the  Talatal palace  by adducing   three floors below ground, Giving due impotence to durability of buildings,  the ruler used specially-fired clay brick and a pasty like mix as mortar consisting of Bora Chaul  a sticky variety of rice grain - eggs of swan, etc.. An interesting feature of the underground secret  tunnel is of the two, .one stretches  3 km in length linking the building  with the near-by  Dikhow River, while the second one stretches as far as  16 km,  linking the  the Garhgaon Palace. As in manyold   royal palaces and forts across India and elsewhere, such tunnels used as an escape route for the surviving royal members during  raids by the powerful enemies. Under these circumstances  much attention was paid to the surviving princes or legal heirs to the throne. With respect to  military warfare and survival, the Ahom rulers were  ingenious and had a perfect plan for survival, offensive and defensive strategies. The ground floors served as stables, store rooms, and servants' quarters during that period.. 
 
Talatal Ghar, stairway to upper floors, Assamupload.wikimedia.org

Long corridor, Talatal Ghar, Assam, en.wikipedia.org 

Kareng Ghar, near Sivasagar, Assam  en.wikipedia.org

Above image:  Ahom KIngs' Royal palace; commonly called   Kareg Ghar building above the ground)-this present  7-story structure was built  around 1752  by Rajeswar Singha (Suremphaa, 1751-1769). This picture was taken by a visitor  when candle light  was lit on all floors  during - Me Dam Me  festival of ,2019 -  a tribute in name of forefather

Kareng Ghar, Around Sivasagar, Assam. ttnotes.com/

The Kareng Ghar, mainly  made of wood, was in a poor state  for a long time. . About the Royal apartments  on the upper floors, only a few rooms, including a payer room (puja Ghar)  survived the impact of weather and aging.  There is a stairway leading to the upper floors. There are stairs leading up to the terrace. On the south side there is an isolated room, it  is believed, was meant for  the queen  during her confinement.

It is said the authorities - apparently the state Archaeology department and ASI   have restricted the admission of visitors to the ground floors  and  also certain  upper floors of  the palace because in the past visitors to the underground floors got lost in the maze of  rooms, etc., and never turned up. In consideration of safety factors, the underground floors can never be accessed and are sealed off. . 



.