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 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..
|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. .