Murshidabad was the capital of Bengal when the British first came to India. A bustling trade centre, this area attracted not only overseas traders but also bankers and merchants from North India. The Jains settled down primarily in the Jiaganj and Azimganj area. Although most of the Jain families have moved to Kolkata, Murshidabad is still highly regarded for its many Jain temples and there are also a number of Hindu terracotta temples like the Char Bangla dating back to the 18th century.
We will cross from Azimganj to Jiaganj by ferry to visit the tanti-para, (weaver settlements) where there are some weavers who still continue with the tradition of producing the finest quality of silk, that this area was once world famous for.
The fact that Murshidabad was a very prosperous town in the 18th century is evident from the grand Rajbaris like the Kathagola Palace, Cossimbazar Rajbari, Nashipur Palace, which are now being restored by the efforts of the present generation, and see hundreds of visitors every year.
We will visit the Hazarduari Palace, with 1000 doors. This three-storey building was designed and built under the supervision of Colonel Duncan Mac Leod. The Palace that was used for holding meetings and official work of the Nawabs, now houses a museum, displaying the vast collection of the Nawabs. The compound also houses the Nizamat Imambara, the largest of its kind in India.
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