Murshidabad 

Pre colonial history of Bengal is closely linked with the emergence, growth and decline of Murshidabad. It has governed all the proceedings of the 18th century eastern India and provided the platform from which the colonial interests had launched themselves and subsequently became an Imperial power in 1857.

It is quite obvious that such a socio- political stage has enormous potential to engage any visitor from far and wide through its myriad cultural landscape. A seat of power of such a scale attracts lot of wealth, creativity and activity. For example the annual revenue of Bengal paid to the Mughal Emperor amounts to One Crore sicca Taka- in early seventeenth century was an unbelievable amount. In a cunning strategical move, Murshidkuli Khan shifted the administrative power centre of Bengal to the Bank of Bhagirathi- the prime life force of North India and almost in the geographic centre of the Province in 1701.

One primary policy decision triggered series of subsequent events. Sensing the potential for enhanced financial opportunity, trading community from ‘Nagore' town in the Rajput State of Jodhpur migrated to Bengal. They settled in the areas of Mahimapur,Jyaganj and Azimganj and got themselves known as ‘Shaherwali Community'. Over the years they accumulated enormous wealth and became an important factor governing the economy of Bengal. Mughal Emperor acknowledged their importance and had conferred the tile ‘Jagat Seth' ( cashier of the world). Jainism spread rapidly with the prosperity of the community in the localities of Azimganj, Jiyaganj and Katgola. While Murshidabad was being built according to the muslim traditions, Hindu philosophies governed the development of the Jiyaganj, Azimganj.

In fact four of the important Jain Tirths in Bengal, three lies at Azimganj- Sree Chintamoni Parswanath Bhagwan, Jiyaganj- Shree Sambhavnath Bhagwa, Katgola- Sree Adinath Bhagwan.

The large havellis, Mansions, Palaces, Gardens lay neglected and weathered. It draws today certain amount of History, cultural enthusiast and that too on a day visit. Whereas its enormous potential for Cultural tourism and pilgrimage remained unexplored. Its old trade links and networks also lay dormant for the want of sponsors.
The circuit of Murshidabad-Jiyaganj-Azimganj is just waiting for the right kind of initiative and public support for its revitalization. Cultural tourism appears to be the right catalyst to trigger such an initiative.

No tourism initiative is sustainable unless it garners the support of its local community. Community initiatives are best when it rides on the pride for themselves and have a deep rooted attachment for the place. Fortunately the Shaherwali Community have a very strong social network bonded by the common religion of Jainism. They are very proud of their legacy and command large parcels of land, Heritage buildings, Artefacts and quite committed for its restoration. Being mainly a trader's community they value their assets and understand the need for its conservation. To them assistance of any kind is important and they also realises that unless they obtain public support their individual effort is not sustainable.

 
How to Reach
Murshidabad is well connected with Kolkata. The Air port of Kolkata is N. S. C. Bose International Airport at Dumdum. From Kolkata Berhampore the District capital town of Murshidabad is 195 Km. Tourist taxi, hired car, auto-rickshaw are available from Berhampore to visit the tourist spots at Murshidabad town, Azimganj, Jiaganj, Kandi, Sagardighi, Karnasuvarna ..etc .

  • Bus Service: Buses ply frequently from Kolkata (i.e. from Sahid Minar, Ultadanga etc) to Berhampore. Most of the North Bengal bound bus have a halt at Berhampore. Buses from nearby district town of West Bengal i.e. Burdwan, Rampurhat, Suri, Bolpur, Malda, Krishnagar and Durgapur regularly ply to Berhampore.
  • Train Service: Berhampore Court is the main station which is connected with Sealdah Station at Kolkata. The Bhagirathi Express  & the Lalgola Passenger from the Sealdah Railway Station reach Berhampore Court Railway Station covering 197 km in 5 to 6 hours. (13113 / 13114) Hazarduari Express and (13117/13118) Dhanadhanye Express reaches Lalgola and Berhampore Court Stn from Kolkata Stn respectively. Khagraghat, the other station at the opposite bank of the river Bhagirathi is connected with the Howrah Station. Teesta Torsa, Kamrup, Hatey Bazare express have stoppage at Khagraghat Railway Station. The Khagraghat Railway station is also connected by local trains from Katwa, Salar, Bandel and Howrah. One can also reach Khagraghat Station from Howrah by Inttercity Express. Farakka is the most well connected railway station of this district. Farakka is 98 km by road from Berhampore and is connected by every express bus coming from Malda, Siliguri, Raiganj, Coochbihar, New Alipurduar, Gangtok, Balurghat, and Jalpaiguri. The following trains stop at new Farakka Junction. Also one can reach Berhampore from Azimganj. Teesta Torsa, Kamrup, Hatey Bazare, Kanchanjungha and Uttarbanga Express touch Azimganj Junction Railway Station. This place is well connected by bus from Berhampore.  .
Accomodation
WB Tourist Lodge
Hotel Indrajit
Hotel Paramount
New Mayur Hotel
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Nearby Places
Berhampur
Baranagore
Saibad
Cossimbazar
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Attractions & Activities
Hazarduari.
Imambara
Wasef Manzil.
Moti jheel.
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