Kathgola Gardens, Murshidabad

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The Katgola Palace with its magnificent structures of the Mandir, Dadabari, Bauri and others set amidst such well-planned sprawling gardens on 155 bighas leave the visitors awe-struck at the sheer dexterity of craftsmanship and quality of buildings. What is, however, unique is its history and that of the family of the Founder. Together with stories of the high personal integrity of Rai Bahadur Lacchmipat Singh Dugar and Dadaguru’s visitation to him, while in a deep meditative trance; stories that have been passed down by word of mouth over generations, Katgola has a magical appeal.

THE MAKING OF KATGOLA PALACE AND GARDENS (CHATTERBAG)

Katgola Palace and Gardens were built in 1870 by Rai Bahadur Lacchmipat Singh Dugar of Baluchar, now Jiaganj, engaged in the business of banking and Zamindari. It was built to host Europeans and Nawabs since the parda system did not permit inviting non-Hindus into the Kuthi at Jiaganj.

Katgola Palace and Gardens is spread over an area of 45 acres. The main Palace is a magnificent structure with huge Corinthian pillars. Greek, Italian, Rajasthani, Mughal, and Bengali architectural elements were involved in its building.

The interiors consist of magnificent Italian marble, Intricate Mosaic, Bengal Lime works, Pillars polished with sea-shell lime, Wooden carvings etc. The entire palace is decorated with chandeliers, Period furniture, Italian marble and alabaster artifacts, huge Belgium mirrors and glass, artifacts of porcelain and marble, important and beautiful oil and water color paintings, portraits, etc. The furniture is made of rose wood and other valuable timber.

The large gardens have been decorated with hundreds of artifacts depicting different kinds of fish, huge marble and porcelain flower- stands, wells carved out of Mirzapuri stones , Italians marble statues and fountains, intricate carvings in Mirzapuri stone, terracotta, stone Jafferies and cast iron chairs and Pillars, marble Dinner Tables, etc.

THE DECORATION OF KATGOLA PALACE AND GARDENS

Lacchmipat Singhji was a man of very high taste and had an eye for fine things. To enhance the grandeur of Katgola Palace, he visited Calcutta to collect the finest of artifacts. Once, while traveling on horses with his courtiers, he got separated from them and found himself in front of the grand showroom of Osler & Co. This was one of the finest fashion houses of those times, reputed the world over and known to keep only the costliest and the best of things, beyond the reach of most Zamindars. However, he got attracted to the collection of artifacts displayed in the show-windows and went inside to look at the various objects. Seeing Lacchmipat Singhji, dressed in simple cotton Angarkha and Dhoti, the English store manager misjudged the ability of visitor to purchase anything in the showroom and snubbed him.



Lacchmipat Singhji, amused at this behavior, modestly enquired about the value of all the artifacts in the showroom. The manager pompously quoted a princely sum of Rs 1,50,000/-, fully confident about the inability of the enquirer to even dream of such a fabulous sum.

In the meanwhile, the retinue of courtiers (Munims, Gumastas and others escorting him) arrived on the spot. Then and there Lacchmipat Singhji ordered his cashier to take out the full sum from his satchel and buy everything in the showroom. He instructed shipping the entire consignment to his palatial Katgola House at Murshidabad. It then dawned on the Manager that the gentleman in front of him was the fabled and most-talked about Zamindar of Murshidabad. Realizing they would go out of business if the entire stock was sent immediately, the manager fell on his knees requesting 6 months time to honor his commitment since it took that much time to get a new shipment from England. Being a perfect gentleman, Lacchmipat Singhji granted the request. True to his word, the manager got Osler & Co. to ship the entire consignment from London to Murshidabad. And this is how Katgola Gardens was decorated.

THE BUILDING OF MANDIR AND DADABARI AT KATGOLA

On completion of Katgola palace, Lacchmipat Singhji invited his mother,

a very pious and religious lady to visit the palace and give her blessings. She enquired if there was a Mandir in the complex. There being none till that time, she refused to visit since she believed that any house built without a Mandir was incomplete.

Although the gardens and palace were meant for official parties only, to honour his mother’s wishes, Lacchmipat Singhji immediately constructed a Mandir dedicating it to the 1st Jain Tirthankar, Sri Sri Adinathji as well as a Dadabari. He dedicated the entire complex to Sri Sri Adinathji and converted it into a debutter estate. As the palace and gardens became a debutter estate, it was never utilized for its original purpose.

BLESSINGS OF DADAGURU AT THE DADABARI IN KATGOLA

Lacchmipat Singhji was in the business of banking. It was common practice to draw hundies. However, if one was unable to honor those, it would result in the person being declared bankrupt. In one difficult time, a plan was hatched by some rivals of Lacchmipat Singhji to defame him by demanding encashment of all his hundies on one single day. Being blessed by the Dadaguru, Lacchmipat Singhji got a hint of that plan. He took shelter of the Dadaguru and went into a trance. Legend says that he saw the apparition of Dadaguru Jin Dutt Suriji, who advised him to seek help of his friend and well-wisher Raja Abanindranath Tagore.

As per that advice, Lachhmipat Singhji went to the Tagore residence, armed with all his property and Zamindari papers, to seek the Raja’s assistance.



Learning of the problems faced by his friend, Raja Abindranath Tagore, immediately arranged for 16 bullock carts of gold Mohars to be shipped to Jiaganj for Lacchmipat Singhji to use as per his choice. On being offered such a large loan, security in the form of Zamindari papers was offered to the Tagore Family, but the same was politely refused. Lachhmipat Singhji stocked all the gold Mohars in his many treasury rooms.

In the meantime, Lacchmipat Singhji’s rivals had spread a rumor widely that he would not be able to honour his hundies. On a fixed day, all his creditors assembled in his Kacheri, demanding encashment of their hundies.

One by one, the creditors were taken to the Tehkhanas and their dues refunded. In the process, about 2-3 rooms were emptied. While going out, the creditors could easily see the other rooms stacked with bags full of gold coins and Mohars. When the first few creditors went out with their funds, they were asked by the others in the queue outside. Those first few exclaimed about the huge amount of wealth that they had seen in the tehkhanas that was enough to repay all their entire dues.

On evaluating this situation, the creditors panicked. They sensed that there was nobody as safe as Lacchmipat Singhji with whom they could deposit their money. The creditors started requesting Lacchmipat Singhji to take back the funds that had been refunded to them. Initially Lacchmipat Singhji refused. But on great persuasion by the depositors, he agreed to let them re-invest with him, thus tiding over the crisis created by his detractors.



As a result of this incident, Lacchmipat Singhji was hailed as one of the greatest bhakts of Dadaguru. Hence, it is mentioned in the 10th puja of

Dadaguru as “Bhakht ho to Lacchmipat Singh Jaisa, Jinke Dadaji ne hundi ka Bhuktan Karayo”.

THE BUILDINGS, MONUMENTS, STRUCTURES AND OTHER OBJECTS OF KATGOLA GARDENS

i. The Naubatkhana or the main entrance - is a regal three storied intricate limestone molded entrance to the magnificent Gardens. Guests were greeted with Shehnai Vadan and Nagaras from the upper decks and welcomed with the sprinkling of rose water and flowers from the lower decks in traditional Indian greeting.

ii. The Bauri – also known as a step well, is a lovely 3 storied structure with 3 levels being below ground. The broad steps lead down to

different 2 levels, the 1st during the monsoon season when the water table is high, continuing to the lowest during the summer. The steps going down to all floors and a dais on the ground are made of intricately carved Mirzapuri stone. The dais is made for an air conditioning effect during the summer. The walls surrounding the Bauri resemble those of a fort. Bulls going round the Bauri lifted water for an ingenious irrigation system for the extensive and lush gardens.



iii. The 5 ponds - the ponds are decorated with beautiful Italian Marble fountains and steps on 6 sides going down to the water level. Majestic Gumbujs on the four corners of the ponds played host to musicians and chess players.

iv. Band stand - A raised circular band-stand made of carved Mirzapuri stone adorns the middle of the garden. A Belgian glass house stood on the band-stand. During the day, children of the Founder’s family trained in dance and drama in the glass house. In the evenings the stand hosted bands that played English music for the entertainment of guests.

v. The Zoo: – Collecting exotic animals and birds was a passion of the Founder. These were housed in the lovely structure that overlooks the extensive gardens on one side and a pond on the other.

vi. The Zenana Mahal – A two storied building made as a dwelling house for the ladies of the family had a magnificent façade. It was decorated with beautiful Italian marble, Mirzapuri Stone and contained many artifacts. The main palace was used only for the men folk. Interestingly, the main palace has no toilet or water supply.

vii. The Gardens – The entire complex of 45 acres has a huge number of magnificent fruit-bearing trees, flowering plants, exotic leafage, extensive grassland and areas for agricultural produce. The sprawling gardens are decorated with Italian marble fountains, Statues, flowerpots, porcelain pots, Mirzapuri Gumbajs, Cast iron chairs and thrones and hundreds of other artifacts. The four sides of the palace have beautiful large dining tables made of Italian marble with intricately carved bases for fine dining in the evening.
A visit to Kathgola Gardens represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Murshidabad driving holiday planner to plot your vacation.
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TripAdvisor
  • Kathgola Palace has some great antique furniture. The three story palace has a grand architecture with a beautiful wooden staircase that has no supports. There are some lovely roses in the garden. If....  more
    Kathgola Palace has some great antique furniture. The three story palace has a grand architecture with a beautiful wooden staircase that has no supports. There are some lovely roses in the garden. If....  more »
  • Took a toto from in front of Hazarduari palace to kathgola bagh which costed Rs 40 . Kathgola bagh was a residence of rich family who were into smuggling goods. Guide services are available in... 
    Took a toto from in front of Hazarduari palace to kathgola bagh which costed Rs 40 . Kathgola bagh was a residence of rich family who were into smuggling goods. Guide services are available in...  more »
  • When Murshidabad was the Capital of Bengal under the Nawabs, many Rajasthani Jain families settled there as merchants and money lenders.These families built palatial residences and Kathgola Garden... 
    When Murshidabad was the Capital of Bengal under the Nawabs, many Rajasthani Jain families settled there as merchants and money lenders.These families built palatial residences and Kathgola Garden...  more »
Google
  • Very nice Kath gola children park
  • Amazing place for every tourist.
  • Good place for roaming.
  • Lovely
  • A small playground of local children's

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