Serampore is a heritage town in the district of Hooghly over the Hooghly River in West Bengal. The culture here is deep rooted and holds a rich history and intermingling of the British, Danish and Indian culture is found. Serampore was under Danish control during 1777 and was ruled by King Frederik V of Denmark. It is said that the Danes came to Bengal and settled after they received the trading rights here from Aliwardi Khan of Murshidabad. Under the guidance of Governor Ole Bie Serampore was formed as a well planned town.
Serampore was also one of the places where wealthy merchants of Bengal used to settle. That is the reason you will find many old mansions and palaces here. The Serampore Rajbari or the Goswami Rajabari in Serampore is one of them.
This palace can be a one day travel destination. If you are interested in visiting the old mansions and if you are inclined towards old buildings and structures then this can be a very good option for travelling. So if you want to know everything about the Serampore Goswami Rajbari then keep on reading.
Serampore Rajbari location: Serampore, Hooghly district, West Bengal
How to reach Serampore Rajbari:
The distance of Serampore to Kolkata is 30km. The most convenient way of travelling to Serampore Rajbari is via train. There are trains from Howrah station which run at a 15mins interval all day. It takes hardly 20mins to reach Serampore Station. From there you can either take a Toto or E Rickshaw or take a car. It will take another 30 minutes to reach there.
History of Serampore Rajbari:
The Serampore Rajbari was built during 1815 and 1820 by Raghuram Goswami who was the son of Hari Narayan Goswami. Sri Laxman Goswami was the forefather of the Goswamis. Raghuram Goswami was an agent for the John Palmer & Co business. It is believed by many that when the Danes were looking for a buyer to sell off their share of Serampore, then Raghuram Goswami had offered them a sum of 11,00,000. The Danes however were not satisfied with the amount offered and sold the area to the British East India Company in 1845 at a whopping amount of 12,000,000. There are other stories as well that say that when Raghuram Goswami offered to acquire Serampore town while the Danes were planning to sell it, the British rejected the proposal.
The Rajbari as was owned by the Goswamis came to be known as the Goswami Rajbari later on by the locals.
Major attractions of Serampore Rajbari:
A prominent aspect of this Rajbari is the Kula Devata or family deity of Goswamis. After the construction was completed the Kuladevata Radhamadhav Jiu and Gopalji were established there. There is a Radharani made of Ashtadhatu (made of eight metals) as well. The Goswami Rajbari is also referred as the Thakur Bari because of the “Debottar” property here.
Another major attraction of this Goswami Rajbari is that a chunk of the 2012 Bengali Film Bhooter Bhobishyot was shot inside this Rajbari.
Serampore Rajbari Architecture:
The Rajbari even though stands in a deplorable condition and a major chunk has been reconstructed, you can still feel the grandeur of the old days. The Rajbari is made tastefully and there are different sections inside. There are separate blocks inside the Rajbari that are connected by complicated corridors. There are also walls that separate the portions which previously belonged to all the Goswami brothers.
Another prominent feature of this Rajabari is the inside of the Palace known as Natmandir. It is a 120 feet by 30 feet courtyard with a roof. Previously this area belonged to a huge tank which was used to store water for various domestic purposes. But an unfortunate incident took place when Raghuram Goswami’s eldest son Atmaram drowned in the tank while swimming when he was only 5 years old and passed away. After the unfortunate turn of events the tank was permanently closed and the Natmandir or Chandni was built.
There are a total of 24 Corinthian columns which are 32 feet in height and 5 feet in diameter which were made to support the roof. The floor was laid using Chunar stone. The roofs and beams were made of special Sal wood which was imported from Nepal. At present some portions of the Chandni have collapsed and those areas have been closed off.
The Rajbari also has a southern section and a northern section. The southern section previously belonged to Hemachandra Goswami. At present the two storeyed house is used as residential area as well as given away in rent as a venue for marriage ceremonies and other social occasions. The other part is used as an office for the District Employment Exchange.
The northern section is better built and looks impressive. You can see a distinct European style of architecture in the formation and the Chunar stone looks very sophisticated. This stone is a kind of reddish or buff coloured stone that was very much popular in ancient times. The flooring made of Chunar stone looks very elegant.
Durga Puja in Serampore Rajbari:
The Durga Puja in Serampore Rajbari has been going on for the past 300 years. The Thakur Dalan looks majestic. You can see the old world charm in the construction. There are old gas lamps in the Thakur Dalan that look beautiful. The floors are made of marbles and look exquisite. The idol worshipped here is Ek Chala Durga or Maa Durga and her sons and daughters in one single frame or covering. The tradition is still being maintained and the Puja is performed following all the rituals from the Kalika Puran, Debi Puran and the Brihat Nandikeshwar Puran.
The ritual of Nabapatrika Snan is followed on Saptami and Kumari Puja is held on Nabami. The idol looks spectacular and serene with the Ek Chala.
Other than the Durga Puja other festivals like Kali Puja, Rash Purnima, Jhulan Yatra and Dol Purnima are also celebrated here.
Nearby places to visit from Serampore Rajbari:
The Serampore College is a key attraction among the tourists mainly because of the Greco-Roman style of architecture. The old building looks splendidly stunning and was constructed by William Carey, William Ward and Joshua Marshman. Other important tourist sites are Mahesh’s Jagannath Temple, Henry Martyn’s Pagoda, Serampore St. Olave’s Church that you can also check out once in Serampore.
Serampore can be an ideal destination if you are looking for a place for your one day outing. Surely do visit the Serampore Rajbari for the majestic architecture and age old heritage construction which will leave you mesmerised. The place will be ideal for some panoramic photographs and you will get an idea about how the Goswamis lead a royal life living in the Rajbari. So let me know if you are planning to visit the Goswami Rajbari in Serampore and if this article was helpful.