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Serampore Rajbari, West Bengal – History, Durga Puja

Serampore, located in West Bengal, is well known for its multicultural Danish communities.

It also features some of the best historic homes of affluent Bengali merchants, in addition to these Danish masterpieces.

The Goswami Rajbari is one such magnificent building and encompasses a large area.

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Its Heritage dates back centuries.

This Rajbari has been an important part of Bengali culture and architecture.

In this article, you will get to know about the following points about the Serampore Goswami Rajbari,

Let’s see each of these points in detail…

How to reach Serampore Rajbari

Serampore is located just 30 km North of Kolkata across the Hooghly river.

The easiest method to reach Serampore from Kolkata is to take the local train from Howrah station. It will take you about 20 minutes to reach.

Local trains run every 15 minutes and are available 24 hours a day.

You can take a Toto from the station to the Rajbari.

You can travel to Serampore Rajbari by car too and will take you about 30 mins.

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History of Serampore & the Rajbari

Between 1755 and 1845, the now Serampore area was ruled by King Frederik V of Denmark.

The Danes built a well-planned town under Governor Colonel Ole Bie, and then Serampore came under Danish rule in 1777.

This cosmopolitan community has strong ties to British, and Bengali cultures.

This palatial mansion, which belonged to the Goswamis of Serampore, was erected between 1815 and 1820 by Raghuram Goswami, Hari Narayan Goswami’s son.

Kinjal bose 78, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Later, the locals termed this palace Goswami Rajbari.

Shri Laxman Goswami was the forefather of the Serampore Goswami family.

Raghuram Goswami worked as a Bania agent for the Calcutta business John Palmer & Co.

Some people believe that when the Danes were seeking someone to sell their title of Serampore, Raghuram Goswami offered to buy it for Rs. 11,00,000!

However, the Danes regarded this money as insufficient and eventually surrendered their holdings to the East India Company in 1845 for Rs 12,000,000.

Some others believe that Raghuram Goswami claimed to have offered to acquire Serampore town when the Danes were preparing to sell it to the British, but the British rejected it.

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Durga Puja in Serampore Rajbari

For almost 300 years, the Goswami family of Serampore, Hooghly, has worshiped Ek Chala Durga.

This bonedi bari durga puja is performed following three puranas, Debi Puran, Brihat Nandikeshwar Puran, and Kalika Puran.

Nabapatrika is bathed in the dalan on Saptami and Kumari Puja is held on Navami.

The graceful and unique appearance of the Protima looks more majestic with the Chal Chitra at the back.

Apart from Durgapuja, festivals like KaliPuja, Dhol Yatra, Jhulan Yatra, and Ras Purnima are celebrated with great pomp and show.

Highlights of Serampore rajbari

After the construction of Goswami Rajbari was completed, the family deities or kula devata, Radhamadhav Jiu and Gopalji were shifted to the Rajbari.

The Goswami family placed an “Ashtadhatu” (eight metal) Radharani idol here too.

The Rajbari can be better referred to as the “Thakurbari,” since a portion of it was designated ‘Debottar’ property.

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Architecture of Serampore Rajbari

The grand Serampore Rajbari has independent blocks and these are linked by a complicated network of corridors.

Walls were constructed to divide the portions between brothers.

Southern section

The southern section was most likely assigned to Hemchandra Goswami initially.

This two-story house is presently utilized as a dwelling as well as a venue for wedding receptions and other social events.

Northern section

The part to the north is more impressive, with its driveway, ionic columns, and cast-iron gates.

The palace is divided into three wings, each of which displays prominent European architectural styles in detail and ornamentation.

Chunar stone, a kind of reddish stone or buff-colored stone extensively employed in ancient Indian construction, was used to make the floor.

Thakur Dalan

The Thakur Dalan is spectacular and Durga Puja is being celebrated here with grandeur for over 300 years.

You can spot old gas lamps on both sides of the Thakur Dalan.

The marble floors make the floor of the Thakur Dalan look more beautiful.

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Chandni or Natmandir

The most prominent feature on the inside of the palace is the “Chandni,” or “Natmandir,” a 120-foot-by-30-foot roofed courtyard.

This location was previously a tank from which water was drawn for domestic usage.

Unfortunately, Raghuram’s eldest son, Atmaram, passed away at the age of five while swimming in the tank.

After such a dreadful incident, the tank was shut and the Chandni was built.

24 Corinthian columns, 32 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter, were erected to support the roof.

Chunar stone was used to lay the floor.

Sal wood was transported from Nepal for the roof rafters and beams.

The Chandni is still utilized for celebratory occasions like Holi, weddings, celebrations, and social gatherings, and even for producing plays.

On the occasion of Durga Puja, the Chandni serves 500 guests who sit in long rows.

Some portions of the room had collapsed and those portions of Chandni had been closed off.

Other attractions near Serampore Rajbari

Another attraction in the region is Serampore College.

It is a 200-year-old classical-style Greco-Roman building constructed by English missionaries William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward.

The Henry Martyn’s Pagoda, Mahesh’s Jagannath Temple, and Serampore’s St. Olave’s Church are also worth visiting during your trip to Serampore Rajbari.

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If you are searching for refreshments and an ideal destination for the weekend or for photography near Kolkata, drive to Serampore and visit the Goswami Rajbari.

Cover Pic Credits: Dassurojitsd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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