The Crumbling of the glorious days of Rajbari:
Most of the great Mansions or crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata of which very few are still intact and restored. The Zamindars of Bengal had a life of pomp and show, unimaginable today. Magnificient estates and mansions give a grandeur feeling of old Bengal. The feeling of old zamindars which led to a combination of manipulation, battles, love, arts, and business, set bounded by the abundance and the finest luxury India offered at that time.
The gorgeous Rajbaris’ architectures and designs varied from one another and glorify the indigenous style of Raja and European concepts. The grand mansions are very expensive to maintain and carry on regular repairs by the right artisans. Unfortunately, few of the mansions are so neglected that they are crumbling. And few have been demolished by promoters. The few surviving Rajbaris are converted in museums displaying the lifestyle of the then people, few became the homestays and others are being used as the location for film/tv series.
Jorasanko Thakur Rajbari:
Thakur Bari as it is popularly known is the nerve of Bengal’s cultural life. The nearest metro is Girish Park and it will take 15 minutes to walk from the station to Rabindra Sarani. The entry fee is ₹20 per person and for photography the additional charge is ₹50. The building has been restored keeping the reflection of old Thakur Bari with a nice corridor and a beautiful courtyard. Rabindranath was born, spent most of his life and took the last breath in this house.
The rajbari is converted into a museum displaying around 700 paintings, rare artefacts, scriptures and antique items of various artists in different galleries that can be explored. The rooms of Rabindranath Tagore and the kitchen of his wife Mrinalini Devi display the lifestyle of the Era of Bengal Renaissance. The best time to visit the place is during the great poet Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday (25th Baishakh), the date of his demise (22nd Sravana) and Poila Baishakh when ceremonies and cultural functions are held. During that time, you can participate in those events and celebrations.
Rani Rashmoni House:
Pritam Das, Rani Rashmoni’s father-in-law, started constructing this mansion in 1805. It took around 8 years to complete. There is a Natmandir in front of the verandah, where the famous traditional Durga Puja is still held. Rani Rashmoni was a pillar of strength for women in the male-dominated society of that era. She was a well-known philanthropist and was engaged in numerous charitable activities. She constructed the famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple and funded for Babughat along Ganga.
Now the descendants of Rani Rashmoni live in this Rajbari. The family house is divided into three parts to three of her four daughters’ families. The families are finding it hard to maintain the house as few portions are collapsing as crumbling Rajbari around Kolkata. The falling apart aristocracy of Kolkata requires quick restoration for the future. The traffic along the junction of Surendranath Banerjee Road and Rani Rashmoni Road is extremely heavy, it is a scene of chaos. The best way to get around is by nearest metro station Esplanade and then 15 minutes walk to the place.