By Ashikuzzaman Ashik
Just 30 kilometers from Rajshahi town, the Puthia Rajbari is a royal relic worth revisiting
The first thing one notices when visiting the Puthia Rajbari is its enormous size. It is noticeably vast. Located just beside the Dhaka Rajshahi Highway, the Rajbari complex houses many temples – a surefire attraction for tourists and history buffs. The whole area is surrounded by a lake, which functions as a moat, was once a boundary demarcating the Rajbari grounds, but now, especially during the few times of the year, when it is overrun by vibrant green hyacinths, it is an added attraction.
The main palace building, the Puthia Rajbari itself, is a massive two-storied Indo-European structure, with distinctive semi-Corinthian pillars, and porticos that extend in the Palladian manner. The palace is built around courts, which include an administrative court, the temple court, the inner quarters, and the residence of the Maharani. The administrative court is accessed through porticos, which have arcaded walkways and semi-glazed loggia on the first floor level. The northern wing of the palace is double-storied and has richly appointed rooms for various purposes.
Aside from the main palace building, the Rajbari complex houses a total of 14 historical sites and points of interest, including several temples, and a ceremonial field.
At the entrance of the Rajbari is a temple for Lord Shiva, built some 200 years ago under the direction of Maharani Bhuban Mohini. Standing 65 feet high, the temple is beautifully ornamented with terracotta carvings, and opens up at one side to the lake surrounding the complex.
Facing across from the main palace is a temple called the Dol Moncho, built 100 years ago by the Maharani Hemanta Kumari Devi. The impressive structure begins with a massive ground floor, and then decreases in area with each level, leading to a tapered top. This temple is said to bear similarities with the Kantajew temple in Dinajpur.
Located within the mandir angan or temple court are the Boro Gobindo Temple and the Choto Gobindo Temple, the Ahnik Mandir, and more. These historic sites speak to the cross-cultural heritage of ancient Bengal. Beautiful terracotta plaques and carvings ornament these buildings, and depict scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata sagas. These priceless plaques are said to be unique to this region.
The Puthia Rajbari is now serving as the Loskorpur Degree College. However, the Rajbari remains as it stood before, vast and magnificent, carrying many memories of the time which is long gone.
How to get to Puthia Rajbari
There are many bus services which depart from Dhaka to Rajshahi. One can avail these bus services from Saidabad counter, Gabtoli counter, Mohammadpur, etc. The bus tickets are priced at BDT600 to 1200. Furthermore, there are train services which depart to Rajshahi from Dhaka’s Kamalapur Rail Station. The train tickets are within the price range of BDT300 to 600 for non AC, and BDT1200 taka and more for AC compartments. From Rajshahi, tourists will have to take an auto rickshaw or car which will take them to the Puthia Rajbari.
Where to stay at Rajshahi
There is no accommodation available in Puthia. But you may find many hotels and restaurants in Rajshahi town. Parjatan Motel is one reliable option. Notable hotels include Grand River View Hotel, Hotel X Rajshahi, and Hotel Nice.