Sometimes we travel across the world, only to come back and appreciate things closer to home more than before. I was living in Kolkata for over 5 years; Kolkata is one of the most important cities in Eastern India that boosts of a rich and vibrant heritage and past.
It was only recently on a weekend with an intent to explore weekend destinations around this city, I came across ‘Itachuna Rajbari’ – It is a 17th century Rajbari (mansion) with massive hallways and traditional architerture. The images seemed quite captivating at first glance and immediately caught my imagination and I decided to explore this gorgeous place over the weekend.
Talking about weekend getaways, Itachuna Rajbari seems like a perfect destination. It is only at 85 kms and takes approx. 3 hrs to reach from Kolkata. My preferred mode of travel was definitely by car, it gives the liberty to explore the places around Itachuna as well.
Although for anyone wanting to via public transport – By Train closest railway station is the Khanyan stattion. From the station there are many local transport options like auto, rickshaw, etc to the Rajbari. For more detailed directions visit their official website (http://www.itachunarajbari.com/contact-us.html).
At the Itachuna Rajbari:
I left from Kolkata early morning and reached the Rajbari right at check-in time at 11 am. What is interesting is, the entry to the Rajbari is quite simple, no huge gardens or gates, or no long driveways leading up to the Rajbari. It is only once I entered through the first section after doing the check-in formalities that the grandeur of this old heritage Rajbari was revealed. The main building lies beyond the first building which holds the reception office. The huge open area along with the temple greets you as you walk in through the first building, at first glance the oldness of the Rajbari is unnmissable, infact I felt some parts might use some restoration work, but all together only added more to the charm of the place.
To the right of the temple building lies the rooms and kitchen and lunch area. If you are in the mood to stay in the building and get a feel of the Rajbari and royal life, its best to book one of these rooms. These rooms are interestingly named after the relation of the now living family of the Rajbari with the then occupants of the individual rooms, like room ‘chotopishi’ – youngest aunt on the paternal side.
The other section which is outside the main building complex used to be the kitchen garden of the Rajbari and now has a few newly built accommodation made in hut style situated beside a pond. I loved how each of these huts were uniquely styled in village style, although well equipped with air cooler and a beautiful open shower for anyone who fancies a shower closer to nature. Each hut is interestingly named after a flower and the gate to the hut is beautifully adorned with the same flowering plant. The area around the huts feel way closer to nature with hens and ducks strolling around. There were a couple of noisy geese and rabbits running around, perfect to keep you entertained. I chose to stay in the hut style rooms, best option to be closer to nature at a budget friendly rate.
Activities at Itachuna Rajbari:
Lunch Rajbari style: Experience of staying at the Rajbari is incomplete without a sumptuous lunch here. It serves amazing Bengali food cooked home style.
Rajbari Tour: The staff at Rajbari conducts a 1 hour tour of the Rajbari everyday for all the in house guests. This is a complimentary tour, and highly recommended. They walk you through all the buildings, gardens and areas around talking about its interesting past. Knowing about the history of this place makes each section of the Rajbari come alive.
Fishing: The pond on the backside of the make building is home to variety of fishes. As an activity one can enjoy fishing in the morning, although the fishes need to set free after being caught.
Bonfire and Barbeque: Upon request the staff here also arranges for bonfire and barbeque at the garden in from of the huts. Its a great way to spend the evening with freshly barbequed food and drinks.
Next time when wondering where to head out on a long weekend, you might want to consider spending a quiet weekend at Itachuna.