Around two hours from Kolkata on the outskirts of the city stands a piece of heritage, untouched by time. The Itachuna Rajbari, peaceful and scenic, this 17th century beauty is your perfect hideout from the city.
The Zamindars of Bengal were influential in administration under the Nawabs who ruled during the Mughal Empire. The Zamindars, were feudal chiefs which mirrored the European system of serfdom.
Some of the surviving rajbaris, or old royal houses of these Zamindars, are still inhabited and others transformed into heritage hotels, offering a taste of the rich heritage of West Bengal.
All Photographs: Ayandrali Dutta
Known as Bargee Danga (a name given by the Bengalis to the Maratha warriors) in the yesteryears, Itachuna gets its name from the fact that this place was a limestone and brick construction: Brick (Ita) and Limestone (Chuna). The history of the Itachuna Rajbari dates back to almost 300 years. Going back to the time when the bargees who came to attack the province of Bengal and Odisha.
Few of the families stayed back in Bengal and made this place their home. One such bargee who stayed back was Safallya Narayan Kundan, who built itachuna. Dhrubo Narayan Kundu is the 14th generation and the current successor of Itachuna Rajbari.
He has refurbished the Rajbari to reflect a taste of the erstwhile royal lifestyle. Itachuna has been used as a shoot location for eminent movies like Lootera, and sees the ‘teen-mahal’ pattern – the outer mahal houses offices from where once the representatives of the East India Company operated, and an old baithakkhana (living room).
The middle part has a sprawling thakurdalan (temple courtyard) with carriage lamps all around and a Narayan idol. The inner mahal mostly comprises of huge balconies, corridors, stairwells and terraces mostly interconnected and leading to various rooms. It also houses a Jalsa ghar, the Andarmahal for ladies, the terrace and the gardens.
The red and white colour walls of this royal mansion stand out in that whole area and the white arched entrance with intricate floral patterns gives that touch of royalty that the period was witness to. “Pita swarga, Pita dharma” is inscribed on it.
Every corner of the Rajbari is oozing with heritage and history – be it the huge chandelier or the hand-drawn palm leave fans in the corridors or the common guest room, which sees the whole family-tree drawn on the walls and artifacts like guns and few scriptures artfully hung around.
The Rajbari has 10 rooms that are given out to travelers. They have been aesthetically named after the ladies of the house like “Bodo maa”, “Choto pishi”, “Thakuma”, “Mejo maa.” There are also 4 mud huts to chose from. The rooms see old world ornate beds that take you back in time. Picturesque longish corridors with mirrors line up the building and follow up mysteriously everywhere.
Authentic Bengali food is on offer. The spread is served in Kansha plates (bell metal) which adds to the whole experience on the table.
A stay at Itachuna makes for a perfect setting from a period film with the chirping of birds, and the sound of evening aarti from the large temple room… as dusk falls this place takes on an ethereal hue with the backdrop of the setting sun.
Good to know
A perfect weekend getaway from Kolkata. Staying within the centuries-old Itachuna Rajbari can be an experience of intrigue and fascination.
Distance from Kolkata: 80 km
Time taken: 2 hours approx
Tariff: Rs 4,200 onwards
- Take walks! You must take a complete tour of the property and ask bout its fascinating history. Also take sunset walks around the fields and ponds.
- Eat amazing homestyle Bengali meals: Luchis with Saada Alur Tarkari Dhokar Dalna, Shukto and Kasha Maangsho are a must try!
- The historical Bandel church is only 45 min drive from Itachuna. The heritage sight of Chinchura Imambara is just 40 min drive. The century old Pandua Minar, a very fascinating monument is only 15 min drive. The French colony of Chandernagore is very near, and can be reached by driving for only 30 minutes.