Bawali - You Beauty !



Just 40 kms and an hours drive from the maddening crowd of Kolkata lies the quaint little village of Bawali, preserving the heritage of the bygone era. While the village (named after a local tribe - 'Bauli') has been tremendously blessed with the bounty of nature, it is the grand Rajbari, which steals the show. As per local legends, Basudeb Ray, a prominent courtier of the Mughal Empire (under Emperor Akbar) fought a rebellion and, in return, was bestowed the zamindari of the area of Bawali in the 17th century.  His decendant Harananda Mondal expanded the Zamindari and built this grand mansion- a majestic two-storied palace spread over three acres. 

The Rajbari Bawali
With trade partnerships with the British, the Mondal family flourished under the patronage of the East India Company, living like royals. At one point of time, the family even had a private army of 400 soldiers! The family is also credited for the construction of some of the finest temples in the village - the most famous being the Navratna (nine-domed) Gopinath Jiu Temple built in 1794. The terracotta inlaid temple which is said to have inspired Rani Rashmoni’s famous Dakshineshwar Temple sadly lies in ruins today.

Ruins of the Gopinath Jiu Temple
In shambles- Gopinath Jiu Temple



However, the Rajbari has a story typical of many old palaces in India: this once-illustrious headquarter of a sprawling zamindari fell into ruin after India's Independence.  The abolition of the Zamindari Act in 1951 and the Privy Purse in 1971 ensured the downfall of the Mondal family and the abandonment of Rajbari. 

Corridors of the Rajbari 
Uninhabited for more than 40 years, the neo-classical palace, had been given a new lease on life by Mr. Ajay Rawla by converting the Rajbari into a Heritage Hotel in 2009. Laden with bougainvillea trees, lakes and antiques (statuettes, four poster beds, canon balls, intricately carved mirrors and beautifully adorned metal gates) the Rajbari retains its old world charm and stands out as a tranquil oasis. The Rajbari also houses a Spa, Meditation house, conference area and a beautiful swimming pool. Prior reservation in the hotel is required to visit the Rajbari. We are very thankful to Mr. Rawla for letting us visit this beautiful Rajbari and for his generous hospitality. 

With Mr. Rawla - Owner of the Rajbari

Remains of glorious past

Exteriors of the Rajbari

A tranquil Oasis

From the eyes of Nature

Retaining the old world charm even in the Poolside
Poolside

Bounty of nature !

The Verandah

The palatial rooms !

Where to Stay:
  • The Rajbari Bawali - Feel like a king in this beautiful hotel, complete with all modern amenities. Don't miss the grandiose illumination of the palatial mansion after dusk. Though the tariffs are steep (start at Rs. 10k), one can surely indulge in a bit of royalty in this beautiful property ! 

Feel like a king - Welcomed by a blow of Conch shell !
  • Bawali Farmhouse - A cluster of 7 cottages amidst natural surroundings, it is an ideal place for backpackers and picnickers. The farmhouse houses a nursery, a tree-house and a play area. Tariffs start at Rs. 1.8k. Also offers activities like bonfire and barbecue.
Antarmahal Cottage - Our abode within the Bawali Farmhouse

Beautiful sitting area outside our cottage

Gaachbaari - The tree house !


Misty mornings at Bawali Farmhouse

Misty mornings at Bawali Farmhouse

Misty mornings at Bawali Farmhouse

Lunch served on Banana Leaves !

Campfire !
Other areas of interest near Bawali- 
  • Raypur Riverside- Situated en-route towards Burul town, the 5 km long stretch offers a magnificent view of the sparkling and gurgling Hoogly river dotted by Casuarina and Banyan trees.

Sunset by the riverside

The beauty of Sunset by the riverside!
  • Barood Ghar- During the British era, ships navigating towards Calcutta from Bay of Bengal carrying gunpowder had to deposit their stock in this store located on the banks of River Ganges as they were only allowed to carry 100 lbs of gunpowder for emergency calls and signalling. 
Ruins of Barood Ghar

Until next time !

How to Reach Bawali can be reached from Budge Budge or via Amtala on the Diamond Harbour Road from Kolkata.

Comments

  1. too good a virtual tour.....thnx Arpit :) enjoyed it thouroughly.

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