Rajbari Bawali stands as a representation of Bengal’s rich heritage and splendor. I was a witness to this last month. Two of my friends and I spent a lovely November weekend at Rajbari Bawali, a heritage property converted to a premium resort. In fact, we had a toddler in the team, my friend’s 2.5 years old daughter, who also enjoyed thoroughly. We enjoyed the lavish living of the Zamindars or Feudal Lords of Bengal. The place steeped in time is a perfect concoction of grandeur of the zamindari era with luxury of modern times.
History of Rajbari Bawali
Rajabari Bawali’s enormous architecture exudes grace and royalty. The palatial mansion is 250 years old, its history dating back to the era of Emperor Akbar, 400 years ago. After 200 years of grand living experienced at the Rajbari or (mansion), it lost its opulence after independence. The zamindars or feudal lords of Bengal suffered post independence loss of wealth due to new laws of the Zamindari Act. Slowly, the palace started turning into dilapidated ruins. Today, it can be called a phoenix that rose again from its ashes, reflecting the same elegance and style. Mr. Ajay Rawla, a Kolkata businessman restored and renovated it from scratch.
Our Stay at Rajbari Bawali
A Bengali styled welcome with aarti and conches was the first pleasant surprise on reaching Rajbari Bawali. Then we entered the main courtyard of the mansion and were guided to our room with our refreshing welcome drink. We stayed at a ‘Classic Heritage’ room. Besides a large pond at the entrance, we could also see an ancient temple from the room. The esthetic room décor represents plush and perfection. Its architecture, interiors, furniture, lighting, fabrics, linens and textile, custom dyes, and books, take us back in time. The four poster bed, the high ceiling, the hand curved wooden cupboards, the comfortable sofas reminded me of my grandfather’s room. Special mention of the enormously spacious and regal bathroom is a must. The copper bath tub is a beauty. There are other categories of rooms too; Borobari, Chhoto Bari, Zamindari Suites, Royal Suites and Dak Bungalow. All of them are gorgeous.
Zamindari Lunch at Rajbari Bawali
For lunch we had Zamindari Thali, as they call it. It was too much for us to finish; the number of items as well as the quantity. We enjoyed the ‘Kachubata chingri’, ‘Bekti Paturi’ and ‘Mutton Kosha’ the most. The quality was excellent too. We took time and finally finished the sweets and the last drop of ‘Misti Doi’ too. The lunch took place at an open buffet space by a pond which had a fountain at the centre and few ducks were swimming around it. Overall, the ambiance was extremely pleasant.
Dining at Rajbari Bawali
Since we are talking of food, let me tell you about the dinner and next day’s breakfast too. The dinner at the ‘Piano Room’ was delicious too. We chose Chinese out of Indian, Moghlai, continental and Oriental options. Adjacent to the ‘Piano Room’, there is also a section for private dining, called ‘Thakur dalan’. It can accommodate 12 guests. The restaurant décor is extremely classy and matches the perfect royalty vibe. Next morning’s breakfast was an elaborate spread too, including North Indian, South Indian, Bengali and English spreads.
Things to see at Rajbari Bawali
The old structure of the mansion remains untouched; the huge portico and the Corinthian pillars, the lobbies, terrace and balconies; make it so charming. The restoration is made in such a manner that some of the parts of the ruins is left as it was as a remnant of the past and the glorious history. Well, these add to its appeal. So discovering and of course clicking at every corner of the property is important. Every corner is an art form and a story. We clicked several pictures at the portico, the lobbies, and our room. We strolled around the lawn and the pool area. In the evening there was ‘Chandipath and sondha aarti’, followed by other graceful cultural programmes. The mansion was lit up. The lamps and chandeliers added to the regalia. One should not miss the humungous terrace. The evenings are sensuous and the mornings are rejuvenating at the terrace. We missed the lush spa as it was closed because of Covid. For booking, you can contact 9073312000.
The Village Bawali
Though Rajbari Bawali is only 35kilometers from Kolkata, for some time we drove through village roads with lots of trees and ponds around. It was a serene drive. The next morning we went for a morning walk to the ancient Bengal brick temples. There is one main temple which is huge, a nath mandir and a few other ruins of temples which are being restored by the villagers themselves. They are collecting restoration funds and I donated. It is my earnest request that you to donate whatever little amount possible.
Overall Stay at Rajbari Bawali
We enjoyed our stay over the weekend; having fun, eating delicacies, enjoying the luxuries and clicking to our hearts’ content. Well, Rajbari Bawali is the latest craze for pre wedding shoots and content shoots for Instagram. Movies are being shot here too. It has also become a hot spot for celebrity marriages. The stuff team is friendly and helpful, providing excellent service. All day (24X7) front desk service is available. Hardly did I imagine that a weekend trip to a place so close to Kolkata, can be so different and refreshing. Day trip to Rajbari Bawali is popular but spending the night and breaking the dawn in such splendor, is an experience in itself.