Barikothi – Luxury Heritage Hotel in Azimganj,Murshidabad | Property Review

Murshidabad

Restored Legacy of 250 year old Ancestral House

As I boarded my train back to Kolkata, I felt that I had almost time travelled to the Erstwhile Capital of Bengal in the past two days. Like many of the staycation , I thought this would be one of the luxurious stay in the heart of Bengal. But, while coming back, I realised that it was more like a royal experience with incredible dose of hospitality and tantalizing Sheherwali culinary experience.  I was quite elated with the fact that after a long wait, I would be finally visiting this historical place of great importance, Murshidabad.

Barikothi Ghat
Barikothi Ghat

About the Sheherwali Community- Who were they?

The term “Sheherwali” came from the movement of Jain merchants from town to town (sheher). They were the investors and were one of the wealthiest merchant community of Bengal. They had come mainly to finance the European traders and the Indian Nawabs. Murshidabad, which was then the capital of Bengal during Mughal era and was also contributing singlehandedly towards 20 % of Nation’s GDP and 5% in the global market. So, that’s when several Jain families came down to settle in the twin cities of Jiaganj and Azimganj and started building several Jain temples and mansions around this area. But, later around mid 1700s , as the time progressed and after the economic downfall of Murshidabad, which is said to be as a result of lost Battle of Plassey . Bengal progressed and the capital was then later shifted to “Calcutta” during British  era. And, several aristocrat merchants hence decided to migrate to Calcutta eventually from Murshidabad.

Barikothi

But, the legacy of age old mansions, dilapidated haweli’s and heritage houses still remains in the numerous alley’s of Azimganj. And one such house was Barikothi.

History of Barikothi

Barikothi is one such luxurious and opulent Rajbari’s in Azimganj- Murshidabad, which is now a heritage hotel catering to luxury tourist from worldwide. But, the story dates back as old as 250 years when it was the ancestral home of Dudhoria family who were one of the Jain merchants , also known as Sheherwali. They came down from the parched land of Rajasthan to settle in the lush rich green banks of Bhagirathi river .

Barikothi which means “palace of the elder” belonged to the elder brother “Rai Bahadur Budh Sing Dudhoria” who had built this house somewhere around late 1700s. The architecture and the interiors has a clear influence from Greeks, Romans or the French which makes it all the more significant structures in whole of Murshidabad. But, later when the family also shifted their base to the British Capital , Calcutta for better prospects . So called, mansion was left abandoned and in dilapidated crumbling state for 60 odd years, until 5 years back when Dudhoria’s took up a personal initiative to restored the lost legacy of their ancestral home along with the help of a Bengali NRI architect and restorator from Canada “ Mr. Samar Chandra” whom they lovingly call as “The Magician”. And looking at the property, what it stands now of what it was , the name is actually justified! Infact, his love and dedication towards creating this finesse , family have named a part of this house after him as “Samar Mahal”.

Barikothi
Panoramic View of Barikothi

 

How “Project Priceless” was made truly sustainable?

What intrigued me the most, was the fact that how they named this restoration project as “Project Priceless” where initially all they had envisioned was to make the place liveable for the family members/close friends. But, later what they thought about as a mere repair work came out as a Luxury Boutique Resort and all came with the opportunity of local empowerment.

Barikothi
Restoration process still going on in other parts of the house

It was an arduous task to restored the crumbling structures by keeping intact the original essence. During the restoration project, more than repair work they stressed more on the sustainability part. And, to make it so , they came up with three agenda to do the same :

1.To restore the lives of the local community.

2.To preserve the unique culture of Sheherwali community.

3.And, most importantly to empower and restore the local economy by creating employment opportunity.

The entire staff  belong to the local community and they have been personally trained by the owners Darshan and Lipika Dudhoria. Each and every staff (where in most of them are women) have been trained to be self sufficient and multitaskers. And most importantly they all give their utmost best to make the guest feel at home by personally taking care of each and every aspect.

Barikothi Staff
Barikothi Members

About Barikothi hotel and what it has on offer ?

This heritage boutique property is beautifully located on the banks of Bhagirathi River which is spread over three fourth acres of land. It has 15 heritage suites, each having unique theme name. The house mainly has two entrance out of which South west entrance was later added as per the Vastu Compliance.

It is based on the classification of :

Heritage Room – the base category room which is themed as per the precious stone colours for e.g Ruby, Emerald or Diamonds.

Royal Heritage Room– Which was the slightly bigger room also was adorned with royal artefacts.

Maharaja Heritage Suite- It is the largest and most elegantly decked up room with wooden carvings, elegantly decorated antiques and artefacts and I was so spellbound by the intricate details which the washroom had.

All the rooms have elegantly decked up with elaborate chandeliers, antique furnitures , High ceilings, Victorian styled high beds, royal mirror and checkered floors.

I stayed in the Ruby Kamara which was pink in colour and beautifully designed. In the room , we had complimentary local snacks instead of biscuits along with Sheherwali pickle and fruits.

Barikothi has several chowks or the courtyard, one of them has a beautiful marble fountain erected right in the centre. This is the central courtyard where all the cultural performances are held. We were also greeted with Baul musical performance at the same courtyard.

Barikothi
Courtyard at Barikothi

The other places of the house, which are worth mention are Sheesh Mahal, Library, Music Room, Durbar Hall, Janana Chowk, Gaddi Ghar, Halwai Khana, Gulabi Chawara .

Barikothi

Barikothi
Barikothi
Inside Barikothi

Royal Durbar Hall is the huge dining room , which was then used to host the guest and treat them with sumptuous Sheherwali meals. It is a beautifully decked up dinning area with stained glass windows/ doors , large chandelier and a huge dining table in the middle. We were treated  with a formal dinner and next day’s lunch by the lovely host Mr. Darshan and Ms. Lipika Dudhoria .

One of the main USP of Barikothi is its gorgeous location along Bhagirathi River. So, a scenic breakfast experience by the river banks and lunch on the boat while catching the sunset was a must on our itinerary. Infact, each guest gets to experience the breakfast by the river side, where one is treated with morning freshness of Gangetic breeze and scenic view.

Gaddi Ghar located on the first floor , which used to be the office area of the Dudhoria’s . The area has beautiful paintings  and pictures of their ancestors. And is decorated with big wooden arch entrance and is lighted with chandeliers dangling .

The garden area or what they have named as Mango grove has a huge mango tree inside the premises. It has a beautiful sit out area with white wrought iron furnitures perfectly complimenting the tiled floors.

The Library room or the entrance hall has huge cabinets which includes a well stocked collection of books and pictures taken by various people framed. It is located right at the main entrance of the house.

Barikothi
Library Room

 

Experience and Activities which Barikothi offers

The family member/ owner believes to create experience over mere selling of rooms. Hence , they keep the preference of each guest well into consideration and curate experience as per the request.

 

They curate various heritage walks in and around Azimganj, evening boat ride to witness the sunset over Bhagirathi river, cultural performances like folk music , cooking classes where they educate you on Sheherwali Cuisine , then there are tours arranged around Murshidabad and most importantly tour of Barikothi which itself requires more than a day. Infact, for the photographer’s delight it is recommended to take a night and a day walk around the house separately while listening to the interesting folklore.

Some of the famous places which I visited during my trip were Jain Temples, Hazarduari, Imambara, Bachawali Top, JahanKosha Top, Jagat Seth’s House, Nasipur Rajbari, Kathgola Palace, Fauti Masjid and then the next day we went around the some of the terracotta temples of Baranagar. And our last pit stop before boarding the train back was a visit to the Tatipara of Murshidabad where they show how to weave Silk sarees which are very famous.

With all this experience, I can only say that my stay at Barikothi left a deep impact on me knowing about the significance about Murshidabad’s rich history .

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Darshan Dudhoria and Lipika Dudhoria for giving us this royal experience and opportunity to explore this historical place of great importance . Ofcourse , I would also like to mention about Bikram, our activity manager and heritage tour guide who had been a gem of a person all throughout. Special Thanks to Deepti who has been attending us all throughout taking care of all our minute issues .

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From the world of erstwhile Bengal, what depicted then was timeless moments of royal heritage, elan and sheer opulence of wealth, treasure and culture . . . A weekend in #Barikothi made me remnicise all about history which dates back as old as 300 years . About 5 years ago, this place was nothing but one of the several old dilapidated buildings lost in the bylanes of #Azimganj . Till one day , one noble man with his heart stuck to his native land , came all the way just to restore this big house into what it is today. It was his sheer passion towards the development and along with the help of family members, Barikothi now stands shining ready to welcome guest from all over the world . . . More will be up about this heritage place on my feed , stay tuned with #travelwithvagabong ====================================== #HeritageBengal #Murshidabad #Sheherwali #westbengaltourism #bengalgram #indiantravelblogger #luxurytravel #shewhowanders #sheisnotlost #meinbanjaran #traveldestination #weekenddestination #calcutta_minimalism #kolkataBLOGGER #bengal_ig #BengalHeritage #solotravel #travelblogger #bloggerlife #staycation #incredibleindia #storiesofbengal

A post shared by Debjani Lahiri (thevagabong) (@the_vagabong) on

Some of the quick facts should you know on Barikothi

For bookings you may write at info@barikothi.com or call up +91 9051200800

And for further details , head to www.barikothi.com

Contact details :

Postal Address : Bari Kothi, Jain Patty,

  PO: Azimganj, Murshidabad,

  Pin Code -742122.

How to Reach :

Azimgunj is situated by the river Bhagirathi in Murshidabad . It is at a distance of approx 200 + kms from Kolkata. Driving time is around 5 hours depending on the road condition.

There are several trains which goes from Horwah/ Kolkata Station like Hazardwari Express which one can avail till Jiaganj or Azimganj station depending on the availability. The time taken is almost the same.

For a luxury experience, one can also avail the cruise ships (www.vivadacruises.com) which embarks from Kolkata till Azimganj for a perfect Ganges holiday experience.

Without a doubt , I can only say that if you need a hint of luxury with a royal touch, then head to Barikothi for one such experience along with historical indulgence for those who likes to delve in the past.

Barikothi, Azimganj
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Azimganj, Barikothi
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So, Do you want to know more about the Bengal culture and history? Then hit me up in the comments below. Also, do let know if Barikothi tempts you enough to book a stay over there .

You may further like to read about the Festival in Bengal

Barikothi FAM
With my fam mates and the magic man “Mr. Samar Chandra”

Disclaimer- I was hosted by Barikothi with an experiential heritage trip around Murshidabad along with my fellow blogger Amrita  (taleof2backpacker) , Tanayesh(Shoestringstravel) , Maasood (Photosticlife) and Rangan Da (https://rangandatta.wordpress.com/) As usual all the opinion are my own. 

 

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Comments

  1. Biswa Bhowmick

    A very nice write up on a historical place in Bengal. The photographs bring out the enchanting presence of the historic building. It would be nice to experience a journey into the past with a visit to such a location.

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  2. Medha

    The heritage hotel looks absolutely amazing and it is a beautiful story about how the 250-year-old home was restored in such a sustainable manner. Also, a great history lesson about Bengal 😉 I like how you’ve detailed everything out about the hotel and its setting by the Baghirathi River adds to its charm!

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  3. Linda (LD Holland)

    It is always interesting to stay in places that have such a rich history. I love that someone took the time to restore it after sitting empty for about 60 years, We once stayed in a palace in Portugal and felt the same way. The rooms looks so elegant decked out with chandeliers. And I love that scenic view for meals. Such a great luxury experience.

  4. Joella

    I am always looking for unique properties and this one looks so very special. What a fantastic project to restore the place and involve the community. It seems they take great care of those who chose to stay there and go well beyond just a night stay and a room. Will put on my list.

  5. Amar Singh

    Wow what a property and thanks for sharing it. I have had the pleasure of visiting this part of Bengal several times and did see some of these magnificent structures at the time which were in ruins. Great to see one such brought back to its splendour. Wasn’t aware of the Jain history and and connection. The hotel seems to have everything and more to make me want to visit it. The food takes the trophy. Great post madam

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  6. Yukti Agrawal

    I never knew about this grand and magnificent Barikothi – a Luxury Heritage Hotel in Azimganj,Murshidabad and it is good to stay in 250 year old ancestral property. Good to know about “Sheherwali” community who are Jain merchants They were the investors and were one of the wealthiest merchant community of Bengal. Gaddi ghar has beautiful paintings and interiors.

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  7. Kavita Favelle

    I love staying in restored historical properties, that sense of age and all the stories that have played out there, is tangible. Barikothi looks like a perfect example, and makes a gorgeous luxury hotel.

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  8. Paul Healy

    It must be great to stay in a place with such a historical legacy. Old restored properties like this always have so much more charm and character than new places. Look like a great place to enjoy a bit of luxury.

  9. Amrita

    Bari Kothi is indeed doing a commendable job in uplifting the local community. The heritage property just looks so pretty and grand. There is so much to discover in Bengal and Murshidabad is just one of them. Just remembering the fun time we spent there!

  10. Pooja Shah

    We absolutely love living in old colonial properties. The fact that this one is 250 years old and is restored and luxurious, makes me want to book tickets to Calcutta right away. We stayed in one such similar property in Goa named ‘Panjim Inn’; it had the same type of decor and 4-poster beds. The courtyard of Barikothi seems magical. I am certinly adding this to my list of must-stay accommodations.

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