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The Hazarduari Palace is the major tourist attraction of Murshidabad. The literal meaning of Hazarduari Palace is 'a palace built with thousand doors'.'Hazar' Means 'Thousand' 'Duari' Means 'Door'. Interestingly, out of these 1000 doors of the palace, 900 are false.
This three-storey palace was built by Colonel Duncan Macleod of the Bengal Corps of Engineers during the reign of Mubarak Ali Khan, better known as Hamayun Jah. The palace was used by Nawabs to hold local meetings called Durbar.
Spread over 41 acres, the enclosure within which the palace is situated is called the Nizamat Fort or Nizamat Kila. Nizamat Fort was located on the present site of the Hazarduari Palace, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River and it it is said that, the fort was demolished to build this grand palace.
The palace is a fine example of European architectural style. The building is rectangular on plan with 424 feet Long and 200 feet broad and 80 feet high.
It is now a museum and protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The museum is also considered as the biggest site museum of Archaeological Survey of India.
The musuem has 114 rooms and 20 displayed galleries containing 4742 antiquities out of which 1034 has been displayed for the public. It has an exquisite collection of armoury, splendid oil paintings of Dutch, French and Italian arts, marble statues, old maps, manuscrips, exhaustive portraits of the Nawabs, ornamental howdahs used by the nawabs on ceremonial elephant rides, various works of art including various beautiful works of ivory (Murshidabad school) of China (European) and many other valuables. The Durbar Hall of the palace has a crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling. This was given to the Nawab by Queen Victoria and it is considered as the second largest chandelier in the world, after one in Buckingham Palace.
The Armoury has 2700 arms in its collections of which only few are displayed. Swords used by Shiraj-ud-Daulla and his grandfather, Nawab Alivardi Khan are displayed in the musumen.
Vintage Cars and Fittan Cars used by the Nawabs and their families are a feast to the eyes. The library containing rare collections more than 3,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Urdu and about 12,000 books in English, Arabic and Persian languages. There is also an Ain-e-Akbari written by Abdul Fazal with beautiful calligraphy on each page. But the library but not accessible to the public unless special permission is obtained.
In the palace ground, there is a small mosque, Medina, with colourful tiled verandas. The mosque has an ornamented replica of Hazrat Muhammad’s tomb at Medina. The clock tower is another attraction. Most of the tourist attractions like Wasef Manzil, Dakshin Darwaza, Tripolia gate, Gharighar, Immambara and Bachchawali Cannon are located near the palace.
Entry fee: For Indian citizen Rs. 5/- US $ 2 or Rs. 100 for foreigner.
Museum remain closed on friday.