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375-year-old zamindar bari of Amadpur and its bonedi barir Durga Puja

15 September, 2020 15:21:35
375-year-old zamindar bari of Amadpur and its bonedi barir Durga Puja

Indranil Halder is an entrepreneur living in Australia who is enthusiastic about preserving the heritage of Bengal

Standing tall for past 375 years, lies the famous Amadpur Zamindar bari in the heart of Bengal’s Burdwan district. The bonedi bari belongs to the landowners - The Chaudhuri’s and still retains a delightfully authentic façade with interiors typical of a charming Bengali architecture. It takes around 2 hours from Kolkata to reach Amadpur by car. 

Not just the bonedi bari, the place boasts of old Terracotta Temples almost 500 years old and lush orchards. But the Chaudhuri Bari takes a new look during the festive season. Certainly, Durga Pujo is one of the grand festival which is celebrated every year at the Amadpur Chaudhuri Zamindar Bari with a lot of pomp. This year too it will be celebrated, even if at a lower scale. 

The family lineage of the Chaudhuris can be traced back almost 900 years to the 11th and 12th century to Shri Sribatsa Sen Sharma, grandfather of Duhi Sen Sharma - one of the court poets of Raja Laxman Sen of the Gour dynasty. During the Mughal era in the mid-1600, the title ‘Chaudhuri’ was conferred upon them along with the zemindari of Amadpur and some areas of Bardhaman and Hooghly. Later, during the British raj, the zemindari was recognized under the permanent settlement act of 1793, which further propelled their expansion up to Serampore in Hooghly. Along with the zemindari, the Chaudhuris were also equally interested in literature and art. 

For his poem Pawan Doota, Duhi Sen Sharma was bestowed with the title of Kaviskhsmapati, Chakravarti and Pandit Ratna by the Raja. Shri Krishna Ram Sen Sharma, who brought the “Chaudhuri” title to the family, was a highly respected courtier. Shri Mohes Chunder Chaudhuri, another illustrious scion of the family was a scholar, social worker, legal luminary, philanthropist and a fierce debater. He founded and established the Amadpur high school in the mid-19th Century. The school was inaugurated by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, who happened to be a close friend of Mohes Chunder Chaudhuri.

The Boro Bari is 375 years old and is characterised by high ceilings, grand verandahs and antique furniture. During Durga Pujo, the Chaudhuris open the doors of 4 of the best rooms from their ancestral home for tourists who get a Zamindari experience. Next to the Boro Bari, there is a Dighi or pond. There are also 4 terracotta temples right outside the Boro Bari. They are believed to be 550 years old. The Thakur Dalan in Amadpur Chaudhuri Zamindar Bari has a beautiful courtyard. 

It is at this Thakur Dalan, that the traditional Durga Puja is held. Evening lamp lighting, shondhya (evening) aartis and traditional puja ritual activities brings out the festive spirit in everyone. Amadpur zamindari Bari is a sanctum of rich heritage where colonial-style features, furnishings and ceiling fans can interact with contemporary ones to keep things interesting. The property has Bengali, British and Italian heritage built into it. The current custodians of the zamindar Bari has a recorded history since the time of Maharaja Lakshman Sen of Sen dynasty of Bengal (900 AD). Shiladitya Chaudhuri says, “This is Amadpur Chaudhuri Zamindar Bari, tucked away 100-kms from Kolkata, amidst the landscape of Bengal with lush paddy fields, terracotta temples and age-old banyan trees.’ True, one gets the whole of Bengal in a nutshell at Amadpur.  

Story Tag:
  • Burdwan, Terracotta

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