The vision, resources and dedication to restore this 350 year old neo-classical mansion back to its former glory is simply gobsmacking. Arrive before dusk if you can. The evenings here have a glorious magic as hundreds of lamps are lit turning the palace into a romantic spectacle. There is a moving aarti ceremony and you may even be serenaded by Bauls, those mystical wandering bards of Bengal. The respect for the original bones of the buildings is impressive, the furnishings very individual, the rooms very comfortable. The surrounds are quite lovely with gardens, pool and small lake. I was personally greeted by the owner and joined him in a sumptuous meal that really showcased local cuisine. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my too short stay was wandering the delightful village the next morning with the hotel's neighbour and friend - a man with a fount of knowledge from medicinal plants, Ayurvedic philosophy, to being able to chant beautifully the ancient slokas. I was there during Rajbari's 'soft opening', and there is still some work to be done finishing everything off and refining the skills and confidence of mostly local and willing staff.
I have every reason to believe that the property will reach its full potential as a sanctuary and look forward to returning, next time I am visiting Kolkata.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Rajbari at Bawali is located an hour from the Taj Bengal in the general direction of Diamond Harbor. This 300 year old heritage property is built on 3 acres of land including 2 natural waterbodies. The Rajbari Bawali belonged to the Bawali Mondal family that had land grants going back to the time of Akbar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Rajbari Bawali India/Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal