History of Hetampur Rajbari
Hetampur Rajbari was constructed in 1905. Maharaja Ram Ranjan Chakravarty is credited with the commissioning of this grand Rajbari in Hetampur. At this time, this Rajbari was known as the ‘Ranjan Palace’, being named after the person who commissioned it. Unfortunately, the Maharaja died and the palace was left behind as a souvenir of his rich and fertile reign.
Architectural Design of Hetampur Rajbari
A grand red brick gateway which is supported by massive Corinthian pillars and interspersed by arched windows and entrances welcomes visitors to Hetampur Rajbari. The gateway itself is considered to be a commanding structure. This is because the gateway is marked by slender protruding eaves supported on equally-spaced brackets and topped by several feminine figurines with their arms outstretched. Its central portion is raised higher than the extremities and is supported by tall pillars. In the olden days, a wonderful garden welcomed visitors to this palace. The entrance to the palace resembles a grand Gothic cathedral, which proudly boasts of the powerful zamindar family that resided here.
This Rajbari is today in a dilapidated condition. The structure of this palace has collapsed to a large extent owing to the mismanagement of this ancient structure, ever since India attained independence from the British Raj. It is said that the royal family started ignoring the maintenance of this palace as they were burdened with financial constraints, following the abolition of the 'zamindari' system. Presently, the palace resembles a skeleton, a silent spectator to the regime of influential landlords.
Hetampur Rajbari was built following the Victorian architectural style and was once considered to be an impressive specimen of English architecture. The typical features of this style of architecture are the ornamental tops of the Corinthian pillars, the plasterwork along the pyramidal roof and other decorative features such as the crenellations along the roof. Unfortunately, all these features are today masked over the yellow walls and the blue rooftops of the palace building. A clothesline and broken furniture which are scattered around the structure taint the little grandeur and sophistication this palace is left with. It is important to note that most of the original expensive Burma teak doors and windows have been stolen and are known to have been never replaced.
As compared to the exteriors, the interiors are in an even poorer condition. This is evident in the wooden semi-walls and divisions and the ground which has been partitioned into separate quarters for the several families that now live here. The first floor of the Rajbari is considerably well maintained compared to the ground floor. The walls here retain their original character. There are framed photographs hanging on these walls. The interior of this floor is musty and stuffed with old files, wood shavings and a hay stack lying along one of its sides.
There are two rooms in the palace which are today converted into classrooms. This room is a storehouse of original paintworks. These paintworks are embellished with floral motifs around the arched doorways and even the light switches and striking frescoes depicting scenes from Indian mythology. They are painted remarkably using vivid colours and can be located in arched niches above the many doors that line the room's perimeter. The roof overlooking the wide staircase is adorned with huge, green, pink and four-pointed star motifs inlaid with more floral patterns. The palace also has corridors. The courtyards enclosed by the palace are visible from the corridors by taking a look down. The left wing of Hetampur Palace was known to be the 'feminine section' which boasted of an identical pattern. The palace also has a large kitchen, which is today in ruins.
Surrounding of Hetampur Rajbari
The palace building is flanked by an equally large white building. This building has a school and college. It has lesser number of doors than the palace building. Between the school and college a narrow path leads to the roofed shelter where a royal chariot is located. Adjacent to the white building is a flight of stairs that leads to a huge pond.
Utilization of Hetampur Rajbari
Hetampur Rajbari is considered to be an impressive palace and was often utilized by recognized film directors like Satyajit Ray, Tarun Majumdar, Dilip Roy, Mrinal Sen, Raja Sen and others. Bengali movies including 'Ganadebata', 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne', 'Abhijan' and 'Mrigaya' are enriched with sequences shot in Hetampur Rajbari.
Nearby cities from Hetampur Rajbari are Dubrajpur, Suri, Birbhum and Durgapur. To reach Hetampur Rajbari, SBSTC buses are available from different parts of Bengal. There is another alternative available. Hetampur village is also reachable by taking a bus from Suri, the headquarters of Birbhum. This headquarters is approximately 1.5 hours away from Hetampur Rajbari.
Palaces of India
World Heritage Monuments in India
Indian Buddhist Sites