Visiting the Bengal countryside is a little like falling down a rabbit hole – only, the astonishing wonders here are for real. Depending on where you are, and when you least expect it, you stumble upon Victorian-style palaces, ornate terracotta temples and arched gateways with coats of arms, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. These monuments, which are fast surrendering to the ravages of time, are relics of the region’s grand and glorious past.
Drive around Hetampur village in Birbhum district, not far from Murshidabad, and you will be delighted by the ‘Ranjan Prasad’, or a hazarduari, a ‘palace of a thousand doors’. Although this palace does not rival its namesake in Murshidabad, either in size or splendour, it is a symbol of the lost glory of this former zamindari estate and Hetampur’s star attraction.
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