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Hotels in Murshidabad

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Showing Properties in Murshidabad

Jalchhabi Hotel And Resort-Resort-photo

  • Jalchhabi Hotel And Resort

Based on 137 Ratings and 67 reviews

Cleanliness 4.5

Safety and Hygiene 4.5

Value for Money 4.1

Security 4.8

Child friendliness 4.2

Amenities 4.2

Location 4.5

( 137   Ratings )

+ ₹ 945 taxes & fees

HOTEL SRIJAN-Hotel-photo



Free Cancellation

+ ₹ 330 taxes & fees

Hotel  Sagnik-Hotel-photo

  • Hotel Sagnik

Based on 39 Ratings and 21 reviews

Safety and Hygiene 3

Value for Money 3.3

Cleanliness 3.4

( 39   Ratings )

+ ₹ 220 taxes & fees

Hotel Green House-Hotel-photo

  • Hotel Green House

+ ₹ 380 taxes & fees

Hotel Indrajit-Hotel-photo

  • Hotel Indrajit

Based on 67 Ratings and 33 reviews

Safety and Hygiene 2.9

Value for Money 2.6

Cleanliness 3.1

Child friendliness 2.8

( 67   Ratings )

murshidabad tourism hotel

+ ₹ 293 taxes & fees

OYO Hotel Taj International-Hotel-photo

OYO Hotel Taj International

Based on 29 Ratings and 11 reviews

Value for Money 4

Location 3.4

( 29   Ratings )

+ ₹ 366 taxes & fees

Sourav Lodge-Guest House-photo

  • Sourav Lodge

( 3   Ratings )

+ ₹ 880 taxes & fees



+ ₹ 475 taxes & fees

Cossimbazar Palace of the Roys (Rajbari)-Villa-photo

Cossimbazar Palace of the Roys (Rajbari) Like a 5

Based on 84 Ratings and 51 reviews

Food arrangement 4.1

Caretaker 4.4

Value for Money 3.8

Location 4.2

Safety and Hygiene 4.2

Linen cleanliness 4.2

Check-in Experience 4.5

Cleanliness 4.4

Washroom cleanliness 4.1

Kitchen 4.1

Security 4.2

( 84   Ratings )

+ ₹ 3,000 taxes & fees

Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts-Resort-photo

Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts

Based on 58 Ratings and 38 reviews

Cleanliness 3.9

Amenities 3.2

Hospitality 3.2

( 58   Ratings )

+ ₹ 362 taxes & fees

Samriddhi Cottages-Cottage-photo

Samriddhi Cottages Like a 3

Based on 21 Ratings and 11 reviews

Location 3.7

Amenities 3.8

Cleanliness 3.6

( 21   Ratings )

+ ₹ 634 taxes & fees

Hotel Nandini-Hotel-photo

Hotel Nandini

Based on 153 Ratings and 67 reviews

Safety and Hygiene 3.7

Cleanliness 4.1

Amenities 3.5

Child friendliness 3.5

Security 4.1

( 153   Ratings )

+ ₹ 378 taxes & fees

Hotel Sunshine-Hotel-photo

Hotel Sunshine

Based on 196 Ratings and 109 reviews

Safety and Hygiene 3.5

Value for Money 3

Security 3.6

Amenities 3.1

Hospitality 3.6

Location 3.3

( 196   Ratings )

+ ₹ 268 taxes & fees

Hotel Samrat-Hotel-photo

Hotel Samrat

( 24   Ratings )

Hotel Mohan Palace-Hotel-photo

Hotel Mohan Palace

( 35   Ratings )

+ ₹ 265 taxes & fees

New Hotel Mayur-Hotel-photo

New Hotel Mayur

( 8   Ratings )

+ ₹ 436 taxes & fees

Hotel Sonali Bangla-Hotel-photo

Hotel Sonali Bangla

Based on 21 Ratings and 12 reviews

Amenities 4.1

Cleanliness 4.2

Hospitality 4.1

+ ₹ 505 taxes & fees

Hotel in Murshidabad - Hotel Booking and other information

Book the best Hotels in Murshidabad. Choose from 10 available Murshidabad hotels & save up to 80% on hotel booking online at Makemytrip. Hotels & resorts price range starts from Rs.837 to 5878 per night in Murshidabad. ✓Free WiFi ✓AC Room ✓Free Breakfast ✓Spa ✓Free Cancellation.

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All Above Listings for Murshidabad are updated on Monday, March 25, 2024- 18.56.

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Places to Stay in Murshidabad

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Get the best deals on different type of Hotel categories in Murshidabad with Choose from 10 hotels in Murshidabad. Just Rs 837 onwards ✔ Use coupon code & Get Upto 70% OFF instantly. Make your stay special and comfortable with MakeMyTrip Hotels. Spacious rooms and impeccable service within your budget.

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Hotels in Murshidabad with Free Breakfast


Bestowing excellent hospitality to its every category of guests, Srijan Guest House reflects the culture and ethos of its locati

Bestowing excellent hospitality to its every category of guests, Jalchhabi Hotel & Resortreflects the culture and ethos of its l

The Bari Kothi was built in the late 1700s. The name of the house, Bari Kothi (literally meaning the Palace of the Elder), was c

Hotel Green House is situated 0.5 km from Motijheel Park in Murshidabad. The hotel provides 24-hour front desk facility.This pro

Located in Murshidabad, centre for agriculture, handicrafts and sericulture, Hotel Sagnik is a boutique property that accomplish

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Premium Hotels in Nearby Cities

Heading for a business trip anytime soon? Being a corporate traveler, you must have checked into countless receptions and have b

Golden Retreats Club Hotel is a premium hotel in Berhampore, Murshidabad, West Bengal. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city


Bestowing excellent hospitality to its every category of guests, Aranya Resort reflects the culture and ethos of its location. W

An aesthetic architecture with graceful decoration, The Fame offers culinary delight at multi-cuisine restaurant along with a co

Most Searched Hotels in Murshidabad

Hotel Indrajit is budget property in Murshidabad that has an in-house multi-cuisines restaurant that serves delicious food to al

Bestowing excellent hospitality to its every category of guests, Hotel Meridian Murshidabadreflects the culture and ethos of its

Newly built hotel with all modern amenities and furniture. Hotel located in nice location. We do follow all rulles maintaion by

Sourav Lodge is one of the best budget hotels in Murshidabad, Kolkata located in the heart of Murshidabad . Sourav Lodge ensures

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Trains From Murshidabad

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call: +91 86704 56553

Mail: [email protected]


Simple but Nice Interior With The Pinch Of Everything

First of All Welcome to our LALBAGH TOURIST LODGE . A hotel in Murshidabad. You can stay here safely. We have our own Restaurant, Care Parking. AC and Non AC rooms are also available here. To feel the flavor of this royal and historical city, you have to visit once to our Lodge. We are always ready serve our best.

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We are Happy to serve you...

LALBAGH TOURIST LODGE Far from the madding crowd, we offer you cozy well appointed luxurious AC and non AC, with attached bath, running Hot and Cold water, Color TV (with satellite channels), Intercom with STD/ISD facilities, along with individual balcony,Doctor on call,24hours room service,Family Food Management, personal drink services and many more.As well as the best steaks in town and great value meals we also offer a children’s menu, old fashioned service and a friendly atmosphere. If you’re having a party, we have the venue.

  • Also we serve Group Travel like School Bus travel, Office or Organization group travel.
  • We Also provide  Local guide, Car/ToTo hire Service & Many More. 

Come To See Our Best Services For You

Ac & non ac rooms, own car parking, doctor on call, hot & cold water, power supply, room service, we are loved by users & clients worldwide, with your experience we will serve, literally we have 5+ years experiences & we have great memories, yearly customers, satisfied customers, hotel rooms.

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murshidabad tourism hotel

Travel in Murshidabad: Short Details About Historical Murshidabad

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About Lalbagh Tourist Lodge and Murshidabad Travel

murshidabad tourism hotel

Short Details About Hazarduari Palace

THE 10 BEST Hotels in Murshidabad

murshidabad tourism hotel

Murshidabad Hotels

Property types, distance from, traveller rating, hotel class, popular hotels in murshidabad right now.

murshidabad tourism hotel

  • Best Value Properties ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data, including traveller ratings, confirmed availability from our partners, prices, booking popularity and location, as well as personal user preferences and recently viewed hotels.
  • Traveller Ranked Highest rated hotels on Tripadvisor, based on traveller reviews.
  • Distance to city centre See properties located closest to the centre first with confirmed availability for your dates from our partners

An unique riverside destination resort

1. Jalchhabi Hotel And Resort

Goutam D

2. Hotel Sagnik


3. Hotel The Fame

Sukanya D

4. Hotel Sonali Bangla


5. Baharampur Tourist Lodge


6. The Sugarr & Spice Roopkatha

Harjeet Sood

7. Berhampore Lodge

Prasun N

8. Hotel Indrajit


9. OYO 33444 Hotel Rudra

Jogesh P

10. Hotel Anwesha


11. Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts


12. Hotel Manjusha

Jharna S

13. OYO 36065 City Tower Hotel

14. sourav lodge.

Arnab Dey

15. Hotel Green House

Sajeed K

16. Hotel White House


17. OYO 33455 Hotel Shivam


18. Hotel Asha

19. hotel meridian, 20. spot on 64918 hotel new heaven, 21. spot on 63716 hotel rajgrand, 22. hotel sabar proyo, 23. spot on 42069 hotel srijan, 24. spot on 67527 surakkhit lode, 25. hotel girvaan, 26. hotel rudra, 27. spot on bmp036 hotel eternal, spot on 64951 hotel antorongo.

Douglas W

Murshidabad Hotels Information

Hotels near the sights.

murshidabad tourism hotel

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murshidabad tourism hotel

Hotels near Murshidābād

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Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts, hotel in Murshidābād

Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts

Samriddhi Banquet Garden & Resorts has an outdoor swimming pool, garden, a shared lounge and terrace in Baharampur.

Jalchhabi Hotel & Resort, hotel in Murshidābād

Jalchhabi Hotel & Resort

Located in Lālbāgh, Jalchhabi Hotel & Resort has a garden, terrace and free WiFi. Featuring room service, this property also provides guests with a playground.

Hotel Samrat, hotel in Murshidābād

Hotel Samrat

Located in Baharampur, Hotel Samrat features a shared lounge and a bar. With a garden, the 1-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom.

Golden Retreat, hotel in Murshidābād

Golden Retreat

Featuring a bar, Golden Retreat is located in Baharampur. With a shared lounge, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom.

THE FAME HOTEL, hotel in Murshidābād


THE FAME HOTEL provides accommodations in Jādabpur. Featuring a bar, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property has room service, an ATM and organizing tours for guests.

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murshidabad tourism hotel


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murshidabad tourism hotel

Hotel Girvaan is happy to welcome you!

Come alone or bring your family with you, stay here for a night or weeks, or stay here while on a business trip or tourist trip - either way our hotel is the best family hotel in Murshidabad.


We are strategically located at Murshidabad well connected to the famous tourist spots.

Phone: +91 - 9800657156

murshidabad tourism hotel

Approved by Minstry of Tourism Govt Of India

A 4 star riverside resort.

murshidabad tourism hotel

Introduction of resort

Jalchhabi hotel and resort , the only riverside  4 star hotel and resort   of Murshidabad, classified  by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is located very close to Hazarduari. Experience the best riverside destination amidst rich Indian history, heritage and magnificent nature. You will get all the modern amenities in a lonely riverside ambiance.

We are Available for business

Relax luxuriously in a peaceful natural riverside ambiance of our unique destination at Murshidabad . Rejuvenate yourself on the bank of river Ganges  with an elegant staycation .

murshidabad tourism hotel

Explore Our rooms

choose room according to budget

murshidabad tourism hotel

Premium Cottages

Rs.6,000.0 / night.

murshidabad tourism hotel

Executive Room

Rs.4,000.0 / night.

murshidabad tourism hotel

Deluxe Cottages

Rs.5,500.0 / night, our services.

Private balcony or veranda river side. Double bed or twin bed, Work desk, Coffee table with cosy sitting sofa  Wardrobe and a personal safe with keys Dressing unit Mini bar Air-condition Complimentary packaged water Complimentary newspaper Individually packed toiletries

murshidabad tourism hotel

Tripadvisor best of best awards

murshidabad tourism hotel

Travel and Tourism Fare award of Excellence

murshidabad tourism hotel

Registered under West Bengal Tourism Departmentnt

murshidabad tourism hotel

Four star classified hotel by Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India

A unique riverside resort on the bank of river Ganges at Lalbag, Murshidabad. Experience the best riverside hotel and resort at Murshidabad, Westbengal.

New Friendships

International guests, five stars rating, served breakfast.

Places To Visit In Murshidabad

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  • Filter (15)
  • Historical Site (2)
  • Forts & Palaces (2)
  • Shopping (2)

1. Hazarduari Palace

Hazarduari Palace

1 km from city center 1 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

One of the most important and, perhaps the most significant tourist attractions of Murshidabad, this sprawling palace has been built on 41 acres of land.

2. Nizmat Imbambara

Nizmat Imbambara

1 km from city center 2 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

On the northern side of the palace lies The Nizamat Imambara, built in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah, son of Humayun Jah. The stunning mosque was built after the Imambara built by Siraj-ud-Doula got burnt down in a fire.

3. Shopping in Murshidabad

Shopping in Murshidabad

1 km from city center 3 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Murshidabad is particularly famous for it's handicrafts (ivory and wood). Also another thriving industry is the silk Industry. Sarees from Murshidabad are sold all over the country.

4. Footi Mosque

Footi Mosque

1 km from city center 4 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Footi mosque was started by Nawab Sarfaraz Khan. It is located towards the east of the Hazarduari Palace, at Kumrapore. The mosque is believed to be the brainchild of Sarfaraz Khan alone.

Top Hotels In Murshidabad

8.0 (74 reviews)

₽ 1,054 onwards

7.7 (38 reviews)

₽ 2,774 onwards

5.4 (12 reviews)

₽ 3,188 onwards

4.2 (6 reviews)

₽ 2,662 onwards

5.5 (2 reviews)

₽ 4,905 onwards

5. Wasif Manzil

Wasif Manzil

0 km from city center 5 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

This Palace was built by Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan, Nawab of Murshidabad. Located at the south end of Hazarduari Palace, it is touted as the 'new palace' because it was built much later.

6. Moti Jheel

Moti Jheel

2 km from city center 6 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Motijheel used to comprise of a palace and a beautiful lake. The lake still survives, while the palace perished. Motijheel is one of the few places that reflects both Indian and British history.


1 km from city center 7 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Madina is a small mosque between the Palace and the Imambara. It is one of the most sacred Muslim places in Bengal. Made to replicate Hazrat Muhammad's tomb at Madina, the original mosque's foundation had soil from Mecca, before it got destroyed in the fire. The one constructed later was built with pious soil from Karbala

8. Khosh Bagh

Khosh Bagh

2 km from city center 8 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

The beautiful, near 8 acre, garden area is actually a cemetery. It has the grave of Nawab Alivardi Khan along with Alivardi's Mother, Siraj-ud-Doula, his wife Lutfannesha and other members of the Nawab family.

9. Belampore Market

Belampore Market

9 km from city center 9 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Murshidabad Silk Kora Sarees are a very popular variety of sarees. With its origin in Murshidabad, these sarees are famous for their intricate designs and pattern works.

10. Murshidabad District Museum

Murshidabad District Museum

7 km from city center 10 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Started in 1965, the museum took almost 20 years to complete and finally started operations in 1985. Built on the land donated by Late Rai Bahadur Surendra Narayan Singha of Jiaganj, the museum showcases largely his personal collections.

11. KathGola


3 km from city center 11 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Located a few kilometers off Murshidabad, this palace complex, built originally to entertain European and Muslim guests during trade visits, is a marvel of its own.

12. Katra Mosque

Katra Mosque

2 km from city center 12 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Another striking tourist spot of Murshidabad and perhaps one of the most well maintained too, Katra Mosque was built in 1724 by Murad Farash Khan, a devoted follower of Murshid Quli Khan.

Discover More About Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions in Murshidabad


Trip to Murshidabad #TWC

13. Jafarganj Cemetery

Jafarganj Cemetery

2 km from city center 13 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Located about a mile from Hazarduari Palace is the Jafarganj Complex. Mir Jafar originally built his palace in this three and a half acre land. But now the place serves as a cemetery for Mir Jafar and many family members of his.

14. Nasirpur Palace

Nasirpur Palace

3 km from city center 14 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Built by the descendants of Debi Singh, a tax collector in the early days of East India Company, Nasirpur Palace is another major tourist attraction of Murshidabad.

15. Jahan Kosha Cannon

Jahan Kosha Cannon

2 km from city center 15 out of 15 Places To Visit in Murshidabad

Jahan Kosha is a kilometer off Katra. Janardan Karmakar of Dhaka, a small craftsman at the time, built this imposing cannon. The 7 ton Cannon literally menas 'the Destroyer of the World'.

Places To Visit In Nearby Places

Tarapith, West Bengal

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Welcome to murshidabad tourism, welcome to murshidabad hotels.

We are a chain of hotels that provides comfortable and affordable accommodations for travelers. Our facilities include guest rooms, on-site dining, and meeting spaces. Our friendly staff is dedicated to ensuring a pleasant stay for all of our guests. Whether you're here for business or leisure, we strive to make your time with us enjoyable and memorable.

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Tale of 2 Backpackers

Murshidabad Tour Guide – beyond Hazarduari

West Bengal , Weekend Getaways from Kolkata

Hazarduari in Murshidabad

Last Updated on: May 20, 2021  

Can you imagine that a small settlement in Bengal by the side of the Bhagirathi River was once as prosperous and thriving as London? It was not Calcutta, but Murshidabad that was said to be as flourishing as London . For all those planning a trip here, Hazarduari in Murshidabad is the most iconic attraction. But Murshidabad is much more than Hazarduari. It was the last seat of power of the Nawab of Bengal Province before the British took over in India. Murshidabad plays an important part in Indian modern history. No doubt the place has some important heritage structures in and around. So we decided to chalk out a Murshidabad tour guide to help all those who want to visit this erstwhile power centre of Bengal.

Murshidabad was not only a stronghold of power politically, but was also the centre of commerce, trade and administration in the eighteenth century India. So much so that it was said that Murshidabad region along with the twin towns of Jiaganj and Azimganj accounted for almost 5% of the world GDP . And that is no mean feat. Just imagine, how prosperous the town was during that time.

Hazarduari in Murshidabad

We had visited Murshidabad before along with Azimganj , where the beautiful terracotta temples of Baranagar stand beside the Bhagirathi River. This time, it was on the invitation of Bari Kothi, a heritage property in Azimganj , we again visited the historic town. This visit was important in a few ways. We understood the importance of the twin towns of Azimganj and Jiaganj, the Sheherwali community in the history of Murshidabad. So before we start on about the places to visit, we would like you to get acquainted with the place and its history and heritage. Because we should know our past to be prepared for our future.

Hazarduari in Murshidabad

  A brief history of Murshidabad | The story of a Brahmin who went on to become the Nawab

Murshidabad’s tryst with history starts in the early eighteenth century. Murshidabad was originally a nondescript village named Maksudabad before Murshid Quli Khan set his eyes upon this land to make it the capital of Bengal province. The life story of the Nawab is quite interesting. It is said that Murshid Quli Khan was born a Brahmin in the Deccan region. Due to penury, he was sold as a slave to Haji Shafi Isfahani , a Persian merchant from Iran. Isfahani rechristened him as Mirza Hadi and provided him an education.  After returning to India, Mirza Hadi joined the services of the Mughals. His active role in the army of Aurangzeb earned him brownie points. So when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was looking for a Diwan in Bengal at Dacca, Hadi was his automatic choice. By this time he also came to be known as Kartalab Khan .

Later Kartalab Khan went into a confrontation with Azim-ush-Shan, the grandson of Aurangzeb. In this scenario, Kartalab Khan relocated his office from Dacca to Maksudabad on the banks of Bhagirathi. His logic was that the place was situated in the central part of Bengal and it would be easier to communicate throughout the province. Aurangzeb was happy with the revenue that Kartalab Khan gave him and awarded him the title of Murshid Quli among others. Consequently, he changed the name of Maksudabad to Murshidabad in 1704 . Later Murshid Quli Khan declared himself the Nawab of Bengal and thus became the first independent Nawab of the province. At that time, Bengal province consisted of present-day Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.

Tonga ride in Murshidabad tour

Murshidabad was one of the most prominent cities of Bengal. It was rich in natural resources, trade and commerce flowed and was prosperous. Most of the European traders like the British, French, Portuguese and Armenians had settled around these areas for business. Affluent businessmen from Rajasthan came and settled down in Murshidabad. Later these Jain merchants formed the Sheherwali community and many of them became the bankers to the Nawab. While Murshid Quli Khan became the first Nawab, Manik Chand became his personal banker.  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar, after ascending the throne of Delhi in 1712, honoured Manik Chand with the title of Nagar Seth (Banker of the city) . Murshidabad rolled in riches.

It was in 1757, that Nawab Siraj-ud-daula, the grandson of Alivardi Khan was defeated by Robert Clive of the British East India Company in the Battle of Plassey. It is believed that the Nawab was betrayed by his own people leading to his defeat. The glory and sheen of Murshidabad gradually diminished, but the ruins of the glorious past still remain. A trip to Murshidabad to visit Hazarduari and the other attractions is quite common among the Bengalis. But I would also suggest everyone who visits West Bengal to take a trip to Murshidabad and enjoy its regal beauty.

Hazarduari Palace and Museum in Murshidabad

Places to visit in Murshidabad

Murshidabad is located beside the Bhagirathi River. Tourism in Murshidabad thus can be divided into two parts – one on the eastern bank of the river and the other on the western bank. While Azimganj and Khosh Bagh lie on the western bank, Lalbag area, Nasipur, Jiaganj and Cossimbazar lie on the eastern bank of Bhagirathi. You can plan your Murshidabad trip accordingly. Let us first write about the places to visit in Murshidabad.

Hazarduari Palace

Hazarduari in Murshidabad tour

Hazarduari in Murshidabad is undoubtedly the most iconic attraction in Murshidabad. The grand yellow structure is located right beside the Bhagirathi River. Although Murshidabad is known for both Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula and Hazarduari, the palace has nothing to do with the Nawab. Hazarduari was built by Humayun Jah during the period 1829-1837 at the site of the old fort known as Nizamat Qila (fort) . Architect Duncan Mc Leod was the mastermind behind this grand building. Hazarduari is the best example of Indo Italian architecture having huge pillars, a grand flight of stairs, beautiful statues and lamp posts. Nawab Humayun Jah is believed to have spent a whopping 18 Lakh Rupees (during that time) for building his palace .

Yellow mosque at Hazarduari

The palace has now been converted into a museum having a great collection of antiques, arms, weapons and some invaluable paintings of various European artists. Other interesting things include old costumes and jewellery, palanquins, ivory howdahs and palanquins, magnificent chandeliers and even some rare books, old maps and manuscripts. All the artefacts in the museum are no doubt wonderful, but the most impressive one is the grand chandelier with 96 lamps placed in the Durbar Hall. There is also a silver throne with a grand umbrella inside the Hall.

Hazarduari literally means the place of thousand doors ( Hazar means thousand and duar means doors). The palace is said to have a thousand doors. However, only 900 of them are real and 100 are fake. You will probably require an hour or so to explore the Hazarduari Palace and its museum. And if you are fond of antiques and history, you might take more time. The Hazarduari complex also consists of the Clock Tower, Bacchewali Tope, Madina mosque and the Nizamat Imambara lies just opposite Hazarduari.

Hazarduari, Murshidabad Opening Time:  9AM to 5 PM.

Entry Fees: To enter the museum, you have to pay an entry fee. The entry fees of Hazarduari Palace and Museum is Rs5 for Indians and Rs200 for foreign nationals.

Nizamat Imambara

Nizamat Imambara in Hazarduari in Murshidabad

Right opposite to the yellow building of Hazarduari Palace stands the impressive Nizamat Imambara. The white structure looks absolutely gorgeous against the blue sky. Look at the pictures if you do not believe me.

The present Imambara was built in 1847 by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah after the original wooden Imambara built by Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula was destroyed by fire. The Imambara is 680 feet long and the central block is about 300 feet in width. The Nizamat Imambara is the largest one in Bengal and one of the largest in India.

Unfortunately, entry to the Nizamat Imambara is usually not allowed. The Imambara remains open to visitors only for 10 days during Muharram.

Clock Tower

Clock Tower and Hazarduari in Murshidabad

This huge yellow tower used to be known as the “Big Ben” of Murshidabad . The tower was designed by Sagar Mistri, assistant to Duncan Mc Leod and like the Big Ben of London, the dials of the clock could be seen from a long distance and also from the other side of the Bhagirathi River. The tower has a heavy bell on top.

Madina Masjid

Madina Mosque in Hazarduari at Murshidabad

The only remains of the original Nizamat Imambara is the Madina Masjid located just in front of the Imambara. According to the book “A History of Murshidabad District” by Major J. H. Tull Walsh, it is said that Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula personally brought bricks and mortar and erected the foundation of the Imambara building. In the middle of the Imambara, the Medina was constructed. The plot of land on which the Medina was built was dug out and refilled with the sacred earth brought from Mecca. When you visit the Hazarduari complex, the guide will tell you that Nawab Siraj himself went to Mecca to bring the sacred earth. Well, this fact is not yet corroborated.

Bacchawali Tope

Bacchawali Tope in hazarduari in Murshidabad

The cannon is placed in the Nizamat Fort Campus between the Nizamat Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace and just beside the Madina Masjid. The cannon is said to have been built between 12 th and 14 th century AD and weighs 7657 kg. it is said that the cannon was fired only once. When it was fired, it produced such deafening noise, that al the pregnant women in the vicinity of 10 miles radius had a miscarriage! The cannon was never used since. The name Bacchawali Tope also comes because of this ( Baccha means child and tope means cannon).

Katra Masjid

Katra Masjid in Murshidabad

The Katra Masjid is perhaps one of the oldest standing structures in Murshidabad. It was built by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan between 1723 and 1724. The Katra Mosque was a great centre for Islamic learning. As you enter the Katra Mosque, you will see 2 towers on either side. There were actually 4 of them on the four corners, but the other 2 got destroyed in the earthquake of 1897.  There were a flight of stairs through which one could get to the top of the tower. But now the gates have been closed.

Between the two towers, you will find small cells. These cells are found in 2 stories surrounding the mosque. It is said that these are the cells were used to house the scholars who had come there for Islamic learning. There are as many as 700 cells surrounding the structure.

The next interesting structure is the mosque itself. There are 5 doors to the Katra Masjid. There are triple Mihrabs on the walls of the mosque facing the doors. Mihrab indicates a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque. It indicates the direction of Kabba in Mecca. Muslims pray looking at this direction.

Mihrabs at Katra Mosque in Murshidabad

On top of the central Mihrab, there is an Arabic inscription. There is a small flight of stairs leading to a small platform at the central Mihrab. This is the platform where sermons and speeches are usually given. This is quite same as the one we had seen at Adina mosque in Malda . There the platform was much higher though.

At the outer walls of the mosque, there is a basalt slab that has some Persian inscription written on it. In front of the mosque is the huge praying area. It is said that the praying area could accommodate 2000 Namaz readers. You can actually see the floor of the praying area is divided into squares. It is said that there are 2000 squares, each one for a Namaz reader. There are also a few hooks on the mosque wall and a few rings on the floor of the prayer area. Our guide told us that the hooks and rings were used for tying huge clothes so that they could serve as a canopy over the Namaz readers during the sun and heat.

Prayer area at Katra Mosque in Murshidabad

This is not the end of the Katra mosque. This place also houses the tomb of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan. The current entrance to the mosque is actually the back entrance. The original entrance to the mosque now lies on the backside (the eastern side). There is a flight of fourteen stairs to enter the mosque. Under the stairs lies the tomb of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan. It is said that the Nawab at the end of his days felt remorse for all the bad deeds he had done during his lifetime. So he desired to be buried under the stairs of the Katra Masjid so that the dust from the feet of noblemen would fall on his grave. This would be a way to atone for the sins he had committed.

Tomb of Murshid Quli Khan at Katra Mosque in Murshidabad

Although Murshidabad is known mostly for Hazarduari, it is the Katra Masjid that we found most interesting. The structure, architecture and the stories of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan were quite engrossing. Hazarduari in Murshidabad is no doubt iconic, but it is the Katra Masjid that had my heart!

Fauti Masjid

Fauti Masjid or Futi Masjid in Murshidabad

Fauti or Fouti Masjid is another impressive structure in Murshidabad. It is a huge structure, but in a state of decay overgrown with vegetation. The mosque was built in 1740 by Nawab Sarfaraz Khan, the grandson of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, but was never completed. The mosque is located near a railway crossing about a km from Hazarduari in Murshidabad. There are a couple of interesting stories surrounding the mosque.

The Fauti Masjid is an incomplete work. Only 2 out of the 5 domes were constructed. The rest were never made. Also, nobody has read Namaz in the mosque. It is said to be a failed mission of Nawab Sarfaraz Khan . Historically, Nawab Sarfaraz Khan died of a gunshot against Alivardi Khan in the Battle of Giria in 1740 , the same year that the mosque was built. After his death, the building of the mosque stopped.

The hole at Futi Masjid

There is another interesting story about the death of the Nawab that is more of a local legend. It is said that the Nawab died on the battlefield not by a gunshot, but by lightning. According to the legend, lightning struck the mosque as well when he died on the battlefield. That created a big crack in the dome. The mosque was thus considered unlucky and the work was completely abandoned. Well, actually, the work of building the mosque stopped after the death of the Nawab mostly because of lack of funds. The story of lightning is perhaps the interesting stories made up to astonish people.

There is a third story as well which is told more as fascinating folklore. It is said that the Nawab had commissioned building the mosque in a single day. The work could not be completed by the masons and thus was abandoned. This story is so silly that even the guides nowadays tell us that this is not true!!

Anyways, Fauti Masjid is an impressive structure. At first sight, it looks just like any dilapidated structure. But once you go inside, you will find it to be quite grand. A small flight of broken stairs lead inside the mosque. There are 5 entrances and 4 attached towers. As we said before, only two domes were completed. Well, if you decide to climb the stairs, be careful. It is broken and slippery and I am sure you would not like to fall down from there.

We found the incomplete and decaying structure to be so interesting. We wondered how the complete structure would actually look! It would undoubtedly be quite a feat if the construction were completed!

Jahan Kosha Cannon

Jahankosha Cannon Murshidabad

The Jahankosha Cannon lies just near the Katra mosque. Placed on a pedestal, the huge cannon weighs 8000 kg, 17.5 feet long and made of 8 metals. About 17 kg of gunpowder was used for a single shot. No wonder, it was known as Jahankosha (destroyer of the world). The area where the cannon is now placed was used to be known as the Topekhana or armoury. The cannon was made by gunsmith Janardan Karmakar of Dacca in 1637. Nawab Murshid Quli Khan bought the cannon from Dacca to Murshidabad when he shifted his capital.

Tripaulia Gate

Tripaulia Gate Murshidabad

The Tripaulia Gate was one of the entrances to the Nizamat Kila (fort) area of Murshidabad. It now stands as a white gate with a Nahabatkahana at the top. It is said the Nawabs used to enter the Kila area with their horses through the Tripaulia Gate. Earlier, the gate was known as Chawk Gate. The Chawk Masjid is just a few metres beside the gate. The Tripaulia Gate was built by Nawab Shuja Khan, the successor of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan.

Kathgola Gardens and Palace

Lion statue at Kathgola gardens at Murshidabad

Kathgola Gardens is a sprawling area of gardens, palaces and temples in the heart of Murshidabad, just like an oasis in the middle of the busy town. The complex was built by Rai Bahadur Laxmipat Singh Dugar , one of the leading bankers and zamindars of the early nineteenth century. Well, the garden does not have anything to do with warehouse for timber as the name suggests ( kathgola means timber warehouse). The name has come from “Kath Golap” that means wood rose. Earlier many varieties of wood rose were grown in the garden and hence the name was Kath Golap Gardens.

Entrance of Kathgola Gardens in Murshidabad

The entrance of Kathgola itself is huge and quite impressive. Yellow in colour, the entrance has huge Corinthian pillars, stucco floral designs and a Nahabatkhana adorned with beautiful stained glass. Once you enter the gate, you will come across the huge garden that mainly has mango trees. If you look around, you will see 2 statues of a person on horseback on either side of the pathway. The statues are probably of the Dugar brothers. The entry ticket gate is next.

After you enter the premises, the first thing that will come is the Baoli on your left. The Baoli was once in a very bad state, but now it has been renovated. Well, this is just a stepwell and not any secret passage as a few guides will claim. There is a statue of a lion and a marble statue of a man. On the right, you will find a zoo. It was once a private zoo, but now it has lost its sheen. We did not visit the zoo.

Marble statue of man at Kathgola Gardens in Murshidabad

Next, comes the grand 3-storied mansion with a pond in front. Go to the other side of the water body and you will get beautiful pictures of the mansion and its reflection on the water. This mansion is also a beautiful example of fusion architecture that was so prevalent during those times. The mansion has now been converted to a museum and houses marble statues, huge chandeliers, Italian marbles, porcelain artefacts, old rosewood furniture, Belgian mirrors, paintings and other antiques. Photography is not allowed inside the mansion just like that in Hazaduari.

Reflection of Kathgola Palace in the pond - Murshidabad Tour guide

Just close to the yellow mansion, another dilapidated building is standing. This one used to be the Zenana Mahal or the women’s quarters. If you walk down a little, the beautiful Adinath Temple dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara is located at one end of the garden. The temple was built in 1933, while the idol is said to be almost 900 years old. There is a water body in front of the temple where you can do boating.

Adinath Temple inside Kathgola

Ticket Price: Rs10/-

Kathgola Gardens is a huge complex. Be ready to walk around a bit. I would suggest you to wear comfortable shoes for visiting these places.

House of Jagat Seth & Pareshnath Temple

House of Jagat Seth

Jagat Seth was the title given to the insanely rich businessmen of the area who were also the financers to the Nawab and other zamindars . It was the title given to the descendants of Manik Chand, who had come to Murshidabad from Rajasthan for business. In 1715, Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar conferred the title of “ Nagar Seth (Banker of the city)” to Manik Chand.

After the death of Manik Chand, his nephew Fateh Chand became his successor and achieved much success. Fateh Chand was given the title “Jagat Seth” (banker of the world) by Mughal emperor Mohammad Shah in 1723 .

After Fateh Chand his grandson Mahtab Chand succeeded to the title in 1744. His cousin Swarup Chand was given the title of “Raja”. Both of them were the biggest financiers of that period. They were instrumental in the defeat of Siraj-ud-Daula in the Battle of Plassey.

Jagat Seths were said to be the pioneer in banking in India. There are many stories about the riches of the Jagat Seths. They not only financed the Nawab, but also the Europeans and other feudal lords.

There is an interesting saying about the wealth of Jagat Seth. It was believed that if their wealth were poured into River Bhagirathi, the river would be blocked by the immense treasure of Jagat Seth! Roben Orme, the official historian of the British East India Company described Jagat Seth as the greatest banker and money changer known in the world at that time.

The present building that is now known as the House of Jagat Seth was perhaps their banking premises. The original house has been devoured by the changing flow of the Bhagirathi River. The house has now been converted into a museum. Here too, you can get a guided tour of the museum where you can see antique furniture, coins, utensils and old dresses.

There is Pareshnath Temple at the premises of the house of Jagat Seth.

Tomb & Mosque of Azimunnisa Begum

Tomb of Begum Azimunnisha

Well, Azimunnisa Begum has a gory history. We found the place to be very beautiful, but the story was a bit difficult to digest. Begum Azimunnisa was the daughter of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan and was believed to be a nymphomaniac. That we don’t have a problem with, but the story goes on to say that she used to eat the livers of children. The Begum once had a life-threatening disease . She was advised to eat the livers of freshly slaughtered children as a remedy. She did so and got well, but this became an unhealthy habit for the Begum. She did not stop having livers (Kalija) of children. She was thus known as Kalija-Khaki Begum . She was later buried alive because of her misdeeds.

We actually do not know whether or not to believe the story. We leave it to you to decide. But the tomb of Begum Azimunnisa is located below the entrance stairs, just like that of her father, Nawab Murshid Quli Khan.

Namak Haram Deori

Namak Haram Deori at Murshidabad-West Bengal Tourism

Namak Haram Deori is actually the dilapidated gate of Mir Jafar’s palace. Nothing much remains of the palace now. It is believed that it is under this gate that Mir Jafar’s son Miran stabbed Siraj-ud-Daula to death. There is another saying that Siraj was actually killed at Hira Jheel Palace. The Hira Jheel Palace was also totally destroyed after the death of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula.

According to popular belief, Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula was betrayed by his own relatives and men and so he lost to Robert Clive despite having more military strength than the British. Mir Jafar betrayed the Nawab. Henceforth, the gate of his palace came to be known as Namak Haram Deori or Traitor’s Gate .

Jafarganj Cemetery

Jafarganj Cemetery in Murshidabad

Adjacent to the Namak Haram Deori is the Jafarganj Cemetary. The graves of the family of Mir Jafar lies in this cemetery. The cemetery has the graves of Mir Jafar, his wives, his son Miran and his other family members. The grave of Humayun Jah is also located here. Interestingly, the graves of the women are enclosed within the walls. In death also the women remained pardahnashin (inside the veil) .

Blue tiles in Jaffarganj Cemetery, Murshidabad

If you walk through the cemetery, you might come across some interesting white and blue coloured tiles. These ceramic tiles are on the floor and mainly depict the lifestyle of the British.

Nasipur Palace

Nasipur Rajbari in Murshidabad

Nasipur Palace is clearly the lookalike of Hazarduari in Murshidabad. Nasipur Rajbari was the property of Debi Singh, who had arrived from Panipat to Murshidabad for trading. Gradually he became the tax collector for the British and was said to be the most stone-hearted and sadistic feudal lord of his time. If taxes were unpaid, he used to hang the people to death, which is quite an extreme form of punishment.

A woman walking inside the Nasipur Palace

The house was initially in a bad state, but now it has been renovated and turned into a museum. There are 2 storeys with a flight of staircase and an imposing façade. The yellow building with green doors, windows and façade look quite beautiful from a distance. The Nasipur Rajbari has a temple located inside, a nat mandir and long corridors.

At Nasipur Rajbari, you will invariably come across the pictures of Hirabai . She was the dream girl of the eighteenth century. Tall and elegant, Hirabai used to be the main attraction of the parties thrown by Debi Singh.

Wasif Manzil

Wasif Manzil is a beautiful palatial structure built by Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza as his residential mansion. It is located between the Hazarduari Palace and the South gate of the Nizamat Fort campus. The original palace was destroyed during the earthquake of 1897 and was later rebuilt in 1904.  The palace has some rare artefacts but was lying in utter neglect. Recently, the place has been renovated and turned into a museum.

Motijheel Lake in Murshidabad

Motijheel is a beautiful horse-shoe shaped lake located about 3 km from Wasifi Manzil. The lake was created on the orders of Nawazish Muhammad Khan, the son-in-law of Nawab Alivardi Khan. He had also built a beautiful palace named Sang-i-dalan along with a gateway and a mosque here. Nothing remains of the palace. Only a part of the mosque remains and it is known as the Motijheel mosque . The grave of Nawazish Muhammad Khan is also placed in the mosque. His widow, Ghaseti Begum lived in the palace after his death. In 1756, Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula took over the mosque, ransacked it and carried great treasures from here with him . He built a similar lake and a beautiful palace known as Hira Jheel on the other side of the Bhagirathi River . Nothing remains of Hira Jheel as well. It was totally destroyed after the death of Siraj.

Motijheel Mosque

Motijheel is also known as the Company Bagh because of its association with the East India Company. Motijheel served as the residence of Robert Clive in 1765 when he came to negotiate with the Nawab for transfer of Dewani to the East India Company. Warren Hastings too had stayed here during 1771-73.

Terracotta Temples of Azimganj

Gangeswar Jor Bangla Temple - terracotta temples of India

The Baranagar area of Azimganj has some beautiful terracotta temples. These temples were built by the pious Rani Bhabani of Natore (now in Bangladesh) during the 18 th century. Rani Bhabani was well known for her philanthropic deeds. She was also a celebrated patron in Kashi (now Varanasi) . She had built 380 asylums in Benaras, guest houses and temples. She encouraged Hindu learning and bestowed large endowment for the spread of education. She had built a number of Hindu temples at Murshidabad and Natore. Infact, Azimganj area came to be known as the Kashi of the East , because of her.

Many of the temples do not remain now. But the few that remains at Baranagar gives a testimony of some of the finest examples of Bengal temple architecture and terracotta work. Once in Baranagar, you must visit the exquisite Char Bangla Temple, Bhabaniswar Temple, Gangeswar Jor Bangla Temple and Panchanan Shiva Temple.

Mausoleum at Khosh Bagh in Murshidabad

Khosh Bagh lies on the other bank of the Bhagirathi River. Usually, after your visit to the Lalbagh area, take a country boat from the ferry ghat near Hazarduari to Khosh Bagh or the garden of happiness. At Khosh Bagh lie the graves of Nawab Siraj-ud-daula, his wife Lut-fun-nessa and Nawab Alivardi Khan, grandfather of Siraj. The grave of the Siraj-ud-Daula and Lut-fun-nessa lies inside a mausoleum in a simple manner without any trace of extravaganza.

Khosh Bagh - grave of Siraj-ud-daula

Khosh Bagh was built by Nawab Alivardi Khan. The garden was later maintained by begum Lutfunessa after the death of Siraj. It is believed that once 108 varieties of roses once bloomed in the garden. There might not be so many left now, but the place is still peaceful and a sense of happiness prevails once you are at Khosh Bagh. The place also has other graves of the Nawab family, many of which have not yet been identified.

Cossimbazar Area

Cossimbazar was a bustling port during the heydays of Murshidabad. Cossimbazar was also a fortified area, especially after the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Located less than 10 km from Murshidabad town, Cossimbazar has some interesting attractions. The most interesting place to visit is the Cossimbazar Chhoto Rajbari (Cossimbazar Palace of the Roys) . The Roys had settled in Cossimbazar and had made a fortune by trading in silk. The palace has now been converted into a heritage hotel.

The Cossimbazar Boro Rajbari or Cossimbazar Palace is also another interesting place to visit, but it is in ruins now. You can also visit the Dutch and English cemetery, the Armenian Church of St. Mary’s, Byaspur Shiva Temple and the Pataleshwar Shiva Temple.

You will need another day in your itinerary if you want to explore Cossimbazar area.

The Jain Temples of Azimganj

Jain temples in Azimganj - West BEngal Tourism

Azimganj has a rich history and heritage. The twin cities of Azimganj and Jiaganj were the place where the Rajasthani merchants came and settled down. With them they brought down their own tradition, food and culture and blending with the local culture, a unique community, the Sheherwalis emerged.

The Sheherwalis were Jains by religion and they had built a number of Jain temples around the region. There are nearly 9 Jain temples in the Azimganj area. You can simply walk around or take a Toto (e-rickshaw) and visit these beautiful Jain Temples.

Our Hazarduari – Murshidabad Itinerary

To explore Murshidabad and around, you need at least 2 days at your disposal. 3 days will definitely be better. How you plan your Murshidabad trip depends largely on your choice of accommodation. If you are staying at Cossimbazar, then your trip will start from there and then visit Murshidabad. If you are staying at Murshidabad, then the trip starts there and then you will have the option to visit Cossimbazar area or the Azimganj area according to your interest.

Here we are giving the itinerary that we had followed with the help of Bari Kothi, Azimganj, the only heritage hotel in Murshidabad.

Marble work at Nasipur Rajbari

Day 0: Arrival at Bari Kothi

We arrived at Bari Kothi in the dead of night. We had taken the Howrah-Katihar Special and arrived at Azimganj Station at 1.45AM. From there Bari Kothi was about 10 minutes Toto ride.

Day 1: Local sightseeing at Murshidabad

After having a hearty breakfast by the Bhagirathi River, we took a country boat and crossed the river to the other side. We arrived at the jetty near Hazarduari. We explored the Hazarduari Palace complex along with the Nizamat Imambara, Bacchawali Tope, Madina and the Clock Tower. We also saw the Tripaulia gate just outside the Hazarduari Palace.

Katra Mosque in Murshidabad tour

Next, we took an e-rickshaw (Toto) for exploring Murshidabad. You can also take a tonga ride (horse carriage) if you fancy. The next in line was the Katra Mosque, Jahankosha Cannon, Fauti mosque, the tomb of Begum Azimunnisha, Namak, Haram Deori, Jafarganj Cemetery, Nashipur Rajbari, the House of Jagat Seth and the Kathgola Gardens. After that, we returned back to Bari Kothi.

If you start early, then you can also cover Wasifi Manzil and also visit Khosh Bagh on the other side of Bhagirathi. We were a bit late and so had to miss Khosh Bagh this time. We had, in fact, visited Khosh Bagh on our previous visit and after that also made our way to Motijheel. So if you have enough time, you can put all these in one day itself.

In the evening, a cultural performance was arranged by our hosts.

Day 2: Sightseeing at Azimganj and Jiaganj Area and Return to Kolkata

We started early with and went for Azimganj Heritage walk. We visited the Jain Temples in the area and a couple of old mansions of the area. We visited the Mansion of the Nowlakhas and the Singhi Mansion.

Blue Mosque at Azimganj Heritage Walk

After breakfast, again we took the boat and visited Baranagar to explore the terracotta temples. After that, we again crossed the river by a local ferry to Jiaganj to visit the Tantipara. This is the place where the famous Murshidabad silks are weaved. After seeing how the threads spin themselves into exquisite sarees, we returned back to Bari Kothi. After having our lunch, we started for our return journey to Kolkata.

This was the itinerary we had followed. If you have one more day in hand, you can visit Cossimbazar area as well.

Adinath Temple in Kathgola Gardens

How to reach Murshidabad

The best way to reach Murshidabad from Kolkata is by train. The distance is about 200 km by road. There are a number of trains available from Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata Station.

The best bet would be to take the Hazarduari Express that leaves Kolkata Station at 6.50AM and reaches Murshidabad Station at 11.10 AM.

Alternatively, you can also take the Ganadevata Express from Howrah at 6.05AM and reach Azimganj Station at 12.15PM.

You can check the train timing at Indian railway website.

Where to stay in Murshidabad

Rajbari in Murshidabad, West Bengal

There are a number of hotels in Lalbagh area of Murshidabad as well as near Murshidabad Station. But all these hotels are in the budget category and do not expect proper service in these hotels. The best budget option to stay is the Bahrampur Tourist Lodge by the WB Tourism.

If you want to experience heritage and luxury stay in Murshidabad, then Bari Kothi will be your destination. This boutique luxury hotel located in Jain Patty, Azimganj is a 250 years old property now renovated to provide utmost comfort and a royal experience to their guests. They provide full package to their guests that include stay, food, local tour and cultural experience. For booking, send them a mail at [email protected]

Best Time to visit Murshidabad

The best time to visit Murshidabad is between November to February when the weather will remain cold. At Murshidabad, you have to roam around a lot and a cool weather will be an advantage.

Mangoes in Murshidabad are also quite famous. So if you want to visit during the mango season, then late May to June is the best time.

A few more pictures of Murshidabad

Mosque at Murshidabad

Murshidabad is a beautiful place, only if you wish to explore it and listen to its tale. Hope you liked the post. Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below. Please share it with others.

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Thanks to you both. You really enhanced my thirst to visit Murshidabad.

Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am sure you had a wonderful trip.

Thank you Agnimitra for such a wonderfully informative piece. I revisited the place of my boyhood days long back in the early fifties.

Thank you so much for this lovely comment. It definitely brought a smile! 🙂

Such neat detailed writing!!

Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!

The pictures were amazing. It tells us about the glory of the past. Would love to visit the place.

Thank you so much Madhusree for the kind words. Hope you visit there soon!

Wonderful writeup with details n amazing photos. Thanks.

Thank you so much, Tanushree.

Brilliant would be an understatement. I would like to connect with you to know some details. Is there any email address you can provide where I can contact you.

Thank you so much. Please connect with us at [email protected]

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Traveling, tours, adventure., murshidabad tourism is sister concern of murshidabad tourism welfare society. this is the best tour operators for international and domestic tour in murshidabad. we are providing best quality services as there are many tourism qualified personnel. we have been providing tourism services since 2006. a well communication already has built up with various hotels transport group all over india as well as foreign countries. our organisation arranges tourism fair every year in murshidabad where over 100 travel agents and tour operators participate. not only private organisations, many govt. tourism organisations including ministry of tourism govt. of india participate. so we have a good channel with them., we are specialised in murshidabad tour. we have our own properties in murshidabad. anybody can communicate for b2b and b2c for murshidabad tour. not only murshidabad we provide special care for andaman, sikkim, darjeeling, dooars, north india tour. sundarban is our another favourite destination. we also arrange " llish utsab" in sundarban in the month of august and september. besides tour package we arrange hotels booking throughout india. we also provide flight ticket, sightseeing, insurance, visa for specific foreign countries. our another important arrangement is convention and confarance., member of eastern india hoteliers and travel agents association.


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‘The White Lotus’ Thailand is next. These hotels do it on a budget.

Six resorts that will get you four seasons treatment on a best western budget.

HBO’s hottest hotel group, “The White Lotus,” is expanding to Thailand — on screen at least. The location for season 3 has been confirmed , and Bloomberg reported in January that loose-lipped industry insiders say filming is taking place at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui , the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas and a still-undisclosed hotel in Bangkok. The network has stayed quiet on specific hotels.

The news is a boon for Four Seasons and the Thailand-based Anantara group; the show’s previous two seasons, set in Hawaii and Sicily , have proved to turbocharge travelers’ interest in their already popular respective locales. After the seasons aired, bookings soared at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and the Four Seasons’ San Domenico Palace in Taormina.

It’s safe to say that these Thai resorts can expect a similar uptick in reservations after season 3 premieres in 2025. But living out the White Lotus fantasy isn’t within every traveler’s reach. One night at the Four Seasons in Koh Samui will cost you at least $1,400. And while at $660 per night, starting rates at the Anantara in Phuket are a fair bit lower — they’re still not exactly a steal for anyone but the most deep-pocketed visitors.

Nightly rates at Thailand’s big-brand luxury resorts can often be on par with those in Europe or the United States, but a burgeoning ecosystem of local hospitality groups and independently owned hotels offers many of the same five-star perks at a fraction of the price. For about $180, the average rate of a night in a three-star hotel room in Miami Beach, you can book a villa with a private pool and round-the-clock service on the beach in Koh Samui.

Here are six Thailand beach retreats offering five-star luxury on a Best Western budget.

Meliá Koh Samui

On palm-pinned Choeng Mon Beach, a few bays east of the Four Seasons Koh Samui, sits the first Thai outpost of Spanish hotel brand Meliá . Still fresh from its opening in 2020, this family-friendly resort aims for midmarket rather than high-end, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of its five-star label. Rooms, starting at $181 per night, riff on the island’s maritime past with nautical rope decor and licks of ocean-blue, while its top-level suites occupy reclaimed teakwood barges. Even the standard rooms open to a bubble bath on their balcony, and suites with either a private pool or direct access to a more than 2,200-foot pool that meanders through the resort’s manicured tropical gardens have the option to have breakfast delivered in a floating basket (if that’s your thing).

The Surin, Phuket

Rumors circulated that Amanpuri, one of Phuket’s ritziest beach retreats, would be one of the film sets for the third season of “The White Lotus.” They were ultimately dispelled, but the resort remains a firm favorite with wealthy travelers. With rates often shooting to well over $1500 per night, this is territory for the privileged few — but insiders know that the Surin next door offers similar perks and the same palm-tufted setting at a fraction of the cost. This beachfront spot is the only resort offering access to Amanpuri’s semiprivate Pansea Beach, one of Phuket’s prettiest. Pitched up among the treetops, the Surin’s airy deluxe cottages start at $220 per night and overlook the Andaman Sea from their snug, parasol-shaded balconies. The resort is part of White Lotus lore, too: it was here that creator Mike White first hinted at Thailand being the show’s next location.

Cape Kudu, Koh Yao Noi

A short speedboat-hop from Phuket, the island of Koh Yao Noi feels like a trip back in time. Its palm-fringed beaches remain blissfully free of tourist crowds, and sleepy coconut farms — not shopping malls or amusement parks — still cover most of its jungled inland. Cape Kudu , on the sunrise-facing east coast, is one of the island’s chicest places to stay. Its breezy rooms and villas come furnished with lots of linen, sun-bleached woods and wickerwork; a similarly laid-back theme dresses the spa, restaurant and beanbag-lined infinity pool. With low-season rates from May to October starting at $122 per night, this small resort offers excellent bang for your baht. And those dazzling views over Phang Nga Bay’s dramatic karst formations? They’re free.

The Sarojin, Khao Lak

This resort in the beachside holiday hub of Khao Lak, about an hour north of Phuket, delivers a textbook example of classic Thai hospitality — fresh orchids, jasmine-scented towels and lilting sawatdi ka, or hello, greetings included. The Sarojin ’s rooms are teakwood-clad wonders with spalike bathrooms and heaps of private space, but you’ll probably spend more time in one of the pool cabanas, which are lined with gauzy curtains billowing in the breeze. A powder-sugar beach stretches out in front and is a jumping-off point for kayak trips and sailings on the resort’s charter yacht, which can end with candlelit dinners on a nearby private islet. Rates for garden views start at $180 per night and include leisurely all-day breakfast with sparkling wine served until 6 p.m.

The ShellSea, Krabi

From taxis to cocktails, prices on Thailand’s most popular islands are generally much higher than on the mainland. The beaches, however, can be equally pretty — which makes booking a seafront resort ashore a smart way to cut holiday costs (additionally, you’ll save on boat transfers and plane tickets — flights to Thailand’s island destinations tend to be pricey). One of southern Thailand’s most popular hideouts is Krabi, a string of honey-hued beaches and jungle-cloaked karst formations. The ShellSea resort, a ten-minute drive from postcard-pretty Ao Nang beach, makes for a plush base with suites from $120 per night, a spa and three swimming pools. A hammock-lined private beach hugs part of the resort’s oceanfront, while island-hopping day trips can take you to Phang Nga Bay’s prettiest stretches of sand.

SAii Koh Samui Choengmon

While Koh Samui’s three-mile Chaweng Beach, sits just ten minutes from its doorstep, SAii Koh Samui Choengmon ’s perch on little-developed Hanuman Bay feels a world away from the crowds. Its most affordable room will set you back about $170, but the amenities are anything but cheap. At this all-villa resort, even the entry-level digs open to a generously sized sun deck and private pool, have a tropic-tinged bathroom with rain shower and include bespoke bathroom amenities mixed with your preferred scents. Other perks include complimentary yoga classes every morning, and a pick-and-mix of free snacks to bring back to your room.

Chris Schalkx is a Bangkok-based travel writer. You can follow him on Instagram: @chrsschlkx.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness . Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare , including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario , from canceled flights to lost luggage . Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas , including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed . Submit your question here . Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves .

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Belching Volcano and Flowing Lava Dent Tourism in Icelandic Region

In a country that relies heavily on visitors, hotels faced repeated evacuations, and one resort was temporarily shut.

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Large orange clouds loom above figures viewing a spewing volcano.

By Emma Bubola

Reporting from London

The Blue Lagoon resort in the south of Iceland is a scenic network of steaming azure pools surrounded by dark rocks, where tourists dip in the geothermal water, have spa treatments and enjoy what the resort advertises as “a universe of radiant well-being.”

But last week, a stream of radiant lava burst from a crater a few miles from the resort, forcing it to evacuate hundreds of guests, in yet another eruption of a volcano system in the Reykjanes Peninsula that had been dormant for 800 years.

The outbursts began in 2021, and the eruptions and earthquakes in the peninsula have destroyed some houses and forced villagers from their homes. One construction worker went missing in the town of Grindavik after falling down a crack caused by an earthquake.

The effects of the volcanic eruptions have rippled out beyond the peninsula, disrupting the tourism operations of a country that relies heavily on visitors.

Arnar Már Ólafsson, director general of the Icelandic Tourist Board, said that when a looming volcanic eruption led to the evacuation of Grindavik in November, it resulted in global anxiety that brought a drop in tourists.

“A spouting volcano doesn’t sound very inviting,” he said.

Icelandair, the country’s national airline, said it also saw a “significant negative impact on bookings” in the last months of 2023. And the low-cost Icelandic airline Play said that news of the eruption “cooled demand for Iceland as a destination.”

The tourism board did not release an estimate for the financial losses, and the airlines, while saying they experienced significantly slowed sales, did not quantify them.

Airline officials and the tourism board director stated emphatically in interviews and in the national news media that the reaction was unwarranted because the eruptions did not represent a direct threat to visitors or flights. They accused the news media of “alarmism.”

“In the international press, it just looks as if Iceland is ruined,” Birgir Jónsson, then Play’s chief executive, said in an interview published in December by a financial magazine.

Tourists used to flock to the Reykjanes Peninsula to watch the northern lights or bathe in the waters of the Blue Lagoon resort. But since the November earthquakes, the Blue Lagoon has had to close for some days . It said in a statement on Wednesday that it had also shut down from March 16 until at least Thursday and would continue to follow the authorities’ safety guidelines.

The Northern Light Inn, a family-run hotel, has also had to evacuate its guests four times since January and close for weeks, said Fridrik Einarsson, the inn’s owner. Now, they are compensating for the drop in tourists by serving lunches to the construction workers building protection walls in the area.

“If this continues for a long period of time, it will eventually be very, very challenging for us ,” Mr. Einarsson said.

Mr. Ólafsson said that any threat to the Blue Lagoon geothermal resort undermined a key component of Iceland’s tourism sector.

“Without the Blue Lagoon, it would be a different destination,” he said, “like Egypt without the pyramids or Paris without the Eiffel Tower.”

The resort is particularly popular with visitors from the United States, and every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the spa, according to the Blue Lagoon’s website. The spa is now protected by barriers.

The resort owes its existence to the geothermal energy generated by the volcanic system, which heats up its waters. But that same system is also now its main threat.

That paradox, many say, is at the heart of Iceland’s identity as an adventure travel destination where tourists seek out untamed nature in the form of waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs. And 130 volcanoes.

During the volcanic eruptions last year, as tourists flocked to sites where they could see the glowing river of lava, the government had to warn people to steer clear of the area since the situation could turn dangerous.

Now, Icelandic tourism operators say, the anxiety has eased somewhat, and tourism demand has gone up again since January. But for those remaining in the peninsula, there seems to be no immediate end in sight to the disruption of their businesses.

Last week, as Mr. Einarsson, the inn owner, evacuated his guests to another hotel because of the volcanic eruption, he said they could see lava from the parking lot.

“It’s quite a magnificent experience, to see a volcano,” he said.

Mr. Einarsson called his relationship to volcanoes a “tricky love and hate situation.”

On one hand, he said, “people are understandably concerned to stay in a hotel next to an eruption site.” On the other, he said, people come to Iceland for its nature, and the nature would not be the same without the country’s volcanoes.

“And I would not be in the business,” he said.

Egill Bjarnason contributed reporting from Gran Canaria, Spain.

Emma Bubola is a Times reporter based in London, covering news across Europe and around the world. More about Emma Bubola

How tourist operators in Far North Queensland are fighting for survival after series of disasters

For three months, Julian and Jackie Pagani have been burning hundreds of litres of fuel a day to power a campsite no-one can visit.

Usually their camping ground at Cape Tribulation, nestled between World Heritage-listed rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, swells with visitors this time of year.

But since Cyclone Jasper and a subsequent flooding event wreaked havoc on Far North Queensland last December, no-one has been able to get into the remote coastal village.

A major landslide with dirt, trees and rocks covers the road

There's only one road into Cape Tribulation, and it's impassable.

"We haven't had any tourist trade since the cyclone so we are three months in with no income, no trade," Ms Pagani said.

"We don't know where to go from here, we don't know when we can reopen the doors, we don't know what to tell our staff, we don't know what to tell the bank."

Cape Tribulation has no mains power so for the Paganis, powering the campground is an expense that doesn't stop — even if the tourists do.

"[The diesel generator is] burning hundreds of litres of fuel a day because we have to keep everything on, including our sewage treatment plant," Mr Pagani said.

"After three months, it's a lot of money without an income."

Cape Tribulation camping ground sign at entrance.

Other tourism operators in the close-knit rainforest community are also doing it tough. The hotel rooms are vacant and cafes are empty, leaving businesses in the region teetering on the edge of financial ruin.

Ms Pagani puts it plainly: "Without tourists, we don't have Cape Tribulation."

"It won't exist if we don't open to tourists, there's no other way to make an income here, all other residents work in tourism."

A 'horrific start' to the tourism year

It's been three months since Cyclone Jasper and a subsequent flooding event wreaked havoc on Far North Queensland — the jewel in Australia's tourism crown.

About $280 million has been lost in cancelled bookings across the region between December and January and hotel occupancy rates remain as low as 30 per cent in some areas.

"We've had an horrific start to the year," Queensland's Tourism Minister Michael Healy conceded.

Aerial view of Cape Tribulation camping ground.

About 400,000 tourists normally visit the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, located about a three-hour drive north of Cairns, each year.

The region recorded almost 3 metres of rain after Jasper crossed the coast near Cape Tribulation and the deluge caused a 56-metre landslide that effectively severed the rainforest village from the rest of the state.

Locals band together

Despite the devastation, Ms Pagani said local businesses had joined forces to help her pull off the couple's wedding on New Year's Eve at their isolated campground – the only business the town has seen in three months

About 170 family and friends were ferried in on a commercial reef tourism boat, cutlery and dinnerware was borrowed from nearby resorts, and food and drinks purchased from local businesses.

Jackie and Julian Pagani are married on the beach

"We had planned our wedding a long time ago and we weren't going to let the cyclone stop us," Ms Pagani said.

Lawrence Mason, who runs a café and shop at Cape Tribulation, supplied alcohol, soft drinks and water for the wedding.

"We've been closed for more than 90 days so it was wonderful to see locals supporting other locals at such a difficult time," he said.

Empty rooms and water woes

Even parts of Far North Queensland that are accessible to visitors are still feeling the pain months after the cyclone.

Bryce and Lee Tozer, who manage the Cayman Villas resort in Port Douglas — a destination favoured by US presidents and singers Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran — said their occupancy rates were "significantly down" this Easter.

"I've spoken to many people around town and we all have similar stories, the phones aren't running hot, " Mr Bryce said.

"We need to get the message out, especially to people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that we are here and open, the reef is here, all the resorts are open for business, all sitting here and waiting for you to come."

Lee and Bryce Tozer stand next to their hotel entrance.

Mr Tozer said publicity surrounding the town's water woes — Port Douglas is on level-four water restrictions as a result of flooding damage to treatment plants — had also impacted visitor numbers.

There have been several instances where the town has been left without water at short notice, forcing some tourists to bucket pool water to flush their toilets.

Local mayor Michael Kerr said council was working through the water issues and restoring road access to Cape Tribulation with the help of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

A concrete slipway on a water channel.

"It's important to remember we are still open for business. The bars, cafes, restaurants, the reef tours, they are all open and if you love the tropics, please come and see us," Mr Kerr said.

He said the council hoped to open the road into Cape Tribulation by Easter, but it would be weather-dependent.

Millions poured into lure visitors back

Both the Queensland and federal governments have poured millions of dollars into advertising campaigns, discounted flights and holiday vouchers in a bid to entice visitors back to Far North Queensland.

A tourist boat in the Great Barrier Reef

In Cairns and Port Douglas, occupancy rates this Easter period have been about half of what they were last year, Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) figures show.

Mr Healy said in addition to the cyclone, flooding and road closures, there were other factors that had also contributed to the region's poor tourist numbers.

"Fundamentally, this comes down to access, and if we're looking at aviation into the region, and the prices are high, that is a big deterrent," he said.

"Eighty-seven per cent of our tourists get off at the [Cairns] airport so pricing, especially around that holiday period, is very important."

However, a sprinkling of international tourists have found their way to the region despite the hurdles.

Tourist Paul Oakley sits on a bench near the beach.

English visitor Paul Oakley said he and his wife were aware of the natural disasters but chose to forge ahead with their journey and hadn't been disappointed.

"If you're helping out the tourism here, it's a really good thing and we are pleased that we did come," Mr Oakley said.

"We had expectations about what Australia would be like and it has more than exceeded those. Queensland in particular is beautiful. We have had trips to the Great Barrier Reef and it has just been wonderful."

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Malaysia's $100 billion ghost town really wants to draw in tourists. It's not working.

  • Forest City, a luxury development in Malaysia, is banking on tourism to shed its ghost town image.
  • Forest City says several thousand tourists have visited the development.
  • Tourists and business owners alike told BI it's not an attractive destination to spend or make money.

Insider Today

Wendy Noble lives 15 minutes away from Malaysia's Forest City , across the border in Singapore. One Friday, after a tiring week at graduate school, all the 25-year-old wanted was to lounge by a beach.

A quick scroll through online photos of a pristine beach and luxurious golf resort inspired her and her roommate, Ree Nemis, to head to Forest City the following day.

Country Garden, one of the largest developers in China, spent $100 billion building Forest City . The developer promoted it as a "living paradise" meant to house 700,000 people in luxury high-rise condominiums and villas.

The reality turned out to be different. Today, Forest City is a ghost town — one of several abandoned or near-abandoned housing projects in the Malaysian state of Johor, and part of Country Garden's portfolio of problems . The Chinese developer defaulted on its debt last year, has more than $190 billion in liabilities as of June, and contributes to China's ongoing real-estate crisis .

"My first impression was that it was quiet and only very few people were there," Noble said of her visit to Forest City.

Forest City has shown it wants to shed its reputation as a ghost town, writing in a press release in March 2023 that it's a place to experience "coastal resort life" and branding itself as a "popular short-haul tourist destination." Forest City added in the press release that at least 15,000 people had visited its local waterpark from August to September 2022.

"The destination has been attracting not only local travelers but also many tourists coming from afar," Syarul Izam, the vice president of Forest City, said in the press release.

But this hasn't done much to transform its image.

Walking through a ghost town two years after my first visit

I first visited Forest City for BI in May 2022, shortly after Malaysia opened international borders to quarantine-free travel.

Back then, rows of skyscrapers gave way to a nearly empty beach. I saw roads that didn't have a single car on them and just a handful of people in the development's mall. The nearby hotel looked abandoned, with dragonflies breeding in the discolored swimming pool.

Given Forest City's ongoing attempts to draw in tourists, I decided to visit again this year.

Forest City is in the Malaysian state of Johor, which received 16.6 million tourists last year . I flew into Johor from Singapore and took a 30-minute car ride into the estate one weekend in early March.

The facilities that looked run down in 2022 were now in better shape. The pool was available for hotel guests to use.

Over the 48 hours I spent there, I saw several dozen people at the development's public attractions, which include the waterpark, artificial beach, and mall. Many of them were speaking Malay.

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It was more people than I saw two years earlier — but it still felt like a ghost town.

One of the difficulties of reporting on Forest City is that official data on visitor and resident numbers is hard to come by. Country Garden, which has a 60% stake in the estate, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BI. The remaining 40% of the estate is owned by Sultan Ibrahim, who was crowned the king of Malaysia in January. Representatives for Sultan Ibrahim did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

In September, Forest City told Reuters that some 55,000 people visit its showroom each month and said the two hotels on site are "always fully booked." I visited Forest City's golf resort — one of the two hotels in the estate — and found several dozen people dining and checking in there. But around the area where the showroom is located — a mile away from the beach and waterpark — there were only a handful of people, mostly families looking for a spot to have a picnic.

Tourism numbers aren't the only ones hurting: The estate is also having trouble enticing and holding onto residents.

In 2022, one expert familiar with Johor's real estate market told me that several thousand people were living in Forest City. In August, Country Garden told Bloomberg there were 9,000 residents living there. In September, Country Garden told Reuters some 28,000 properties have been built so far. The developer did not state how many properties it plans to build.

Trying to draw tourists in with events

Adilah Zain, a professor of tourism at MARA Technological University in Malaysia, told me there's at least one bright spot in Forest City's tourism outlook.

"Forest City is able to attract the weekend tourists," Adilah said, referring to tourists like Noble and Nemis.

In recent months, the development has held events, including golf tournaments and triathlons, to try to draw visitors. The weekend of my visit, Challenge Malaysia, a local triathlon, was being held at the beach. Photos posted online by the event's organizer showed about a hundred people participating in the race.

I spoke to several people who traveled to Forest City for the triathlon. Shawn and Gary, Malaysians who appeared to be in their late 20s, told me they had traveled six hours to Forest City from their homes in Kuala Lumpur to take part in the race.

"I didn't know what to expect," Shawn said of Forest City. "We've heard it's quite run down, and it turned out it's not that bad, but I'd rather go somewhere else if not for the event."

"I wouldn't come here. There's nothing here. It's quite dead," he added when I asked him if he would return.

The golf resort is one of Forest City's bright spots

One entrepreneur who owns a food business in Forest City said that for them, tourism doesn't translate into much profit.

"They come to the beach but don't spend a cent," the entrepreneur, who declined to be named for privacy reasons, told me.

"There's no point if it's crowded and the people don't spend," they said, adding that many visitors bring their own food rather than spend at eateries in the area.

One attraction that appeared to be pulling visitors — and has gotten them to spend money — is Forest City's golf resort, which has 298 rooms and cost almost $600 million to construct .

Adilah said local golfers and tourists have been buying packages to play golf. There's no official data on how many people have stayed at the hotel since it opened in September 2018, but I saw at least 50 guests — a mix of golfers and locals on family holidays — at the hotel's lobby and swimming pool.

Chandran, 28, a tourist from Singapore who had dined in one of the handful of eateries at the golf resort, said he thought it looked modern and luxurious.

"Next time, I want to book the suite at the hotel. My friend said he booked a room after he saw an advertisement for it on , and it's great," he said, adding that the nightly rates were much cheaper than in Singapore. A night at the hotel starts at around $90.

As for the rest of Forest City, though, Chandran had a different take.

"It's a bit creepy. Most of the houses are empty," he added.

March 25, 2024: This story has been updated.

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Can Japan lure the jet-set class off the beaten path?

High-end tourism is becoming more about the kinds of experiences that Japan's lesser-known places can provide.

Less than two years since Japan fully opened its borders to independent tourism, the number of international arrivals this year is finally expected to exceed the record 31.9 million who arrived in 2019.

At the same time, though, public and private organizations are becoming more concerned about the type, rather than the volume, of travelers, a trend that has been accelerating during Japan’s inbound tourism recovery. The widespread preference is for travelers who spend more and get off the beaten track, thereby providing wider benefit to destinations across the country.

It's not enough to get high-end travelers to come to Tokyo, the Japan Tourism Association wants to present experiences in places less traveled.

Japan’s aging society and shrinking population are curbing consumption, making inbound tourism valuable as an economic driver. Spending by international visitors totaled ¥4.8 trillion in 2019, making inbound tourism the country’s second-most important export industry for obtaining foreign currency after the automobile industry, according to a study by Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute.

Travelers to Japan in 2023 spent even more, with a record ¥5.29 trillion of consumption, up 10% from the ¥4.81 trillion spent in 2019 despite arrivals totaling only 25.1 million, or 79% of the 2019 level, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Per capita spend was 34% higher than in 2019, a nod to the prevalence of “revenge travel” and “bucket-list travel” in 2023 that saw tourists splash more cash while on trips. The Asia-Pacific region in particular has seen “faster recovery in the demand for luxurious travel experiences compared to regular travel options,” even among mid-range travelers, according to Spain-based travel insights provider Forward Keys.

Attracting more affluent travelers, therefore, offers even more potential. High-end visitors — defined as spending ¥1 million during their stay in Japan — accounted for only around 1% of all tourists to Japan in 2019 yet represented 11.5% of total inbound tourism expenditure, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Most hailed from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and China.

'Model' destinations

The government’s Basic Plan for the Promotion of a Tourism Nation, which was launched in April 2023 and will run until March 2026, notes its aim for ¥5 trillion in annual inbound tourism spending, up from the ¥4.8 trillion spent in 2019. As this goal has already been reached, the next consumption target is unknown but methods are expected to continue to focus on sustainable, regional and luxury tourism.

“JNTO has set a new marketing strategy with the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) and positioned luxury tourism as one of the most prioritized initiatives,” says a JNTO spokesperson. “We recognize that it is essential to increase visitors to regions other than Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, where 70% of luxury traveler spending was concentrated in 2019.”

Efforts include the JTA’s designation of 11 locations as “model tourist destinations” in 2023. Stretching from eastern Hokkaido’s Shiretoko National Park to Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures’ hubs of traditional Ryukyu culture, the sites were chosen from 62 applications based on their intangible assets, such as nature, history and culture, and capability of becoming popular tourist destinations.

The Kumano Kodo, which stretches along the Kii Peninsula, has been designated one of Japan's

“Each of these locations has the potential to improve the quality of wealthy overseas tourists’ stays,” said Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito at the time.

The initiative is designed “to encourage luxury travelers who not only spend a lot but also expect authentic travel experiences (to visit) regional destinations in Japan,” says the JNTO spokesperson, pointing to the launch of more luxury accommodations with a Japanese atmosphere including in the Hokuriku region where Shinkansen service waswill be extended from Kanazawa to Tsuruga on March 16.

“We believe there are much more charming destinations in the local areas in Japan, with rich natural environments, traditional artisans’ work and a variety of foods harvested in each area and season,” added the spokesperson. “Visitors can experience the authentic and unique culture based on the nature in each region, which is distinguished from luxury travel thus far.”

With this government support and strong pent-up demand, the country is experiencing rapid growth in luxury travel offerings.

The Japan National Tourism Agency believes international visitors to the country are missing out on a slew of charming destinations, like this shrine in Wakayama Prefecture.

Japan’s luxury hotel market is projected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 7.98% during 2024-32, according to a 2023 report by India-based research company IMARC Group. In addition to rising disposable incomes, which have led to an uptick in demand for premium accommodations, the market expansion is due to “the regional tourism industry’s expansion, propelled by improved connectivity and a desire for unique experiences,” the report said. As a result, high-end hotels are strategically positioning themselves in prime tourist destinations.

Luxury properties’ successes in adapting to demographic needs is another factor driving high expected growth, continued the report. These needs include “immersive and personalized experiences” for millennials and Gen Z who believe the hotel is an integral part of the travel experience, as well as sustainable and community-related practices to align with growing consumer concerns.

Let's meditate on it

So far, new high-end accommodations in Japan have successfully followed these trends, positioning themselves in iconic destinations and offering not only comfort and exclusivity but also opportunities for guests to experience Japanese culture in unique ways inaccessible to regular travelers.

The Sense Fuji, self-described as a “sophisticated retreat for adults that seamlessly blends the dynamic beauty of Mount Fuji with luxury,” opened in April 2023. The property consists of only 15 villas, each with a spacious terrace boasting a different view of Japan’s tallest peak, as well as private in-room dining and bathing in a hot spring bath.

The Ritz Carlton, Nikko, meanwhile, promotes well-being through zazen meditation at the property led by a monk from the nearby Chuzen-ji temple and a private tour introducing the temple’s historical artifacts. Other experiential offerings include watching a performance at the Nikko Futarasan Chugushi Shrine and learning local woodcarving with an expert craftsman, again at the hotel.

Also in Tochigi Prefecture, the Nasu Bettei Kai ryokan (a traditional Japanese-style inn) now offers only 10 suites following its renovation in 2023. Each has a unique design that brings together the works of young local artists such as wallpaper crafted using washi paper and soft furnishings made from high-quality leather. The aim, says a spokesperson, is to allow visitors to immerse themselves in local culture and support the community.

Overseas-headquartered luxury brands are also seeking opportunities to enter or expand into the market, buoyed by its rapid growth and bright future.

Hotel Indigo, part of England-based IHG Hotels & Resorts’ luxury & lifestyle collection, opened its fourth Japan property in Shibuya, in August of last year, following the success of its hotels in Hakone Gora (Kanagawa Prefecture), Karuizawa (Nagano Prefecture) and Inuyama Urakuen Garden (Aichi Prefecture). In late 2024, Hotel Indigo will launch its latest property, in Nagasaki.

Hotel Indigo Shibuya is the company's fourth property in Japan. It plans to open another in Nagasaki later this year.

“The signing of Hotel Indigo Nagasaki Glover Street demonstrates the ongoing momentum for the Hotel Indigo brand in this market, as it continues to welcome travelers from around the world with unique and fascinating stay experiences that only Japan can offer,” says Abhijay Sandilya, managing director of IHG Hotels & Resorts Japan and Micronesia and CEO of IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan, of the opening.

One motivation for the launch is the development of the city for inbound tourism, including the “revitalization of the nearby Old Glover Residence, national treasure Oura Tenshudo and several other nearby 19th-century buildings as part of the national government’s Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings,” according to IHG.

“In the future, Nagasaki is expected to attract domestic and foreign tourists and tourism consumption, and we hope that we will be able to continue to provide our guests with history and culture through accommodation, and to disseminate new value,” says Miwako Date, president and chief executive officer of Mori Trust Co, the real estate and hospitality company partnering with IHG to open the hotel.

Luxury Thailand-based brand Six Senses is making its foray into Japan this year, with the opening of its first property in April. Located in the historic Higashiyama Ward of downtown Kyoto, the hotel offers 81 guest rooms and facilities “designed to mirror the different energies of the city life” such as the restaurants, spa and cocktail lounge.

An illustration of the lobby at Six Senses Kyoto, which is set to open in April. The Thailand-based brand will offer a “wellness-focused destination” of the kind that high-end millennial and Gen Z travelers are looking for.

“We’re tapping into Kyoto’s rich cultural significance and our brand ethos of sustainability and uplifting experiences to develop a premier wellness-focused destination,” says Neil Jacobs, chief executive officer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

“Guests can embark on enriching and immersive journeys with access to a multitude of hands-on experiences,” added a company spokesperson, citing one example as the Earth Lab, where guests can learn about sustainability hacks such as extracting essential oils from herbs and upcycling leftover candles to create new ones.

Experience providers are also picking up the pace to meet growing demand. Ahead of the 2023–24 winter season, premium nature and adventure travel experience provider Kammui Inc. launched Kammui Adventures, a series of curated activities that includes seven to 10 days of skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry of Niseko or Asahikawa, in Hokkaido. The program uses guides who help visitors connect with local culture while offering gifts from Japanese partner brands and culinary experiences such as Japanese whiskey tastings, says Max Mackee, founder of Kammui Inc.

Max Mackee, founder of Kammui Inc., pairs the best in adventure tourism with the kinds of culinary opportunities Japan is known for.

Building on the development, Kammui launched a partnership with high-end French ski brand Blackcrows in January.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with this iconic ski brand and look forward to offering premium ski experiences together in Japan,” says Mackee. “Partnering with leading international brands like Blackcrows is integral to our mission of developing the premium adventure tourism market here in Japan.”

The current snow season (mid-December to early April) has also brought increased numbers of high-end travelers, says Lindsay Colbert, managing director of Hokkaido-based travel agent Japan Ski Experience, adding that the pandemic seems to have fueled growth in the luxury market.

Lindsay Colbert of Japan Ski Experience says she has noticed a higher demand for private ski guides.

“We have noticed higher demand for private ski guides within resort boundaries as well as the backcountry, offered together with concierge services, experiences for the whole family, photography and so on. These on-mountain activities are complemented by luxury offerings such as spa facilities, fully equipped gyms, yoga classes and pampering packages,” she says.

Yet even with the expansion of luxury tourism designed to funnel affluent travelers to regional areas, the upcoming cherry blossom season, a peak period for international travelers, is expected to result in overtourism at iconic flower-viewing spots. For some visitors, checking off a bucket-list destination is too hard to resist.

But more can be done to ensure high-end tourists choose to go off the beaten track, according to Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute. Its study points to the need for greater numbers of suitable transportation options, including chartered jets and yachts, and the more effective refinement, commercialization and promotion of local resources to shape them into “high-value-added products.”

With such steps, Japan’s post-pandemic travel could see visible change, indeed.

murshidabad tourism hotel

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Shandoor polo festival Chitral, 28 to 30 June 2024 - Pakistan Forum

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Greetings from Chitral,

The new dates of Shandoor polo festival, at Shandoor pass 3720 meters, Chitral, have been announced by Tourism Authority KPK and district administration Chitral, on 28th June to 30th June 2024.

So please plan your visit according to that.

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