Reliving Murshidabad's Past Glory In Bari Kothi

Located four hours from Kolkata, the 15-suite property stands as the symbol of a unique period in Bengal's history, when Murshidabad used to serve as a global trade centre
The 250 years old Burma teak pillars
The 250 years old Burma teak pillarsBari Kothi

There are few places that make you feel like you were time travelling—they have the uncanny ability to sweep you off your feet and plop you into the past. Bari Kothi in Azimganj, West Bengal, aces that. 

Located four hours from Kolkata, the 15-suite property stands as the symbol of a unique period in Bengal's history, when Murshidabad used to serve as a global trade centre, contributing a whopping 5 per cent to the world's GDP in the 1700s. During this golden period, many business families from Rajasthan migrated to Murshidabad, adopting the name "Sheherwalis," meaning "city dwellers." The Dudhorias, who built the Bari Kothi in 1774, were one of them.

Even then, the Kothi was a structure of remarkable beauty, finding mentions in seminal works, such as the "Musnud of Murshidabad (1704-1904)" and the famous "Cyclopedia of India" (1908). However, after the British took over and Murshidabad began losing its glory to become "the Forgotten Wealth Capital of the World," Bari Kothi and other mansions were abandoned and left to decay.

It was only in 2015, almost half a century later, that Darshan Dudhoria and Lipika Dudhoria, the seventh generation of Rai Bahadur Budh Sing Dudhoria, decided to restore the mansion to its former glory and turn it into a heritage boutique stay. 

The Space

Though the Bari Kothi has now cemented itself as a stunning immersive getaway, the Dudhoria siblings never considered converting it into a boutique stay. "Bari Kothi was never restored to open it up to the guests. It was after we received appreciation from a few international guests who had stopped by to witness the restoration process of the first block that we decided to turn it into a stay so that the local community can sustain themselves for generations to come," says Darshan, who now holds the position of the Director.

The Maharaja Suite at Bari Kothi
The Maharaja Suite at Bari KothiBari Kothi

Throughout the five years of the restoration process, the siblings and architect Dr Samar Chandra teamed up with members of the local community to resurrect the Kothi one block at a time. "Maintaining authenticity and utilising traditional materials were central principles of the restoration project. Not a single salvaged element was wasted; louvres and broken slits were repurposed as hardwood flooring, moth-eaten teakwood beams were transformed into interior elements, protruding iron rods were moulded into exquisite furniture, and local sculptors were taught how to replicate the old Corinthian design on the pillars. Even the interiors were done by the team by repurposing old Benarasi sarees into cushion covers," explains Darshan.

Currently, the property houses 15 suites (categorised into Maharaja, Royal Heritage, and Heritage) adorned with 250-year-old antique furniture and featuring high-wood beamed ceilings and carved archways. In addition, Bari Kothi also boasts three gardens, seven courtyards, and five dining areas.

Bari Kothi boasts five dining areas
Bari Kothi boasts five dining areasBari Kothi


The Sheherwali cuisine is as rich as its 300-year-old history, and across Bari Kothi's three dining halls—Zareen Mahal, Darbar Hall, and Naubat Khana—you can taste its authentic flavours. The all-vegetarian cuisine is distinct for its unique blend of Rajasthani culinary tradition and Bengali ingredients. Few must-have dishes that the chefs at Bari Kothi rustle up brilliantly are chhaata ka tarkari (vegetable prepared using lotus pod), mocha ka tarkari (banana flower preparation), kathbel chutney (wood apple paste), muri ka laddoo (puffed rice and jaggery sweet), pitha (steamed rice dumplings stuffed with khoya), kache aam ka kheer (ram mango pudding) and bore ka boondiya (a sweet made of white bean powder). If you wish to sample dishes that stick to the Rajasthani heritage, Bari Kothi excels at that too: try dal-baati-choorma, kair sangri, gatta and saunth ka laddoo.

Bari Kothi strives to empower the local community
Bari Kothi strives to empower the local communityBari Kothi


While there's a corpus of history to discover within the premises of Bari Kothi, Murshidabad offers so much more to beautifully complement your stay. Taking note of it, the Bari Kothi offers up to 50 curated immersive experiences. During your stay here, definitely opt for a guided tour of the region and visit the Charbangla terracotta temple, the Palace of 1000 doors (Hazarduari), and the local markets. If you are an early riser, start your day with a guided morning walk that takes you through the other havelis nearby (such as the Nowlakha Kothi, Rajbari, Singhi Kothi, Marble Palace) and the Jain temples. Other interesting experiences include a visit to the Tantipara (weaver's village) and Islampore (significant for sericulture), stargazing sessions and folk performances, such as Baul and Fakiri music and Raibeshe dance.

The Information

Tariff: From INR 12,000 per night (not inclusive of experiences/excursions)

Getting There: The easiest way to reach Bari Kothi would be to either fly or take a train to Kolkata and then embark on a four-hour drive.

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