The Bhukailash Rajbari, Kolkata

Amitav Ghosh | May 9, 2011 in Favourite Places | Comments (20)


This is the seat of one of Bengal’s oldest zamindaris. The grounds are right in the crowded heart of Kidderpore, which is a blessing in a way, for it makes the place very difficult to find.




Many Bhojpuri-speaking people live in the surrounding area and the atmosphere is reminiscent of Benares.  Outside Kidderpore very few people seem to know about the Bhukailash Rajbari.



20 Responses to “The Bhukailash Rajbari, Kolkata”

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  1. Comment by Samrat Laskar — May 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm   Reply

    Never had heard of it before. Thanks for posting. Would want to have a look soon.

  2. Comment by Utpal MukhopadhyayJuly 13, 2011 at 4:40 am   Reply

    Bhukailash is amazing; my question is how you landed up there. Having grown up in Kidderpore I went to BK frequently with my grandmother who used to visit the temple and worship there. Later I became friendly with a Ghoshal boy of the Zaminder family; this chap was an awesome sprinter and should have made into the state athletics team of those days. Went to his house and remember to have met his mother – an extremely graceful lady of the old school.Lost touch with him, of course, don’t even remember his first name. That’s life. Haven’t been to that part for a long time. Will find out to know the present state of affairs of the estate. Thanks for reminding me of my school days.
    This Goa restaurant has completely knocked me down. I am a regular visitor to Goa; have a house there too. But never heard about this Burmese chef. Will surely try him in my next trip. Thanks.

    • Comment by Amitav Ghosh — July 14, 2011 at 12:44 am   Reply

      I don’t think you will be disappointed in Bomra’s. Unfortunately he is open only in the ‘season’ – Nov-March.
      all best

  3. Comment by Sitaram Ray — June 11, 2012 at 6:23 am   Reply

    I have seen 4 coments on this site.i am residing near the Temple which has been built up by Latr Maharaja Jai Narayan Ghosal nearly 318 yrs ago.You have posted the Temple photos ,which is old,If you will visit now The boath Temples of lord Shiva And Maa Patit Pawni has been renovated .Thanks to all who has visited and request to all who has not visited to this worship place will visit at per their convenient. Sitaram ray

  4. Comment by Tridib Basu — August 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm   Reply

    Bhukailash is amazing… Satya Somnath Ghosal One of the family member (Zaminder Family) is my friend. I know some history about this great Zaminder Family..

  5. Comment by Debosmita Ghosal RoyJanuary 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm   Reply

    Hi Amitava,
    Its really exciting to watch our temples snap sitiing far way from home……it has been long I havenot visited my place but i will always miss the place…….those who llive there will feel the magnetism of the place though not in a pos locality but the whole atmosphere is very soothing.We have got similar temples in Beneras as well.
    Debosmita Ghosal Roy

  6. Comment by samarjit ghoshal — March 24, 2013 at 8:48 am   Reply

    i want to visit the mandir pl give me the location .i will be comming from lake town. thanks -ghoshal s k

  7. Comment by Protap Banerjee — October 18, 2013 at 1:44 am   Reply

    This is very good creation of Bengal Zamindari Culture. This is a heritage property. A lot of unwanted people have already captured the place and using as their personal property. We should protect it on immediate basis. No initiative has been seen from the side of honorable goverment. Thank you for posting this awesome creation in internet.

  8. Comment by Asim Chattopadhyay — February 12, 2014 at 6:45 am   Reply

    I am Asim Chattopahyay, I am from Bandel. For the last two years or more I was searching for the name Bhukailash Bangsho. I got the trace of it just 5 minutes ago, and now I am excited. Excited because I had learnt from my respected Gurudeva who is no more on this earth (Tridandiswami Parankush Ramanuj Jeeor, a disciple of His Holiness Sitaramdas Omkarnath Dev) that He also hailed from this eminent and great bangsho. I like to meet and speak to some senior member of this Bangsho to know something about them. May I get help from anyone regarding this ? I shall be highly obliged. Actually I am writing a biography on my Gurudeva, and the information about this holy Bangsho is essential in this connection.

  9. Comment by Prithwish Bose — March 9, 2014 at 1:32 pm   Reply

    I first read about this place in pathbreaking bengali upanyas ‘Sei Samay’ by Sunil Ganguly. There it was mention ed many times ‘Bhukailasher rajbari’. But being a since born recident of Kolkata (I live In North, quite far from kidderpore), never heard about this rajbari. I have seen many rajbaris, shovabazar, pathuriaghata, kashipur and many others, but never anyone told me about bhukailash. I want to visit the place.
    There is a very comic incident depicted In the book which was hapened there about hundred years ago.

  10. Comment by Satya Subhajit Ghoshal — September 10, 2014 at 9:21 pm   Reply

    Dear All,
    I want to first thank Amitav Ghosh for creating this thread. Also I would like to say thanks to all others for sharing their experience and history of our Bhukailash Rajbari. Yes, this place is really amazing and you will feel the wonderful ambience which is very hard to find currently in our city of joy once you visit inside the Bhukailash temple. It was created by Raja Jaynarayan Ghoshal almost 300 years back when he had to relocate from Fort William to Kidderpore as per request of British Government East India Company. You will be amazed to know that the name of the place was given by Sadhok Ramprasasd when he visited the place and got elated with the fascinating beauty of our 2 Lord Shiva Temples. He named it Bhukailash as if it was real Kailash where Lord Shiva stays, but on earth, and hence Bhu-Kailash. There are several facts or stories that are attached with this place and our family which is not published anywhere excepting some newspaper and news channel event on a rare basis. And there are reasons for that as well why it is not so popular like Shobhabazar and other Rajbaris.
    I am the 8th descendent of Maharaja Jaynarayan Ghoshal and feeling so happy, excited and nostalgic to publish my writing in this forum. I am taking some initiative to create a Facebook page based on our history to make people aware of one of the best attractions in the heart of Kolkata.
    You can all contact me for any questions in the email because it’s a little difficult for me to answer your queries in this forum.

    Satya Subhajit Ghoshal
    Software Professional

  11. Comment by rajiv sarinSeptember 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm   Reply

    Thank you, Amitav Ghosh, for post re: Bhukailash Rajbari and to Satya Ghoshal for providing historical context… shalaum, RS

  12. Comment by Rajesh KochharNovember 6, 2015 at 4:15 am   Reply

    Bhukailash Raj and Missionary Education
    Rajesh Kochhar
    It may not be very well known that the Bhukailash father-son duo played a pioneering role in advancing the cause of English education under Missionary auspices. Details are given below.

    The Ghoshal saga begins with Kandarpa Ghoshal, who was an original resident of Govindpur,one of the three villages on which Calcutta was built. He was relocated in Kidderpore once his village was chosen as a site for Fort William in 1758. His son Gocul [Gokul] Chand (d. 1779) came into great wealth thanks to his connection with Henry Verelst (1734-1785). Gocul made his first fortune through salt trade. In 1760 when the Company appointed Verelst as the chief of the newly ceded district of Chittagong, he took Gocul as his Dewan. He made full use of this first official position (1761-1764) in which capacity he supervised the revision of the land revenue system. Verelst placed on record his appreciation of Gocul Chand’s ‘thorough knowledge of the business of the revenue’. Through a deadly combination of this thorough knowledge, official patronage, ruthlessness and total lack of scruples, Gocul came to own vast tracts of land. It is said that he used to feed 1800 people every day. Gocul was succeeded by his brother Krishan Chand’s son Jay [also spelt Joy] Narain Ghossaul [Ghoshal] ( d. 1821), settled in Bhukailash near Kidderpore and founded temples there. Jay Narain left Calcutta to live in Benaras on falling very ill, leaving the management of his worldly affairs to his son Colly Shunker Ghossaul [ Kali Shankar Ghoshal]. In 1787 his signatures appear rather lower down in the list on a memorandum sent to London in support of Warren Hastings. On Joy’s departure from Calcutta the management of his worldly affairs dwelt on his son Colly Shunker Ghossaul [ Kali Shankar Ghoshal].
    Joy in Benares and Colly in Kidderpore helped Christin Missionary Society (CMS) set up English schools. The Benares school was rather un-typical .
    Jay Narain Ghoshal’s School, Benaras (1818)
    Jay Narain wrote about himself in 1810 that “I am neither Christian nor wish to be one”. Yet he had a genuine interest in and respect for Christianity. He contributed 500 rupees towards the building of St John’s Church in Calcutta in 1782 or so, and followed it in 1810 by sending a donation of Rs 100 to the Bible Society. In a letter written in 1818 to the Calcutta Committee of CMS, Jay Narain recalled the circumstances leading to the establishment of his School. He had fallen very ill in Calcutta , and moved to Benares ( thinking his end was near?). He could not obtain any relief for his illness either through “means known to Hindoos” or from “the assistance of several European surgeons”, procured through his “particular friend” the Resident Jonathan Duncan. Finally, it was a combination of “some simple medicines” and Christian faith healing, prescribed by a European merchant, G. Wheatly (or Wheately) that brought about “perfect cure”.
    Wishing to do something “for the name of Jesus Christ”, Jay Narain, on the advice of Wheatly, decided to found a school for the benefit of his countrymen. Wheatly, having failed in business, became the schoolmaster. Unfortunately, after a short time he died, and the school ran into difficulties. In 1814 Jay Narain applied to the government for assistance but without success. In the meantime the school went from bad to worse. Several masters who were employed “proved unsuitable, and the children who came to school received no profit”. On Corrie’s suggestion, Jay Narain offered his school to the Christian Missionary Society Committee in Calcutta. The school at the time was housed in a large building owned by him. A deed was signed in August 1818 transferring the property to the CMS Committee “for the purpose of a school for instruction in all kinds of science; and that in the school, children of all description may be instructed in English, Persian, Hindee, and Bengalee”. Note the phrase “in all kinds of science”, which the missionaries would interpret to mean their kind of knowledge. Through the deed, Jay Narain also agreed to vest in the committee an endowment of Rs 40000 to yield Rs 200 per month “towards the support of the institution”.
    Much to the disappointment of the CMS, in spite of his genuine interest in Christianity, Narain did not convert and died a Hindu, in 1821. It turned out that the legal transfer of the property “was not finally affected”. Jay Narain’s son Colly Shunker decided to honour his father’s commitment. He had two houses “of English fashion” in Benaras which he transferred to CMS. In 1825 he augmented the funds of the Benaras School by a donation of Rs 20,000, “in consequence of which, the Bengal Government, at the recommendation of the Committee of Public Instruction, and at his own request”, conferred upon him the honorary title of Raja Bahadur.
    The school was opened on 17 July 1818. By November 116 scholars had been admitted. It soon became apparent that the actual expense of the school far exceeded the monthly allowance granted by Narain. He was asked to apply to the government for a pecuniary assistance of Rs 250 per month, which was sanctioned, effective 1 March 1819. “By this grant, an important branch of the missionary undertaking received the sanction of the highest authorities.” “At first none but Poor Boys offered themselves; but after a little while, some of good family attended for the acquisition of English. The Foundation Boys will probably be taken from among poor Christians, and thus the establishment will become a truly Christian institution. The particular course of Education is wholly under the controul [sic] of the Society’s representatives; and will be conducted on the principles and with the views which govern them in all their proceedings. Reporting the above, the Asiatic Journal editorially remarked in a foot note that “it appears to be an early departure from the design of the founder”.
    The school strength rose to 150 in 1820. “Besides elementary books, containing ideas opposed to polytheism, the New Testament in English was used by the first class; and all the Hindoo boys who learn Persian read the New Testament in that language as a class-book. This was agreeable to the founder’s will; and the allowance which he charitably made to poor boys for subsistence, enabled such of them as were disposed to cultivate the love of knowledge”. A “Missionary who lately had charge of the College” wrote in 1849 without identifying himself: “The impression that this Institution has made on the native mind and the feeling with which they regard it, are evident from the fact that although we openly profess to teach Christianity, yet the number of students has gradually increased; and by the further fact, that some actually pay for their education”. Reporting this, a Christianity enthusiast gushed: “How very remarkable it is, dear friends, that so important a means of teaching the Gospel as this College is, should have been provided by a Hindoo, whose religion it is the very object of the school to overthrow! May the Lord grant it in his Time!’
    The above description of the Benares School is culled from the missionary sources. If one goes by official accounts, one would not discover its true nature. Thus the well-known Fisher’s Memoir, which formed part of British Parliamentary records, blandly describes it as teaching English, Persian, Hindustani, arithmetic, Government regulations, history, geography, and astronomy. Since the endowment for the school came from a Brahmin, who willingly handed it over to a missionary society, it could function as a government-aided Christian seminary. The government had no misgivings about supporting it provided its true nature was not advertised. That way it was and remained an exception.
    Kidderpore Schools (1815)
    The first school opened by the CMS Committee was in 1815 in Kidderpore, on a ground donated by Colly Shunker. The next year, as desired by the donor, English teaching was introduced for boys who did well in Bengali classes. The gift led to CMS’ establishing its headquarters at the nearby Garden Reach. Its first two Missionaries arrived in June 1816, one of whom, an Englishman, William Greenwood, was appointed to Kidderpore. In 1817, 20-30 boys “ were receiving a Scriptural education without awaking any suspicion in the minds of their friends”. In October 1817 a school with about 35 boys was opened in Dobapore. There were demands from the nearby villages Buslah and Bustom Gottah for opening schools . Colly Shunker continued to be Kidderpore School’s chief supporter till 1820 when he removed to Benares, and the expense devolved on CMS.
    We learn from Rev. Corrie’s Memoirs that young Hindu boys were purchased from their poor parents to be brought up as Christians. When late 1818, Rev. Corrie left Benares for Calcutta to join as Presidency Chaplain, he brought with him some Hindoostanee youths. “He had for some time been in the habit of devoting much attention to their education, with a view to their future usefulness as teachers ; and he now placed them in a school for Hindoostanee boys, which the Calcutta Committee of the Church Missionary Society had just established in that city”. “During the October of 1820, Mr. Corrie was afflicted by the death by consumption of one of the elder of the Hindoostanee boys, who were in the school under his care. The youth in question was a Hindoo by birth, and when a child had been purchased up the country, from his parents, during a season of scarcity. He had therefore been under Christian instruction the greater part of his life.

  13. Comment by Joydeep — August 16, 2016 at 4:59 am   Reply

    I know some people in Behala who are descendants of this family, before this I also haven’t any idea about this zaminders

  14. Comment by Manik Ghoshal — January 24, 2017 at 12:31 am   Reply

    Its absolutely true that the father-son duo must have wanted to promote English education to bring about an educational renaissance and modernity in India after an Islamic dark-age. The missionaries were indeed the best catalyst for that purpose. We all know that all the great sons-of-India have been produced by Christian Missionary schools and colleges. To name a few- Swami Vivekananda (Greatest Hindu ever?), and Dr Golwalkar (founder of RSS) too!

    The fact that Raja Joy Narayon willed all his Bhukailash estates to Ma Durga, and his two temples, named after his mother and father, are still such a draw for pilgrims from all over, proves that he never stopped being a staunch Hindu. I would go to the extent of saying that he exploited the Christians to bring Western modern education to people of India. He deserves accolade for that.

    My family is connected with Bhukailash, according to my late grandfather, who was an educated lawyer of Alipore court. I did visited the saivites about 25 years ago. My family had moved to Khulna sometime over the last 200 years, away from Khidderpore. They were Jamindaars there. The Ghoshals of Bhukailash are originally from Kanyakubja or Kanauj about 1000 years back. Thats when the Sena dynasty of Bengal brought Brahmins to Bengal for spreading Hinduism after the end of Pala dynasty and Buddhism in Bengal.

  15. Comment by Manik Ghoshal — January 24, 2017 at 12:35 am   Reply

    Now I live in Manchester, UK, and am an author and also a PhD research scholar of Theology from London.

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ucuz ukash