Darbhanga actually means a gateway to Banga or Bengal. So, if you’re touring east, that is the place the traditional Bengal began. This area was also called Tirhut, apart from the extra common title – Mithila.
Darbhanga is the primary metropolis within the Mithila area of Bihar. Due to its royal patronage, it was one of many earliest cities to have its personal airport, means again in 1938 CE. Fortunately, it has been revived and you’ll fly on to Darbhanga from all main cities in India.
Its railway connectivity additionally dates to the late 19th CE – because the early days of Indian Railways. It has three railway stations in shut neighborhood, one for British officers at Lahariya Sarai, Darbhanga station for widespread folks, and a particular line that related to one of many palaces for the king.
Mithila has been on my want listing for a very long time. The truth is, twice I deliberate a visit and needed to cancel it final minute. Lastly, this was the time to go to it.
Historical past of Darbhanga
It’s in all probability one of many oldest cities in India.
Within the current previous, it was dominated by the Khandwala dynasty, popularly often known as Raj Darbhanga. They got here right here from Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh in direction of the top of 16th CE & dominated for nearly 400 years.
Technically, they have been Maithili Brahmin Zamindars who managed massive sections of land. They have been by no means given the standing of princely state although their dominance was bigger than many who had that standing. Did it imply they didn’t give a tribute to the British or Mughals and have been unbiased? In all probability sure.
It’s their footprints that you simply see in all places within the metropolis. Most of their palaces and royal abodes have been transformed into faculties and universities. The town is residence to 2 universities – Lalit Narayan Mithila College and Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit College.
Ponds of Darbhanga
Mithila as a area is understood for ponds. So, no surprise that the place can also be dominated by many ponds.
Three massive ponds subsequent to one another, stand out on the town map.
Aside from these wherever you go, you will notice an enormous or small pond. I discovered them near temples, as a part of palaces and forts, and nearly anyplace.
We additionally discovered folks fishing in most of those ponds. Sure, fish is a favourite meals right here. Makhana crops are additionally grown in these shallow ponds however to see that it’s essential to go to on the proper time of the 12 months.
I simply want the town and ponds have been clear sufficient to get pleasure from strolling round. Darbhanga is the dirtiest metropolis that I’ve seen in India.
Temples of Darbhanga
Shyama Mai Temple Advanced
On the coronary heart of Darbhanga is the Shyama Mai temple advanced surrounded by many temples. What makes this temple advanced distinctive is that this can be a royal crematorium. Temples, largely devoted to completely different types of Devi, are constructed on high of cremation pyres of various kings and queens.
Temples like Shyama Kali have gained immense reputation regardless of being part of cremation. The identical goes for different temples within the advanced surrounding a sq. pond.
We visited this temple advanced early morning and noticed many individuals visiting these temples. We have been instructed that the majority of those temples have an underground chamber the place the Tantrik path worship is carried out.
Among the temples of this advanced are, as you progress clockwise across the pond:
Madhaveshwar Mahadev Temple
That is the one temple right here that’s not on high of a cremation place. This was constructed by Maharaja Madhav Singh in 1806 CE. This can be a Shiva temple and will get its title from the one that constructed it.
It’s a small temple in white with purple highlighting it. The three-door entrance results in a Bengal Chala-style mandapa that results in Garbhagriha which homes the Shivalinga.
Shyama Mai Temple
Shyama Kali Temple is essentially the most well-known temple of this advanced in addition to Darbhanga. Individuals go to her for the success of their needs.
Constructed on the Pyre of Maharaja Rameshwar Singh in 1929 CE, after his dying, she can also be referred to as Rameshwari Kali. Temple stands tall in vibrant purple shade. Within the garbhagriha, stands an overwhelming Murti of Ma Kali in standing pose. She has 4 arms, however what you’ll bear in mind for lengthy is her higher left hand holding the sword and her decrease one holding a head. The opposite two arms are in benevolent mudras – Abhay and Varada.
A Kalash or metallic pot is stored in entrance of the Murti.
Lakshmeshwar Tara Temple
Lakshameshwar Singh dominated within the second half of 19th CE. The temple constructed on his pyre has a vibrant pink low wall round it. We entered the temple after a flight of steps.
This Samadhi temple has the Murti of Tara, Lakshmeshar Singh’s Ishta Devi. The Murti right here is comparatively smaller however nonetheless massive sufficient. Tara holds weapons in her two higher arms.
Near it’s a small temple devoted to Queen Laskshmiwati.
This can be a small temple in a vibrant purple shade.
Rudreshwara Kali Temple
That is the oldest temple within the advanced and it was a comparatively clear one. The truth is, the Pujari was cleansing the premises after we visited. It is a reasonably large temple, positioned bang reverse Shyama Kali temple throughout the pond.
It’s constructed on the Pyre of Maharaja Rudra Singh. Devi right here is within the type of Ma Kali, holding two swords in her higher arms.
Kameshwar Shyama Temple
This temple belongs to the final Maharaja of Darbhanga – Kameshwar Singh. This has the Devi within the Swaroop of Shyama, one other title of Kali.
Aside from these temples, there are areas that will have belonged to different departed members of the royal household.
This can be a small and exquisite temple devoted to Hanuman ji. In pristine white marble, this seems like a miniature temple in Jain model. That you must take some steps to achieve the temple.
To enter you’ll have to bend your self fairly a bit. Most individuals simply sit within the open space exterior the temple.
We noticed some younger boys chanting Hanuman Chalisa right here. We too joined in.
A small stall sells Hanuman Ji’s favourite laddoos for Prasad.
It is a reasonably large temple positioned near Nargona Palace. In-built a typical Indo-Saracenic model, the Shikharas are within the type of gumbads. Inside, the structure takes you to Rajasthan. The wooden and stucco work is beautiful however the temple appears to be deserted although it seems like a household lives inside it.
Garbhagriha has Ram Darbar with all 4 brothers, Ma Sita and Hanuman Ji. There may be additionally a small temple devoted to Radha Krishna.
Kankali Devi Mandir
This temple is positioned contained in the Darbhanga Fort, devoted to Kankali Swaroop of Devi. It’s just like temples within the Shyama Mai temple advanced. It jogged my memory of Kankali Teela in Mathura.
Museums of Darbhanga
For a small metropolis, the quantity and measurement of museums are wonderful. I want I may say the identical in regards to the repairs of the place.
Lakshmishwar Singh Museum
Run by the Division of Youth and Tradition this museum is positioned subsequent to the massive Dighi Lake. Apparently, the museum has been not too long ago renovated and restored.
It has an honest assortment of ivory objects from the royal household. This contains furnishings and sculptures. An elephant Hauda is claimed to be of Tipu Sultan although there isn’t a documentation of it.
Positioned near the Lakshmishwar Singh Museum this museum has an enormous constructing however a restricted assortment on show. The upkeep is disappointing, to say the least. Work are in a dilapidated state, a few of them could also be uncommon yantra work used for rituals.
Many Vishnu Murtis from the area point out that Vaishnava worship was predominant within the area.
Mithila Souvenirs to purchase
Madhubani Work is an apparent selection. However, I couldn’t discover any choices to purchase them in Darbhanga or Madhubani, except you meet the artists instantly.
There are a couple of artists who’re portray on Saris and have studios like Madhubani Paints.
Makhana is one of the best factor to purchase from Darbhanga. You’ll be able to simply discover it available in the market and it prices about 30-40% of what it prices in larger cities. In case you are to know extra about this surprise nut, you may go to the Makhana Analysis Heart within the metropolis.
Sattu – the ever-present drink of Bihar is available in many packaged varieties right here. Purchase it and benefit from the tasty and wholesome drink of Bihar.
Palaces of Darbhanga
Being a royal metropolis, it’s sure to have royal palaces and forts. What I respect about Darbhanga’s palaces is that they’ve transformed the royal palaces into instructional institutes. This retains the heritage alive and well-maintained.
Earthquake Resistant Nargona Palace
This straightforward palace in white carries the trademark symmetry of the colonial period. It is part of the Sanskrit College now. Boards with Sanskrit verses welcome you to the campus.
What makes Nargona Palace distinctive is that it is among the earliest earthquake-resistant buildings in fashionable India. It was constructed after a ravaging earthquake hit the area in 1934 CE. You’ll be able to see the hole house left within the basement that gives insulation from shockwaves. It did survive the following huge earthquake that occurred in 1988.
We met folks fishing within the pond in entrance of Nargona Palace. Canopies and chessboard flooring give a glimpse of its heyday.
Lakshmi Vikas Palace and Anandbagh Palace
Each these now function as the 2 universities in Darbhanga. A big Murti of Raja Lakshmishwar Singh stands in entrance of the palace in purple, with a clock tower within the backdrop.
Contained in the palace, there’s great woodwork that may be seen in a number of the workplaces.
A darbar corridor on this constructing is filled with beautiful woodwork in darkish Burmese teakwood. European-style flying maidens could be seen because the brackets holding the higher parapet. The chandelier and tilework have survived whereas the stage has given approach to an unpleasant substitute.
On the campus, you may teams of scholars learning and having fun with their finest years.
Mahatama Gandhi Sadan
What was a European visitor home to entertain the colonial visitor is now a college visitor home. This constructing has a room on the bottom ground the place Mahatma Gandhi stayed for an evening. It has now been devoted to his reminiscence. Features are held on his beginning and dying anniversary right here.
A lone constructing in white stands in the course of an enormous empty floor. This can be a place the place Indra Puja used to occur with elephants and horses. Nevertheless, it not takes place and the constructing is mendacity deserted.
This can be a uncommon place the place the custom of Indra worship stays, even when simply as a remnant. Hope somebody research and paperwork this for posterity.
A fort wall in purple and a embellished gateway lead you contained in the fort. That is simply part of the town and partitions are only a reminder that this was as soon as a fort. That is the filthiest a part of the town. We actually drove by way of 2 ft of water stuffed with water hyacinth to see the primary door of the fort.
There may be nothing a lot you may see, besides the crumbling partitions and Kankali Devi Mandir.
This palace of Vishveshwar Singh, the youthful brother of Kameshwar Singh is the best-maintained constructing right here. Since 1966, it has been the Postal Coaching Heart of the Division of Posts. So, it carried their shade – white and purple.
The gardens are nicely maintained. You’ll be able to stroll alongside the gardens, orchards and ponds.
- The town is nicely related by Air, Rail, and Roadways.
- There are a couple of mid-range accommodations to remain.
- Radhe-Radhe is the one restaurant chain the place you may sit and eat. Else, there’s ample road meals for Bhuja and Sattu.
- Auto Rickshaws are simply obtainable.
- You’ll be able to see a lot of the Mithila area with a base on this metropolis. The town wants 1-2 days to see intimately.