The state government has decided to use a cluster of palatial properties across the state to promote ‘rajbari tourism’ as part of its “Experience Bengal” programme. An initiative to market the project and launch a manpower-training programme has been planned at some 100-odd rajbaris and mansions in Bengal.
Fifty-six of these properties have already been identified, including some famous ones, such as the mansions at Mahishadal, Serampore, Tamluk, Andul, Krishnagar, Sovabazar and Burdwan. Some of these properties, however, have legal issues that the government is working on. “Efforts are on to resolve the issues so that these properties can be brought into the fold,” said a state government official.
Six properties have already been converted into heritage hotels. Each is a private initiative though, which the state government is actively promoting as a template for future private-public initiatives for tourism.
“We are already in talks with several property owners and are on the verge of framing a sustained plan for regular promotion and marketing that can put Bengal on the global heritage circuit map,” said a senior state official, adding, “Considering the number of heritage properties we have, we can give strong competition to the heritage circuits of Rajasthan and Kerala.”
The 56 identified properties include three properties in Hooghly, six in East Midnapore, five in Murshidabad, eight in Jhargram, six in Purulia, five in West Midnapore, three in West Burdwan, eight in Bankura, three in Kolkata and one each in Howrah, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, Malda and Nadia. Some are already serving guests, while some are being renovated.