Overlooking the land of Mithila – where art and culture flourishing from centuries, the lost city of Rajnagar in Bihar, is a perfect site to witness the architectural marvel of Darbhanga Raj.
The ruins of the Rajnagar is famous for its palaces, temples and architectural beauty.
History of Rajngar
During the reign of Maharajadhiraj Lakshmishwar Singh, the area around Bachaur Pargana, later known as Rajnagar given as the Babuaana to his younger brother Rameshwar Singh.
After taking charge of his deodhi, Rameshwar Singh gracefully granted lakhs of rupees
for the construction of Palatial complex there, similar or better than Laxmishwar Vilas
Palace of Darbhanga.
Rameshwar Singh built his palaces, secretariats, and temples of Brahmanical deities at
an enormous cost and with great grandeur. For this, he called some architects, even
Rajnagar as the Capital of Darbhanga Raj
During the time when Lutyens was working for the establishment of Delhi as the capital of India, Dr. M A Coronie was also working on the same pattern for Rajnagar, the capital city of Raj Darbhanga.
But due to very near to Indo-Nepal border, the capital not shifted to Rajnagar.
later on, after the death of Lakshmishwar Singh in 1898, Rameshwar Singh ascended the throne of Darbhanga-Raj and shifted to Darbhanga.
Though the capital didn’t shift from Darbhanga to Rajnagr, Rameshwar Singh continued the construction of his palatial complex at Rajnagar.
The beautiful arched gateway of brick walls is enclosing the whole palatial complex of Rajnagar.
Goddess Kaali believed to be the principal deity of Raj Darbhanga, during the reign of
Rameshwar Singh, as he was a highly qualified tantric of that time.
Dedicated to her Rameshwar Singh built several temples around his palace and secretariat. He also built two ponds near these temples for bathing.
But this beautifully designed and decorated palatial complex very tragically destroyed. The tragic story is somehow similar to the story of “Titanic”.
Different advanced and updated materials used in this palatial complex by chief architect Dr, M. A Coronie making this most advanced and strong building of that time.
But the massive earthquake of 1934 destroyed the complete palatial complex within ten years after its completion.
Before the morning of 15th January 1934, this complete township was glittering like gold,
but suddenly everything turned into ashes. Palaces, secretariat, temples everything
collapsed and in a flash, with nothing leftover.
Thus a city, filled with world-class architecture, became a city of ruins.
This erstwhile city of Rameshwar Singh, credited for the construction of amazing
edifices now have been lying under open skies in a very dilapidated condition.
But the ruins are still charismatic and able to attract thousands of traveler, history and
architecture lovers around the world to this lost city.
Architectural remains of Rajnagar palatial complex
The structural remains at Rajnagar inside the compound wall include Navlakha Palace,
Durga Mandir, Kaali Mandir, and Kamakhya Mandir.
Outside these compound wall there lie a number of monuments which includes Girija Mandir, Ardhnarishwar Mandir, Shiva Temple, and Revenue office.
Navlakha building as its name indicates seems to have cost Rs 9.00 lakhs on its
construction. This complex included residential rooms and Durga temple inside.
Out of these residential rooms, only its southern wall along with a tower is only surviving.
This brick masonry with a massive arched entrance, beautifully decorated torana with carvings and flanking two lions at the top is able to spellbind you.
Now there is no evidence of this palatial complex, as the maximum of the building materials of rooms and roofs are lying down.
Durga temple lies within the Navlakha complex stands on the bricks platform facing south. The temple consists of a rectangular sanctum, attached with Mandapa and Portico.
The well-ornamented carvings and paintings are there on the ceiling and the vertical walls of the temple. The carving depicts the miniature shrine, tree with leaves and flowers.
A ten armed Mahishasur Mardini of white marble standing on the lion by her right foot and left one on the demon Mahishasur.
One can approach the mandapa hall through a wide arched entrance from the portico with a smooth surface. With a smooth surface and displaying the beautifully carved lotus and floral designs on these six pillars either side in the hall giving a royal feeling.
Kali Temple lies on the northern bank of Gangasagar Pond, showcases the panchayatan type of temple architecture, consisting of square garbha-griha with top shikhara, antechamber, and a jagamohana.
Standing on a high stone platform, the beautifully decorated, white marble temple is reflecting the extraordinary example of architectural craftsmanship of Raj Darbhanga.
The interior of the eastern wall contains the figures of rulers of Darbhanga Raj, whereas the western wall depicts the figures of some eminent Pandit of Mithila. These figures surmount the twenty-two-line Sanskrit inscription in the Devanagari script.
The exterior surface is decorated with figures of the lions surmounted by lotus. The
lower portion of the wall is decorated with ghata and flower designs. Its garbha-griha is
square in a plan whose walls are well decorated with panels, niches, chaitya, window
motifs, flower designs, etc.
The garbha-griha enshrines a four-armed black Kaali of marble in standing posture, holding swords and human skull by her hands. Adorned with metal crown, goddess Kaali stands by her feet upon the chest of reclining Shiva, who is adorned with serpent hoods crown and holds Damru in his left hand.
Kamakhaya Temple built on a high brick platform, which is provided with an enclosure
a wall on all the four staircases leading Mandapa.
The exterior of the sanctum is well decorated with carvings on brick and thick plaster which include arches containing the lotus and rope designs.
The entry to the mandapa is through the motifs of beautiful seated peacocks on the branches of the tree. Interiors are also well decorated with the figures of Kirti-mukhas flanked by female devotees on either side. The ceilings of the mandapa are well decorated with various flower designs.
The garbha-griha enshrines a white marble idol of four armed goddesses Kamakhaya
seated on a lotus with bow, serpent, arrow and a rosary held in her hands, which is
believed to be the last stage of Tantra worship.
This temple is contemporary to Kamakhya Temple, made of brick masonry
consisting of a sanctum, enclosed mandapa, dancing hall with sikhara.
There is no idol present now. But earlier an idol of the principal deity Ardhnarishwar seated on tri-ratha shaped pedestal in white marble coated with golden and red colors was there.
The ceiling of the mandapa depicts a gigantic figure of Lakshmi in white, red, green and
black colors standing on lotus associated with goose. The dancing hall is well decorated
with carvings and paintings, whereas sikhara is embellished by three rows of miniatures containing double shaped kalasha.
As this region was famous for Indigo farming and this made Bachaur, later known as
Rajnagar, the second wealthiest pargana of Raj Darbhanga. Assessing the growth, a
revenue office also constructed for monitoring of different businesses.
Later on, In 1971, this Revenue Office donated to the Lalit Narayan Mithila University
and now runs Vishweswar Singh Janta College in its premises.
After the earthquake, Raj-Darbhanga was not in the capacity to repair the buildings of
these palatial complex. After the independence, the complete region was handed over to the relatives of Rameshwar Singh. But to date, no one bothered about the shabby condition of this heritage site.
The condition of different monuments, inside this palatial complex is now very scruffy
and is deteriorating day by day, in the absence of no-care. But still the intricate carvings
either on the walls of Palaces, Secretariat or temples are able to spellbind the visitors
around the world.
Whether we talk about European, Gothic, Mughal or Indian style of architecture, one
can find all this in the ruins of this township.
One of the most unique phenomena, one can witness in this palatial complex is that all the architectures are different from each other and no-where there is a repetition of any
Why we should work for the Preservation of this lost city?
The architectural grandeur, as well as intricate carvings, whether in Durbar Hall, Naach
Ghar or different temples, all are competing in itself and describing the awesome
the craftsmanship of that era.
This ruins of Rajnagar is a vast open museum of the grandeur of its history, architecture
and religious beliefs.
These heritage architectural sites endow us the intrinsic value and giving a deeper
insight into the cultures and traditions of the old world.
Governments, ASI, Heritage agencies as well as locals all are watching just like a mute
spectator but these ruins are not just standing, rather crying in-front of every spectator
that “Save Me” and return my “Golden Days”.