राजमहल, साहिबगंज (Rajmahal/Akbarnagar) – Sahibganj

Rajmahal is small sub divisional town in the Sahebganj districtof Jharkhand. The Rajmahal hills, which are geographically significant because they are the north east boundary of Daccan Plateau, are named after this place. The Holy river Ganga passes by the town of Rajmahal. The place is more significant because it is this place where the river Ganga while meandering thru Rajmahal hills takes turn from eastward flow to southward and then it enters into West Bengal. 

Rajmahal is situated on the west bank of the Ganges and located in the hills known as daman-i-khoh during the Muslim rule. The hill runs north south for 193 km from Sahibganj of Santal Pargana to Rampurhat Railway Station of Dumka. 

Local people say that the shankh of King Bhagirath stopped second time here in this place which marks the start of old age (vridhhavastha) of Ganga. (Balyavastha at Gangotri, yuvavastha at Haridwar).

The earlier name of the place was Agmahl. Man Singh, on his return from the conquest of Orissa in 1592, named it Rajmahal and on 7 November 1595 laid the foundations of a new capital of Bengal subah there and named it Akbarnagar, after Akbar, the emperor.

In 1592, Raja Man Singh, who was the general of Emperor Akbar, founded this city and constructed a Rajmahal in the place. Apart from this Rajmahal, the town is home to several other monuments like Singhi Dalan, Akbari Masjid, Tomb of Maina-Bibi and Tomb of Miran. 

Rajmahal Hill named after the town of Rajmahal and situated at the head of the Ganges Delta near the border of Bihar and West Bengal of India in a north-south elongated narrow belt. They occupy the area between latitude 24°30′ N and 25°15′ N and roughly along the longitude 87°30′ E. The average height of the range is about 1,000m. The volcanic activity during the Jurassic Period was confined to the area at the head of the Ganges delta in the Rajmahal Hills that forms the type area for the Rajmahal Group

Rajmahal Basin Jurassic trap rocks inter bedded with the beds of sedimentary rocks of the Rajmahal Hills area are known as the deposit of the Rajmahal Basin and the sequence mentioned as the Rajmahal Group (Series) from the hill ranges (24°30′ N: 87°30′ E) that takes it’s name from the town of Rajmahal. The rocks of the Rajmahal Basin have been encountered in the foreland shelf of north-western Bangladesh and referred to as the Rajmahal Formation. [Mujibur Rahman Khan]

 HISTORY

Tomb and Distant View of Rajmahal Hills 1782 William Hodges 1744-1797 Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1964 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00690

Tomb and Distant View of Rajmahal Hills 1782 William Hodges 1744-1797 Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1964 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00690

Rajmahal Hills has got very much attention in the British times. The dead mountains are formed from the rocks dating from the from the Jurassic Period. The hills with low elevations has created a unique vegetation of the place. This has attracted one of the great artist of its times named ‘William Hodges’ (1744–1797) . 

It appears to have been chosen as the site of the capital on account of its central position with reference to Bengal and Bihar and for its commanding both the rivers Ganges and the Pass of Teliagarhi. Man Singh built there a palace, a fort and also a Jama-i-Masjid (known as Hadafe Mosque). Soon, being a healthier site than Gaur, a choice city sprang up there. The city, however, lost its strategic value soon. The river Ganges having receded nearly a kros, the city was no longer accessible to war-boats and could not be defended on land and water. In 1608-09 Islam Khan transferred the capital to Jahangirnagar (Dhaka) in order to suppress the bara-bhuiyans and resist more effectively the growing power of the Portuguese and the Maghs. But Rajmahal regained its administrative position in 1639 when Shah Shuja (1639-1660) fixed his capital there. The prince built there the famous palace called Sang-i-dalan (Stone Palace) for his own residence with an attached Diwan Khana (audience hall).

On 20 January 1640, a fire caused immense destruction to the palace complex and claimed seventy-five lives of Shuja’s harem. Shuja crowned himself in November 1657 in this city. It appears that it had extensive construction works done. At a considerable distance from the Sang-i-dalan is a ruin called the Phulbari (flower garden). Near this is the tomb of Bakht-Homa, widow of shaista khan. In the second half of the eighteenth century the city was 2.41 kilometre in length and 0.80 kilometre in breadth with numerous mosques and monuments.

The city’s decline began when Mir Jumla (1660-1663) transferred the capital again to Dhaka to cheek the Arakanese and the Portuguese pirates. The ruins of the old city are now covered with luxuriant jungle extended for about four miles to the west of the present sub-divisional town. [Md Akhtaruzzaman]

 GEOGRAPHY

Geology
Plant Fossil bearing Inter-trappean beds of Rajmahal Formation nearby has been declared the National Geological Monuments of India by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), for their protection, maintenance, promotion and enhancement of geo-tourism.

Demographics
According to the 2011 Census of India, Rajmahal had a total population of 22,514, of which 11,755 (52%) were males and 10,730 (48%) were females. Population in the age range 0–6 years was 3,985. The total number of literate persons in Rajmhal was 11,618 (62.70% of the population over 6 years).

Religions

Hinduism 52.59%
Islam 47.09%
Christianity 0.24%
Others 0.08%

TOURIST PLACES

The Sangi Dalan
Built on river bank, is a part of the place of shah shuja, son of Shah Jehan. was built in 1556 to enable emperor Akbar to pray.

Jami Masjid
It was built by Raja Man Singh in a combination of the Imperial and Bengal styles. There are number of other monuments in town. It was built in reign of Emperor Akbar at Mangalhat

Other Tourist Attractions

Teliagarhi Fort
It was built by family of Teli Zamindar before Islamic rule in the region. Teliagarhi is also called ‘Ancient Gateway of Bengal’.

Teliagarhi
It is also called ‘Ancient Gateway of Bengal’.

Baradari
It was build by Fateh Jung khan, a wealthy zamindar of Bengal. Half of the structure was bombed by Mughal governor, Man Singh.

Akbari Mosque
It was built in 1556 by Mughal governor, Man Singh I

Palace of Shah Shuja
It consists Singhi Dalan, a marble pavilion facing the river Ganges

Palace of Mīr Qasīm, Nawab of Bengal.

Tomb of Maina-Bibi
It was built in 1779. Historian H.M Qureshi has identified the tomb with Munni Begum, who was a Begum of the harem of Nawab Mir Jaffer of Bengal

Tomb of Miran, son of Mir Jafar, Nawab of Bengal

Neel Kothi, built by British

Taksal of Jagat Seth, notable banker of Bengal

Kanhaiyasthan
It is believed that the place was visited by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Shivgadi
It is a cave temple of Hindu god, Shiva.

Bhognadih
The place where Santhal Rebellion initiated, a monument is also erected on the place and every year Shaheed Mela is organised

Moti Jharna waterfalls

Udhwa Bird Sanctuary

How To Reach

By Rail

The nearest station is Rajmahal railway station (Station Code: RJL), located at a distance of 6 KM and the nearest railway junction is Sahibganj Junction (Station Code: SBG), located at a distance of 43 KM. Autos are available at both the station.

By Air

The nearest airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata located at a distance of 329 KM.

There are no direct trains from Howrah Junction (Station Code: HWH), serving the city of Kolkata to Rajmahal. Direct trains are available from Howrah Junction to Sahibganj Junction (Station Code: SBG).

By Road

Sahibganj district is connected to Ranchi by National Highway 33 and to Kolkata by Badshahi Rd/Grand Trunk Rd. Bus service is available between Ranchi and Rajmahal. It is an approx 9 hours journey.

Buses service is not available between Kolkata and Rajmahal or Kolkata and Sahibganj but one can book a cab. However, the most convenient way to reach Rajmahal from Kolkata is by train.

By Ferry

Around 30 kms away from Malda, one has to travel to ‘Manikchak Ghat’ from here you can get ferry to Rajmahal. Excluding extreme flood conditions this service is 365 days available. 8 am, 1 pm, 5 pm are fixed timings. Frequency can be more in case of rush. The steamer facility is also available but it’s occasional. I would strongly recommend that one who visits Rajmahal take this ride from ‘Manikchak Ghat’ to ‘Rajmahal’. Even better if you go for 8 am or 5 pm. During sunset or sunrise the waves of Ganga, the deltas and Rajmahal hills at west create some stunning landscape. Ganga at this place is unique coz of its gigantic size. So in the 1 hour ride you will get ample time to enjoy the ride and take the photos. 

Where To Stay

Hotels and Lodges are available at both Rajmahal and Sahibganj. Both have a lot of places to visit and therefore one can choose to stay in any of the towns.

Rajmahal Facts

Latitude 24’°30′ N
Longitude 87’°30′ E

STD Code
06432

Temperature (deg C)
Summer – Max 36.9, Min 23
Winter – Max 27.7, Min 7.4

Best Season
October to February

Population

Division

Sub-division

Major Rivers

Major Crops
Wheat, Rice, Maize, Gram,Potato, Sugarcane,
Chilli

Major Industries
Khandsari & Gur,Handloom, Papad, Soap, Pickles.

Languages
Angika, Hindi, English

Information Centre
Tourist Information Centre Government of Bihar