Bari Kothi, Azimganj : An Unique Luxury Boutique Heritage Hotel in India



Have you ever entered into a Time Machine where time has stopped approximately 300 years back? Bari Kothi is a living time machine where, as soon as you enter you will be transformed into an era of Nawabs. Bari Kothi is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in Azimganj, Murshidabad which has been painstakingly restored to its lost glory. Bari Kothi welcomes you with its majestic Corinthian and Doric columns and lights from beautiful chandeliers. You take a small step inside Bari Kothi and you can’t miss the long corridors, beautiful checkered floor, antique furniture and to keep you company there is a library with old books. Bari Kothi has everything to take you back to the era when the aristocracy was Royal. If you want to get a royal experience Bari Kothi is the perfect luxury heritage hotel in India and is one of the best heritage hotels in India.

Bari Kothi is own by the Dhudhoria family and built by Rai Bahadur Budh Sing Dudhoria who belonged to the Sheherwali community. Before you time travel through Bari Kothi it’s important to understand the Sheherwali community. Understanding the Sheherwali community will help you appreciate the nuances of the Unique Luxury Heritage Hotel – Bari Kothi


Bari Kothi Heritage Hotel in India Murshidabad

Bari Kothi History & History of Sheherwali Community


The Jain community has played an extremely important economic, political, social and cultural role in the history of Murshidabad and India.

The migration of the Jain community in Murshidabad can be distinctly divided into two parts. Between 1700 and 1765 saw the migration of Jains from the Marwar region during the reign of Murshid Quli Khan who was the first Nawab of Bengal province (current states of Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar & Jharkhand). The Marwar Jains established themselves as bankers and later given the title of Jagat Seth.


After 1765 saw the migration of Rajput Jains who were descendants of the warrior caste. They established themselves as bankers & financiers however quickly moved to become the Zamindars.They formed the Sheherwali community who later replaced the Jagat Seth and became a part of the Murshidabad Royalty. The Rajput jains started settling in the twin towns of Jiagunj and Azimganj.The Rajput Jains who later came to be known as Sheherwali were majorly Dhudhoria, Nawlakhas, Duggars, Singhis.

The Rajput Jains who migrated from Rajasthan to the twin cities of Jiagunj and Azimganj were called Sheherwali as they migrated from city (in Hindi it’s called Sheher) to city for business.


History of Bari Kothi


The Dudhoria family of the Sheherwali community are the direct decedents of Raja Dudhor Rao. The name Dudhoria is derived from the name of the Raja Dudhor Rao. Babu Harjimal Dudhoria with his two sons Babu Maujiram & Babu Sabai Singh migrated from Bikaner to Azimganj in 1774. But the real prosperity of the family, however, began with Babu Harek Chand Dudhoria who was son of Babu Sabai Singh, who became, not only a big cloth merchant but also opened a money-lending business in Calcutta, Surajganj, Azimganj, Jangipur, and Mymensing.

Sheherwali Community
( Budh Singh Dudhoria)


After his death in 1862, his two sons, Rai Budh Singh Bahadur and Rai Babu Bissen Chand Raibahadur took over the business and flourished much as their father. The Britishers gifted them with Raibahadur title. Even after being so successful in their business they did not forget the people in need. They built Dharamshala, annachatras (poor-houses), temples, and contributed to various charitable funds.

sheherwali community bari kothi murshidabad


The family residence of Rai Budh Singh Bahadur is known as Bari Kothi. Bari Kothi means ( Elder’s palace).

Bari Kothi Heritage Hotel in India- Restoration Story


The current generation of Dhudhoria family decided to restore Bari Kothi to its lost glory 4 years back and thus the story of the magical restoration of this boutique luxury hotel in India began. The magician behind this restoration is Architect Samar Chandra from Canada. Darshan & Lipika current owners of Bari Kothi also refers to Architect Samar Chandra as – “The Magician”. Restoring this dilapidated Bari Kothi wasn’t an easy task.

old image of bari kothi murshidabad
(Old Image of Bari Kothi )

Dr.Samar Chandra says – “ Given the poor state of affairs in the region, the lack of skilled masons, artisans, plumbers and engineers located near the site posed a problem. And since the family was also keen on preserving the local eco-system, the project took a lot more time and painstaking effort in acquiring resources. From restoring beams made of teak wood to working on the vintage furniture, the restoration of Bari Kothi involved a lot of attention to detail, enough so Bari Kothi would last another century or more”.

Bari Kothi Restoration Pictures


The Dhudhoria family and Dr.Samar Chandra decided to restore Bari Kothi to create a self-sustaining ecosystem and convert Bari Kothi into a rustic luxury boutique heritage hotel.

The story of the restoration of Bari Kothi began pillar by pillar, beams by beams and painstakingly still undergoing now. From the very beginning, the co-owners of Bari Kothi Lipika & Darshan wanted to empower the local people to develop sustainable tourism. All the staff in Bari Kothi are local people including the manager and salary is credited in their bank accounts. The women staff at Bari Kothi truly feel empowered. The best part is the way the local people are trained, they can give the staff of any five-star hotel a run for their money in terms of hospitality and taking extra care of the guests.

Mushidabad Heritage Hotel in India


The magical restoration of Bari Kothi required raw materials and the d├ęcor to be collected from across the world so that the lost charm of the majestic Bari Kothi could be restored. In few cases where colored glass was not available, they had to arrange for artisans who can paint and restore it just like it was 300 years ago.

Check the below pictures to see the painstaking restoration that took place.

Bari Kothi Restoration

Murshidabad Restoration Bari Kothi

Heritage Hotel in India Restoration




Bari Kothi Heritage Hotel– An Architectural Marvel


Bari Kothi is truly an architectural marvel. As soon you enter Bari Kothi greets you with an amazing looking antique door with an equally antique doorknob. This was not an actual entry, as the actual entry was from the South West Side which was majestic however due to issues with Vaastu the main entrance was permanently closed and now this entrance is used by the family members and the guests.


Entrance of Bari Kothi Murshidabad


As soon as you enter you will be transformed into an era where aristocracy and royalty was a way of life. You will be in a room filled with old books which is the library and has a huge oil painting of Rai Budh Singh Bahadur. Look up and you will see an amazing looking chandelier. You will see such beautiful and ornately designed chandeliers in Bari Kothi almost everywhere.


Library of Bari Kothi Murshidabad Azimganj


Cross the library of the Bari Kothi and you will be able to see a huge courtyard with a black and white checkered floor and a marble fountain in the middle. Look out for the mango tree in the Central Courtyard. Murshidabad & Sheherwali community is known for mangoes and at one point in time, Murshidabad used to produce 75+ variety of mangoes which was famous across the world and used to be sent to England every year for the queen. In this central courtyard of Bari Kothi, you can experience the Baul songs, Raibeshe Dance (Indian folk martial dance) which I will talk about below.


Stained Glass at Bari Kothi Murshidbad

Central Courtyard Bari Kothi Murshidabad Heritage Hotel in India


The first floor of Bari Kothi has beautiful long corridors ordained with majestic Corinthian and doric columns. The important rooms and the rooms for the guests at Bari Kothi is situated on the first floor.
One of the most beautifully decorated room is the Durbar Hall. It was like a ballroom and now turned into a dining hall. The Durbar Hall where Sheherwali cuisine is served has three beautiful chandeliers. Look out for the beautiful red color chandelier. The durbar hall at Bari Kothi has hand-painted tiles and stained glass. 


Hand Painted Stained Glass at Bari Kothi


Bari Kothi Durbar Hall Murshidabad


Heritage Hotel in India Bari Kothi


Opposite of Durbar Hall you can see an ornately designed hall with pillars made of Burma Teak and beautiful seating arrangements. Look above and you will find chandeliers made of Belgian glass. This hall is known as the Gaddi Ghar and is one of the most important places in Bari Kothi where daily monetary transactions and important decisions were taken. There are green doors and behind these three green doors, cash used to be kept in Bari Kothi.

Bari Kothi Chequered Floor


Bari Kothi Heritage Hotel Burma Teak Pillar


Visiting BariKothi and not visiting the private ghat is something you can’t miss even if you want to. Here you will be served breakfast and will be taken on a boat ride experience. The Barikothi ghat is beautiful just on the bank of the river Bhagirathi. You can spend your evening with a cup of tea and see the sun setting.

Just a trivia it is said that Jagat Seth( who is mentioned in the history of Sheherwali Community above) had so much wealth that he could build a dam with his gold and silver coins with just half of his wealth.

Corridor at Bari Kothi


Rooms of Bari Kothi


BariKothi Heritage hotel has beautiful rooms to offer. The rooms at Bari Kothi speak opulence. The rooms in this heritage hotel of Bari Kothi is dotted with amazing antique furniture and items from the past.

As soon as you enter a room you will be welcomed by a high antique bed. You have to literally climb on these antique beds. In earlier days this was normal and higher the bed was the better it was supposed to be.  Every room has beautiful chandeliers and the color of the light emitted by these chandeliers are based on the type of room you have. Sounds confusing then read below.

Bari Kothi Rooms


Bari Kothi has 15 luxurious heritage suites to offer from 3 categories. There are Heritage rooms, Royal Heritage Rooms and Maharaja Heritage Room. Every room has a unique story to tell and that makes Bari Kothi more exciting.

The Heritage room has names after precious stones. The heritage rooms are called Emerald Kamra (which has green lights), Ruby Kamra ( with Reddish pink light), Diamond Kamra ( white light).

I was given to stay in Emerald Kamra which had two huge double beds and one of the largest rooms from the Heritage Rooms.

Emerald Kamra Bari Kothi



One room at this heritage hotel you can’t afford to miss is the Maharaja Heritage Room. Even if you are not planning to stay request the owners to show that room to you. The room will make you awestruck with its beautiful design and ornate antique furniture. Check out the washroom of the Maharaja Heritage Room and I can assure you, you must not have seen such a beautiful decorated washroom which is filled with antique mirrors and furniture.

The heritage rooms at Bari Kothi will ensure you have an extremely comfortable stay.


Ruby Kamra Bari Kothi Room



Bari Kothi Curated Experiences of Murshidabad


The owner of Bari Kothi – Darshan Dudhoria and Lipika Dudhoria ensures that you have an amazing experience of Murshidabad through various curated experiences. The best part is that you can customize these experiences according to your liking.

The typical experiences that Bari Kothi offers are as follows :

Sheherwali Cuisine Cooking Class and Dinner


If you are at Murshidabad and Bari Kothi you need to have Sheherwali cuisine. I am a hardcore non-vegetarian, however, I loved the Sheherwali vegetarian cuisine to the extent that I brought back 100 years old recipes from them so that I can have it home. You can learn how to prepare Sheherwali cuisine first hand with this curated experience. Not only this you will get to taste the Sheherwali Cuisine while dining at the Royal Durbar Hall in the Heritage hotel of Bari Kothi.


Sheherwali Cuisine Murshidabad


Boat Ride on the river Bhagirathi and Murshidabad Tour


Visit Murshidabad the way Sheherwali community used to visit 300 years back. Azimganj is located on the other side of the Bhagirathi river and to reach Murshidabad the people used to take  a boat ride. Bari Kothi has an unique experience to offer where on a Boat (these are not small boats but boats with tables and chairs and beach umbrellas to save you from the scorching sun) you will cross the river to reach Murshidabad. Once you are in Murshidabad you will get on a tuk-tuk ( not the Bangkok Tuktuk but an e-rickshaw) to visit the historical places of Murshidabad. You will be able to visit Hazarduari Palace, Katra Mosque, Jahankosha Canon, Nashipur Rajbari, House of Jagat Seth ( this is not the original house as the original house is eaten up by the Bhagirathi river), Kathgola Palace, Fauti Masjid etc.


Lunch by Ganges


Once you are back on the boat after an amazing historical tour of Murshidabad you will be greeted with Sheherwali Cuisine on the Boat. You will be able to taste the delicious food while you return back to Bari Kothi on Boat.

Sunset Boat Ride on the Bhagirathi River


Have you ever had your evening tea/coffee while sailing on a boat and watch the sunset. Well Bari Kothi has this amazing experience to offer for you. Don’t miss this experience. You will take your boat from Bari Kothi Ghat and then go upstream and while the sun will set you will sail downstream while you sip the perfect cup of Darjeeling tea.

A Visit to the Murshidabad Silk Artisan Community


No trip is complete if you don’t get a Murshidabad silk saree or any item for yourself. Visit the Tantipara where the Artisans make the Murshidabad Silk. To know in detail how a Murshidabad Silk saree is made and the importance of Murshidabad Silk in Indian History read my Blogpost Here.


Murshidabad Silk


Cultural Experience at Bari Kothi


Songs and dance depict portray the culture and heritage of a place. Bari Kothi has various cultural performances to offer for you. You can enjoy the Baul Songs, Raibeshe Dance with a glass of wine in Bari Kothi. The Central courtyard is reserved for such cultural experience.

Baul Song at Bari Kothi Murshidabad

Heritage Hotel in India


Azimganj Heritage Walk


Azimganj heritage walk is a must-do experience when you are at Bari Kothi. You have to wake up a little early in the morning at around 7am for the Heritage Walk. In this heritage walk of Azimganj you will be able to see beautiful Jain Temples, few more additional houses of the Sheherwali Community and one of the most beautiful one is the Blue Mosque. Though it’s a mosque and meant for Muslims the caretaker is Hindu. Such is the beauty of Murshidabad.

Jain Temple in Murshidabad


Baranagar Terracotta Temple Experience


Do you know that Murshidabad has beautiful terracotta temples? You can find these beautiful terracotta temples at Baranagar. The terracotta temples of Baranagar are equally or more ornately designed compared to the terracotta temples of Bishnupur. Immerse yourself in this beautiful art of terracotta on a Baranagar Temple experience from Murshidabad.


Baranagar terracotta temple murshidabad


Bari Kothi Property Tour


The owners will take you on a property tour of Bari Kothi where they will explain the nuances and the significance of various corners of Bai Kothi. You will also get to see how Bari Kothi has been transformed into a Heritage Hotel. The owners have some intriguing stories to tell you about Murshidabad which they will narrate during the tour of Bari Kothi.

Bari Kothi Tour with Wine



Booking Your Stay at Bari Kothi , Murshidabad


Every stay at Bari Kothi is a bespoke experience and the owners and the team will ensure the same. To book your stay and experiences at Bari Kothi in Azimganj contact them directly by phone at +91 9051200800 or send an email to info@barikothi.com

How to Reach Bari Kothi in Azimganj

Bari Kothi is located at Jain Patty in Azimganj. The best way to reach Bari Kothi is by taking a train from Howrah to Azimganj. You can take any express train from Howrah to Azimganj Station. From Azimganj Station, Bari Kothi is about 10 minutes Toto (e-rickshaw) ride.

Thanks to Lipika Dudhoria & Darshan Dudhoria for an amazing hospitality which made the travel to Murshidabad and stay at Bari Kothi extremely special.


Disclaimer: I was hosted by Barikothi during my tour to Murshidabad. However, the views and process explained here are completely my own and no way influenced by the authorities/companies. This article has been written out of sheer love of heritage and no monetary gain has been made from the said authorities.

Let me know what do you think of this Heritage Hotel in India - Bari Kothi. If you have any queries  related to Bari Kothi or Murshidabad, let me now in the comment section below. Would be happy to help you.  

26 comments:

  1. I cant believe how the hotel stated off being in that state! It looked like the building was about to collapse. but with some tender loving care it turned out to be this beautiful hotel. It looks so beautiful, classic, romantic, I could see myself staying here when I am in the region. I have bookmarked this page for when I start planning my trip to India.

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  2. We do love to visit hotels that take you back in time. We once stayed in a Palace in Portugal and it felt like we stayed in a museum. The restoration of the Bari Kothi looks stunning. It certainly does not look like any standard hotel. I can see why the architect was called “The Magician”. I love all the colour they have restored to the inside. A sunset boat ride might convince me I had travelled back in time.

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  3. I am bookmarking this post for my next visit to WB. This hotel certainly looks like royalty. The place is full of heritage and it will be lovely to experience it. The boat ride on Bhagirathi sounds interesting with the dainty umbrellas, tables and chairs.

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  4. Wow, what an absolutely splendid place. I really like the owners wanting to keep all the restoration work local. I'm sure it would have been much easier and cheaper for them to pull in some out of town work. And now the place is just stunning. It's cool as well that they do cultural performances.

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    1. Yes its really great of the owners to think about restoration of their old house which they fondly called as Bari Kothi

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  5. Jane Dempster-Smith29 November 2019 at 02:37

    What a beautiful transformation. The hotel looked in such a state, I am pleased to know that some loved has been put into bringing it back to life.I enjoyed the history behind the Bari Kothi Hotel and the family. Thanks for sharing that. The vegetarian cuisine looks excellent.

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  6. Jane Dempster-Smith29 November 2019 at 02:41

    What a beautiful transformation. I enjoyed reading the history of the Bari Kothi Hotel. It is lovely to hear that a whole lot of love has been put into restoring it. The rooms are incredible. The vegetarian cuisine looked amazing.

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    1. The transformation and the restoration of Bari Kothi is really amazing...i am sure this is one of the best heritage hotel in India atleast in Eastern India

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  7. I was born in Calcutta and traveled a few times to Murshidabad and did see these lovely havelis and mansions in ruins and wondered how they would have been in their full glory. Reading your post about the Bari Kothi and seeing the photos filled me with joy to see it restored and looking absolutely splendid. The hospitality is absolutely spot on and I would love to experience it. I would love to taste the delicacies that you enjoyed on your visit and the visuals on your post add life to it. I liked the photos pre and post restoration. I will try and visit it o my next visit to Kolkata and thaks for sharing Bari Kothi. Amar Singh

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  8. I was born in Calcutta and traveled a few times to Murshidabad and did see these lovely havelis and mansions in ruins and wondered how they would have been in their full glory. Reading your post about the Bari Kothi and seeing the photos filled me with joy to see it restored and looking absolutely splendid. The hospitality is absolutely spot on and I would love to experience it. I would love to taste the delicacies that you enjoyed on your visit and the visuals on your post add life to it. I liked the photos pre and post restoration. I will try and visit it o my next visit to Kolkata and thaks for sharing Bari Kothi. Amar Singh

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  9. I was born in Calcutta and traveled a few times to Murshidabad and did see these lovely havelis and mansions in ruins and wondered how they would have been in their full glory. Reading your post about the Bari Kothi and seeing the photos filled me with joy to see it restored and looking absolutely splendid. The hospitality is absolutely spot on and I would love to experience it. I would love to taste the delicacies that you enjoyed on your visit and the visuals on your post add life to it. I liked the photos pre and post restoration. I will try and visit it o my next visit to Kolkata and thaks for sharing Bari Kothi. Amar Singh

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    1. wow that's really interesting to hear that you have traveled to Murshidabad... these days the old houses are getting restored like Bari Kothi and we bloggers are trying our not to bring back tourism to murshidabad

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  10. Great post...I didn't have any clue about it but it seems really nice...Thanks for sharing.

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  11. What a beautiful property and so well explained supplemented by breathtaking pics.

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  12. It's really so mesmerising and one can lost in the beauty of architecture. What a royal story behind this hertiage hotel.

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  13. Bari Kothi has a great history and culture behind it. It is a beautiful place and a must visit for sure.

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    1. Yes it has a rich history. If you are planning to visit Murshidabad , staying in this Heritage Hotel - Bari Kothi is must

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  14. Ur post is always so much in detailed.
    Bravo for writing in depth.

    The heritage hotel looks beautiful.

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  15. Such wonder piece of writing. Loved the way you described every small details of the place and the history. Pictures are super cool. I would love to visit at this time machine soon.

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    1. This place looked straight out of a royal dreamland. I can't believe such a gorgeous place exists in WB, India. This is such a hidden gem and I am so glad I came to know about it through your blog. Amazing write up, totally justified the history and beauty of this place.

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    2. Thank you so much. Such great appreciation keeps me going to write more articles like this post on Bari Kothi.

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  16. The restoration looks divine and truly expensive! It is amazing that they converted this into a hotel that everyone who can afford would experience old luxury. It's like a museum + hotel in one.

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  17. Wow never knew such place existed there. Thank you so much. Definitely looks like a place to explore.

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